New Lutheran Presiding Bishop installed today

Congratulations to the new Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, being installed today:

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton will be installed as presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, Ill., 60637. The chapel is located on the campus of the University of Chicago.


The installation is open to the public and tickets are not required. Worship begins at 2:00 p.m. (Central), and doors open at 1:00 p.m. Rockefeller Memorial Chapel is accessible to people with disabilities and seats approximately 1,500 people.

An outdoor (tented) reception to greet Presiding Bishop-elect Eaton will follow on the east side of the chapel.

The Rev. Jessica R. Crist, bishop of the ELCA Montana Synod and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, will preach the sermon. Scripture texts for the installation service are Isaiah 42:5-9, 2 Corinthians 4:1-12 and Mark 4:1-9. Among the guests attending are representatives from the ELCA’s full communion partners, members from The Lutheran World Federation, ELCA companions from around the world, members of this church and others. The liturgy will include a diversity of music led by organ, piano, bagpipes, brass, choir, soloists, drum, guitar and more.

Information about live streaming of the event can be found here. A pdf of the worship bulletin is available.

Interview with new presiding bishop is here.

Q:Like most mainline Protestant denominations, the ELCA is losing members, most recently through a painful schism caused in part by its 2009 decision to allow openly gay and lesbian clergy. How do you stem that exodus and heal the divisions that continue to burden the church?

A: After 2009, yeah, that was a costly decision for us. I happen to think it was the right decision. But another thing I’ve been very clear to say is there are faithful people in this denomination who do not agree with that decision. And they still are members of the church. So we have to make sure that their voices are heard. And then how can we model for the rest of society how it is to have deep differences but still respect one another and see in one another someone for whom Christ died.

We’re not going to put together some killer app or magic program (to address membership decline). We have to be missionaries again. So then how do we get out into our communities and develop relationships with our neighbors? We might have to be flexible about when we have services or maybe we go to where the folks are — to soccer fields or factories.

I don’t know if we’re going to be packing the pews, but that’s not our goal. Our goal is to give people a sense of a God who loves us so much that He’d rather die than lose a single one of us. And prayer would probably be good since it’s God’s church and not ours. Maybe we should listen to the boss.

The Rt Rev Christopher Epting is attending the ceremony. He was the Ecumenical Officer for The Episcopal Church during the “Called to Common Mission” exploration and acceptance.

Photo from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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