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Racine Pastor Elected Bishop of Meru Diocese

August 24, 2016

Friends and Partners of Diocese of Meru
Dear Friends,

I bring you greetings from Diocese of Meru in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
RE: ELECTION OF BISHOP ELECT REV. ELIAS KITOI NASSARI

On behalf of Bishop Dr. Paulo Isack Akyoo, I am happy to inform you of the conclusion of our 12th General Assembly which was closed yesterday evening with Holy Communion Service. We Thank God for the blessed General Assembly and we thank you for your prayers.

7181585191_2b583f70d1_b.jpgAs we told you before, the General Assembly had a task of electing the next Bishop as Bishop Dr. Paulo Akyoo will retire in February next year. I am happy to inform you that Rev. Elias Kitoi Nassari was elected as Bishop Elect by securing overwhelming votes of 75 % of the votes of delegates.

Bishop Elect Rev. Nassari has been a Pastor for more than 30 years holding various positions such as Meru District Pastor in the then Northern Diocese, Assistant to the Bishop of Meru Diocese between 1992-2002. From 2002, he has served as Missionary Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria and in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America where he is currently pastor of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Racine.

The Consecration and Installation of Bishop Elect Rev. Elias Kitoi Nassari will be on 15th January 2017 at Usa River Parish. It is our prayer that you will continue to accompany us in these historical events in our Diocese.

May God bless you in His Ministry.
Yours,
LoeRose Mbise,
GENERAL SECRETARY

¡EASY lo hace! EASY Does It!

August 23, 2016
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160304-easy6nns-smSe iniciaron los preparativos para el inicio de EASY el lunes, 19 de septiembre. El personal está compuesto por Katie Syslack, Lisbeth Reynoso, Chris Escobar, Pablo Velásquez que regresa del año pasado para apoyar y guiar a nuestros hijos. Nancy Smith seguirá teniendo un papel activo en el programa con la formación de Ilse Merlin-Tiburcio a lo largo del año,ya que Ilse se prepara para asumir el papel de líder del Campamento y EASY.

Preparations are being readied for the start of EASY on Monday, September 19. Staff is intact with Katie Syslack, Lisbeth Reynoso, Chris Escobar, and Paul Velasquez returning from last year to support and guide our kids. Nancy Smith will continue to have an active part in the program, training Ilse Merlin-Tiburcio throughout the year as Ilse prepares to assume the leadership role of Neighborhood Camp and EASY.

Environmental Stewardship: Toxic Substance Control

August 21, 2016
by John Berge

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Toxic Substance Control Act passed by Congress back in 1976. Should we be celebrating this Act that was meant to protect us from harmful chemicals in our environment and products we use every day or should we be ruing the fact that it has failed miserably?

Icon3Proj3EasCreaABCThe ultimate example of the latter was that the federal government was not even able to meet the law’s requirements to prove that asbestos was harmful and should be controlled. They couldn’t meet the requirements for lead or formaldehyde, either. The requirements for proof were just too strict and the EPA did not have the money or power to regulate. Companies did not have to clear even a basic safety review before using a chemical in consumer products and the EPA had little power to remove hazardous materials already in the marketplace.

I am a trained PhD chemist, and so I am not one to consider anything called a “chemical” as necessarily harmful. Water and oxygen are both chemicals and we would be pretty bad off without them. Our bodies are mostly water and oxygen with a bunch of other chemicals such as fats, proteins and enzymes thrown in to the mix. But intellectual man (and woman) has been able to synthesize other chemicals that are not supposed to be part of us, or at least not in the quantities that might result from their presence in our environment. Some of these are harmful to us or the environment and therefore should be regulated.

Finally, last June, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which gives the EPA the tools necessary to better ensure the safety of chemicals and significantly strengthen health protections for all of us. Richard Denison, an Environmental Defense Fund scientist has said that this bill is a “solid bipartisan compromise that fixes the biggest problems with our current law”. Denison has worked to reform TSCA for decades.

EDF listed three important things in the new bill:
  • it requires EPA to review the safety of all new and existing chemicals with clear priority-setting and concrete deadlines for decisions and regulatory action,
  • it gives EPA new power to require testing and limits companies’ ability to hide information about chemicals as “trade secrets”, and
  • it explicitly requires protection of vulnerable populations such as children and pregnant women.
Obviously, testing and rule making will take time, but some companies are already making changes to their products to remove chemicals that may be proven hazardous. As good environmental stewards, we should endorse their actions by buying their products and sending them thank you notes. We also should be sending notes to Congress and administration leaders to make sure the EPA is adequately funded to do their job as expediently as possible.
The chemical industry’s fees will only cover part of the costs. Many chemicals are useful and safe; we need to prove which ones are and which are not.

Respectful Listening on Race: Unpacking Sherman Park

August 19, 2016

Date: Thursday, August 25, 2016 Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Redemption Lutheran Church, 4057 N Mayfair Rd, Milwaukee

Purpose: Create a safe space for honest dialogue regarding recent events within the Synod.

Format: Large Group presentation to share some common language followed by small discussion groups facilitated by members of the Synod Anti-Racism Team and others.

Biblical Image: The Body of Christ – 1 Cor. 12:26 – If one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it.

