Walking Together

The Church Cannot Stay Silent - a pastoral letter from Bishop Jeffrey Clements

August 15, 2017

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ:

I am sure that many of you watched events unfold in Charlottesville Friday night and through the day on Saturday as intently as I did. Lutherans, including the bishop and bishop-elect of the Virginia Synod and the bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, were participants in the counter-protest. I know many preachers scrambled to rewrite or revise their sermons before they were preached on Sunday to name the sins of racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy. Several local solidarity events have already taken place in communities across Northern Illinois.

I find myself disheartened by the fact that such a blatantly racist protest could take place in 2017. It serves as further proof to me that we have not come very far in the efforts that were initiated in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It simply horrifies me to see heavily armed Nazi and Confederate flag-bearing protesters marching as into battle. The photos depicting the hate and outrage of so many young men trouble me to my core. How have they learned to despise and fear “the other” so deeply?

Hatred, fear, racism, intolerance, bigotry, white supremacy, and violence were on full display in Charlottesville. I want to believe we are better than this. We aren't. Not now. I believe we can be, but we must stand together.

I am asking this synod to confront anew the sins of racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy.

As Bishop Elizabeth Eaton said, "White supremacy has no place in the kingdom of God, only the love and healing of the reign of the Prince of Peace."

I am very thankful for what many congregations are doing in their individual communities. Please continue to reach out, especially to our brothers and sisters in the African American community. Also, do not forget that the Muslim and Jewish communities are under attack as well. Let us continue to build bridges. Lutherans have been particularly good at this. Those of you who live in all white communities, please engage in the hard discussion about race in America. I believe the mainline churches, especially our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, can offer a clear voice of reason and reconciliation. Challenge the hate. Learn about white privilege. Seek opportunities for repentance and dialogue. The church cannot stay silent.

Walking with you,

Bishop Jeff Clements

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:18-19

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Living Lutheran Stories 8-15-2017

August 15, 2017

Reformation 500: 50 things Luther taught that you may not know


As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Living Lutheran is exploring 500 of its unique aspects, continuing the series this month with 50 Reformation things you may not know about … continue


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Children-in-worship series: More than kids’ bulletins


Children today are, as we well know, increasingly tech-savvy. They are practically born with iPads in their hands, and, yes, they bring them to worship. We are often slow, congregationally and … continue


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Friendships and fly-fishing


Every other week, a bus with 10 to 15 veterans from the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center pulls up to Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Libertyville, Ill. When the veterans arrive, … continue


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Rostered fewer than 10 years?

LEAD is has four $1290 scholarships remaining for its “In Search of Paul” study pilgrimage to Turkey and Greece, April 3-19, 2018. ELCA leaders rostered 10 years or fewer may apply. We believe it is important that newly rostered leaders can avail themselves of studying in the geographical and historical context of the Apostle Paul, but also realize that they can also be carrying previous educational debt.

To inquire, contact

This will be ISOP’s 5th year; over 50 rostered leaders have participated. Full information can be found on LEAD’s website; note the brochure and the advocacy letter. Deadline for these scholarship spaces is September 1, 2017.

Still have questions? Email


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Living Lutheran Stories 8-8-2017

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Living Lutheran Stories
August 8, 2017

ArticleOn July 26, the Trump administration filed an amicus brief stating that the provisions under Title VII (which dates back to 1964) do not refer to people in the LGBTQIA community. According to the … continueAd Unit

A new sense of purpose

ArticleThe Rev.  Jackie Utley of Ascension Lutheran Church in Columbia, S.C.—the first African American to be ordained in the ELCA in South Carolina—came away from the recent Women of the ELCA … continueAd Unit

Thy kingdom come

ArticleWhat do you expect as you pray the words “your kingdom come” from the Lord’s Prayer? You might be thinking about a blessed promised future in heaven. You might be thinking ahead to the very … continue


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... for those who will join an act of public witness against racial injustice at the Charlottesville rally

In support of those who will join an act of public witness against racial injustice Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Va., the Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, has issued the following prayer on behalf of the conference:

Just and merciful God, we give you thanks for our sisters and brothers – bishops, pastors, deacons, people of God – who this Saturday walk the way of the cross in Charlottesville, Va. On this day and in that place, they join other courageous and faithful people across time and space to stand against bigotry, hatred and violence; to stand with those who are intended victims; and to stand for justice and mercy, peace and equality for all people.

We stand with them in prayer, asking you to empower them, protect them, and use their witness as hopeful sign of your resurrection reign afoot in your beloved and troubled world. By your might, break the bondage that bigotry, hatred and violence impose on their victims and their perpetrators. May your kingdom come on earth as in heaven. And, we pray, empower us in our own communities to follow their lead as fellow servants to your dream of a community in which all people and their gifts are welcomed and honored, cherished and celebrated as beloved children of a just, merciful and loving God; through Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the life of the world. Amen

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Making Christ Known