October 10, 2008

U.S. Lutheran Bishops Address Global Financial Crisis

CHICAGO, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In a pastoral letter to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the ELCA Conference of Bishops called on church members and others who are concerned about the financial health of the United States to discuss and pray about economic life, financial behaviors and "the interconnectedness of all life and creation that cries out to be reclaimed."

The Oct. 7 pastoral letter addressed the current global financial crisis. The full text is at http://tinyurl.com/54cu99 on the ELCA Web site.

The ELCA Conference of Bishops is an advisory body of the church that includes the ELCA's 65 synod bishops, presiding bishop and secretary. It met here Oct. 2-7.

"We are deeply concerned about the current financial crisis, which is affecting not only our nation but the entire global economy," the pastoral letter said. "This crisis is causing fear and loss in our country as thousands of families face unemployment, foreclosure, and uncertainty about savings and pensions. Meanwhile, they struggle to put food on the table and gas into their cars."

The future is uncertain for everyone, and it is "especially frightening," the letter said, for those who are already vulnerable and struggling to survive. In their letter the Lutheran church leaders offered prayers for those whose lives are affected and for national leaders as they seek to address the complex financial crisis.

The ELCA Churchwide Assembly addressed issues about economic life in the 1999 social statement, "Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All," the letter said. The conference encouraged members to use the statement to understand the significance of theological and biblical principles in responding to the crisis.

The letter cited four specific principles: concern for people in poverty, personal and corporate responsibility, the need for good government, and the benefits and limits of free markets.

"As people of the God who calls us out of fear into hope and community, we welcome all people into widespread and respectful discussion about this current crisis," the letter said. "In this way we can create partnerships that will help those whose lives are being shattered and encourage responsibility and integrity in our national economic life."

The text of the social statement, "Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All" is at http://tinyurl.com/549955 on the ELCA Web site.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

CONTACT: John R. Brooks of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,+1-773-380-2958, [email protected]

Web site: http://www.elca.org/http://tinyurl.com/549955http://tinyurl.com/54cu99