Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will gather at two Global Mission Events this summer to deepen and extend their global relationships. Global Mission Events (GMEs) are scheduled July 15-18 at Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., and July 29-Aug. 1 at the Midwest Airlines Center, Milwaukee. Thousands of Lutherans are expected to reflect on the 2004 GME theme, "Claimed by God's grace for the sake of the world."
"A Global Mission Event is a place of dialogue and intersection with the world, where we can meet global brothers and sisters and share our concerns face to face. It is also a place of discovery and challenge. Together we can honor one another's voices and experiences, especially when what we learn stretches our thinking," said Anne Basye, associate director for global resources, ELCA Division for Global Mission.
Basye said the GMEs' theme will help Lutherans "explore our identity as Lutherans personally and globally. Because of God's grace and through our baptism we are called to live in trust, not in fear. We are called to be people of faith in a world shaped by God's grace that is filled with contradictions and struggle. Together we will learn what churches around the world are doing to replace systems of dishonesty and violence with God's realm of love and safety."
Both GMEs will focus on young adults in global mission. Half of ELCA mission personnel who began assignments overseas in 2003 are under 35 years of age; 20 percent of them are under 30. At each GME a group of young adults will share their stories and experiences of serving overseas.
The events will also give special focus to the church's peace work around the world. Participants will hear from ELCA mission personnel from around the world.
Workshops and seminars -- known as "Global University Sessions" --highlight the GMEs. Topics range from pilgrimages in Africa to prison congregations in the United States, from religious practices and symbols to global trade, and from "post Sept. 11" U.S. border security to maritime ministry.
Another highlight of the events is GlobalFest, which features interactive exhibits, stage presentations, music, dance and dress from countries around the world. GlobalFest is led by ELCA mission personnel, international students and others in mission. This year's GlobalFest will begin with an outdoor fest and includes an evening indoor concert of global music.
"It's exciting when Christians from around the world gather to engage in mission through worship, celebration, art, learning and action," Basye said.
Program, registration information and a promotional video clip for the 2004 ELCA Global Mission Events are available at http://www.elca.org/gme/ on the Internet.