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ELCA News

​CHICAGO  — The Rev. Amy Current, Dubuque, Iowa, was elected Aug. 7 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The election took place during an online synod assembly.

Current was elected on the fifth ballot, with 178 votes. The Rev. Erika Uthe, assistant to the bishop and director for evangelical mission in the Southeastern Iowa Synod, received 173 votes.

The bishop-elect has served as vice president for admissions and student services at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, since 2011. Wartburg is one of seven ELCA seminaries. Current served as director for financial aid and stewardship formation, director for public communications, and interim director of the Center for Youth Ministries at Wartburg from 2006 to 2010. She also served as pastor of Maple Sheyenne Lutheran Church in Harwood, N.D., from 2003 to 2006, and as pastor of Golden Ridge Lutheran Church, Fargo, N.D., and Congregational Lutheran United Church, Gardner, N.D., from 1997 to 2001.

Current received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., in 1993 and a Master of Divinity degree from Wartburg in 1997. Concordia College is one of 26 ELCA colleges and universities.

Current's installation is scheduled for Oct. 10.

The Rev. Michael L. Burk has served as bishop of the Southeastern Iowa Synod since 2008 and will retire Oct. 31.

Information about the Southeastern Iowa Synod is available at seiasynod.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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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



​CHICAGO — This year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's treatise The Freedom of a Christian. To observe this milestone, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), invites the church to read, study and reflect on this Lutheran witness of the Christian faith.

In his work, Luther spoke of how God liberates us in Christ to live generously and courageously in service of our neighbor's liberation, confident that God's mercy will free us all.

"Christian[s] … do not live in themselves but in Christ and their neighbor, or else they are not Christian," Luther wrote. "They live in Christ through faith and in the neighbor through love. Through faith they are caught up beyond themselves into God; likewise through love they fall down beneath themselves into the neighbor — remaining nevertheless always in God and God's love."

To commemorate the anniversary, the ELCA has developed a study guide and other resources, available at elca500.org, to deepen readers' engagement with the 500-year-old text. As a partner in this project, Fortress Press has generously made available a complimentary download of the treatise, available through 2020.

In her introduction to the study guide, Eaton writes, "In this treatise, Luther describes a 'happy exchange' wherein Christ sets us free by taking upon himself humankind's sin, pain and judgment, and in return giving us his liberating life. … We are empowered in turn to use our freedom to serve our neighbors, whoever they may be. This message remains timely when voices that marginalize certain people, or preach contempt, hatred and violence, dominate our public discourse. How do we hear and trust this word from God today, and continue to serve God's life-giving work?"

Luther's purpose in writing The Freedom of a Christian was to present the core of his teaching about the Bible and the Christian faith to Pope Leo X. With an impending split between Luther and the official church, the treatise was a last attempt at reconciliation to prevent the fracturing of the church.

"The Freedom of a Christian is such a beautiful, deep and simple exposition of the Christian faith that it is no surprise that, 500 years after Martin Luther first wrote it, we are still learning from it," said the Rev. Dr. Carmelo Santos, director for ELCA theological diversity and engagement. Santos led the development of the ELCA's initiative. "I pray that this study guide and case studies representing a wide diversity of perspectives will help many to rediscover the awesome freedom that we have in Christ and the joy of using that freedom to serve our neighbors. We also hope that people will feel inspired to contribute their own reflections inspired by The Freedom of a Christian."

"Today, as in Luther's day, our faithful response to the uncertainty and death-dealing forces in our world is to proclaim that which is sure and life-giving for all," Eaton writes in her introduction. "Freed in Christ, we resist the temptation to turn inward in despair by turning outward in love and service to the world. Siblings in Christ, rejoice! We are no longer captive, but free."

The Freedom of a Christian treatise, study guide, case studies and information about submitting contributions are available at elca500.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 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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




​CHICAGO — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has worked with Lutheran World Relief (LWR) to repurpose $160,000 in project funding for emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

In Latin America, the funding will be used for food assistance in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, which have been hard-hit by the coronavirus and the resulting economic disruption that is causing increased hunger. In Africa, the support will provide improved water, sanitation and hygiene, along with personal protective equipment, to displaced communities in South Sudan. And a project in Nepal will ensure that quarantine facilities are hygienic and comfortable, and that households economically affected by COVID-19 are able to cultivate their crops and sustain their small-scale businesses.  

"Thanks to the flexibility and rapid action of our ELCA partners, Lutheran World Relief has been able to quickly ramp up these emergency responses to COVID-19," said Daniel Speckhard, LWR president and CEO.  "This is so important because COVID-19 is a major threat to the resilience and well-being of the communities where we serve. Lives will be saved as a result of this support."

"The ELCA has a tradition of standing with our global neighbors in good times and in bad," said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA. "Our partnership with Lutheran World Relief is a reflection of that strong commitment and allows us to deepen and extend it in this time of extreme crisis."

The ELCA and LWR share a long, historical relationship and a mutual commitment to companionship in mission. Through its ELCA World Hunger program, the ELCA has provided $1 million in annual support to LWR for projects that serve people and communities in various regions around the world, including Latin America, Asia and Africa.

- - -

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 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.

About Lutheran World Relief:
Founded in 1945, Lutheran World Relief collaborates with local partners to grow inclusive and climate resilient rural economies, reduce poverty, and respond to emergencies and humanitarian crises. Lutheran World Relief works in concert with Corus International, an ensemble of faith-based organizations working together in the world's most fragile settings to deliver the holistic, lasting solutions needed to overcome the interconnected challenges of poverty, health care access and climate change. 
 

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


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