Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Update

It's been awhile since we posted an update, so let's call this an early-to-mid-summer recap! The board has had one conference call (in May) since the National Workshop on Christian Unity. Below you will find the update from Kathryn Lohre and Kathryn Johnson discussed at that meeting, as well as a listing of board members elected at the NWCU and officers then elected by the board. In June the board plans to participate in the Called Forward Together in Christ conversation currently taking place across the ELCA, so there will not be another update until late-July covering both June and July.

If you are the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representative for your synod, could we ask you to take a moment to check your contact information in the membership directory (a link is at the top of this page)? If anything is amiss, scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the "Send a Message to the Editor" feature to provide the correct information.  Having an up-to-date directory is important not only for good communication within LEIRN, but also for enabling ecumenical and inter-religious partners in your regions to contact you. Many thanks!

From Kathryn Lohre and Kathryn Johnson (aka "Team Kathryn")


As the Churchwide Assembly draws nearer, the bustle in Chicago is picking up. Our office continues to maintain some of the quiet reflecting Kathryn L’s leave – but work continues to continue.

National Workshop on Christian Unity, Louisville, KY, April 18-21
This annual opportunity for LEIRN to gather in its own sessions and to engage with others will be discussed under headings in the agenda, and indeed was experienced by most of you. Sessions on the Declaration on the Way were well-attended, and 145 complementary books from Augsburg Fortress disappeared. Chris O and Kathryn J continue on the Planning Committee for next year’s meeting in Minneapolis, chaired by Rocky Piro.

Coordinating Committee Meetings
Kathryn J attended the Lutheran Moravian Coordinating Committee meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, May 2-3. Meeting in a heart of Moravian heritage – with a day at Moravian College – the committee met with about 25 local clergy to hear about the range of ongoing collaborations. A strong personal relationship between Bishop Sam Zeiser of the Northeastern Pennsylvania synod, a member of the committee, and his Moravian counterpart David Bennett had clearly been crucially important in encouraging these partnerships. Plans were made for a similar format for next year’s meeting, in Salem, North Carolina, and there was discussion of how to commend this distinctive relationship in areas where there are some Moravians but not the historic centers or present strength of these two areas.

The following week, May 9-11, Kathryn J attended the Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee in Marriottsville, Maryland. This committee spent a day visiting three very distinct Lutheran-Episcopal partnerships in the Baltimore area: two older churches, with diverse but declining memberships, who now share a single space and are coming together in worship and mission (The Churches of the Nativity and Holy Comforter, “An Episcopal-Lutheran community in Baltimore”); a “post-denominational community church” in a changing neighborhood of downtown Baltimore that seeks to be an “open, creative refuge, respectful of all beliefs” but “unashamedly followers of Christ (Church on the Square); and a community that “gathers both on-line and face-to-face in Baltimore” (The Slate Project: Christianity with a Clean Slate).

The committee adopted a resolution promising continued work toward “mutual acknowledgement of (full) communion relationships among the churches of the Porvoo Agreement, Called to Common Mission, and the Waterloo Declaration.” This mutual acknowledgement has been encouraged by international dialogue and by the Canadian counterpart of LECC in Canada.

May 16-18 Kathryn J attended a Lutheran/Episcopal Clergy Conference for Virginia judicatories. Gordon Lathrop and Neil Alexander were keynote speakers, with a focus on liturgy; the conference also engaged in mapping of partnerships and opportunities in their local areas.

Looking Ahead
Kathryn L will inaugurate a post-leave rhythm of life by speaking at the Vocation of a Lutheran College conference at Augsburg College in Minneapolis the first week of June, with a focus on inter-religious education. Attention to the resource, Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves, continues to grow, and the Churchwide Assembly will be invited to look toward an ELCA statement on inter-religious relations.

Both Kathryns have been working on reports which will come to the LWF Council meeting at Wittenberg in June. Kathryn L has edited the report from the conference she attended in Namibia in October-November, “Global Perspectives on the Reformation: Interactions Between Theology, Politics, and Economics.” Kathryn J has provided editing help for the task force report following up on the LWF’s “Mennonite Action” in 2010.

Speaking of the Churchwide Assembly… Opportunities to participate in the Grace Gathering, and to encourage others to do so, still exist. With a focus on 2017, multiple ecumenical and inter-religious seminars will be included.

Other items from the board


Board Terms as of Louisville NWCU (2016)

board member
current term expires
Eligible for reelection?
Amanda Liggett
2017
Y
Mari Larson
2019
Y
Kristi Weber (Treas.)
2017
Y
Nathan Allen
2019
N
Brian Wise
2017
Y
Chris Olkiewicz (Pres.)
2019
N
Tim Philabaum (Sec.)
2019
N
Wayne Zschech
2019
N
Tom Prinz
2019
N
Mary Finklea
2019
N
John Unger
2018
Y
Kim Rapczak
2018
Y
Rocky Piro (Past Pres.)
open
ex officio
David Roschke
2019
Y
  • NWCU: Save the dates of May 1-4, 2017 in Minneapolis.
  • Possible 2018 locations are Houston and Los Angeles or Bay Area with current weight leaning more on Houston.
  • Next meeting: June 30 (devoted to Called Forward in Christ conversation)

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