Report on the 2016 Churchwide Assembly and Grace Gathering

Report on the 2016 Churchwide Assembly and Grace Gathering

August 10-13-2016

New Orleans, Louisiana

Last week I was privileged to attend the CWA and the Grace Gathering, held in observance of the celebration of 500 years of Reformation

WHY IS THE REFORMATION STILL RELEVANT?

The Lutheran Reformation offers to Christian communities everywhere a liberating way of listening to and speaking the Scriptures. The Reformation teaching that Christ’s life flows through faith into a life of service to the neighbor is especially liberating in our culture today.

The evangelical Lutheran Reformation offers the promise of God’s love that makes possible a life of “living, daring confidence in God’s grace.”

The Reformation teaching that faith is the work of God’s Holy Spirit is especially liberating in a culture that assumes a faith relationship with God is an act of human “free will.”

Attending Bible Studies, worship services and plenaries,  I realized anew the Relationality of Lutheran Faith.

Many, both within Christian communities and beyond, are held captive by ideologies that limit the full scope of God’s mercy in Christ to demographic groups defined sociologically by certain beliefs, behaviors or experiences. The Reformation teaching that Christ’s life flows through faith into a life of service to the neighbor is especially liberating in a culture that makes religious life into a demonstration of one’s own worthiness and privilege to the disadvantage of others.

The gathering song and theme was:  This Is My Commandment That you Love One Another, As I have Loved You. The Directions Paper “Called Forward Together by Christ for the Sake of  The World” was presented as a call to action.

With 2000 attendees worshipping and learning together, it was like a vision of heaven. The 500th Anniversary Keynote speaker was Leymah Gbowee,  Nobel Peace Prize Winner from Liberia. From Beer and Hymns to Youth Multicultural Music the events were varied and fun.

I was able to have dinner with attendees from our synod and I served on the national Board of Evangelical Lutherans  of European Descent for Racial Justice.

The Churchwide Resolutions that were accepted included :

Ecumenical and Inter-religious dialogues with Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslims and other Faith Communities.  In October 2017, Pope Francis will co-host Joint Communion Service with Lutheran World Federation In Lund, Sweden.

Full Ministry to AMPARO Refugees (unaccompanied minors having to return to Central America alone)

Repudiation of the European Doctrine of Discovery  (which initially unleashed European conquest all over the world) which was adopted by settlers to America and the Lutheran Churches involvement in slavery and oppression of Native Peoples

The Grace Gathering Bible Studies, speakers, Bishop Eaton and other sermons are available on ELCA web site online, through “Livestream”.

The ELCA Federal Credit Union has just started in Chicago and the money you save is loaned out to other members.  A Socially Responsible way to do your banking.

Resources such as Declaration on the Way; Atlas of the European Reformations, Honoring Our Neighbors Faith and Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves:  Lutheran Calling in a multi-religious world ,   are all available from Augsburg.          `

“Where Was Luther 500 years ago to the day”  FOLLOW ROAD TO THE REFORMATION TO FIND OUT—facebook.com/RoadtotheReformation.

Julie Hettig
Faith Lutheran Church
Meadow Vista, CA

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