On Monday, May 21, we join with the Episcopal Church in our monthly commitment to #PrayFastAct. This month, we center to focus on assistance to veterans and their family members. New investments and policies in recent years have helped to expand veteran access to education, labor opportunities, healthcare and housing. Yet too many veterans, active service members and their families still struggle with complex challenges, ranging from barriers to benefits and increased mental health risks, to the impacts of the opioid crisis and more. Each returning service member has unique needs—and this month’s action supports effective public policies to meet those needs.
Many ELCA rostered leaders have long served as chaplains in medical centers and on bases across the world. In addition to advocating with and for veterans, congregations can play very important roles in direct engagement. Hosting local events, such as 12-step recovery groups, are often an essential and much-needed service in communities. Training videos and resources for clergy and churches interested in engagement can be found on the Veterans Affairs webpage, and ELCA-specific resources for ministers and chaplains can be found at ELCAchaps.com.
FARM BILL TEXT RELEASED: The House Agriculture Committee marked up the first version of the 2018 farm bill in mid-April, sending it to the floor of the House of Representatives. The proposed bill, which would make significant changes to nutrition and anti-hunger programs such as SNAP, was cleared on a strict 26-20 party-line vote.
The farm bill covers a wide-encompassing set of policies, including rural development, international aid, conservation programs and more. Policies that curb hunger and malnutrition, support vibrant agricultural economies in rural communities, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources are critical values to the faith community. Interested advocates can learn more by reading the ELCA Farm Bill 101 fact sheet on the Advocacy Resource Page. Continue reading “ELCA Advocacy Update for May”
As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we share a deep love for all of God’s creation and a profound responsibility for it. Made in the image of God, we are called to continue what God is already doing for the earth (Psalm 104), enabling it to flourish. God assigns humans to care for the earth as God does, in loving servanthood. (Philippians 2:7, Genesis 2:15).
Daily we witness the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. At the same time, we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, is defiled by pollutants and waste, resulting in ecological crisis. As a member church of The Lutheran World Federation, we affirm “that the global ecological crisis, including climate change is, human-induced. This is a spiritual matter. As people of faith, we are called to live in right relationship with creation and to not exhaust it.” Continue reading “ELCA Presiding Bishop Issues Earth Day Statement”
This statement of solidarity with our children from the ELCA Council of Bishops calls us to consider taking part in the March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC or in its satellite city events, as our children and youth are leading us forward as peacemakers. Click on March for Our Lives to find a march near you! Contact Mark Carlson about other events on March 14th and April 20th.
STATEMENT IN SOLIDARITY WITH OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Our children and youth are like a young Jeremiah prophesying to the people: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)
Recently, the students, faculty and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida experienced tragedy. Seventeen people – students and teachers – were killed by a 19-year old shooter. In response, students have invited their teachers, families and allies around the nation to join
with them for a March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC; calling our country into a deeper conversation about school safety and second amendment rights and responsibilities.
We recognize this incident is the latest in a long list of tragic shootings in our country and young people have been calling for protest and change for many years. Some of those young voices have been ignored or silenced because of racial and economic injustice. We cannot let that reality keep us from acting
now. Continue reading ““MARCH FOR OUR LIVES” and the ELCA Council of Bishops Statement in Solidarity with our Children and Youth”
This month we focus on international programs that support women and girls overseas. Although the U.S. government has historically been a leader in funding programs that address the needs of women and girls globally, there are indications that such initiatives are in danger of being significantly reduced or eliminated. Cutting funds and eliminating programs would negatively impact communities that depend on the support of our government to improve the lives of women and girls.
On March 21, Join ELCA Advocacy/the EPPN and presiding bishops of the Episcopal Church and the ELCA as we #PrayFastAct. Continue reading “PRAY FAST ACT”
A highlight for January was the ELCA World Hunger Leaders Gathering in Washington, D.C., with about a dozen people from the three synods that cover California, including two students from California Lutheran University. A “Day on the Hill” included delegation meetings with staff for Senators Feinstein and Harris, and a number of meetings and drop-in visits with California’s large House delegation. Farm Bill re-authorization was the focus, and a primary emphasis was on the food aid provisions, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
When we began our work in 2012, we were charged to foster church dialogue around issues of sexism. We had no idea those issues would be dominating the headlines when we scheduled the publication of the “Draft Social Statement on Women and Justice” for 2018! We invite you to join this timely conversation about the draft because we need the voices of everyone from across our church. Continue reading “Women and Justice Social Statement Process”
As we head into 2018, public interest in anti-poverty programs is rising. Contributing factors include limited wage growth, limited access to training and educational opportunities, and automation and innovation that further limit opportunities. Yet some in Congress are seeing opportunities ahead to cut these programs under the auspices of “reform.” Continue reading “Pray, Fast, Act for January”
ELCA Advocacy Update for the month of January. Please read below for important information on ELCA Advocacy efforts in Washington, across the country and throughout the world. To read the full version of the update and for more information on advocacy efforts from our Lutheran State Advocacy offices, including Mark Carlson’s update from California, visit ELCA Advocacy’s Blog!
ELCA Advocacy, Washington D.C.
#FOR SUCH A TIME: The January day to #PrayFastAct is Sunday, Jan. 21! This month, we are mindful of major programs that help curb poverty, namely Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, and the good they provide for those in the greatest need. People of faith have been champions and voices of support for anti-poverty programs for decades, which continue to serve as a backstop to ensure a minimum level quality of life and security. Be on the lookout for a shared statement from ELCA Advocacy and the Episcopal Church later this month!
HUNGER AND THE FARM BILL: Lutherans from across the country will travel to Washington, D.C., in January for the annual ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering to discuss and take action to address the impact of hunger in communities. The event occurs as lawmakers begin to discuss reauthorizing the Farm Bill, legislation that sets critical agricultural, conservation, energy, rural and hunger policies. While hunger leaders meet with their lawmakers on January 23, ELCA Advocacy will encourage our national advocacy network to stand in solidarity with these advocates by contacting Congress via the Advocacy Action Center. Continue reading “ELCA Advocacy Update for the month of January”