ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/ELCA Advocacy Update- September 2015ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/141http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/141<div class="ExternalClassE51FCDCF88374E039FD362C190C07835"><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><p><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</em></p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>​​​Washington, D.C.</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>Mary Minette, </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>Interim Director of Advocacy </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy"><strong></strong></a><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy">www.elca.org/advocacy</a></strong><a></a><a></a><strong></strong></h3><p>&#160;</p><p><strong><img alt="ELCA ADVOCACY LOGO.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/ELCA%20ADVOCACY%20LOGO.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;float&#58;left;" /></strong>&#160;<strong>GOD'S WORK. OUR HANDS. </strong><strong><em>OUR VOICES!&#58;</em></strong> &quot;God's work. Our hands.&quot; Sunday is right around the corner! <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/GWOH_2015_Sunday_Toolkit.pdf?_ga=1.252784459.378179692.1424451403"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">If your congregation is planning a day of volunteering in your community</span></a> on Sept. 13, consider advocacy action as one of the ways to put your faith into action! This year, you can help start a letter writing campaign by printing out customizable letters to Congress. These letters will help advocate for justice by educating your representatives about an issue and showing your community's commitment to compassionate values. Mail your letters to the D.C. Advocacy Office at 122 C Street NW, Suite 125 Washington, D.C. 20001—and we will deliver the letters in bulk to your members of Congress! Click the links below for letters that help support public programs&#58;</p><ul><li><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Child_Nutrition_Postcard_to_Congress.pdf?_ga=1.158001016.378179692.1424451403"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Help feed low-income children</strong></span></a></li><li><a href="https&#58;//drive.google.com/file/d/0B009fXHpAM3EekFJMGM3X1dUMUk/view?usp=sharing"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Care for creation</strong></span></a></li><li><a href="https&#58;//drive.google.com/file/d/0B009fXHpAM3EUGY5ZVVoM2xBaW8/view?usp=sharing"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Support global food development programs</strong></span></a></li><li><a href="https&#58;//drive.google.com/file/d/0B009fXHpAM3EYklyc1g1aF9Ca0U/view?usp=sharing"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Uplift the rights of displaced people across the world</strong></span></a></li></ul><p><strong>FEDERAL BUDGET</strong>&#58; This month, members of Congress will return to Washington, D.C., after their summer recess. Looking ahead, there are many competing priorities with which lawmakers will have to grapple. Near the top of their list is the need to pass a federal budget for the 2016 financial year, which officially begins on Oct. 1. As Congress deliberates how to fund programs that help alleviate hunger, poverty, and the impact of climate change both here at home and around the world—now is a critical opportunity to take action. Remind our members of Congress about the policies we must protect by <a href="http&#58;//support.elca.org/site/R?i=r3PxpeHaRiqzravhOOeRsA"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">taking action here!</span></a> </p><p><strong>IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL</strong>&#58; This month, the House and the Senate will have an opportunity to review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. The controversial deal remains a key focus in a public relations battle, although there are at least a sufficient number of Senators in support of the agreement to sustain a presidential veto. In a letter to members of Congress on Aug. 5, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, urged legislators to carefully consider ethical solutions that work toward conflict resolution and peace. You can <a href="https&#58;//secure2.convio.net/elca/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&amp;page=UserAction&amp;id=453"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">join Presiding Bishop Eaton's call for a peaceful solution at the ELCA Action Center!</span></a> </p><p><strong>FAMILY DETENTION</strong>&#58; On Friday, Aug. 21, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee ordered the Department of Homeland Security to release mothers and children held in detention &quot;without delay.&quot; Gee gave the department until Oct. 23 to comply with the ruling and also addressed the deplorable conditions children face while in Customs and Border Protection custody. This ruling follows her July 24<sup> </sup>decision that family detention violates a 1997 agreement protecting children. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service called on the Obama administration to abide by the court order <a href="http&#58;//lirs.org/press-inquiries/press-room/150824statement/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">in a press statement last week.</span></a> </p><p><strong>GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY ACT</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> We are excited that a number of Lutheran members in the House and other representatives from many of your districts have signed on to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act—an important bill that will help develop and implement a comprehensive strategy and funding to promote global food security. Many of these members were convinced to support this bill because you <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=65946646"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">took action</span></a>. However, we still need many more members of Congress to sign on so that there is enough support to pass the legislation.&#160;As we continue our advocacy here in D.C., we ask you to <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=65946646"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">take action</span></a> once again, and&#160; recruit your family, friends and colleagues to do the same.&#160;Click <a href="https&#58;//drive.google.com/file/d/0B009fXHpAM3EVXN6WFZCdVpSUXM/view?pli=1"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a> to learn more about the Global Food Security Act.</p><p>&#160;</p><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72">____________________</p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72">New York, NY</h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>Dennis Frado​, Lutheran Office for World Community</strong></h3><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72">&#160;</p><p><strong>POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA&#58; </strong>Member states of the United Nations concluded their negotiations on Aug. 2 on a proposed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development titled <a href="https&#58;//sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/7891Transforming%20Our%20World.