ELCA Bishop Visits Concordia

Now is a great time to be a Lutheran was the message shared by the Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

“When we are in worship, we rehearse the faith so we might perform our faith in the world,” he shared during chapel on campus Tuesday.

Hanson had a full day at Concordia. In addition to chapel, he ate breakfast with students, conversed with faculty during lunch, attended religion classes, held a question-and-answer session with students in the afternoon and spoke in a public session in the evening.

The bishop talked about the importance of vocation in Lutheran higher education, a calling that he sees being lived out at Concordia.

“There is a deepening sense of vocation at this college, rooted in soil dating back nearly 500 years,” he said, referring to the Lutheran reformation.

Students asked the bishop questions about interfaith and ecumenical engagement, the environment, the impact of college on his faith and his understanding of the college’s mission statement.

Faculty members wanted to know how the ELCA is reaching young adults that are increasingly not interested in church, how decisions on hot-button issues like sexuality are affecting congregations and what qualities the next generation of Christian leaders will need to possess.

While Hanson openly admitted that living in today’s world requires difficult dialogue between faiths, between denominations, between congregations and among believers, he is convinced that God is at work in all of it.

“Do not be afraid. Do not fear,” he said. “This is what God sent messengers to say before he did a new thing. And this is what He is saying now as He does a new thing among us.”