Perspectives on the ELCA

This weekend is like the new year for churches. ‘Rally Day,’ as many call it, marks the shift in seasons – from summer to fall – and includes changes in worship, as well as things like Sunday School and confirmation ministry.

And while many congregations celebrate this change of seasons, my church – the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) – is also rethinking its practices. As we celebrate 25 years as a denomination, we also recognize our rich 400 years history. We see the changes in the culture, as we also honor tradition. We recognize our call to gather with other Christians, and our command to go into the world. We love God, but also know we are to love our neighbors.

I’m curious about what will emerge in the years ahead, and I’m keeping my eyes and ears open for hints of what’s coming. Many of you are too. Today I’d like to share some of what has caught my attention. These two pieces describe my church, my denomination, my tradition, in a way that gives me hope. Perhaps it might offer you hope as well.

1. “Day of Service helps Lutherans return to their roots.” An article in the StarTribune about the ELCA initiative for congregations to celebrate this new year by serving in their community.

2. A Krista Tippett interview with Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, a non-traditional pastor speaking about Lutheran theology, liturgy, and innovation for the sake of sharing the good news of Jesus.

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