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Past issues: 19:11 Love Justice; 19:09 Life as a Story; 19:08 How to Pray; 19:06 The Love of God; 19:05 The Work of Healing; 19:04 We Belong to Each Other; 19:03 Faith as a Wellspring; 19:02 What To Do About God; 19:01 The Mantra of Advent; 18:12 Unstuffing the Turkey; 18:11 Where To Next; 18:09 Is Your Ego in the Way; 18:07 Subject to Authority; 18:06 Unexpected Voices; 18:05 The Tie That Binds; 18:04 Meeting Up; 18:03 Believing or Trusting; 18:02 Abiding in Love; 18:01 A Moment in Time; 17:12 A New You; 17:10 An Exhortation; 17:09, 17:08; 17:05; 17:04; 17:03; 17:02; 17:01; 16:12; 16:11;16:10; 16:09; 16:08; 16:06; 16:05; 16:04; 16:03; 16:02; 16:01; 15:12; 15:11; 15:10; 15:09; 15:08; 15:06 15:05; 15:03; 15:02; 15:01; 14:10; 14:09; 14:08; 14:07; 14:05; 14:04; 14:02; 14:01
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6)
I am very dismayed and disturbed by President Trump's announcement of a "peace plan" that, I fear, will bring greater insecurity for Israelis and Palestinians instead of peace.
Our church has long held that any successful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be based on negotiation between the parties. Unfortunately, this "plan" has involved only one party. A plan made for a people without consulting that people will not bring peace. It also seeks to remove from the table many of the final status issues by effectively giving a green light to Israel to further entrench the occupation, rather than end it, - a policy we have advocated for years.
Just last week, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed the Security Council, noting:
"It is sadly not a surprise that a recent survey of millennials by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found that almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Israeli millennials thought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would "never end", making them the least optimistic of the people surveyed in countries affected by war. Palestinians were also pessimistic, although slightly less so, with 52 per cent believing that the conflict would never end.
"The international community bears a responsibility to help build a different future for these young Israelis and Palestinians, one that promises hope, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence rather than perpetual occupation and conflict."
She closed by saying she "would like to emphasize the continued urgency of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements."
Therefore, I call upon President Trump to develop a different plan that would involve all parties, and to pursue efforts that would adhere to international law and human rights conventions. This plan should ensure the protection and preservation of internationally recognized human rights and realize, for Palestinians and for Israelis, two viable, secure states living side by side in peace.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
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The Rev. Dr. Herbert W. Chilstrom, 88, the first presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), died Jan. 19 at his home in Green Valley, Ariz. He was born in Litchfield, Minn., on Oct. 18, 1931.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Corinne (Hansen), also a Lutheran pastor; a daughter, Mary Cress of Mesa, Ariz.; a son, Christopher Holt of Baltimore; and four sisters, Winnifred Christenson of Robbinsdale, Minn.; Virginia Francis of Pickens, S.C.; Martha (Charles) Anderson of Ashby, Minn.; and Janet (Frederick) Sickert of West Linn, Ore. He was preceded in death by his son Andrew; brother, David; and sisters Adeline Christenson (Earle) and Lorraine Juul (Dick).
Chilstrom completed academic degrees at Augsburg University, Augustana Seminary, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Princeton Seminary and New York University, where he earned a Doctor of Education degree.
He served Lutheran congregations in Pelican Rapids, Elizabeth and St. Peter, Minn. He was professor and dean at Luther College, Teaneck, N.J., from 1962 to 1970. In 1976 he was elected bishop of the Minnesota Synod of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA). At the 1987 merger that created the 5.2-million-member ELCA, he was elected the first presiding bishop.
Chilstrom was awarded 15 honorary doctorates by 15 colleges, universities and seminaries. He was named a commander of the Royal Order of the North Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and received the Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service from Viterbo University, the Servus Dei Award from the ELCA, and numerous other honors and awards.
Chilstrom served on numerous boards of directors, including those of the Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, Switzerland (as vice president); Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota; Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn.; and the National Council of Churches.
He also authored numerous books and articles.
After retirement he continued to be active in church and community, preaching and lecturing in many parts of the country. He became a Minnesota Master Gardener, volunteering and serving as interim director at the Linnaeus Arboretum at Gustavus Adolphus College.
The family prefers that memorial gifts be given to the Herbert Chilstrom Chair in New Testament Studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, or to one of the Chilstrom student scholarship funds at Luther Seminary; Gustavus Adolphus College; Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minn.; or Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.
There will be two services of Holy Communion:
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m.
For each service, clergy and rostered leaders of the ELCA, together with clergy of the ELCA's ecumenical partners, are invited to robe and process and are asked to RSVP (to firstname.lastname@example.org for Desert Hills and to https://forms.gle/ZB162Zyf99ETnKg5A for Christ Chapel). The vestments color of the day will be green.
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With sadness I bring you the news that Presiding Bishop Emeritus Herbert W. Chilstrom died at home early this morning. His wife, Pastor Corinne Chilstrom; his son, Chris Holt; and family were with him.
Bishop Chilstrom was the first presiding bishop of the ELCA. Many of you knew him in those early days when the ELCA was just getting started – there was no furniture at the Lutheran Center, files were in boxes, phones were on the floor, and the skeleton staff worked on card tables and folding chairs. He was once told by a corporate executive sitting next to him on a plane that this was no way to start a corporation and it would never work. Thirty-three years later we are still here, entrusted with the ministry of the gospel and serving the neighbor.
I can’t imagine the uncertainty and chaos of those first months, but all I know we were filled with hope for this new church the Spirit had brought into being. And I know that Bishop Chilstrom served out of the conviction that it was God’s will to raise up an ELCA witness to the gospel, and with God, all things are possible.
I remember Bishop Chilstrom saying once that his mother told him: “Herb, you might be the only Bible some people read.” It was her way of telling him, and his way of telling us, that we are living witnesses to the grace of God.
Bishop Chilstrom chose “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart!” (ELW, 873) to be the sending hymn at his funeral. Verse five announces:
At last the march shall end;
The wearied ones shall rest;
The pilgrims find their home at last,
Jerusalem the blest.
Rejoice! Give thanks and sing!
Through tears, but in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, we rejoice.
Elizabeth A. Eaton