Posts in Publicly Engaged Church
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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Pastor Mateo Chavez in Minnesota for worship and events

Our very own Mateo Chavez, pastor of San Juan Bautista Lutheran Church in Tucson, AZ, will be at Oak Grove Lutheran Church, in Richfield MN, this Sunday. At worship and dinner, Pastor Chavez will be preaching and sharing stories about ministry and work with immigrants and asylum seekers at the Nogales border crossing.

Pastor Chavez is a board member of Cruzando Fronteras, a collaborative border ministry between Episcopal, Lutheran, and Anglican communities on of borders with Mexico, Latin America, and elsewhere.

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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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Stories of Grant Dollars at Work

As we prepare for the 2020 GCS grant process, we have assembled stories from our 2019 Grant recipients, which you can see on our Grant Dollars at Work page. We’ll be highlighting recipients in the coming weeks, and first up is Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Prescott Valley, AZ.

Their Feed the Hungry Program serves 125-145 hot meals on the second Friday of each month to anyone in the community who is hungry.

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Lutheran Social Services of Nevada to Receive Funding to Help Homeless Families

Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (LSSN) is excited and grateful to announce that on June 18th Clark County Commissioners approved a grant of more than $6.1 million in marijuana business licensing fees to help provide nearly 600 beds for homeless families in our community through LSSN, HopeLink, and HELP of Southern Nevada. Of that $6.1 million, LSSN was approved for $1,970,781.00 to rapidly rehouse and provide supportive services to 60 literally homeless families with children.

Read more good news in the LSSN July newsletter »

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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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Climate Change: Let’s get on with the how

The world is in a critical state, and we are far behind in our efforts to limit global warming. There are four numbers that matter:

1.5 or less – The degrees Celsius to which we must limit global warming;
2050 – the year by which the world must reach carbon neutrality;
2030 – the year by which we must limit global emissions by 35-40%; and
2020 – when new and revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), quantifying commitment for greenhouse gas reductions, must be issued by countries.

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Congratulations to Servant of Christ Award Winners!

Congrats to New Spirit Lutheran Church, Tucson, and All Saints Lutheran Church, Phoenix!

Recipients of the Servant of Christ Award from Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, they have truly shown the love of our Savior and embodied the mission of Lutheran Social Services—showing kindness, doing justice, and serving those in need.

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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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It Was a Good Day: A letter from a volunteer

Dear Friends, 

A Homeland Security bus pulled up and out walked 30 people, most from Guatemala and a few from Honduras. Volunteers met them outside and welcomed them. As you can imagine, they were quiet but some offered big smiles. Once all were assembled, an orientation was given. Shortly after orientation, phone calls were made to sponsors so travel arrangements could be made for the last leg of their journey.

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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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