The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Let faith, not fear, lead the ELCA toward 2017

What image of the church shapes our witness in complex and challenging times?" Hanson asked

"What shall our witness be this week?” asked Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson in both his opening worship sermon and report to the assembly.

Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson
“In more than one media interview prior to the assembly, the reporters’ questions made it seem that the story of this assembly had already been written — anxiety and dissension leading to division,” he told worshipers. “But the story of this assembly has not been written.”

“Will you tell how we gathered in fear behind the closed doors of the Minneapolis Convention Center, just as Jesus’ disciples gathered that first Easter evening?” asked Hanson, which turned to irony two days later when a tornado placed the assembly in lockdown.

Hanson challenged the assembly to name and acknowledge their fears: “When you and I do not name the fears we hold, [they] end up holding us captive. We then become our fears, and fear — not faith — becomes our witness. ...

“If we are to be true to the witness of the Scripture, if the stories you and I tell of this week are to be faithful and true, then we will tell the story of Jesus Christ, who is present in this place, in this assembly.”

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