Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, has issued a letter announcing the release of two new ELCA interreligious resource guides. “In baptism, we are called ‘to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth,'” the letter read, in part. “Daily we live out our baptismal vocation among people of different religions and worldviews—our family and friends, our co-workers and neighbors.”
“As church, we have declared that ‘it is our duty and joy to extend God’s love, grace, mercy, and justice to all those who are made in the image of God and to the whole of creation,'” the letter continued. “To this end, I commend two new guides to you.”
“ELCA Guidelines for Ministry in a Multi-Religious World” provides general guidance for occasions “when Christians and people of other religions come together,” Eaton wrote. Included in the guide are recommendations for prayer services, crisis and tragedy response, social ministries, pastoral care, weddings and funerals.
“Preaching and Teaching with Love and Respect for the Jewish People” explores challenging topics, lectionary selections and Bible passages to “inform Christian preaching and teaching so that they respect the integrity of the Jewish tradition and avoid anti-Jewish interpretations of New Testament texts,” she wrote.
These new resources build upon three existing ELCA inter-religious social policy documents: “A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment: A Policy Statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America” (2019), “A Declaration of the ELCA to the Jewish Community” (1994) and “A Declaration of the ELCA to the Muslim Community” (2022).
“These and other inter-religious resources seek to guide the whole church in upholding the commitments we have made to love and serve all people and to strive together for justice and peace for the whole of creation,” Eaton wrote. “As we abide in God’s baptismal promises, I pray that we will experience profound joy in the sharing and receiving of God’s good gifts.”