First Rostered Ministers Gathering held

The ELCA Rostered Ministers Gathering 2017, the first of its kind, brought together more than 900 pastors and deacons to Atlanta, Aug. 7-10, under the theme “On the Way … Together.” The overall tone of the gathering was optimistic and encouraged a time of unity, while acknowledging the current challenges for organized religion in the U.S. Keynote speakers included Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton; James Alexander Forbes Jr., a well-known preacher and senior minister emeritus of the Riverside Church in New York City; and Rachel Held Evans, a New York Times best-selling author. Gathering programming included Bible studies, small group conversations, workshops, and opportunities for service and learning in the Atlanta area.

Read the full wrap-up story on under “Religious news and social issues.”

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (right) leads the closing worship service of the Rostered Ministers Gathering alongside assisting minister Erin Power.

By the ELCA Advocacy staff

Many houses of worship and service groups opened their doors to provide critical support, food, shelter and spiritual care for thousands who were displaced during and after recent hurricanes. But as many public officials acknowledged, it will take months, if not years, to rebuild and recover from the flooding damage. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking after Hurricane Harvey, acknowledged that “housing is the biggest long-term concern in the hurricane zone.”

Chris Markert, director for evangelical mission in the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, said, “Here

Connect with us! 10 OCTOBER 2017

on the Gulf Coast we’re used to hurricanes and the work of recovery that lasts for years. But it still overwhelms you because of the sheer loss of homes and property. And as a person of faith, one of the most difficult realities is knowing that communities of poverty do not have the means to rebuild and start over.”

Lutherans affirm that housing and homes are places of critical stability, integral to our needs and communal life. The ELCA social message on “Homelessness” echoes this, upholding that “housing is a fundamental human right” and that faith leaders are called to advocate for public policies that support those without shelter (

There is still time for Lutherans to call their lawmakers in support of accompanying disaster relief programs such as Federal Emergency Management Agency

Disaster Relief, Individuals and Households Program and other local resources. ELCA Advocacy supports housing policies that help rebuild communities and address long-term poverty, such as the Community Development Block Grants and specialized rural assistance. With steep cuts proposed for 2018, congregations are urged to add their voices in support of these vital programs in public dialogue.

/elcaadvocacy @ELCAadvocacy

Photo: Courtesy of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Baytown, Texas

Photo: Will Nunnally

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