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ELCA, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishops Meet With U.N., U.S. Officials

Date Wed, 20 Sep 2006 10:41:39 -0500

Title: ELCA, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishops Meet With U.N., U.S. Officials ELCA NEWS SERVICE

September 20, 2006

ELCA, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishops Meet With U.N., U.S. Officials 06-142-AL*

NEW YORK (ELCA) -- The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, met Sept. 15 with Mark Malloch Brown, deputy secretary general of the United Nations (U.N.), and Richard Miller, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations' Economic and Social Council.

Hanson and Griswold thanked the officials for their work toward ending global poverty. They also expressed their churches' unity and commitment in working toward eliminating poverty around the globe through achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in collaboration with ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History.

"Both the deputy secretary general and the ambassador engaged in in-depth conversations with us surrounding the Millennium Development Goals," said Hanson. "Emphasizing the international presence of the ELCA and Episcopal Church, we told them our churches can be partners in helping the United States to take a stronger lead globally in working toward the MDGs."

All member states of the U.N., including the United States, adopted MDGs in 2000. The goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and create a global partnership for development.

"I think people feel powerless today to make a difference because of the overwhelming magnitude of these issues," said Hanson after the meetings. "The ONE Campaign surrounding the Millennium Development Goals gives people a vehicle to take their power and make a difference in the lives of others," he said. "The Millennium Development Goals describe, I think, the signs of God's will for God's people and God's creation."

Both Brown and Miller were presented with a joint pastoral letter from Hanson and Griswold titled "That All May Be One." The letter, released to ELCA and Episcopal Church members Sept. 14, included reflections on the theological basis for the MDGs, examples of how Lutherans and Episcopalians are currently collaborating to end global poverty, three calls to the U.S. government to take specific actions toward achieving the MDGs, and a vision for future collaboration in advocating for the MDGs through the "ONE Lutheran" and "ONE Episcopalian" campaigns. The release of the statement to members of the ELCA and Episcopal Church was celebrated with a service of Holy Communion and renewal of baptismal vows at the Episcopal Church Center in New York following the meetings with Brown and Miller.

Hanson presided and Griswold preached at the service.

"The Millennium Development Goals invite our nation to relate itself to the world in a very different way," said Griswold in his sermon. "We're not going to stamp out terrorism with force alone," he said. "The MDGs are an invitation to the nation and its leaders to become not only a superpower, but also a super servant."

"The Millennium Development Goals and the ONE Campaign are an invitation to a life of hope," said Hanson after the service. "Not denying the realities of (terrorism and) violence. Not denying human suffering, but saying, 'Here's a way we can respond together, rather than live in fear and isolation from each other.'"

Hanson and Griswold expressed how the ONE Campaign and MDGs work have united people who disagree on other issues in the church.

Both the ELCA and Episcopal Church "are dealing with a great deal of internal controversy," said Griswold, "yet people on both sides really do care about the world and can come together around the Millennium Development Goals."

Hanson urged church members to participate in the ONE Campaign. "If we are to be a truly global church, we need to accompany developing nations," he said. "Our faith compels us, the reality of the issues in the world compel us, and global poverty is challenging us to achieve the Millennium Development Goals."


Audio comments from Bishop Hanson related to this story are on the ELCA Web site at:

A link to the video of the Sept. 15 worship service will be available for viewing at on the ELCA Web site.

The text of the presiding bishop's pastoral letter on the Millennium Development Goals is at or on the ELCA Web site.

ONE Lutheran resources are at on the ELCA Web site.

* Annie Lynsen is director for grassroots advocacy and communication, ELCA Washington Office.

For information contact:

John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or ELCA News Blog:

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