The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Memorials address immigration, communion, violence & more

Voting 787-41, the assembly approved en bloc memorials related to hydraulic fracturing (fracking), fossil fuels, gender identity discrimination, immigration detention and the Uniting American Families Act (a bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit permanent partners of U.S. citizens and of lawful permanent residents to obtain permanent resident status).

Those singled out for separate consideration were:

• Immigration: Advocated (828-40) that the U.S. adopt comprehensive immigration reform legislation as set forth by the ELCA message, "Immigration," and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. In a separate but related action, declared (851-24) June 22, 2014, "Refugee Sunday" and asked the presiding bishop to invite congregations to share their stories of welcoming refugees and immigrants through ELCA communication vehicles.

• Communion practices: Asked (688-193) ELCA members, congregations, synods and the churchwide office to study "The Use and the Means of Grace" regarding who may commune among ELCA worshiping communities (for example, whether communion should be given to only the baptized). Requested a report and possible recommendations for consideration by the ELCA Church Council in April 2014.

• Same-gender families: Encouraged (825-68) congregations, lay and clergy leaders, and synod bishops to discuss and share resources on "changing family configurations and their impact on society and the ministry of this church."
In the same action, asked the Church Council to authorize a group to explore pastoral care to same-gender couples and their families and bring a report and possible recommendations to fall 2014 meetings of the Church Council and Conference of Bishops.

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February issue


Embracing diversity