From the presiding Bishop

Fear not - August 31, 2018

I’m leaving for my first trip to Holden Village, a retreat center near Chelan, Wash. I’ve heard about this Lutheran Shangri-La for years. I have sung and played the Holden Evening Prayer in many settings. I’m excited. The theme verse for the week I’ll be in residence is “Fear not,” which is part of a […]

We are the branches - August 3, 2018

Is it possible to be Lutheran and an ecumenist? Of course, the answer is yes. The ELCA has continued the work of our predecessor churches—the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the American Lutheran Church, and the Lutheran Church in America—all of which engaged in dialogues with other denominations. When the ELCA was born, its DNA […]

Serving the neighbor in need - July 6, 2018

Editor’s note: This is a reprint of the June 2017 column from the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. These are politically charged times. This very sentence in the presiding bishop’s column is likely to raise eyebrows. Across this church I’ve heard stories of parishioners disturbed by the Gospel read on Sundays, […]

We know the truth - June 1, 2018

Father’s Day is in June. Let me tell you a little bit about my dad. His name was William Frederick Eaton. He was born in 1924 to an Irish Catholic father and a German Lutheran mother. (There were always going to be potatoes and cabbage in my future.) My father was a child of the […]

God loves - April 27, 2018

During a recent chapel service at the Lutheran Center, Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for Global Mission, shared his favorite Bible verse with us: “Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in […]

April fools - March 30, 2018

It all started with such promise: The angel announcing to Mary that the child she would bear would be called Son of the Most High; Mary’s conviction that this child was the embodiment of God’s promised justice, that the powerful would be brought down from their thrones and the lowly lifted up, that the hungry […]

God’s irresistible call - March 2, 2018

When first elected presiding bishop, I was often asked what it meant to be the first woman entrusted with this call. I didn’t like that question then. I’m still ambivalent about it now. Why, in the 21st century, did my gender matter? Why, in 2013, was the election of a woman historic? I didn’t understand […]

A valentine gift from God - February 2, 2018

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” (Love Story). “Forgiveness guaranteed. Repentance optional” (sign in front of a Lutheran church).   This year Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same date. It seems like an odd pairing—Ash Wednesday, a day of solemn repentance and honest reckoning of our brokenness, and Valentine’s Day, […]

Church speak - December 29, 2017

A colleague at the Lutheran Center related this story. An unchurched friend of hers was visiting and noticed her Advent calendar. “What is Advent?” she asked. A simple question. But my colleague soon discovered it wasn’t that easy to explain Advent to someone who had never heard of it, but who also had no frame […]

Disengage the autopilot - December 1, 2017

I was driving to work one day thinking about my schedule—the meetings I needed to attend, reports I needed to finish, preparations still to be completed for upcoming travel, email I needed to answer, phone calls I absolutely had to make, and compiling a grocery list in my head so I would pick up what […]