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Showing posts from 2015

An important resource for members of LEIRN

Dear LEIRN Members:

No doubt many of you already have read Presiding Bishop Eaton's open letter to the Muslim American community. Now an additional resource has been compiled by the ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Muslim Relations and their academic and staff colleagues. The Panel is a group of Lutheran professors and pastors who advise the Presiding Bishop and periodically offer educational resources for this church.

The resource is intended to provide background for understanding terrorism--as well as for responding to the violent reactions and harsh anti-Muslim public speech evoked by recent terrorist attacks. The document and its linked resources draw very clear distinctions between the perpetrators of such attacks and the vast majority of Muslims around the world, including refugees, and certainly including our friends and neighbors in the U.S.A--many of whom are speaking out against these attacks, and doing so from the heart of their Islamic faith.

The document's cov…

An invitation from Interfaith Partners for Peace

Dear Friends,

I've been involved for about a year now with the Interfaith Partners for Peace, which is giving resources and leadership to grass-roots clergy dyads (rabbi & pastor) around the country in studying together and working together on behalf of a two-state resolution of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. See the link to our IP4P web page for more information on this.

We are currently recruiting dyads for 2016, including a study trip to Israel and Palestine over 6-15 March 2016 (who wouldn't want to be in Jerusalem for the 5th Sunday in Lent?!). Interested clergy can sign the partnership pledge on the website and the staff at JCPA will contact them about next steps. Or they can send questions through the website or directly to me.

This program is the closest thing I've seen yet to building the kind of interfaith movement that understands and supports the "both-and" approach to Israel and Palestine that I think most moderate American Christians wa…

November Update

Here's the latest from Kathryn Lohre - Assistant to the Presiding Bishop, Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relationsand Kathryn Johnson - Director for ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations
LWF Conference Kathryn Lohre participated in an LWF Conference held October 28-November 1 in Windhoek, Namibia titled, “Global Perspectives on the Reformation: Interactions Between Theology, Politics, and Economics.” The conference, held over Reformation day, provided a forum for the member communions to participate together in deep reflection, analysis, and critical thinking about how we understand ourselves and our relationships with others in light of the approaching 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and beyond. The methodology included plenary sessions where fine papers were presented and discussed, daily discussion groups, and thematic workshops. The input from the conference will inform the ongoing processes of existing LWF Consultations, including the one to which …

A letter to the network

Dear Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives Network,

Greetings to you in this season of Advent. In the spirit of preparation, we are writing to bring to your attention a forthcoming inter-religious resource, and to enlist your help in launching an ELCA-wide conversation on inter-religious relations in 2016 and beyond.

We live and work in an increasingly multi-ethnic and inter-religious context. In our daily encounter with diversity, what are the theological and practical challenges we face? What from our Lutheran tradition is instructive for understanding our inter-religious calling and living out our commitments? In short, what does it mean to be Lutheran in a multi-religious world?

In late 2012, the ELCA Consultative Panels on Lutheran-Jewish and Lutheran-Muslim Relations undertook an inter-religious case studies project to explore these questions. A call for submissions went out inviting real-life cases of inter-religious engagement in ELCA ministry contexts. Over…

October Update

Lutheran-Mennonite Staff Meeting On September 24 Andre Gingerich Stoner, director of interchurch relations for the Mennonite Church USA, came to Chicago to meet with both Kathryns. He had initiated the conversation, wanting to make sure that we would continue to live into the relationship deepened both in the US and internationally by Lutheran actions of repentance concerning persecutions of Anabaptists—and he came full of ideas.

He has been in touch with Indiana-Kentucky synod Bishop Bill Gafkjen about a presence during Indiana-Kentucky’s synod assembly in June; this discussion is ongoing. We also discussed a number of possibilities to live into our ongoing reconciliation (including educational and interpretive efforts); supporting the international tri-lateral dialogue on baptism; and engaging issues of peacemaking. Some of these efforts would require significant planning or seeking outside funding; others are more within our immediate grasp.

The Declaration on the Way… … contin…

September Update

From Kathryn Lohre and Kathryn Johnson

Welcome to Kathryn Johnson
We were pleased to welcome Kathryn Johnson on September 1 as director for ecumenical and inter-religious relations. It is truly a joy to welcome a colleague who brings the breadth and depth of ecumenical expertise and relations to our work, along with a deep faith and passion for Christian unity.

ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Muslim Relations/Inter-Religious Book Project
On August 27, the authors of the inter-religious case studies book project met at The Lutheran Center to workshop the penultimate draft of the manuscript. On behalf of LEIRN, Rev. Chris Olkiewicz participated in a review process leading up to this meeting – thank you. The working title is, “Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves: A Lutheran Calling in a Multi-Religious World.” Lutheran University Press will receive the final text in early October, and we are still on track to publish in spring 2016. Here is the outline:

Foreword, Presiding Bishop Elizabe…
Learn more about this event and the Abdelkader Education Project at

August Update

From Don McCoid and Kathryn Lohre Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee The Lutheran-Moravian Coordinating Committee met July 27-29 at the Laurel Ridge Moravian Camp and Retreat Center in Laurel Springs, North Carolina, under the gracious hospitality of the Southern Province. The Committee’s key accomplishments were: 
Launching a Facebook page and blog, several stories of shared ministries to lift up (on the blog and elsewhere) as examples and encouragement to our churches. Engaging in a strategic planning process based on the intersection of the committee’s constituencies and responsibilities. Developing an initial model for formation and missional engagement between Lutheran and Moravian rostered and lay leaders in places where our churches are strongly present, starting with a convening in 2016 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that will be held in conjunction with the Committee’s annual meeting. Lifting up the 15th anniversary of our full com…

Mid-Summer Update

Greetings, friends and members of LEIRN! Below you'll find an update from Kathryn and Don given at the most recent board meeting. Follow the links throughout to some very helpful resources. Remember to follow us by email (enter your email address in the box at right) if you would like to be notified whenever new content is posted.

From Kathryn Lohre and Don McCoid
ELCA Colleges
Kathryn had the honor and privilege of preaching at the Baccalaureate service at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois on May 24. This invitation grew out of our partnership with ELCA colleges on inter-religious formation and engagement. In June 2016 the Vocation of a Lutheran College conference will be focused on inter-religious engagement. Planning is underway this week through the conference planning team, which has been expanded to include Kathryn, Mark Wilhelm, Mark Hanson, and colleagues from the Interfaith Youth Core. A second task force of individuals who participated in the March Consultation …

From Conflict to Communion Study Guide Makes LWF News

The Lutheran World Federation recently featured the study guide for From Conflict to Communion in a news story on their website. Read more . . .

On April 29, more than 100 Lutherans and Catholics gathered at St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh to use the new study guide as a framework for discussing how to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Read more . . .

Thanks to Pittsburgh for leading the way!

9:30 a.m.   ……………………………………Registration/Gathering
10:00 a.m. …………………………Welcome –   Fr. Kris Stubna                                  Bishop Kurt Kusserow
10:15 a.m. ………………Opening Prayer – Fr. Kris Stubna
10:30 a.m. ………………Presentations – Fr. John Crossin             Rev. Timothy Wengert 12:15 p.m. ………………Break
12:30 p.m. ………………Lunch
1:15 p.m. ……………Panel – Share how we will consider the Study Guide             Session 1 -  …

Next stop: Charlotte

We are looking forward to seeing many of you in Charlotte for the National Workshop on Christian Unity in a little more than a week. A highlight of the first plenary session is always our conversation with the ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations staff. This year Kathryn and Don are making their written report available to us in advance. Please take time to read through it before arriving in Charlotte and come prepared with questions and areas that you would like to discuss in mind. It will be a full session, and this should help us to use our time most efficiently. Click here to read the report . . .

S2S Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar

Program Description:
Shoulder to Shoulder is a national campaign of denominations, faith groups and religious organizations dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment. An integral part of ending anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States is ensuring that American religious leaders of various traditions provide leadership within their own communities and in interfaith efforts on this issue.
In 2015 Shoulder to Shoulder is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Emerging Religious Leaders Seminar (ERLS) for twenty seminarians and other emerging religious leaders at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The Seminar will begin the morning of Thursday, September 3 and finish the evening of Sunday, September 6. This is in conjunction with the 52nd Annual ISNA Convention will be held in Chicago, IL, over Labor Day Weekend (September 4-6, 2015). Each year, the ISNA Convention attracts over 20,000 American Muslims from diverse backgrounds to discuss issues of importance to the larg…

Join the Luther Reading Challenge!

What did Martin Luther really say in the 95 Theses? Is it true he had a special affection for the Virgin Mary? Did he think the Old Testament was all law and no gospel? What was his advice concerning prayer? Did he advocate good works? Why was the real presence of Christ the center of all his thinking? How did his last will and testament break the law (in favor of his wife)?
What did Luther actually say and think?
As the Reformation anniversary in October 2017 draws near, Martin Luther will be a hot topic of conversation. Lutheran churches are already asking themselves how to commemorate the big event. It’s not too early to start preparing! And what better way to do so than actually to read and discuss Luther’s own words?
That’s where the Luther Reading Challenge comes in. Sign up for a free account and join countless other readers around the world in reading, discussing, and reflecting on Luther’s important writings!
Each text begins with an introduction, giving its context and key themes. You…

Coming Soon: National Workshop on Christian Unity

We hope you already know about and have made plans to attend this year’s National Workshop on Christian Unity and annual meeting of the Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives Network in Charlotte, North Carolina from April 20 through 23. If you have not yet taken a moment to register, please do so soon at Note that the registration deadline is April 1.

Registration for both the Workshop and LEIRN meeting can be accomplished through the website and with a single payment. You will also find there a link for making a room reservation at the Omni Hotel. If you are interested in sharing a room, please email me at I am keeping a list of those who have requested roommates and will do my best to get you connected with someone.

If you are a past Workshop participant, you should have received a print brochure a couple of weeks ago. The full Workshop schedule is also available at of course, and the schedule of LEIRN events is below. As you …