From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Assembly Affirms Ministries in the Middle East

Date Thu, 14 Aug 2003 16:39:38 -0500


August 14, 2003

ELCA Assembly Affirms Ministries in the Middle East

     MILWAUKEE (ELCA) -- The 2003 Churchwide Assembly of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Aug. 14 affirmed by
a 910 to 64 vote the church body's support for Lutheran
ministries in the Middle East.
     The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of
the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 11-17 at the Midwest Airlines
Center. There are about 2,100 people participating, including
1,031 ELCA voting members. The theme for the biennial assembly is
"Making Christ Known: For the Healing of the World."
     Included in the assembly's action is reaffirmation of the
ELCA's "commitment to accompany the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in Jordan (and Palestine) [ELCJ] and its ecumenical and
interfaith partners, to carry out public policy and human rights
advocacy on their behalf, and to offer humanitarian relief and
development assistance."
     The ELCJ, which has six congregations and 2,000 members, has
become well known throughout the Lutheran world, as well as in
the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities in Palestine and
Israel.  It is active in efforts for reconciliation and peace in
the Holy Land.
     In the same action, the assembly voted to:
     + affirm the ELCA Prayer Vigil for Peace in the Middle East,
asking that congregations and church members "hold all people of
the Middle East in their prayers";
     + ask the ELCAs Divisions for Global Mission and for Church
in Society to provide programs that will educate ELCA members on
the ELCJ's ministries, inform them about the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict, and "foster better communication" between members of
the two church bodies.
     + urge ELCA members to raise funds for the ELCJ to aid
Palestinian Lutheran schools, provide needed scholarships, and
support the overall ministries of the ELCJ.
     + ask that the ELCA continue advocacy efforts related to a
tax case that Israel is pursuing against the Lutheran World
Federation (LWF) that threatens the LWF's ability to provide
humanitarian services, including health care for Palestinians
through the LWF-run Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of
     The assembly thanked the ELCA's Metropolitan Chicago, New
England and Southeast Michigan synods as companion synods of the
ELCJ -- as well as other synods, congregations and members -- for
supporting ministries of the ELCJ and for their advocacy for
     Although there was no real debate on the actions, which were
recommended by the memorials committee, the assembly spent
portions of three assembly sessions debating amendments that were
offered.  Only one amendment to the original recommendation was
approved by the assembly -- to add two references to conflict in
the Holy Land as the "Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
-- -- --
Information about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly can be found at
http://www.elca/org/assembly/03 on the Web.

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

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