The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
We’ve learned over the past year how resilient we are as church and as people of God. It’s been a time of pain, loss, injustice and uncertainty. It has also been a time of learning, listening and trying new things — stepping out of our comfort zones and into a more digital world. This church persevered in so many ways.
The churchwide organization has been working alongside all expressions and ministries of the ELCA and our partners to provide resources, share stories, engage members and keep our programs alive as we’ve shifted our focus to responding to the pandemic.
For the generosity of this church through its COVID-19 Response Fund, for the remarkable ways in which we connected to one another, and for the innovative approaches so many of you took to engaging your communities in the gospel, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your ingenuity, and for knowing that God has a plan for us and it’s one filled with hope.
As we look to the future, I invite you to dream with me for a moment.
Imagine more people knowing Jesus. Imagine creating communities of love and justice online and in real life. Imagine our online communities and pews filled with new, young and diverse members. Imagine spending more of your time collaborating with others to have a bigger impact in our neighborhoods and in the world.
That is the future I want to build with you. We’ve all experienced God’s ability to see us through challenging times and through new seasons of life. This is an invitation to be part of something that God is doing with and through us. There’s never been a better moment to share the way of Jesus and introduce more people to community, justice and love.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA Presiding Bishop