Preparing for Churchwide Assembly
Bishop Michael Burk
In a recent letter anticipating the 2011 Churchwide Assembly, Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson writes of who we are together in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Among his reminders are the shared conviction that:
We are a church whose unity is in Jesus.
We are a church called to roll up our sleeves and get to work in the world; and,
We are a church committed to vibrant congregations, both newly planted and long established.
Our unity comes to expression in the regular gathering for worship around the means of grace. Our worship includes the persistent sending into the world, where, in Christ’s name we do “God’s work, with our hands.” So much of that work is grounded in the life of vibrant, local congregations.
But Lutherans have long resisted the notion that congregations exist for themselves or only for the ministries that matter the most to members. Congregations are the critically important local expression of a partnership that reaches around the world in the name of Jesus Christ.
As voting members from across the ELCA travel to Orlando in the next few days, let us give thanks for our unity in Christ, the mission we’ve been given to share, and the local communities of faith that make up this whole church.
And let us pray for the voting members from this synod and for the whole church.
Bless those who go out from the Southeastern Iowa Synod to serve on behalf of the whole Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the 2011 Churchwide Assembly. Prosper the work of their hands, minds and hearts. Guide their deliberations and discernment for the sake of the Gospel. May the gifts they use and share be signs of your love to all people. Direct this church by the light of your Spirit, that we might have a right judgment in all things and rejoice at all times in your peace. Amen