When our children were young, dinner was a special time. We are a big family involved in many different activities. We looked forward to eating together to listen to each other’s stories about the day’s events. We laughed together, marveled at new learnings and shared tears of support.
Many have heard me refer to this church as “an ecology of interdependent ecosystems.” Yes, it is a mouthful. But it basically means that this church is blessed by an interdependent network of congregations, synods, institutions and agencies, and the churchwide organization. Together we carry out God’s mission in the world in Jesus’ name as an interdependent network whose members are involved in a variety of ministries in numerous locations and settings.
What does this ecology look like? The eight ELCA seminaries are an ecosystem of theological education and formation. The 28 colleges and universities are an ecosystem of faith seeking understanding. The vast ecosystem of social ministry organizations gives witness to faith active in love and service. ELCA congregations are one ecosystem, as are the 65 synods and the churchwide organization. Add to these outdoor ministries, camp ministries, youth and young adult ministries, Women of the ELCA, and Lutheran Men in Mission. Of course, the ecology of the ELCA belongs to the larger ecology of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
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