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Transforming Our World</span></a>, &quot;a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.&quot; The document, which sets forth 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, is set to be adopted at the end of September when state leaders convene for the <a href="https&#58;//sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/summit"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015</span></a>. LOWC has been monitoring the negotiations and will be continuing to follow the implementation phase, including the development of target indicators by 2016 and the establishment of review mechanisms.</p><p><strong><img alt="lowc.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/lowc.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;147px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />MISSION INTERPRETER COORDINATOR CONFERENCE&#58; </strong>LOWC prepared a program and introduction to the work of the office for ELCA Mission Interpreters from across the church who met in New York on Aug. 28. Led by Christine Mangale, the group learned the basics about LOWC's work and heard presentations from ecumenical colleagues and the International Organization for Migration on sustainable development, gender equality, and migratio<img alt="German 2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/German%202.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;267px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />n and development, and toured the United Nations.&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>VISIT FROM THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF HESSEN AND NASSAU (Germany)&#58; </strong>At the end of the month, LOWC hosted a delegation from the Evangelical Church of Hessen and Nassau (EKHN) (Germany), led by its president, the Rev. Dr. Volker Jung. In addition to hearing about LOWC's work, the group met with Ambassador Heiko Thoms (<em>see photo, third from left</em>), deputy permanent representative of Germany to the United Nations, and had lunch with the Rev. David Gaewski, conference minister for New York of the United Church of Christ, and ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod Bishop Robert Rimbo.&#160;&#160;</p><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>California</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>Mark Carlson </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>Lutheran Office of Public Policy</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/"><strong>www.loppca.org</strong></a><strong>​</strong></h3><p>&#160;</p><p>The Legislature returned from a month's recess and will be completing its business in regular session on Sept. 11. There are also separate special sessions underway on transportation and health care funding. A priority for LOPP-CA is passage of ambitious, and contentious, carbon reduction goals (SB 350 and SB 32), and several Lutherans participated in an Aug. 25 lobby day organized by California Interfaith Power &amp; Light and hosted by LOPP-CA at St. John's Lutheran Church near the Capitol. The next day, more Lutherans participated in the Stronger California day focused on women's economic equity and repeal of the Maximum Family Grant rule for CalWORKS/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The Rev. Leslie Welton of St. John's and<img alt="ca.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/ca.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;210px;height&#58;314px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /> JoAnn Anderson of Incarnation Lutheran, Davis, were among those that met with Gov. Jerry Brown's staff. On Sept. 2, a large Capitol rally and lobby day will show support for AB 953, a bill to address racial and identity profiling by law enforcement.&#160; LOPP-CA worked to connect PICO California, one of the rally organizers, with St. John's Lutheran, which agreed to be the gathering place for hundreds of participants.</p><p>After viewing the webcast on racism by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and William B. Horne II on Aug. 6 at St. John's, LOPP-CA Director Mark Carlson, Conference Dean the Rev. Jason Bense, outgoing Sierra Pacific Synod Council member Joseph Husary, and synod anti-racism leader Jane Okubo participated in a candlelight vigil at the Capitol marking the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act (<em>see photo</em>).&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span><br></strong><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>Colorado</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><strong>Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72"><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/"><strong>www.lam-co.org</strong></a></h3><h4><span style="color&#58;#222222;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong></strong></span></h4><p><strong>HUNGER ADVOCACY</strong>&#58; ELCA pastors and lay people participated in hearings around Colorado in August to advocate for better funding for child-nutrition programs and other anti-hunger efforts. The Colorado Department of Human Services hosted meetings on a listening tour of nine counties. Lutherans were present at hearings in Logan, Douglas, Kit Carson and La Plata counties to speak up about the realities of hunger in their communities. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado is working with a coalition organized by Hunger Free Colorado to raise the profile of anti-hunger and nutrition programs around the state and to encourage people to tell stories about why these programs matter and how they make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Coloradans.</p><h3><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><h3><strong></strong></h3><h3><strong>​Minnesota</strong></h3><h3><strong>Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy - Minnesota</strong></h3><h3><a href="mailto&#58;tammy@lcppm.org"><strong>tammy@lcppm.org</strong></a><strong>&#160;&#160;</strong></h3><p><strong></strong>&#160;</p><p><strong>AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> The Homes for All coalition heard proposals by members for legislation focused on seniors (the fastest growing group of homeless in Minnesota), and communities of color (dedicated state funding to increase housing options for households of color). </p><p><strong>FINAL CLEAN POWER PLAN ANNOUNCEMENT</strong>&#58;&#160; Director Tammy Walhof tweeted during President Obama's live-stream Clean Power Plan briefing. LA-MN has also been part of many meetings and webinars to learn about and discuss the final plan. </p><p><strong><img alt="mn3.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/mn3.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;240px;height&#58;416px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />GOV. DAYTON</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>&#160;Minnesota Environmental Partnership featured the governor (<em>see photo</em>) at its annual meeting. He answered questions, including one from Tammy. He mentioned a Clean Power Plan letter signed by more than 300 faith leaders that LA-MN and MNIPL organized and encouraged continued action.