The day began with one of the plenary sessions of the churchwide assembly, and the report of Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. She reminded us that we are the body of Christ, called to practice hospitality for our sisters and brothers in need, especially those who cannot return home because of war, persecution and destruction of their homes.
She challenged us to be bold n identifying ourselves as followers of Jesus, and telling people that we do what we do because of Jesus. Sometimes, she said, “We hold the Lord’s name with such reverence that we don’t even speak it aloud.”
We celebrated Holy Communion together, with preaching in the African-American tradition by Bishop George E. Battle of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church. “Can I get a witness?” he asked often, prompting out traditional Lutheran gathering to verbally affirm his message with applause and shouts of “amen.”
There were workshops in the afternoon, and I attended one on Music and Justice that traced the history of negro spirituals as they reflect the life circumstances and faith of black Americans. Brian and I also attended a session on the new study being conducted to define the future direction of the ELCA, “Called Forward Together in Christ for the sake of the world.” If you would like to read what has been gathered so far from across our church and even add your own insights, go to https://www.elca.org/future
We enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant with people from the Sierra Pacific Synod, including our Bishop and his wife. They are looking forward to being with us at Peace in September!
Tomorrow will be another busy day. It’s inspiring to be reminded that we are part of a larger church body and connected to many other faith groups and churches who share our desire to discern God’s will for our work in the world.
Shalom. Pr. Eileen