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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
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ELCA News

"I was a stranger and you welcomed me" (Matthew 25:35).

Dear church,

Jesus taught us that when we welcome the stranger as a person made in God's image, we also welcome God. Our lives, ministries and congregations have been blessed by many immigrants and refugees over the years — from many of our ancestors to those we welcome among us today. Our faithful witness as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is enriched by people who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Earlier this month, a U.S. district judge ruled to end the DACA program on July 19. Finding it unlawful, the judge's order suspends the acceptance of any new applications while keeping intact the protections for current DACA recipients. The long-awaited decision strikes a blow against the 2012 program, which has provided relief from deportation and the opportunity to pursue an education and start careers for thousands of young people whose remarkable contributions benefit our children, our families, our communities and our church. While these important protections may continue for current recipients, this is little solace to those who may not be able to receive DACA status in the future. We lament the anxiety and turmoil this ruling is causing in our communities. We pray for all who may suffer due to the end of this program. We grieve this potential loss to our church and to the communities in which we serve.

As a church we will continue to welcome all people, regardless of their documented status, seeking to ensure hospitality and safety for all. Bishops and synods are encouraged to find ways to support congregations working with newcomers and existing vulnerable individuals and communities. We also continue our advocacy through the ELCA's AMMPARO strategy (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities) and by urging our elected officials to enact legislation such as H.R. 6: the American Dream and Promise Act (or "Dream Act"), which provides a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants with deep ties to this country. We will also pray for the wisdom and courage to welcome the stranger, and in so doing to receive our Lord.

Lord Jesus, as you were taken as a child to Egypt by your parents seeking refuge, you know what it means to be the stranger. By your love, you draw people to yourself and welcome them into the household of faith. May we show your joy by welcoming the stranger as we bear your creative and redeeming love to all the world. Amen.
  
In Christ,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Read the Spanish translation.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
773-380-2877
Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org



​As children of God, we give thanks for all of the LGBTQIA+ people who experience God's calling to the holy work of parenting. In particular response to the June 17 Supreme Court ruling on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the ELCA stands with our LGBTQIA+ siblings in Christ and reaffirms our commitment to equal protection, opportunities and responsibilities under the law (Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, p. 33).

Children and youth in the child welfare system are among the most vulnerable members of our society, and a disproportionate number of young people in the child welfare system are LGBTQIA+ and in need of compassionate and supportive homes. Our concern as disciples of Christ is for their best interests. This includes recognizing and affirming the vocation of LGBTQIA+ people as parents and foster parents.

Each of us can respond through ongoing education and action in support of LGBTQIA+ people, including those who are called to provide loving care for children, and through compassionate care for our most vulnerable children and youth.

Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
Public Relations Manager
773-380-2877
Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org




​CHICAGO — The Rev. Dee ("Diane") Pederson, St. Cloud, Minn., was elected June 12 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly.

Pederson was elected on the fifth ballot, with 205 votes. The Rev. Bryant C. Kaden, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Redwood Falls, Minn., received 186 votes.

The bishop-elect has served as director for evangelical mission in the Southwestern Minnesota Synod since 2019. Prior to that, she served as lead pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud from 2006 to 2019; as pastor of Bethlehem from 1988 to 2006; and as co-pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Spicer, Minn., from 1981 to 1988.

Pederson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1975 and her Master of Divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary (now Luther Seminary) in St. Paul, Minn., in 1981. She earned her Doctor of Ministry degree, focused on congregational mission and leadership, from Luther Seminary in 2010. Luther College is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities, and Luther Seminary is one of seven ELCA seminaries.

Pederson will take office Sept. 1, and her installation is scheduled for Oct. 9.

The Rev. Jon V. Anderson has served as bishop of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod since 2003.

Information about the Southwestern Minnesota Synod is available at swmnelca.org/.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.3 million members in more than 8,900 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
773-380-2877
Candice.HillBuchbinder@ELCA.org
 


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