The Rev. Eric C. Shafer

Denomination: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

The Rev. Eric C. Shafer was Senior Pastor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica from April, 2014 until his retirement in July, 2022. He is currently the “Pastor in Residence” for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Earlier he worked with Odyssey Networks as the Senior Vice President, Philanthropy & Faith Community Relations at Odyssey Networks. Shafer's longtime passion for matters related to the intersection of faith and the media led to his involvement with Odyssey Networks early in its history and eventually to a position on the organization's Board of Trustees, representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). 

Shafer also served as the Senior Pastor for Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. During his four years of leadership, the church experienced growth in both membership and giving, a result of his extensive experience in strategic planning and communications.

Prior to his pastorate at Trinity, Shafer was the Director for Communication for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at its churchwide offices in Chicago. In that position, he oversaw the ELCA communication ministry and was responsible for the return to television of the animated children's program Davey and Goliath, one of his many successful television productions.

Shafer is a member of the Muhlenberg College Board of Observers and serves as chair of the Wilbur Awards (Religion Communicators Council), which recognize excellence in communicating religious issues, values and themes in the public media. He has previously served as an advisor to the Lutheran World Federation Council, on the board of directors and executive committee of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCCUSA), as vice chair of the board of the Good Shepherd Home and Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as chair of the NCCCUSA Communication Commission and on the Muhlenberg College Board of Trustees.

He is a graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, and Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Shafer has traveled extensively and taught in Madagascar and South Africa.


Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Eric C. Shafer

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Eric Shafer: Really With Us

Tuesday December 17, 2019
Matthew tells a Christmas story from the point of view of Joseph, and unlike Luke with the singing angels and worshiping shepherds, we hear a story not of wonder but of heartache. The Rev. Eric Shafer tells us the months leading up to Jesus’s birth were fraught with anxiety, concern, and emotion for Joseph and Mary. And that is a purpose of Matthew’s telling this story—because we have all been there.

Eric Shafer: You're Gonna Have to Serve Somebody

Tuesday October 17, 2017
In his sermon on Matthew 22:15-22, the Rev. Eric Shafer says while many of us may have strong political views, before and above any of these we are Christians--followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus is or should be our first loyalty, above all others.

How Open Is Our Table?

Tuesday August 24, 2010
In responding to Jesus' teaching on hospitality in Luke 14, notes that welcoming is not an easy task, and welcoming someone who is clearly different from us presents additional challenges. How are we to fulfill Christ's call to be hospitable?

Articles by The Rev. Eric C. Shafer

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Now Open Between Easter and Christmas

Friday September 08, 2023
A congregation in the town next to ours has a new main outdoor sign. Recently the sign said, “Now open between Easter and Christmas.” I wondered what they meant by the phrase and why they used it?

Eric Shafer: What Will You Tell Your Grandchildren?

Thursday February 02, 2023
I believe we are in a “what we tell our grandchildren” moment with Afghans, Ukrainians, Haitians, Venezuelans, and so many more, fleeing war and violence around the world and seeking protection in the U.S. What will tell our grandchildren when they ask us how we responded?

Eric Shafer: The Importance of Saying “Yes”

Wednesday January 18, 2023
Lots of congregations have unused space, often nearly empty for six days each week. And the housing crisis affects every community. One church said "yes" to helping address the situation.

ON Scripture: Eric Shafer on Compassion Fatigue: Mark 6:30-34 & 53-56

Wednesday July 18, 2012
This week's ON Scripture lectionary aid on Mark 6:30-34 & 53-56: The good news is that you and I can take a break at times. Rest, relaxation, vacation, is not only a God-given gift; it is a God-given necessity.

Eric Shafer: O Little Town of Reading

Sunday July 08, 2012
The story of Reading is about revitalization and recovery and what can happen anywhere when people of faith begin to work together. Through our media research and filming in the City of Reading, we have found that residents are indeed resilient, willing to overcome life's challenges, and hopeful for the city and its residents.