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June 20, 2003 ELCA News Service
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LutherLink Book Discussions Begin in July

Audio Introduction to "Executive Values" (in Real Media format)
Augsburg Fortress

Chicago (ELCA)-JAC* — In a cooperative project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Department for Communication and Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the ELCA, LutherLink members will begin holding online book discussions in July.

LutherLink, an online network maintained by the ELCA, is part of Ecunet, a faith-based online community with over 20,000 members, said Paul Edison-Swift, director, interactive media and networks, ELCA Department for Communication.

The first online book discussion will focus on "Executive Values: A Christian Approach to Organizational Leadership" by Kurt Senske. According to a message posted on the LutherLink Web site, the book provides a guide to moral Christian leadership within a variety of settings. Senske is president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the South, Austin, Texas.

In light of recent corporate scandals, this book is highly appropriate, Edison-Swift said. "People have not forgotten Enron and other companies, including nonprofits, that have had ethical issues," he said.

As an author Senske is interested in both the subject and the discussion on the book, Edison-Swift said. "He's very committed to the topic, very sincere," he said. "The author is crucial to a successful discussion."

The books chosen for the LutherLink book discussions are published by Minneapolis-based Augsburg Fortress. "I am just thrilled about the Augsburg Fortress titles that are coming forward," Edison-Swift said.

Bob Todd, publicist for Augsburg Fortress, said many of the authors chosen for the discussions are part of the "Lutheran Voices" series, a series of as many as 10 volumes on core Lutheran values and traditions. Though Senske is not part of the "Lutheran Voices" series, Todd said Senske is a dedicated Lutheran author whose book has been well received. "We wanted something for the general reader, not too academic, not for a child," Todd said.

Todd added that he hopes this book, as well as those to follow, will be a way for a variety of people within the church to communicate about important issues.

To participate in the discussions, it is necessary to be either a full member of LutherLink or a "lite" member. Full members pay a yearly fee and can join in any number of Ecunet discussion groups. "Lite" memberships are free but the members are then limited to participation in three discussion groups. Full members are also able to create their own discussion groups.

Currently there are about 5,000 LutherLink members, consisting mainly of clergy, church workers and highly active lay members, Edison- Swift said.

In September the discussion book will be "Reclaiming the 'L' Word" by Kelly Fryer, followed by "Let the Servant Church Arise!" by Barbara DeGrote-Sorensen and David Sorensen in October and "Give Us This Day: A Lutheran Proposal for Ending World Hunger" by Craig Nessan in November.

The books chosen for discussion are available online and are usually shipped within 24 hours of purchase, according to the Augsburg Fortress Web site. More information about LutherLink can be found on the Web.

*Jessica A. Crane is completing her bachelor of arts degree at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. This summer she is an intern with ELCA News and Media production.