August 16, 2019

Bishop’s Message on ELCA as ‘Sanctuary’

Bishop Davenport 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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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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August 2, 2016

Bishop Eaton: A Proclivity For Paradox

Bishop Eaton Wow, Lutherans love paradox! Law and gospel. Saint and sinner. Free and bound. David Swartling, former ELCA secretary, often noted that we are a “both and church” in an “either or world.” This proclivity for paradox, or at least the recognition that this is part of the Lutheran tradition, was often cited as a strength...

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July 20, 2016

Bishop Eaton Issues Statement On Police Shootings

CHICAGO (July 20, 2016) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has released a statement in response to the shootings in Baton Rouge, La., and Dallas that killed eight police officers. Eaton’s statement follows: My soul is bereft of peace: I have forgotten what happiness is. (Lamentations 3:17) Too...

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July 1, 2016

What It Means To Be Lutheran

In the spotlight. In her July column for Living Lutheran, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton notes that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 may have the media knocking on our doors, asking us to explain ourselves. What will we say? She reminds us that our understanding of the gospel is what makes us distinctive. Download...

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June 9, 2016

Becoming A Place For All

ELCA With increasing diversity in our culture and growing mobility of people across and into the U.S., how can we as ELCA congregations become places that affirm the God-given dignity and personhood of everyone? What will it take? What’s our role? What’s working? Watch Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Pastor Ruben Duran, Mikka McCracken and Pastor Matt...

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July 1, 2015

Presiding Bishop on Supreme Court Marriage Decision

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), offered a pastoral letter June 30 to the 3.8 million members of the denomination in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples may now exercise the right to marry. The full text of the statement follows: Dear...

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June 25, 2015

A Day of Repentance and Mourning

“As we mourn and remember” the six Christian martyrs murdered at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston last week, “it is also a time to repent of the sin of racism that continues to plague our nation and our church,” Bishop Burkat wrote in a pastoral message June 25. She joined Presiding Bishop Eaton’s call...

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May 12, 2015

Bouman Shares ELCA Story

“When I was a young boy, I once went fishing with my grandfather in northern Wisconsin,” began the Rev. Dr. Stephen Bouman, and at one point his grandfather simply said, “‘the only death to be afraid of is already behind you in baptism’…and then he went back to fishing.” With that reflection Bouman, executive director...

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April 29, 2015

Worship: The hub of our week

In her May column for The Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton reminds us that worship is at the heart of all we do. Despite competition, it should be the “space of our regrouping.” Read her column at

November 21, 2014

Bishops Offer Advent Devotions

Presiding Bishop Eaton and the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and The Episcopal Church have developed a series of devotions for this Advent season. You are welcome and encouraged to use these devotions individually and in your congregation. For the past five years, the presiding bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran...

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October 27, 2014

Spruce Up Our Spiritual House

“Spiritual practices aren’t magic or a kumbaya fad. They have been part of the Christian tradition for millennia,” Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton writes in her November Lutheran column. “Unfortunately, we’ve lost this part of our tradition. We’ve become religious, not spiritual. There is strong evidence that tending the spiritual life is what millennials are...

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July 18, 2014

Bishop Eaton on Gaza Offensive

ELCA Shortly after Israel launched its ground offensive in Gaza, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was in contact with Presiding Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, who asks for our prayers. Bishop Eaton requests that we distribute this letter that she wrote to Bishop Younan. Bishop Eaton asks that congregations:...

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May 13, 2014

‘Be Communities of Discernment’

“To do God’s work with our hands, we need to know what God is about,” the Rev. Dr. Mark S. Hanson told the 2014 Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Assembly in his keynote address. “We need to be communities of discernment,” the former ELCA presiding bishop said. To do that, “we need to be fluent in the...

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May 9, 2014

Q&A With Mark Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Mark S. Hanson, former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), spoke with workshop participants at the 2014 Assembly of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (SEPA) of the ELCA. Bishop Hanson invited the audience to form small groups and to offer questions. Here are highlights compiled by John Kahler. Q:...

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May 4, 2014

Videos from 2014 Assembly

Video coverage of Synod Assembly presentations are available online at the links below: Complete 2014 Synod Assembly video playlist Friday Rev. Mark Hanson Sermon Rev. Mark Hanson Keynote Treasurer’s Report ELCA Representative Presentation by Ms. Judith Roberts Recognition of Approved Candidates   Saturday Bishop Burkat’s Sermon Kairos & Associates/David Lose presentation Moments with our Missionaries Bishop...

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May 3, 2014

We are Church — Together

ELCA Churchwide Representative Judith Roberts discusses how we are the church, together. #weareSEPA Justice is what love looks like in public. In keeping with the Assembly’s theme of togetherness and partnership, Judith Roberts, ELCA’s Director of Racial Justice, spoke to the gathering about the initiative We Are Church Together, an ELCA church-wide ministry. ELCA Presiding...

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May 2, 2014

Look at Your Selfie

“Take out your imaginary cell phone and take an imaginary selfie,” the Rev. Dr. Mark S. Hanson, former Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, challenged the assembly. Dr. Hanson was preaching the sermon at opening worship on May 2 for the 2014 Assembly of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran...

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December 14, 2013

The Shepherd’s Amazing Message

“It is all too easy for us these days to be constantly aware that this world is fraught with turmoil and danger,” Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton writes in her first Christmas message to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “The same was true for the world in which Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus...

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August 20, 2013

ELCA Always Being Made New

The ELCA’s theme, “Always Being Made New,” was lived out at the Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh Aug. 12-17. The Assembly elected a new Presiding Bishop, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton; Bishop Burkat says that our new bishop “will lead us with courage, wisdom, wit, and a deep and faithful engagement with the witness of the ELCA...

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