The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


World News Scan

At least 1,000 Muslim refugees --sometimes 2,000--daily cross the nearby Sava River, fleeing "safe areas" in Bosnia and once-integrated towns now being further "cleansed" of Croats, Muslims, Gypsies and Jews. Only old people, women and children escape. Males between 15 and 50 are detained for a fate unknown to their families. The Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran World Relief assist the refugees with bedding, clothes, health kits and heating stoves.

Franklin Graham was named to succeed his father as head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Ludmilla Javorova, a 65-year-old Czech woman, says she was secretly ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1970 while Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule. Javorova is believed to be the first woman to come forward and make the claim. Her disclosure raises questions, including whether the ordination, if it happened, was valid, and if not, what that means for the confessions she heard and the sacraments she administered.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada voted to disassociate from the anti-Semitic writings of Martin Luther. The ELCA adopted a similar resolution in 1993.

The Inter-Faith Mediation Committee in Liberia criticized a call by the Elections Commission for political parties to begin preparations for next year's election s, the All Africa Press Service reported. "To ask parties to organize for elections at this time when we have crucial issues of safe corridors, safe havens, disarmament, etc., is very disappointing," said the committee, which comprises Christian and Musli m religious leaders and is headed by the former bishop of the Lutheran Church of Liberia, Ronald Diggs.

Joan Brown Campbell, the National Council of Churches' general secretary since 1991, was re-elected to another four-year term by the council's general board at its annual meeting. Will L. Herzfeld, an ELCA pastor, was elected as the new vice president for the NCC Church World Service and Witness unit.

The Lutheran churches in Finland and Iceland are the latest to adopt the Porvoo Common Statement that brings British and Irish Anglicans into full communion with Nordic and Baltic Lutherans. Ten of 12 churches (eight Lutheran and four Anglican) have endorsed the agreement. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latv ia has yet to make a decision. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark decided not to support the agreement due to lack of reasonable support from church members.

The Vatican has again declared that women can't become Roman Cathol ic priests. Issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the statement says the ban on women priests is "founded on the written word of God" and "has been set forth infallibly." The statement was prompted by con tinued questions regarding the pope's May 1994 letter saying the church "has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women."

Historian Bachmann dies

Dr. E. Theodore Bachmann, 84, a renowned Lutheran historian and former professor at Pacific Lutheran Seminary, Berkeley, Calif., died Nov. 29.

Born in Philadelphia, Bachmann was ordained in 1938. His first call was to Trinity Lutheran Church, Pottsville, Pa. He served on the faculty of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., as well as Pacific Seminary.

After World War II he worked with the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, and as a liaison with the German Evangelical Church for the Amer ican military government.

Bachmann was the author of several articles and books. He was best known for the comprehensiveLutheran Churches in the World: A Handbook, which he compiled with his wife, Mercia. During the 1970s he editedLutheran World, the quarterly of the Lutheran World Federation, and its German edition, Lutherische Rundschau.

He received degrees from Haverford [Pa.] College; the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia; Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., and the University of Chicago. Bachmann also studied at Tubingen and Erlangen universities in Germany.

Congress protects charities

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed identical measures that will protect more than 2,000 charities nationwide from lawsuits arising from their investment practices.

The outcome affects the ELCA Foundation and ELCA social ministry organizations, colleges and universities that offer gift annuities.

A lawsuit against the American Council on Gift Annuities, Wichita Falls, Texas, contends that many charit ies violate federal antitrust laws because they pay the same rate of return on their annuities. Action on the suit is delayed pending the court's assessment of the new legislation.


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February issue


Embracing diversity