Ecumenical assembly request to pope
“Well-meaning and caring people can be found in all groupings of society,” wrote the Rev. Richard H. Graham, bishop of the ELCA Metro D.C. Synod, in a letter to Pope Francis published in The Washington Post on Sunday, September 20, 2015. “How can we come together to design and implement measures that will reduce the dangers we face?”
Bishop Graham’s letter was a response to action by the 2015 Metro D.C. Synod Assembly which adopted a “Call for an Ecumenical Council to Address World Problems.” This highest legislative body of the synod directed a letter requesting that “His Holiness, Pope Francis, as the leader of the world’s largest religious organization, call an ecumenical council to bring together leaders of all major world religions, skeptics, agnostics and atheists in a concerted effort to deal with the enormous crises the world now faces.”
Because the U.S. visit of Pope Francis brings him to the D.C. area this week, a special section of the Post dedicated to the event was selected as an effective public forum to share Bishop Graham’s invitation. Generous private donors from the synod made the letter’s placement possible.
In the final paragraph, Bishop Graham writes to Pope Francis, “Our prayers are with you as you walk in the footsteps of Jesus.” Full text of the letter follows.
Special Section: “The Francis Factor”
Washington Post, September 20, 2015
We are grateful to you for your leadership in recapturing the essential message of Jesus and of many other religious leaders as together we seek to care for this God-given planet of ours and to serve humanity, especially the outcast, the poor, the homeless, the alienated.
We are writing to implore you, as the leader of the world’s largest religious organization, to convene a world-wide assembly which would bring together leaders of all major world religions, skeptics, agnostics and atheists to join in a concerted effort to deal with the enormous cries the world now faces: religious strife, climate change, depletion of the world’s’ natural resources, food insecurity, vast numbers of people destitute because they are unprepared for meaningful employment in the industries of the 21st century, and the huge and growing economic divides between the wealthiest in every nation and the vast majority of the world’s citizens. These are just some of the challenges that combine to create a questionable future for our planet.
Well-meaning and caring people can be found in all groupings of society. How can we come together to design and implement measures that will reduce the dangers we face? Science and technology, when properly applied, can allow us to become stewards of God’s gifts in determining the future of our planet. We need a voice powerful and benevolent enough to bring us together. Please call for an assembly to tackle these issues before it is too late.
Our prayers are with you as you walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We join with all other world leaders, religious and secular, in promoting a care for humanity and the planet on which we live.
The Rev. Richard H. Graham, Bishop
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America