June 25, 2013

Bishop’s Tanzanian Visit

Bishop Burkat and Joanne Carlson have just completed a visit to Tanzania, including five days on the territory of our companion North-Eastern Diocese and then a gathering to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. The festive anniversary celebration included tree-planting, gift-giving, choirs and greetings from Lutheran representatives from the ELCA...

Read More →

May 10, 2013

See Through “Jesus Colored Glasses”

At the opening worship of the 2013 Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Bishop Claire Burkat challenged the assembly to focus on God-sight as Philip did in the gospel of John. After having been invited by Jesus to follow him, Phillip saw things through “Jesus-colored glasses.” The bishop urged SEPA Lutherans to be Philips – and our congregations...

Read More →

May 9, 2013

Show Jesus Fearlessly

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Phillip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21 NRSV) “The Greeks noticed something about Jesus,” said Bishop Claire Burkat in her address to the 2013 Southeastern Pennsylvania...

Read More →

April 16, 2013

From Birmingham, 50 Years Later

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On April 16, 1963 — fifty years ago today — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter to eight white Alabama clergymen who had sent him an open letter imploring him to stop the civil rights demonstrations and civil disobedience in Birmingham, Alabama, where Dr. King was in jail for breaking the racist laws...

Read More →

January 21, 2013

Honoring Dr. King With a New Narrative

Fifty years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the American civil rights story is “turning a chapter and, I hope and pray, writing a new narrative,” Bishop Claire Burkat said at the Jan. 20 worship service celebrating King’s life and dreams in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod....

Read More →

September 21, 2012

Religious Leaders Call for Civility in Political Discourse

Philadelphia religious leaders have issued a call to political leaders and candidates to promote civility in political debate and “choose the path that leads away from polarization and towards a unity of purpose that fosters a shared future.” The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia, whose 25 member religious communities represent more than 2 million people of diverse faith traditions across the region, issued a joint statement noting that while “robust, vigorous debate is a hallmark of a diverse society”, the current climate of political discourse is increasingly uncivil.

August 27, 2012

Introducing ‘A Word from our Deans’

In a new feature, "A Word from our Deans," the Rev. Serena Sellers of Upper Bucks Conference reflects on the gifts God has given us to share ideas and support each other to help congregations nurture the seeds faith, service and outreach. "Each of our congregations has areas where we are strong. We also have areas where with some additional focus and attention, we could build our capacity in ministry," she writes. "The way to make the Synod strong is to make the congregations strong. The way to make our congregations strong is to focus on the things that matter so that we grow our faith in the place that we are planted."

August 9, 2012

Prayers for Peace for Sikh Community

The following letter was sent by Bishop Burkat and the other Co-Conveners of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia to the Sikh Community of Philadelphia in response to the attack on the Temple in Wisconsin. Please continue to keep our Sikh Brother and Sisters in your prayers as together we seek peace.

May 6, 2012

Plant. Water. Grow!

“This is a new season of health and vitality…for the Kingdom of God, for the ELCA, and right here in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod,” Bishop Claire Burkat said in her address to the 2012 Assembly. “I see lots of life,” the bishop said, reflecting on her visits to congregations throughout her first term as bishop....

Read More →

May 6, 2012

Assembly Re-elects Bishop Burkat

“I’ve learned over the last six years that the synod elects a pastor and forms a bishop. And you have formed me,” Bishop Claire Burkat told the 2012 Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Assembly Friday after it re-elected her to a second six-year term as bishop.

March 29, 2012

LSH Women of Courage Honor Bishop Burkat

Lutheran Settlement House will celebrate its 110th Anniversary with its Women of Courage Awards Ceremony and breakfast on Thursday, May 31. The Awards Ceremony will honor Bishop Claire Burkat and four inspiration clients from LSH’s homeless services, domestic violence program, literacy program and senior center. You can join in supporting LSH and honoring Bishop Burkat by attending the breakfast, which will be held May 31 from 8-9:15 am at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, 215 S. 16th Street. Tickets are $50 per person and include a donation to LSH.