There will be another opportunity to gather on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, @ 6:30pm, location TBA. Please contact Rev. Kristin Nielsen at the Synod Office (414-671-1212) with any questions.

Post Card from Pastor Mary

August 17, 2016
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Dear Emaus traveling companions,

I take in the view of the lake, the sound of loons in the distance, and the sun breaking through14054008_1071500116274202_3770645522851163723_n the branches in the tall north woods, and I ask myself, “Is this glimpse of heaven what retirement is really like?”  Then I hear news of gunshots and fires, of flooding and untimely deaths, and of anger seething and spewing over in harsh words, and I am reminded that this respite is only temporary.

But, I also carry images of that beautiful sunny day on July 31 when my retirement was celebrated, and I see white, brown and black faces.  I observe wheel chairs and walkers and children skipping—young and old, gay and straight, some folks I’ve known for 25 years, and others who are newcomers.  “Buenos días” and “Good morning” are intermingled, and the words of praise and thanksgiving are lifted in Spanish and English.  There are images of breaking bread together.  I give God thanks for these glimpses of heaven and for each of you who has touched my life in so many ways.

And, as I extend my thanks to God and to you, I do so with hope. Emaus continues to grow and to flourish; becoming the community God has intended us to be. We are called to be present in a world of chaos and turmoil and uncertainty, embodying the phrase recently shared with me:  Justice is what love looks like in public. 

Let’s continue to be that face of hope and compassion as we walk into the future together, accompanied by the Resurrected One! 

With gratitude for the gift you are,

—Pastor Mary

Churchwide Assembly Is a Wrap

August 16, 2016
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William B. Horne II

NEW ORLEANS (ELCA.org) 👐 William B. Horne II of Clearwater Florida was elected Vice President of the ELCA, succeeding Carlos Peña, who did not seek reelection. The Vice Presidency is the highest lay position in the church.

By a vote of 811 to 55, the assembly approved adoption of the roster of Ministry of Word and Service. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, associates in ministry, deaconesses of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and diaconal ministers will be a single, unified roster of Ministry of Word and Service. The accompanying constitutional amendments related to the roster were also approved by the assembly.

In her report to the 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton reflected on the ELCA’s work over the past three years and lifted up future priorities for the church.

“I think it’s important when we organize our work together that we understand that we are church first,” Eaton said. “And we need to be clear that our lives are formed by word and sacrament, that we gather as the beloved children of God around the means of grace, that our lives are in Christ.”

Emphasizing the Lutheran identity and the distinctive Lutheran voice, Eaton said she hoped the church is beginning to understand that “God is calling us to be a diverse, inclusive, multicultural church.”

“We have to be very, very careful that we don’t define ourselves by culture or by cuisine. There are more Lutherans of color throughout the world and throughout the Lutheran federation than there are European descent Lutherans,” said Eaton.

“We just can’t somehow ignore that we live in an interreligious culture right now and that we need to work together, particularly at this time in this country when there’s so much fear of the other, particularly of people of other religious traditions,” she said.

“We are working with our partners, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, to settle immigrants, especially the Syrian immigrants as they come over here and … welcome them so they become a part of our fabric of our country … but we have to keep our focus. These are children of God. They’re human beings,” she said.

In closing Eaton told the assembly, “We have work to do. God will give us energy and the courage and the will to do it. Let’s go, church.”

Churchwide Assembly Convenes in New Orleans

August 12, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (ELCA.org) – Lifting up the central Lutheran theme of God’s grace in action through God’s church, members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are gathering under the theme, “Freed and Renewed in Christ: 500 Years of God’s Grace in Action.”

The assembly – the highest legislative authority of the ELCA – is meeting Aug. 8-13 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The assembly will also include preparations for observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

130814PBEaton1In her remarks at the opening plenary, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, said, “We have come here after a difficult summer overwhelmed by violence and heartache. Now more than ever, we are in need of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our midst. I pray that we will surround one another in prayer and love while we are together to do God’s work at this assembly.”

By a vote of 931 to 9, the assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly accepted the “Declaration on the Way,” a unique ecumenical document that marks a path toward greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans. Following the vote, an emotional assembly stood to applaud the momentous decision.

At the heart of the document are 32 “Statements of Agreement” that state where Lutherans and Catholics do not have church-dividing differences on topics about church, ministry and the Eucharist. More tentatively, the document also explores differences that remain.

In another major consideration, the assembly voted 921 to 11 in favor of AMMPARO – the ELCA’s strategy to Accompany Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities.

The ELCA developed this strategy based on commitments to uphold and guarantee the basic human rights and safety of migrant children and their families; to address the root causes of migration in countries from Central America’s Northern Triangle and Mexico and the treatment of migrants in transit; to work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the U.S.; to engage as a church with all of its companions, affiliates and partners to respond to the migration situation and its causes; and to advocate for migrant children and their families.

The assembly also voted 895 to 23 to accept the 2017-2019 budget proposal approved and recommended by the ELCA Church Council. The budget proposal includes:

  • a 2017 current fund spending authorization of $65,296,005 and a 2017 ELCA World Hunger spending authorization of $24.8 million;
  • a 2018 current fund income proposal of $64,057,220 and a 2018 ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $25 million; and
  • a 2019 current fund income proposal of $64,151,175 and a 2019 ELCA World Hunger income proposal of $25 million.
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