2009 Conference of Bishops
More than half of the 66 bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the ELCA secretary, and five of the six bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), plus spouses and staff visited the Middle East, Jan. 6-13, 2009.
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (ELCA) — Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) attended and preached at worship services Jan. 11 at five Lutheran congregations in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank.
Forty-four bishops representing both churches are participating in a series of meetings Jan. 6-13 with religious, political and community leaders in Israel and the West Bank, and visiting religious sites. Their visit also focuses on support and encouragement for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL).
ELCJHL congregations and bishops who preached were:
+ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Beit Sahour, Beit Sahour: The Rev. Bruce H. Burnside, ELCA South-Central Synod of Wisconsin (based in Madison)
+ Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem: The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop (Chicago)
+ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope, Ramallah: The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, ELCIC national bishop (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
+ Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Beit Jala: The Rev. Margaret G. Payne, ELCA New England Synod (Worcester, Mass.)
+ Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church, Bethlehem: The Rev. Floyd M. Schoenhals, ELCA Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod (Tulsa, Okla.)
The Jerusalem congregation celebrated worship in Arabic and English, led by the Rev. Ibrahim Azar, pastor of the Arabic-speaking congregation, and the Rev. Mark Holman, pastor of the English-speaking congregation. The worship theme was Jesus’ Baptism.
Some of the visitors for worship at the Church of the Redeemer represented four ELCA seminaries: the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia; the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C.; and Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio.
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