Kathryn M. Lohre has been named assistant to the presiding bishop and executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She will succeed the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, who will become director for ecumenical and inter-religious relations. Lohre and McCoid will begin their new duties March 17.
In announcing the appointments to the ELCA churchwide organization, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton said, “I am excited that Kathryn will serve as executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations. She is known across this church and amongst our ecumenical and inter-religious colleagues for her keen theological insight, gracious collegiality and integrity. I am also very happy that Don McCoid will continue as director. They are an effective team.”
Lohre served as ELCA director for ecumenical and inter-religious relations and recently served as president of the National Council of Churches — the first Lutheran and the youngest woman to serve in the position.
The ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations team is responsible for encouraging the activity of ecumenical and inter-religious life in this church and enhancing the public commitments of this church in Lutheran, ecumenical and interfaith circles.
“It is a joy to continue to serve in this ministry alongside the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, who I am grateful will continue to be a remarkable mentor and colleague,” said Lohre. “As I look toward the future, I am excited by the many opportunities for deepening our ecumenical relationships through our full communion relationships, conciliar commitments, and bi-lateral dialogues, and expanding our inter-religious relationships through new and renewed bi-lateral relationships, dialogues and multi-lateral initiatives.”
Lohre said one of the key questions during “a time of rapid change” is, “How might we more fully engage our call to Christian unity in an increasingly multi-religious context? This intersection between ecumenical and inter-religious life is, I believe, a significant crossroads for the future of this church’s ecumenical and inter-religious witness.”
In citing the ELCA constitution, Lohre said, “I look forward to working with many throughout the ELCA as we live out our calling ‘to manifest the unity given to the people of God by living together in the love of Christ and by joining other Christians in prayer and action to express and preserve the unity which the Spirit gives.’”
In exploring the future of Christian unity, Lohre compiles the voices of young Christian adults in a new book “For Such a Time as This: Young Adults on the Future of the Church.”
“This project focuses on the challenge and promise of intergenerational engagement for the future of the church, as seen by young adults from a variety of Christian traditions through the lenses of a number of issues including racism, eco-justice, immigration, ecumenical, and inter-religious relations,” said Lohre.