This past Saturday, October 5th, Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director of ISNA’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances, represented ISNA at the installation of Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton as the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Chicago. The ELCA is a unified organization of three North American Lutheran church bodies, with over 4 million members across the United States. Bishop Eaton comes to this new role with 32 years in the ministry, and is the first female bishop to be appointed to this position at the ELCA.
ISNA’s relationship with the ECLA has been long and beneficial. Partnerships on Middle East peace efforts, attending ISNA’s national convention and interfaith events, and serving on the Shoulder to Shoulder steering committee are just a few examples of this history of working together. Bishop Hanson, former presiding bishop for the ELCA said that having Sayyid Syeed in attendance served as a “powerful witness in a culture and world where religious differences so often breed cultures of distrust.” Similarly Kathryn Lohre, Director of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations at the ELCA, expressed gratitude to Dr. Syeed saying this was “a strong sign of our relationship, and of our walking together.”
Dr. Syeed met with and congratulated Bishop Eaton on her new role with the ELCA, and emphasized ISNA’s commitment to continued collaboration and service for the common good. He said, “We will continue to work with the new Presiding Bishop in raising our concerns in the corridors of power in Washington DC, advocating for the rights of the poor and the weak and join hands in promoting a culture of peace around the world. We are proud of what we have achieved in fighting Islamophobia and bigotry and we are confident of what we will achieve together in promoting better understanding and building bridges of dialogue between our communities.”