Why are we a member of the ELCA? And why should that matter to someone attending our Church?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) is a church that believes God is calling us into the world — together. As part of this call, we seek the common good for society, provide moral vision and are committed to addressing social and cultural injustices and issues. The ELCA participates in God’s just and loving purpose for all of creation in many different ways, from the daily actions of members as citizens, to efforts in social service, to public witness for justice.
In response to God’s gracious love that seeks justice, the ELCA equips and nurtures us for our callings in the world, fosters social service and ministries of mercy, encourages learning and moral deliberation around social and cultural concerns, enacts social teaching and policy documents, interprets and applies social policy, and partners with agencies, organizations and institutions dedicated to service and justice.
The ELCA is committed to fostering unity among the children of God for the sake of the world. The ELCA is committed to promoting understanding among Christians and greater unity among Christ’s people. Brokenness can be healed and divisions can be overcome. To this end, the activity of ecumenical life in the ELCA is one of cooperation, facilitation, accompaniment and formation within this church, and with our ecumenical and interreligious companions.
- As of December December 31, 2015, there were 3,668,034 baptized members in the ELCA. There were 9,320 congregations organized in 65 synods in nine geographic regions.
- The ELCA is a diverse church body, becoming more so every day. This church is committed to growing in diversity and strengthening its global, ecumenical and interfaith relationships around the world.
- ELCA congregations are led by gifted men and women who have been called by God to serve their community. The ELCA calls both women and men to serve as pastors and lay rostered leaders. Here are some facts about ELCA leaders:
- As of September 15, 2015, there were 17,777 leaders on the ELCA roster including 966 associates in ministry, 59 deaconesses, 200 diaconal ministers and 16,435 ordained clergy. In 2015, 25 percent of clergy on the ELCA roster were women. In the ELCA’s eight seminaries, the numbers of women and men preparing for ministry are about equal.
- About 86 percent of ordained women and 83 percent of ordained men are actively serving in congregations.
- The ELCA offers opportunities for Lutheran education at every level and considers education as an important part of our calling. We offer quality education at every level through our institutions. In addition to the eight ELCA seminaries and two seminary extension centers, there are 26 colleges and universities, 50 or more lifelong learning programs, 14 high schools, 296 elementary schools, 1,573 early childhood programs, 145 camp and retreat centers serving 450,000 annually.
- The ELCA is committed to making the world a more just and peaceful place to live. Through programs, ministries and partnerships ELCA congregations, synods and the churchwide organization work every day to address inequities in political, economic and social systems and to end conflict and violence all over the world. We are a church that believes God is calling us into the world – together.
This is Christ’s church. There’s a place for you here.