Posts in ELCA
Not waiting for the next tragedy

It happens every single day. Somewhere in our country, gun violence shatters a community, a neighborhood, a family. Almost 40,000 people died in 2018 from guns. That equates with a city the size of Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, struck down in a year – year after year.

Although written in 1995, the ELCA social message on “Community Violence” reads as if describing today. “For some women and children, home is less safe than the street. Hate crimes continue. Neighborhood, schoolyard, workplace, or family disputes spark into violence and become lethal. They become headline news, reinforcing the atmosphere of violence and inspiring profitable entertainment media.”

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Situation Report: Refugees in Serbia

Since the closing of the Balkan Route to Middle Eastern refugees in 2016, Serbia has been gaining more and more refugees. UNICEF predicts that 18,000 people will transit through Serbia by the end of 2019.

Please pray for all those affected by the refugee crisis. Remember those who have lost everything and all those who are working to respond. You can use these prayers and resources in your worship services.

Your gifts are needed now to help with immediate relief. Gifts designated for the Middle East and Europe Refugee Crisis will be used in full (100 percent) to assist those directly impacted and have fled for safety.

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Urge Congress to uphold access to asylum and fair immigration policies today

Click here to take action to secure funding for humane and just immigration system. Use your voice as funding decisions are made.

The ELCA AMMPARO strategy is a holistic, whole church commitment by the ELCA to accompany people who are forced to flee their communities seeking protection from suffering or violence. As church together we work toward just and humane policies affecting migrants in and outside the United States.

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Three Sides Podcast: Reimagining Prison Ministry

Visiting those in prison is one of the fundamental calls in fulfilling the gospel, but within that call lies an invitation to relationship. Pastor Fred Nelson from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Ill., is founder and executive director of The Inside Out Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping connect people both inside prisons and those beyond the walls in more meaningful, effective ways. Listen to the podcast.

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Responding to our sorrow with action

Recent news stories of appalling conditions at immigrant detention centers and of deep human sorrow on our country’s southern border have many of us desperate to be part of change.

Lutherans have a deep-rooted history in refugee and immigrant issues. One of every six Lutherans in the world was a refugee or displaced person after WWII. The God-given dignity in all people and value of family unity have been cornerstones of ELCA faith-based advocacy, and we understand that many immigrants, as well as their families, are both afraid and confused by recent developments. Here are some ways Lutherans have acted and can continue to respond.

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A Personal Reflection on the Documentary Film Emanuel by Pastor Mark Cerniglia

Two important anniversary dates occurred last week. On June 19th there was the observance of Juneteenth, the date on which African descent slaves in Texas received the good news that they had been set free from their bondage. Two days earlier marked the fourth anniversary of the slaying of nine African descent Christians at a Bible Study in their church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a young man hoping to start a race war. On both of those dates last week, there was a nationwide showing of the documentary “Emanuel.”

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Finding a bright path through chaos

Crisis and urgency bordering on chaos are common themes of most news outlets’ headlines. Violence, climate change, hunger, migration… Are we faced with hopeless situations as the headlines seem to indicate? Absolutely not.

Addressing crises of the world may be urgent but must be expediently tactical. God has gifted us with many tools to help us navigate toward viable solutions. The Talanoa Dialogue process is one such tool.

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Hear My Voice: A Prison Prayer Book

Imagine yourself suddenly, unexpectedly arrested and put in jail. You find yourself locked in a cell, perhaps with multiple strangers or perhaps all alone, staring at cracks in the concrete block, wondering what has just happened and what’s going to happen next.

The church wants to stand beside you and to pray with you and for you in that dark night, whatever it may be. Hear My Voice: A Prison Prayer Book (Augsburg Fortress, to be released July 2019) has been written for anyone who is incarcerated or imprisoned in any form.

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Second Chances: A Migrant Story

In 2013, Juan began the journey to the United States, spurred by extreme poverty and lack of opportunities in El Salvador. He attempted to get on “La Bestia” (The Beast) – a network oftrains used by migrants to travel towards the U.S. border. During his attempt to climb aboard, his legs were trapped by the wheels of the train, causing him to lose both his legs. He almost died.

A block from Juan’s home is Our Redeemer, a congregation of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church (ILS). The pastor, Francisco Aguilar, heard about Juan’s story. Read the full story »

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I'm a Lutheran: Nickolas Butler, Novelist and short-story writer

I believe in being good to other people, in making art, in trying to be patient, in seeing beauty in the world, in leaving the planet better than I found it.

Having my first novel, “Shotgun Lovesongs” (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2014), become an international best-seller and receive positive reviews from the New York Times, among others was bewildering. It was a dream come true in the best and most surreal ways. It was basically like I woke up from one life and began living in another, and that second life was my dream. Imagine waking up into a dream.

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Together in Welcome: A letter encouraging accompanying refugees and migrants

A letter from Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA and Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of LIRS. Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The gospels recount the story of Jesus as a migrant, in need of welcome and reception. And Jesus identifies with every wanderer, every displaced person, every refugee, asylum seeker and migrant, when he tells the crowd, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35). Since 1939, LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) has led the Lutheran movement to welcome vulnerable migrants and refugees in America. Meanwhile, as part of the AMMPARO strategy, the ELCA has committed to offering accompaniment to migrants in their communities. 

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Celebrating Juneteenth: Remembering the Past While Looking Forward

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation freed 3.1 million of the nation’s 4 million enslaved people. On June 19, 1865 enslaved Africans in the state of Texas and parts of Louisiana received word of their emancipation 2.5 years later. The celebratory date is known as Juneteenth (June plus nineteenth).  The date is honored by remembering the legacy of enslaved African ancestors, worship services, family gatherings and speaking out against racial injustices.

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Three Sides Podcast: Walking Together

In the ELCA there is no mission “to,” only mission “with” and “among” as its missionaries walk together with those they serve. In this episode of the Three Sides podcast, we hear from ELCA missionaries and ELCA Global Mission staff who talk about what it means to “bear one another’s burdens” by walking together and sharing God’s love in communities throughout the world.

Watch We are one in the Spirit to learn more about Rev. Kirsten Fryer’s journey.

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