Lutheran Ethicists’ Network

The Lutheran Ethicists’ Network (LEN) brings into association and into conversation individuals with various competencies and interests: professors from universities and seminaries, pastors, bishops, chaplains, deacons, lay people trained in ethics, graduate students, and others who have strong interests in ethics and a commitment to the Lutheran tradition.  Through its connection to the ELCA’s Theological Discernment Team in the Office of the Presiding Bishop, the Network serves as an informal consulting and deliberative resource that provides dedicated support for the Theological Ethics desk of the ELCA, with its work dedicated to:

  • The publication of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics,
  • The development of social statements, messages and policy resolutions,
  • The study and analysis of social issues from theological and ethical perspectives,
  • The encouragement of efforts that help the ELCA to live into its identify as a community of moral discernment.

A semi-annual newsletter (late spring and early fall) supplies news and information about the work of Theological Ethics, the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering (LEG, see below), and publications by members of the Network.  Contact the ELCA’s Director for Theological Ethics, Rev. Dr. Roger Willer, for more information or to join the Network’s mailing list.


Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering

The Network meets in person on an annual basis at the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering (LEG) each January. For nearly 30 years, 25 -40 participants have been meeting to discuss mutually agreed upon topics. The Gathering has taken on a wide array of topics but gives particular attention to the intersection of Christian ethics with the church’s presence in society.  The Gathering provides a sustained conversation place within the Network, benefiting both those involved and the wider church. It occurs on the Wednesday evening and Thursday directly prior to the annual meetings of the Society of Christian Ethics and in the same venue.  Information about the next Gathering appears in the LEN newsletter and on the registration site each fall. Sign up to get notified about updates.


2024 Lutheran Ethicists Gathering

The Gathering will take place January 3 and  4 in Chicago, IL. Further information to come!
SIGN UP for notifications.


LEG History

Since 1992, the Lutheran Ethicists’ Gathering (LEG) has been held in more than 15 cities, given close attention to a wide variety of topics,  and fostered frank conversation on challenges that are often urgent.  Information on previous gathering dates, locations, topics, and speakers (though incomplete) is listed here in reverse chronological order.

January 4-5, Chicago, IL
Topic: “Guns, Violence, Security in the U.S.: What Might the ELCA Say Now?”

      • “An Assessment of ELCA Social Policy and Public Witness” Presenter: Per Anderson, Concordia College, Moorhead
      • Understanding and Misunderstanding American Gun Culture and Violence” Presenter: David Yamane, Wake Forest University
      • “Gun Violence Prevention, Locally & Beyond”
        • Amy Lawless, Industrial Areas Foundation
        • Sheri Williams, Northwest Chicago Suburbs—Moms Demand Action
        • Yolanda Androzzo, Coalition and Programming Director from OneAIM Illinois

January 6, Online
Topic: “Restorative Justice: Prospects for Transformation & Penitence”

  • “We Want Justice: Retributive, Distributive, or Restorative” Presenter: Dr. Richard Perry
  • “Reparations as a Politics of the Open Wound” Presenter: Dr. Ted A. Smith

January 5-7, Online
Topic: Living with Covid-19: Reflections and Implications
Covid and the Vocation of Health Care

  • Between Freedom, Faith and Reason: The Lutheran Doctrine of Vocation (Aaron Klink)
  • Maria: Healthcare Worker, Mother, Unintended Teacher (Brenda Peconge)

Covid and Social Trust-Belonging, Conspiracy, Science

  • Presence, Piety, Belonging (Chris Suehr)
  • Covid-19 and Conspiracy Theories (William Rodriquez)
  • The Impact of the Public’s Trust in Science on Saving Lives (Kevin Powell)

Covid and Education

  • Ethics in a Cosmopolitan Era (Richard Perry)
  • The Gendered Impact of Covid in Education (tentative title, Trish Beckman)
  • Responsible Lutheran Liberal Education in Response to the Covid-19 Catastrophe (Per Anderson)


January 8-9, Washington, D.C.
Topic: “…the Power of Church and Civil Government Must Not Be Mixed…” Lutheran Reflections for the 21st Century 

  • “Faith-based Advocacy and Government Today” Presenter: Pr. Amy Reumann
  • “Some Lutheran Reflections on Current Issues in U.S. Church-State Law”. Presenter: Dr. Robert Tuttle
  • A Refresher on Luther’s Political Theology and Its Implications for Today Presenter: Dr. Yang Myung Su
  • Panel: Bringing these concerns to life in church and society. (Dr. Richard Perry, Rev. Joann Conroy, Chaplain, Ms. Trinidad Ariztia


January 2-3, Louisville, KY
Topic: The “Forgotten” Luther and Widening Economic Inequality
Presenters: Ryan P. Cumming, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Jon Pahl
Respondents: Donna Matteis, Justin Nickel, Willa Swenson-Lengyrel
Panelists: Don Gillet, Toni Hawkins, Amariah McIntosh; Moderator: Richard Perry


January 3-4, Portland, OR
Topic: Women and Justice
Presenters: Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Amanda Zenz-Ato, Clare Josef-Maier, Marie Gettel-Gilmartin


