Chicago, IL (June 8, 2017) – The Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, will be the guest speaker at the opening of the 30th Annual Metropolitan Chicago Synod Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on Friday, June 9, 2017. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, who had committed to attend this gathering, expressed his regrets that he could not be present due to the funeral of Metropolitan Iakovos, leader of the Metropolis of Chicago of the Greek Orthodox Church.

The assembly will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, 2017 at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, Illinois.

On October 31, 2016, Pope Francis and leaders of the Lutheran World Federation launched a year-long commemoration to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. In that same time period, The Rev. Wayne N. Miller, Bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, one of ELCA’s 65 synods, and Cardinal Cupich issued a letter to their respective congregations and parishes urging them to reach out to each other and participate in joint activities, events and prayers during this commemorative year.

“We pray that the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation will be a time to renew our common baptism and witness to our shared faith in Jesus Christ and to the joy of the Gospel,” said Cardinal Cupich. “Together we commit our churches to addressing the troubling issues of violence, poverty and racial injustice in the communities where Lutherans and Catholics live.”

The Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA and the Archdiocese of Chicago signed a Covenant on May 13, 1989 to affirm what they shared in common and to commit to further collaboration toward Christian unity. The Covenant, which was originally signed by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and Bishop Sherman Hicks, will be renewed at a worship service on October 31, 2017 at Holy Name Cathedral. A joint website,, offers resources for parishes and congregations and further information about the service in October and other Chicago-area events planned to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

About the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

The Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago works to foster the ecumenical goal of the visible unity of Christians, to deepen interfaith relations with Jews and Muslims, and to nurture understanding among all religious groups through dialogue, formation, prayer, and collaboration in civic affairs. For more information about the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, contact Sr. Mary Ellen Coombe, nds, Associate Director, 312-534-5324, [email protected].

About the Archdiocese of Chicago

The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest in the United States, serves more than 2.2 million Catholics in 344 parishes in Illinois’ Cook and Lake Counties, a geographic area of 1,411 square miles. The Archdiocese, pastored by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, has more than 15,000 employees in its systems and ministries, including Catholic Charities, the region’s largest nonprofit social service agency, and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary. The Archdiocese also has one of the country’s largest seminaries. The Archdiocese’s 217 elementary and secondary schools comprise one of the largest U.S. private school systems and have garnered more U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards than any system of any type.