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Washington, D.C. (ELCA)-AL* — The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, released a joint pastoral letter urging Lutherans and Episcopalians to recommit themselves to ending global poverty through achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in collaboration with ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History. The release of the letter will be celebrated Sept. 15 in a joint worship service at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.
The letter, "That All May Be One," serves as an advocacy resource intended for ELCA synods, Episcopal Church dioceses and congregation leaders, and includes reflections on the theological basis for the MDGs. It includes examples of how Lutherans and Episcopalians are currently collaborating to end global poverty, specific actions the U.S. government can take toward achieving the MDGs, and a vision for future collaboration in advocating for the MDGs through the "ONE Lutheran" and "ONE Episcopalian" campaigns.
"We hope that by reflecting together on the challenge of global poverty, our communities may be called into deeper conversation, collaboration and advocacy on this urgent topic," the presiding bishops wrote.
The MDGs were adopted by more than 191 member states of the United Nations, including the United States. The goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and create a global partnership for development.
"This joint pastoral letter comes as the ELCA and The Episcopal Church embark upon new shared commitments to the MDGs, particularly through our collaboration in ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History, a large and growing movement of more than 2.3 million Americans working for the end of global poverty," the bishops wrote.
During the past year, the ELCA and Episcopal Church have launched "ONE Lutheran" and "ONE Episcopalian" campaigns, which have involved joining the ONE Campaign's advocacy efforts, promoting the ONE Campaign at church events, and offering "ONE Lutheran" and "ONE Episcopalian" resources for congregations, according to Kimberly C. Stietz, director for international policy, ELCA Washington Office.
"Christians have a vital role to play in the movement to achieve the MDGs, and the ONE Campaign ... (and each) offers a way to channel our energies in working toward a reconciled world," the bishops wrote. "In short, a world that has achieved the MDGs will be a world that more greatly reflects Christ's prayer that all be one as he and the Father are one."
The joint pastoral letter is at
on the ELCA
A link to the video of the worship service celebrating the release of the letter will be available for viewing at www.ELCA.org/advocacy/ on the ELCA Web site.
ONE Lutheran resources are at www.ELCA.org/one/ on the ELCA Web site.
* Annie Lynsen is director for grassroots advocacy and communication, ELCA Washington Office.