January 4-5, New Orleans, LA
Topic: What Shall We Say about Sanctification and Ethics?
Presenters: Svend Andersen, Beverly Wallace, Matthew Riegel, Bradley Burroughs


January 6-7, Toronto, Canada
Topic: Security and Vulnerability in the Light of Global Realities: Living in the Shadow of Empire
Presenters: Mark MacDonald, Ernie Regehr, John Dillon, Sylvia Keesmaat, Katherine Altenburg


January 7-8, Chicago, IL
Topic: Reflections on Dying Well in a Technological Society
Presenters: Bill Buckley, Kenneth Doka, Aaron Klink, Austra Reinis, Ulla Schmidt, John Schumacher


January 8-9, Seattle, WA
Topic: Climate Change
Presenters include: Dr. Larry Rasmussen


January 2-3, Chicago, IL
Topic: Accompaniment and the Criminal Justice System
Presenters: Alex Chartier, Doran Larson, James S. Logan, Tobias Winright


January 4-5, Washington D.C.
Topic: The Challenges of Asymmetrical War to Just War Theory: Conversations between Ethicists and Military Chaplains
Presenters: Gil Meilaender, Gary Simpson David Baer, Martin Cook


January 5-7, New Orleans, LA
Topic: Considering Christian Ethics as Drama
Presenters: Sam Wells, Nancy Arnison, Ryan Cumming, Samuel Keen, Roger Willer


January 6-8, San Jose, CA
Topic: Written on the Heart? Lutherans and Natural Law
Presenters: Thomas Pearson, Cristiana Traina, J. Daryl Charles


January 7-9, Chicago, IL
Topic: The Intersection of Theology, Science and Ethics
Presenters: Roger Willer, Gayle Woloschauk, Kevin Powell


January 2-4, Atlanta, GA
Topic: Lutherans and the Law in Human Society
Presenters included: John Witte Jr.


January 3-5, Dallas, TX
Topic: Human Sexuality
Presenters: Wanda Deifelt, Martha Ellen Stortz, Kathryn Ott, Laurie Jungling, Gary Simpson, Don S.Browning


January 4-6, Scottsdale, AZ
Topic: Lutherans in Public
Presenters: Robert Benne, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Mark Ellingsen, Stefan Heuser, Ronald Duty, Richard Hoehn, Charles Lutz, Diane Yeager


January 5-7. Miami, FL
Topic: Vulnerability and Security
Presenters: Ulla Schmidt, Raag Rolfsen, Sturla Stalsett, Wanda Deifelt, Ryan LaHurd, Gary Simpson, H. David Baer, Mary Gaebler, Diane Yeager


January 7-9, Chicago, IL
Topic: Lutheran Contributions to Bioethics
Presenters: Paul Nelson, Mark Hanson, Klaus Tanner, Leland Glenna


January 8-10, Pittsburgh, PA
Topic: War and Peace in the Islamic Tradition
Presenters: Abdulaziz Sachedina, Schaail Hashmi


January 9-11, Surrey, BC, CA
Topic: Economic Globalization
Presenters: Melvin Cook, Larry Durdy, Joe Keeper, Gary Teeple, Fred McMahon, David Primmer


January 2-5 Chicago, IL
Topic: Discussion with Professor Oliver O’Donovan about his book The Desire of Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology


January 5-7, Washington D.C.
Topic: The Church’s Public Policy Advocacy
Presenters included: Alan Geyer


January 6-8. Burlingame, CA
Three panel discussions: The Significance of The Promise of Lutheran Ethics for Constructive Lutheran Ethics, for Teaching Ethics in the College and Seminary Classrooms, for moral formation and teaching ethics in parish ministry


January 7-9, Atlanta, GA

  • Conversation on Stewart Herman’s paper, “Luther, Law, and Social Covenants”
  • “Moral Formation in Congregations”
  • Conversation on Gene Outka’s paper, “The Particularist Turn in Theological and Philosophical Ethics

Presenters included: Stewart Herman, Robert Michael Franklin


January 9-10, Cincinnati, OH

  • “Voices from the ‘Margins’: how they can emerge from, challenge, and affect Lutheran ethicists today”
  • “The Lutheran Ethics Project”
  • “How Can We Better Equip People to Engage in Moral Deliberation”

Presenters included: Ronald Duty


January 4-5, Albuquerque, NM

  • Discussion of George Forell essays
  • Discussion of Gil Meilaender’s article on “Veritatis Splendor”

Presenters included: Gil Meilaender, Roger Willer


January 5-6, Arlington, VA

  • “What Sources in the Lutheran Tradition are Crucial in Your Work in Ethics? How?”
  • “The Role of the Church as a Moral Teacher in This Society Today”


January 6-7, River Forest, IL

  • “Who Are We and What Are We Teaching, Writing, Doing?”
  • “What Makes Ethics ‘Lutheran’?”
  • “The Current Ecclesial Context for Ethical Deliberation in the ELCA”

Presenters included: Gene Outke


January 8, Savanna, GA


January 12, Philadelphia, PA