The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


World News Scan

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops issued a statement condemning sexual abuse of children as "morally evil" and urging priests to address the issue in congregations. The statement acknowledges that some ordained ministers and lay employees have sexually abused children and commits the church to "dealing with these situations responsibly and in all humility."

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy was given official recognition through the ratification by the Italian Senate of a state treaty with the church. The ELCI will now be able to teach religion in school and have automatic right of access to public hospitals, prisons and military forces.

The Institute of Religion and Democracy accused the National Council of Churches of "misusing prayer for blatantly partisan purposes" because NCC leaders prayed with President Clinton after the November budget crisis, asking God to "make the president strong for the task" ahead. The Institute's president, Diane Knippers, asked why they don't pray for the strength of the Republican congressional leaders.

William R. Jones, former comptroller of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, pleaded not guilty to charges that he embezzled nearly $400,000. Board officials accused him of transferring agency money into his personal bank account. 

Lutheran World Relief reported that 80 tons of clothing, quilts and soap worth $400,000 were donated by parishes from the ELCA and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for refugees of former Yugoslavia who have taken shelter in Hungary.

Two important figures in the World Council of Churches died last December. Dame Nita Barrow, 79, was governor-general of Barbados and the president of the World Council of Churches from 1983 to 1991. Madeleine Barot, 86, was the first chair of the Council's Youth Department and the Department on the Cooperation of Men and Women in Church and Society.

The Vatican's recent decision to invoke the doctrine of infallibility to defend the pope's ban on ordination of women has been challenged by many Roman Catholic nuns, priests and theologians. Norbert Greinacher, a prominent German theologian, called the pope's declaration " a scandal" that he is certain will not stand. This is only the third time the doctrine has been used since its inception in the 19th century.

In its synod meeting, the general synod of the Church of Norway approved an agreement that establishes altar and pulpit fellowship between the Lutheran state church and the Methodist church. The synod also ruled that people in same-sex partnerships or common law relationships cannot serve as church employees.

The brother and sister of U.S. Army Lt. Joe Tom Meador--who stole a collection of medieval artwork from a Lutheran church in Quedlinburg, Germany, during World War II--have been charged with illegally selling two of the treasures they inherited when Meador died. The treasures were returned to Germany in 1992. The heirs also are being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid inheritance taxes.

Dutch Lutherans are impatient with delays in the union process of their church with the Netherlands Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in the Netherlands. The Lutherans will reconsider their position on the union if no clear signal emerges that the merger will occur soon. The delay is a concession to a conservative organization.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana voted to accept the ordination of women.

Americans who read the Bible regularly have a "higher overall satisfaction with their lives" than those who never read the Bible, according to a survey commissioned by the American Bible Society.


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