Would you be surprised to hear lively discussion about an ELCA social teaching document among your congregation’s young adult group? Peace Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., has found resources like “For Peace in God’s World,” an ELCA social statement, and “Earth’s Climate Crisis,” a social message, rich as the group processes and contextualizes current events and the political atmosphere with their faiths and Lutheran identities.
The ELCA has used social teaching documents as tools for speaking in and to society, and with each other about society. These teachings result from expansive consensus-building processes and intentional conversations with people from many viewpoints and lived experiences. The resources and energy that goes into creating social teachings gives us tools for years, even decades, to come.
Currently the ELCA is developing a social statement on civic life and faith. Called for by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, it explores the relationship of church and state and related matters. To learn more about the statement, its task force and how you can have input, visit elca.org/civicsandfaith.
“The ELCA social teachings provide a vital foundation for our programming,” said Amanda Randall, a deacon and director of faith formation for teens and young adults at Peace. “[They’ve helped us reflect on] why we believe what we do and what that means for us today. It has even influenced some of our service opportunities as a group and with our youth.”
ELCA social teaching can strengthen our impact from the interpersonal to communal and global levels. Some with study guides delve into denominational understandings of God, calling us to be in the world together and reflect on how that might empower us to further faith-centered action.