calendar August 23, 2011 in ELCA

Presiding Bishop says ELCA is Freed to Serve

In delivering his report to the 2011 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson said he is “more hopeful and grateful” for this church than he has ever been.

“The reason is simple,” Hanson told the assembly Aug. 16. “We are a church with clarity about who we are and about our shared commitment to being engaged in God’s mission for the life of the world.”

“We are Lutherans… At the heart of who we are is the good news that in Christ we are free,” Hanson told the assembly. “We are freed to live as everyday evangelists, using our words and deeds to share the good news of Jesus Christ and claiming our daily work as God’s calling.”

“In a culture and world where lines are constantly being drawn in the sand … to ‘live Lutheran’ means to embody the message and ministry of reconciliation that God entrusts to us, particularly at this time when we are so preoccupied with economic indicators and political infighting,” he said.

During his presentation Hanson showed a video about Philadelphia’s Welcome Church, which ministers to and with the homeless in Center City, as an example of how the ELCA works to break down barriers in our society.

“Jesus crossed those lines, extending God’s merciful embrace to encompass both those who pass judgment and those who receive it,” he said. “ELCA members continue to give generously and join with people all over the world. Let the ELCA be known not only as a church that serves those in poverty, but works tirelessly to bring poverty to an end,” Hanson told the assembly.

“The good news is that this is Christ’s church. There is a place for you here. You are welcome here,” he said.

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