March 15, 2012

Bible Study Explores God’s New Thing

Explore God’s promise of hope and renewal expressed by the Prophet Isaiah in a bible study based on Bishop Burkat’s presentation at last fall’s “God Is Doing Something New” conference events. This bible study, suitable for council retreats, small groups or ongoing bible study groups, will help you look at what central traditions need to be honored in your congregation as well as what “former things” might be clouding the view of what God is doing right now.

January 18, 2011

CCT’s Letter From Birmingham

The annual meeting of Christian Churches Together, an ecumenical gathering of the five Christian faith families in the U.S., ended its meeting Jan. 14 issuing "A Letter From Birmingham" calling on Christians to remember, repentand renew their efforts to end poverty and racism in America.

December 20, 2010

Religious Leaders support freedom and understanding

"We live in a Commonwealth that was established on the vision of religious freedom and are committed to striving to actualize that vision. Together, we repudiate discrimination against the followers of any religion and reject violence of any sort," members of the Religious Leaders Council of Philadelphia wrote in an October statement on "Living a Vision of Religious Freedom and Understanding." Click on the headline to read the entire statement.

September 10, 2010

Remembering Sept. 11

In recent days and weeks the media have been filled with reports of controversies and discord that focus on radical fringe groups of many faiths and place religious followers in an unfavorable light. "Christians, Muslims, Jews, and people of good will of all faiths, seek ways to build bridges among our faith traditions, with mutual respect and concern for the world that we share," Bishop Burkat says in a statement. "When escalating anxieties and competing judgments claim our attention, let us to turn to God who is larger and stronger than our fears. These volatile and mercurial times are an opportunity for people of faith to pray for and promote understanding, dialogue, and peace." Read more to find Sept. 11 resources for your congregation.

September 8, 2010

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One People

"The opportunity to bring the Word of God and to baptize in the name of the Triune God in a place far away, to a people foreign to my culture, in a language not my own, was one of the highlights of my call as a pastor and a bishop," Bishop Burkat writes about her recent safari to visit our compaion synod in Tanzania. "This was truly a time when distance narrowed, offering a glimpse into God’s amazing grace!" Click to read the Bishop's message and a diary of the journey.

September 8, 2010

Tanzania Safari 2010

As I reflect on my journey (safari) in the day-to-day account that follows, I hope you will sense the great privilege it is to be joined by Christ to this diocese, and that you will see in the lives and witness of the people, the great love of God in Christ that continues to be lavished on the world.

March 30, 2010

Religious Leaders Council celebrates fourth year

The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia celebrated its fourth year as a Council at its March 22 meeting. Members gathered to share their wisdom as they face common challenges. They also decided to launch ‘Zones of Peace’, an interfaith, grassroots initiative will bring together congregations and schools throughout the region to address the root causes of violence and work for peace. Bishop Burkat, a co-convenor of the council, presented on ministry with people who are "spiritual but not religious."

March 1, 2010

Forever Connected in Christ

"The most powerful learning is my new understanding and appreciation for the oneness of God’s people in Christ," Bishop Burkat writes about her participation in the recent ELCA Ecumenical Journey to the seats of Anglican, Orthodox and Catholic communions. "Yes, there were differences in culture, in worship, in theology, and in current pressing issues as we traveled to four major Christian centers, and met with prominent Christian leaders in London, Istanbul, Rome and Geneva. However, the hospitality, love and respect for us, and us for them, and our common faith in Jesus Christ transcended the difficulties, which sometimes threaten to divide us and undermine the common Christian witness to the world."

February 4, 2010

Bishop’s journal from ecumenical journey

Bishop Burkat is part of a delegation of ELCA officials led by Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson on the 2010 Ecumenical Journey to visit Christian leaders in London, Istanbul, Rome and Geneva, including the heads of the Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic communions. "I thank God, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, and the people of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod for allowing me this most remarkable opportunity to visit the major faith centers and major Christian leaders of the global and ancient Church," the bishop writes in her first message from the trip. "More than any other time in history the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church is connected and accessible. By air, by sea, by land, by internet, by cell, and, yes, by clear, mutual conversation, consolation and communion, we have opportunities as never before to work pray for the peace of the whole of God’s world, the well being of the people of God, and the unity of all."