From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Assembly Hears First of Presiding Bishop's Reports

Date Tue, 12 Aug 2003 14:37:31 -0500


August 12, 2003

ELCA Assembly Hears First of Presiding Bishop's Reports

     MILWAUKEE (ELCA) -- The Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, presented the
first of the ELCA's new strategic directions, evangelism
outreach, at the 2003 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Each day of the
assembly the presiding bishop will focus on one of the strategic
     The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of
the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 11-17 at the Midwest Airlines
Center. There are about 2,500 people participating, including
1,031 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is
"Making Christ Known: For the Healing of the World."
     Hanson is presenting his report over five days, discussing
each of the strategic directions in detail. Hanson explained that
"evangelical outreach" is more than a document in a three-ring
binder that gets mailed out to churches. "We are not coming to
Milwaukee to market a mission strategy; rather, we seek to renew
the vocation of all the baptized to witness to others about what
God is doing in the world."
     Hanson pointed out that, according to the 30,000 members of
the ELCA who participated in the strategic planning, evangelism
has been by far the most frequently cited priority for the next
10 years.
     Hanson said that to grow as a church, members of the ELCA
must grow in three areas: witnessing, inviting and being willing
to change. He encouraged the assembly to identify the persons and
Scripture passages that have shaped witness, and asked each
person present to invite an unchurched or "de-churched" person to
join in worship.
     "My prayer is this -- that God may grant us the courage so
that like Peter and John in the Book of Acts, we will say, 'We
cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard,'"
said Hanson.
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Information about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at on the Web.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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