Do Prophets Get to Choose?: "Our theology and practice call us to be a public church and to speak boldly and confidently in the public arena," said the Rev. Edward R. Benoway, bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
Bishop Benoway was one of several ELCA bishops who went to Washington, D.C. on March 22 to urge their members of Congress and key congressional staff to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
"The Lutheran bishops are united in their resolve not only to 'welcome the stranger' but to embrace the worlds, cultures, issues and gifts they bring with them," said the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod.
The Washington visit was the first meeting of a group of bishops who identified immigration issues as a critical priority both in their own communities and on a national level. The bishops plan to request a meeting with President George W. Bush to discuss comprehensive immigration reform in the coming months.
Similar groups of ELCA bishops have self-selected to work on other advocacy issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hunger and poverty, and the environment. These groups will be available to testify before Congress, speak to the media, write editorials, and encourage the people in their synods and other bishops to take grassroots action on these issues.
In addition to Bishops Benoway and Bouman, the group included: The Rev. Paul J. Blom, bishop of the ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Houston, The Rev. Gerald L. Mansholt, bishop of the ELCA Central States Synod, Kansas City, Mo., The Rev. Theodore F. Schneider, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod, The Rev. Paul W. Stumme-Diers, bishop of the ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod.

Memo to Conference of Bishops: While you're speaking boldly and confidently in the public arena, could you please put in a good word for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HR 1592)? It would be a welcome reminder that there are Christians who know the difference between free speech and hate speech.

Speaking of HR 1592: We were worried about lack of public support for HR 1592 until we ran across a list of groups endorsing this legislation on the Human Rights Campaign web site. We were pleased to see the ELCA Office of Govt. Affairs on the list. We hope that someday they'll have time and space to list this endorsement on the ELCA advocacy web site as well.

More Guidance: If you're tired of downloading the Guidance for Pastors and Congregations of the New England Synod, ELCA, Regarding the Blessing of Unions of Same-Sex Couples


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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    from the Word Alone web site, it's now also availalble from the New England Synod web site.

    Fashion Fallout: Yes! Our spies confirm that Pr. Megan Rohrer of the Welcome Ministry did indeed attend a performance of the stage version of Legally Blonde in San Francisco last month. Could she be contemplating a new wardrobe? We hear she got the ticket from Pr. Jeff Johnson.

    Word Alone President Throws Hat: Pr. Jaynan Clark Egland, President of the Word Alone Network, is looking like a candidate for Presiding Bishop at this year's Churchwide Assembly. In a recent email bulletin she shared some campaign promises:
    "If by the grace of God and a miracle I am elected, first I will call for repentance for this slipping, sliding denomination and its wayward public witness. Then, as a matter of good stewardship, I will call for downsizing the institution and upsizing the ministry. It is time for the people in the churchwide offices to recognize themselves as support staff to the church and not the other way around. Discarding the current failed institutional paradigm, with its top-down headquarters, could produce an institution to serve ELCA Lutherans through the 21st century with just a bit of good stewardship, a dynamic imagination and a commitment to the Word of God alone as sole authority in all matters of faith and life."

    Noe-Effingway Follows Suit (Again): Not to be outdone, Central Great Lakes Synod Bishop Thorvald "Wally" Noe-Effingway appears to be mounting a campaign to succeed Lowell Almen as Secretary of the ELCA. The Synod's on-line store now features items designed to improve the bishop's name recognition. Insiders say we may yet see an Egland, Noe-Effingway! movement as the Churchwide Assembly approaches.

    Assembly Season Begins: The 2007 Synod Assembly season began in earnest on April 1 as the members of the Central Great Lakes Synod met to re-elect Bishop Noe-Effingway to a second term. In addition, the assembly defeated five resolutions: one condemning and one commending the New England Synod for issuing guidance on the blessing of same-sex partnerships, one advocating an "objective" understanding of "living together faithfully", one endorsing a "subjective" understanding of "living together faithfully" and one declaring that "living together faithfully" was "neither commanded nor forbidden."

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