Today Marks 50 Years!
“The Church of Christ in every age, beset by change but Spirit-led, must claim and test its heritage, and keep on rising from the dead.” (Fred Pratt Green, 1969)
Words matter. Words matter in our Scripture, in our hymns, in our governing documents, and beyond. Fifty years ago, on June 29, 1970, the Lutheran Church in America voted to change the word “man” to “person” in its bylaws and opened the door for the ordination of women. The American Lutheran Church achieved the same thing by resolution a few months later. The church was led by the Spirit to change. At the time it was scary for some. Fifty years later, it is now part of our heritage.
Fifty years later we celebrate the anniversary as a whole church. The influence of those decisions 50 years ago is not merely the impact on women. This is a celebration for the whole church, because the whole church has been strengthened by the gifts of ordained women in its leadership. We celebrate how these pastors have shared the Word, including with words of compassion, conviction, and curiosity. We also give thanks for the moments when there are no words, but they have offered their presence.
We also know that women who are pastors have struggled in ways men who are pastors have not. They deal with sexual harassment, disrespect, and often lower pay due to gender-based discrimination. The first women of color in our predecessor bodies weren’t ordained until 1979. And it wasn’t until 2009 that barriers to ordination were removed for LGBTQIA+ individuals in committed relationships. We know that racism and heterosexism complexify and intensify these problems. This discrimination is also part of our heritage, and something that we need to continue to work to eliminate.
In recognition of this 50th anniversary on June 29th, I invite you to express gratitude to a pastor who is a woman for how she has influenced your life. It could be by letter or email, or by other means. If you post on social media, please use the hashtag #ThankYouPastor. If you would like more resources for celebrating this year, go to elca.org/50yearsofordainedwomen, which has an adult forum, Bible Study, video, and worship materials.
Fifty years after 1970, we also live in a world beset by change. I am grateful for the Spirit who continues to lead us and for the women God has called to minister to us.
I thank God for all of you who minister so faithfully.
Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
July 5 Sermon Recording from Bishop Gronberg
May God bless you this week in your work and in your life. My sermon for July 5th has been posted on YouTube and is available for your use this weekend:
Each week in July, your synod staff will be providing a sermon for the use of our congregations. We pray this can be a blessing and potentially a respite for our pastors and leaders who have been so faithful and adaptive in this time.
P.S. My updated guidance for worship, including the use of masks, is available in English and Spanish here.
Guides for Finding Community Assistance Resources by State
ELCA World Hunger offers a set of state-specific one-pagers designed for people to learn how to access things like SNAP, unemployment, and other emergency assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Access the Guides for Finding Community Assistance Resources by State. Access additional resources from ELCA World Hunger.
Featured Resources for June
World Refugee Day is June 20
On June 20, the world commemorates the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees. Around the world more than 50 million people have fled their homes. Each day, thousands more follow.
Around the world, communities, schools, businesses, faith groups, and people from all walks of life are taking big and small steps in solidarity with refugees. This World Refugee Day, we challenge everyone to join together and take a step with refugees. Join the movement. You can learn more here.
Migrant and Refugee Sunday can be observed on any Sunday
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) invites you and your congregation to infuse new meaning into the phrase welcome the stranger. Join us in celebrating the resilience and courage of refugees and migrants in America and in your own community!
Download “An Immigration Catechism” — an educational resource examining current realities and policies relating to refugee resettlement and asylum process, and prompting participants to reflect and discuss the classic catechetical question, “What does this mean?” It comes as a PowerPoint presentation with notes for leading participants through both the information and the faith-based reflection. It is well-suited for use in adult forum, Bible study class, women’s circles, or other group study and discussion settings. Biblical and theological framework and reflection questions are embedded in the presentation. The study can be completed as one session; but also has breakpoints built in for spreading it across several sessions.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/camp-news-and-conversations-at-briarwood-thursdays-at-7pm/ – published Jun. 24)
Where in the world is?
Based on recommendations from public health officials, and to live out our call to love and protect “the least of these,” Bishop Gronberg, Pastor Totzke, and Pastora Bañales are suspending all congregational visits, in-person meetings, and travel until further notice. They will continue to meet with individuals and groups online. Though many buildings are closed, the church is all of us, and ministry continues.
With the ever-changing guidelines and recommendations in our world right now, as we maintain physical distance in social solidarity, please keep in mind these events may be moved online, postponed, or cancelled:
- Jun. 30: Living Connected: The Spiritual Discipline of Creation Care (Food)
- Jul. 1: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jul. 2: 10am, Ordination of Joshua Menke, (Streaming link will be included in Leader News)
- Jul. 2: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jul. 2: Conversations at Briarwood with Vance Blackfox – American Indian Memory and Resistance, Zoom
- Jul. 2: Interim Pastors monthly meeting, Zoom
- Jul. 8: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jul. 9: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jul. 9: Conversations at Briarwood with Carmen Lansdowne – Crossing Borders and Church-Based Action, Zoom
- Jul. 11: Public Witness Team meeting, Arlington, TX
- Jul. 15: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jul. 16: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jul. 16: Conversations at Briarwood, Zoom
- Jul. 22: Weekly Online Gathering for ELCA Leaders, Zoom
- Jul. 23: Weekly NT-NL Leadership Prayer, Check-in, Zoom
- Jul. 23: Conversations at Briarwood, Zoom
- Jul. 25: Living Connected: The Spiritual Discipline of Creation Care (Water)
- Jul. 28: Living Connected: The Spiritual Discipline of Creation Care (Water)
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.