Category: Bishop messages

August 16, 2019

Bishop’s Message on ELCA as ‘Sanctuary’

August 2019   Beloved siblings in Christ, Last week at our Churchwide Assembly, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommitted itself to walking alongside immigrants and refugees as a matter of faith.This Assembly action affirmed our history as an immigrant faith in the United States and the Lutheran church’s long history of assisting strangers in...

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May 10, 2019

Bishop Davenport: “We are co-creators of our joint mission”

2019 Assembly logo Bishop Patricia Davenport, the Fifth Bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA, opened the Synod’s 2019 Assembly (her first as Bishop) with a reading from Psalm 34: 1-3.  “… O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt God’s name together.” From the excitement of her election at the 2018 Assembly, to...

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April 10, 2019

Bishop Davenport: A Pastoral Message on Standards for Pastors and Deacons

Dear Sisters and Brothers, This past weekend in Chicago, the ELCA Church Council considered how to move forward with a new statement describing the church’s vision for its rostered ministers. Titled “Trustworthy Servants of the People of God,” it is intended to replace the current document known as “Visions and Expectations.” Last month, the Conference...

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March 20, 2019

Chrism Service Tuesday in Holy Week

Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Ministers of Word and Service will gather for the annual Chrism Service on Tuesday of Holy Week, April 16, at 10 am at Christ’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 700 E. Pennsylvania Avenue, Oreland. This traditional service of Word and Sacrament includes the blessing of oil for anointing, healing prayer, and...

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March 16, 2019

Presiding Bishop’s Message on Christchurch Shootings

In a pastoral message to the church in the wake of the massacre at mosques in New Zealand, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton quoted the words of Psalm 16:1: “Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” This is my prayer – for our Muslim neighbors, for the people of Christchurch, and for...

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February 7, 2019

What is God up to?

A new question. Amid all the talk of the church in decline, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, in her February column for Living Lutheran, wants us to ask a new question. Instead of “What can we do?” we should ask, “What is God up to?” so we can open ourselves up to the life-giving promise of...

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December 22, 2018

Make a Difference Through “It Takes All the Saints” Appeal

An invitation from Bishop Patricia A. Davenport: Beloved Saints of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod – Greetings! In my first few months in office I have been overwhelmed by the many ways our congregations and leaders support the ministries of the office of the bishop …. With your energy and creative ideas, your collaborative spirit, your...

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December 12, 2018

Christmas Message from Bishop Davenport

  Share this message: Right-click and save the image above to share via email or website. Download: Christmas message insert (printable) Copy and paste the text below into your word processing program     Best wishes for a blessed celebration of Christ’s birth, and new beginnings in 2019 Bishop Patricia A. Davenport Bob Fisher, Cynta Outterbridge,...

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November 9, 2018

Bishop’s Message on the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

Bishop Patricia A. Davenport shares a pastoral letter on the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, in light the murders at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last month and a rising number of hate crimes against Jews. Noting that later-life writings of Martin Luther were used to justify the pogrom, the...

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May 16, 2018

Historic Bishop Elections: ‘There is Room at the Table’

“I came into the church during an era of ‘You’re welcome to come, but leave your baggage and all of your gifts, all the things you bring, at the door,’ ” Bishop-elect Patricia A. Davenport tells Living Lutheran magazine for a profile of the ELCA’s first two African-American woman bishops. “So this (election) says to...

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May 5, 2018

Rev. Patricia Davenport Elected Bishop

Pastor Patricia A. Davenport was elected the next Bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Saturday, May 5, at Franconia Mennonite Church. Pastor Davenport is the first African-descent woman to be elected a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. On the fourth ballot, Bishop-elect Davenport, currently our...

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March 29, 2018

Holy Week Message from Bishop Burkat

Bishop Burkat Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light. — John 12:35-36 Blessings to you as you gather in...

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December 19, 2017

Christmas Message: Blessing Generation Upon Generation

Bishop Claire S. Burkat reflects on Mary’s visit with Elizabeth, a Spirit-filled encounter that may have allowed the realization of God’s great promise and fulfillment that was visited upon Mary begin to really sink in. “God did not promise Mary an easy life, a trouble free heart, an unburdened mind…but God promised her a life worth living, a purpose...

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October 31, 2017

The Reformation Was Not Once-and-Done…

In this 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we Lutherans are mindful that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther sought to reform the Church of the 16th Century — not to start a new denomination. The resulting split from the Catholic Church into a Protestant movement resulted in five centuries of division, as well as renewal. I am pleased...

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July 12, 2017

Bishop Responds To Noose Found in Center City

For Such a Time as This logo “We repudiate racism as a sin that demands eradication,” Bishop Claire Burkat writes in a statement in response to the discovery of two nooses in Center City in recent weeks. “A church that proclaims Christ crucified must recognize the crucifixions and unspeakable torture, derision and humiliation” that has faced Black Americans during and after slavery...

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May 5, 2017

Openness, Humility Needed to Address Racial Justice

For Such a Time As This In her address to the 2017 Assembly, Bishop Claire Burkat broke open possibilities to embody racial reconciliation in the work of congregations and the synod at large. Drawing from themes introduced in her sermon, the bishop encouraged those gathered to be “more open to engage, to explore, to repent, to be humbled, to align ourselves...

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May 5, 2017

Bishop: We are Called to Racial Reconciliation

For Such a Time As This In her sermon opening the 2017 Assembly, Bishop Claire Burkat expressed her confidence that members and congregations of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod are ready for conversation around racism and to do the work of racial reconciliation. Recalling the recent powerful reconciliation work with the Mennonites, inspired by the anticipated 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the...

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April 13, 2017

Easter Message From Bishop Burkat

Dear Friends, As we approach Easter this year, the joy of the Resurrection and the light of the Risen Christ among us is a counterpoint to some disturbing darkness in our world. Some of us face serious illness, while others grieve. Some of us have family members at risk here in the U.S., and others around...

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March 30, 2017

It’s Time for A Brave New Church

Greetings friends and colleagues, I am pleased to share some sobering and some exciting news with you during this holy season of Lent. In this time of intentional personal reflection, prayer, and discernment, it is good for us to also reflect on our circumstances as a church. The simple truth is that across America the...

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March 1, 2017

‘Return to Me With All Your Heart’

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. — Joel 2:12-13 Yet even now return to me...

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