The ELCA – Who We Are
In previous news, we linked to the full Called Forward Together in Christ: ELCA Strategic Directions 2025 document. Have you read through it yet? Here’s a preview of part 1:
Our strategic directions
ELCA Strategic Directions 2025 tells the story of the church we are becoming – a church that is confident about who we are in Christ and what God is calling us to do. The directions are presented in three parts: The ELCA – who we are; What unites us as church; and, Our goals and priorities.
- The ELCA – who we are
Called, gathered and sent into the world to embody the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we exist to be a reforming, renewing and reconciling expression of God’s grace through life-giving relationships and communities of worship, mercy, justice and service.
We are church.
We are Lutheran.
We are church together.
We are church for the sake of the world.
Response to attacks on the Jewish community
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
These famous words attributed to the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller have been on my lips in recent days: “Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. … Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
In the face of anti-Semitism, we are called to speak out – as an expression of our love of neighbor and as our faithful response to the love of God in Jesus. In doing so, we become ambassadors of hope in the face of despair, imitators of Christ.
Our Jewish neighbors are once again living under threats, fearful for their safety and security. Over the weekend, a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated, and on Monday, another wave of bomb threats was made to Jewish community centers across the country. This was at least the fourth round this year alone. As Christians, we affirm that Jews remain “beloved of God” and that an attack on them is an attack on those whom our God – the one God – has called “my people.”
In many places, with leadership from across this church, we are reaching out and showing up with our Jewish neighbors, often with ecumenical and inter-religious partners. We can and should continue and expand these important ministries of presence.
There is also the critical long-term work. As a church, in our 1994 Declaration to the Jewish Community, we have pledged “to oppose the deadly working of such bigotry, both within our own circles and in the society around us.” This will not happen quickly. It will take concerted efforts to correct “the complicity of our own tradition within this history of hatred” and to seek deeper mutual understanding and cooperation between Lutheran Christians and the Jewish community. We have many excellent resources to aid us in these complicated but necessary tasks: ELCA.org/en/Faith/Ecumenical-and-Inter-Religious-Relations/Inter-Religious-Relations/Jewish-Relations.
So, let us continue to speak out, to reach out, to show up, and to root out this deadly bigotry of anti-Semitism. For the courage to do God’s will, and for the peace of our Jewish neighbors, we pray.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop of the ELCA
U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Service of Common Prayer
On Thursday, March 2, at 4:30 p.m. Central, you are invited to join in a Lutheran-Catholic service of common prayer via live stream in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The service will be co-hosted by the ELCA Conference of Bishops’ Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Liaison Committee and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Committee. The service will follow the Common Prayer liturgical guide, developed for the joint ecumenical commemoration held in Lund, Sweden, last October 31, and based on the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue report, “From Conflict to Communion.” As we pray, we will confess our brokenness, renewing our commitments to reconciling the body of Christ, and celebrating the ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans over 50-plus years of dialogue – the gifts that have been given and received in our journey together on the way to unity.
Please note: Due to space constraints, attendance at the service is limited to invited guests.
Is your church focusing on Reformation500? The “Here We Walk” Lenten Fitness Challenge is a great resource for a church on the move. Use it this Lent – or later this year – to connect faith, fitness, and Martin Luther.
Example: Journey with Martin Luther and learn about the significant places in his life as we reflect on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Starting Ash Wednesday, March 1, fill in one square for every 15 minutes of physical activity (i.e., walking, swimming, yoga, or aerobics). Anything that gets you actively moving COUNTS! If you exercise for 30 minutes every day, you will complete the journey in six weeks.
Save the Date
BRIDGES Book Club
Saturday, March 4
2-4 pm at Trinity, Fort Worth
4-6pm at Mount Olive, Dallas
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Bryan Stevenson is America’s young Nelson Mandela, a brilliant lawyer fighting with courage and conviction to guarantee justice for all. Just Mercy should be read by people of conscience in every civilized country in the world to discover what happens when revenge and retribution replace justice and mercy. It is as gripping to read as any legal thriller, and what hangs in the balance is nothing less than the soul of a great nation. — Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Where in the world is?
- Mar. 1-6 – Conference of Bishops, Chicago
- Mar. 5 – Installation at First Sagrada Familia, Garland
- Mar. 5 – Installation at First Sagrada Familia, Garland
- Mar. 3-5: NT-NL Peer Ministry Leadership Training (grades 9-12)
- Mar. 3-5: NT-NL Lenten Retreat (grades 4-6)
- Mar. 4: BRIDGES Book Club
- Mar. 11: Public Witness Team for Peace and Justice monthly meeting
- Mar. 12: OutLast Youth LGBTQ youth homelessness awareness event
- Mar. 18: PLMA Spring 2017 Course 1
- Mar. 25: Dallas Area Metro North SWO Retreat
- Apr. 4-6: Young at Heart Retreat (Briarwood)
- Apr. 7-9: NT-NL Family Retreat
- Apr. 8: PLMA Spring 2017 Course 2
- Apr. 8: Public Witness Team for Peace and Justice monthly meeting
- Apr. 23: Briarwood Quarterly Brunch
- Apr. 27-28: Mission / Synod Council Meeting
- Apr. 28-30: 2017 Mission / Synod Assembly
- Apr. 29: Assembly Worship Service (open to the public)
- May 4-6: “Go Baptize, Make Disciples” Catechumenate Training Institute
- May 6: Briarwood Annual Gala
- May 13: Public Witness Team for Peace and Justice monthly meeting
- May 20: PLMA Spring 2017 Course 3
- May 28 – Jun. 2: Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive I
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to the Synod office (MissionOffice@ntnl.org) for consideration for our next NT-NL News.
Looking for information in past NT-NL News? Find NT-NL News archives here!