Excerpted from the May 2022 issue of the ELCA’s Ecumenical and Inter-Religious News
Greetings of peace and prayers for continued health.
A week ago, our Muslim neighbors ended the holy month of Ramadan with the joyous celebration of Eid al-Fitr. For much of April, Christians and Muslims journeyed through their respective periods of fasting, prayer, and reflection, as Lent and Ramadan coincided. During this holy time of confluence between Christians and Muslims, The ELCA Church Council unanimously adopted “A Declaration of the ELCA to the Muslim Community” affirming our friendship and solidarity with Muslims, nurtured over time through meaningful cooperation, dialogue, and common action.
This latest declaration stands alongside “A Declaration of the ELCA to the Jewish Community” and as a concrete expression of “A Declaration of Inter-Religious Commitment.” More than a corpus of statements, these declarations remind us of who we are in relationship to our neighbors, and who we strive to be. Grounded in real relationships, they are more than aspirational; grounded in reality, they reflect commitments not yet fully realized. Within the next month, new resources will be published to support these inter-religious efforts, including a preaching guide that affirms our church’s commitments to Jewish relations and a set of pastoral guidelines for ministry in a multi-religious world.
In the northern hemisphere, we are finally experiencing the fullness of spring — a fitting metaphor for our church’s inter-religious relations. What a vibrant time to be a church that embraces the unique joy encountering, knowing, and loving our neighbors of other religions and worldviews.
Kathryn M. Lohre
Executive, Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations & Theological Discernment