ELCA Becoming Conference

August 21-28, 2022


Several hundred gathered from around the world to listen, learn, share, inspire and connect communities through service and justice, for transformation into the way of Jesus.

The days were filled with dynamic worship, greeting friends and making new friends, and lifting up the ELCA’s Service and Justice Ministries through the Building Resilient Communities focus. The Building Resilient Communities focus brings together local and global, World Hunger, Disaster Response and Global Mission, to accompany ministries, synods, congregations and partners around the world. Their aims: to meet human needs, enhance human dignity, overturn oppression and injustice and engage collaboratively in support of sustainable community and creation — transformation in the way of Jesus. 

The ELCA’s World Hunger Ministry celebrated the distribution of grants and receipt of gifts, including the generous gifts given to grow the Mary and Howie Wennes ELCA Hunger Leaders Endowment Fund. 

Pastor Steve, Eloise Cohen and Carol Bjelland were blessed to be able to participate as representatives of our Ascension Community in the ELCA’s Most Generous Congregations Network Gathering (part of the Becoming Conference).  The highlight of the conference for us from Ascension was the opportunity to meet, listen to, and learn from 15 Global Mission personnel (including Pastor Themba, via Zoom), and six International Women Leaders (IWL), students (including Naomi, studying at CLU) who participated in panel discussions with the Most Generous Congregations Network Gathering group.  

We met Pastor Christie Manisto and Steven Saari who serve at St. Andrew’s in Cairo, Egypt with the StARS Ministry, and learned more about their work helping meet the health, education and hunger needs of refugees, including unaccompanied minor children. We look forward to lifting up the StARS Ministry in Cairo as the international focus for Gifts of Hope this year.

We met Pastor Kristin Engstrom (now serving in Zambia) and Pastor Wal Reat (now serving refugees in South Sudan) and learned more about their work, including some of the special ways they connect with the communities they serve. Pastor Kristin and Pastor Reat are the global mission personnel focus for Ascension for this year.  

Pastor Steve asked many of the Global Mission personnel to share their prayer focus with us so that our Ascension Community can pray for them and their specific needs in the coming days and months. Opportunities to meet in person are limited. Opportunities to pray together are boundless. 

There is much, much more to share. More information from the Becoming Conference, including updates from ELCA World Hunger, Disaster Response, and Global Mission personnel, will be shared in the coming weeks and posted to Ascension’s Global Ministries webpage:

Pastor Steve, Eloise and Carol are happy to share more information with you, too. 

See photos below.

In case you missed them, Pastor Steve reported on the conference as it was taking place on Facebook. Here are exerpts:


Morning worship song at the ELCA Becoming conference in Chicago.  We worshipped with over 100 of our missionaries from around the world, and our ELCA World Hunger leaders.


Yesterday at the ELCA Becoming conference in Chicago, we learned about the ministry of Pastor Kristin Engstrom, our missionary in Zambia. 

Listen to how she led a women’s Bible study, among other stories. 

Keep her and the church in Zambia in your prayers.

Her Instagram: laviedesprit

Her blog:

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elca With Pastor Mytch Dorvilier, now ELCA missionary in Senegal.
ELCA Becoming conference pastor steve, missionary, carol bjelland, eloise cohen
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ELCA Becoming conference music photo by pastor steve
elca becoming conference eloise cohen, bishop eaton, carol bjelland
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