It is a big day in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA elected the first female Presiding Bishop this afternoon. I am on vacation this week and have been trying to stay away from the live feed but as I read my Twitter and FB feeds, I found myself logging in to watch as I truly felt the Holy Spirit at work. I believe Rev. Elizabeth Eaton truly has been called and will lead the ELCA into the future.
But I cannot post without telling you how much I respect current Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson. Bishop Mark Hanson has been a tremendous leader especially over these last tumultous years of the ELCA. He is a gracious man and has led with such grace and humility. As I look at my life in the ELCA, Bishop Hanson has been the only Bishop I have truly known as I was 23 when he became Bishop. Bishop Hanson’s words have and will always hold a special place in my head and my heart. I must say that I truly will miss him but I will truly support Bishop Eaton as she has heard this new call.
Thank you Holy Spirit for raising up a new leader. Pray for Bishop Hanson and his staff as they transition. Pray for Bishop Eaton as she too transitions to this new call. And for her synod as they have just given up their Bishop. Prayers for all of us as we are led to a new and certain hope.
“Always Being Made New”
I am so proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!
It is hard to believe that two years ago today the ELCA passed its implementing resolutions on their Human Sexuality Social Statement. I know that it hasn’t been an easy road at all for the church but it is totally worth celebrating. Some of my favorite people who definetely have the gifts for ministry are now able to serve in the church! PRaise be to God! And because of that I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!
This week as I watched the churchwide assembly online, I was saddened to learn that approximately 500 congregations have left the ELCA but then I was even more heartened to hear that of the 10,000 congregations in the ELCA their giving is up. And because of that giving, I am proud to say I am an ELCA Lutheran!
Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson asked the gathered body on the first day of the assembly if they were ready to be moved by the power of the spirit. He didnt answer the question but promised that it would be answered by the end of the week. On Friday, he asked the gathered body to get out their voting machines. He gave them three choices: 1. Are we ready to move? 2. ARe we stuck and not going anywhere? 3. Are we already moving? The cool thing was that over 600 people said that the church was already moving! The other 400 were split between the other choices. And because we are already moving, I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran!
I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because we are a place where everyone is welcomed. There is a place for you here!
I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because it realizes that we all have been freed in Christ to serve.
I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because we understand what it means to share God’s love, grace, and mercy with the world even when it isnt the easiest thing in the world to do!
I am proud to be an ELCA Lutheran because they reach out beyond not just the church walsl but into other countries. I am proud that we continue to walk with Haiti, Japan, the people in Minot ND and the people in Joplin Missouri.
Because of these and so many other reasons, I am more proud than ever to be an ELCA Lutheran! Praise be to God!
I looked around the round and what did I see? The room wasnt just full of grey-haired individuals but rather people of all different age groups. The room was filled with a vibrancy and vitality that I hadnt felt in awhile. Bishop Hanson was so grace-filled in his comments and answers to the questions posed to him tonight at a town hall meeting. I could say more but its late and I need some sleep. I still highly respect this man and as I listened I was enlivened to carry out Christ’s mission. Some days life seems crazy, difficult etc especially after the CWA actions of 09 but tonight I am filled once again with hope for a future that will bring so much and bless so many. The Holy Spirit through Bishop Mark’s words breathed life back into me again!!!
I have to laugh because I have been encountering feet a lot lately. As I sit here typing, I am watching “Bones” and they are trying to solve a case using feet! Then earlier today, I listened to ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson’s sermon from this past weekend at Wartburg Theological Seminary. He says, “It is all about voices and feet.” He also quoted the Biblical text where it talks about “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News.” I love this text because it reminds me of what I am called to do and be as a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. The Diaconal text is the text where Jesus washes his disciple’s feet. God calls me to wash the feet of all God’s people. However I love how Mark Hanson framed his sermon because I truly believe we all are called to share the gospel with the world. We all are called to bring Good News to each other. I cant help but be reminded of my own father, grandfather and uncle who farm and sometimes their feet are covered in mud, dirt, etc yet their feet are just as beautiful as anyone elses. During his sermon, Bishop Mark had the worshippers look at the feet of those around them and to compliment them on their feet. What if we were more intentional about helping each other see how we ALL are called to use our feet (and voices) to share God’s love with the world.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!”