&#160; </p><p><strong>NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA SYNOD CREATION CARE TEAM PLANNING DAY</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Proposed pipeline routes will cross the synod and endanger water sources, prompting the team to action. They will also be promoting &quot;Graceful Engagement on Difficult Issues&quot; (based on training Tammy provided previously). New subcommittees include a group to help Tammy develop ideas for climate conversations starting from frames of hunger and poverty, water, coal, and clean energy. </p><p><strong><img alt="mn2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/mn2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;320px;height&#58;240px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />PUBLIC HEARING—PUBLIC UTILITLES COMMISSION&#58;</strong> Tammy testified at the hearing, as did Diaconal Minister Mike Troutman (<em>see photo</em>). Breaks during the four-hour hearing allowed people to ask Tammy how their congregations can do more. </p><p><strong>FACEBOOK&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>Tammy has been actively trying to increase LA-MN's Facebook presence and has been testing issues and strategies. Lutherans, Christians of other backgrounds, and others are gradually finding the posts and page.</p></div><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><p><strong></strong>&#160;Twitter&#58; <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/LuthAdvocacyMN"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">@LuthAdvocacyMN</span></a>&#160;&#160; <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/pages/Lutheran-Advocacy-Minnesota/100113576746897"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Facebook</span></a></p><div>&#160;</div></div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>​New Mexico</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</a></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><img alt="nm.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/nm.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM Director Ruth Hoffman is serving on two task forces that are looking at housing issues. One task force is concerned with making supportive housing more available throughout New Mexico using the Housing First model, a proven approach that places chronically homeless people in supportive housing that is safe and affordable and then works with them to address the barriers that brought them to homelessness. The other task force is discussing alternatives for the mentally ill who have been arrested. Among the approaches that the group is looking at are better screening and treatment, alternative housing, and diversion programs. County jails have become de facto housing for people with mental illness who have been arrested for primarily minor crimes. Both task forces will be reporting to legislative interim committees this fall.&#160;&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>​Ohio</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Nick Bates, The Faith Coalition for the Common Good&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><a href="mailto&#58;nick@oneohionow.org"><strong>nick@oneohionow.org</strong></a></h3><p style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><img alt="oh1.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/oh1.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;334px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Nick Bates, diaconal minister in the Southern Ohio Synod, spoke on behalf of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good on Aug. 26 in support of State Issue 1—an effort to create more fair state legislative district lines. The amendment will require bi-partisan support for a legislative map, establish guiding principles for the maps, and be a more open process.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">&quot;We have the capacity in Ohio to do many great things, like end hunger, reduce poverty, and improve education for all of Ohio's children,&quot; Bates said.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">That is why we encourage a YES vote in November to create a fair process for drawing Ohio legislative districts. Fair districts mean fair elections, and in turn that will lead to policies that are fairer to all Ohioans.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">The press conference, in the Ladies Gallery at the Ohio Statehouse, coincided with a report released by the League of Women Voters highlighting how gerrymandered legislative districts have predicted nearly every election result in recent history. Ohioans <img alt="oh2.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/oh2.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;243px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />will have the opportunity to vote on the issue in November. &#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">&quot;As people of faith, we value community,&quot; Bates said. &quot;As the community of Ohio, we believe our governmental officials need to be accountable and connected to the community they serve.&quot;</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania&#160;</strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><h3><strong>Tracey DePasquale, Associate Director</strong></h3></div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/"><strong>www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>STATE BUDGET</strong>&#58; Pennsylvania heads into September <a href="http&#58;//www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/08/level_of_concern_as_pa_enters.html#incart_river"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>without a budget</strong></span></a>, which is now two months overdue.&#160; Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-led Legislature continue to wrestle primarily over major issues of education funding, public-pension system changes, the state liquor system and a severance tax on shale drilling. Non-profits are tracking the consequences of delay, and many school districts are faced with borrowing as they begin the year without state payments. Pennsylvania Lutherans continue to advocate for fair and adequate school funding and expansion of the state Housing Trust Fund.&#160; </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><img alt="pa1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/pa1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;350px;height&#58;197px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />HUNGER AND ENVIRONMENT</strong>&#58; Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia featured Director Amy Reumann and the work of LAMPa in an <a href="http&#58;//ltsp.edu/amy-reumanns-public-policy-ministry-includes-concerns-about-hunger-housing-and-civil-rights/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>on-line video</strong></span></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong> interview</strong></span>. </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">LAMPa continued to prepare congregations around the state to add their voices to &quot;God's work. Our hands.&quot; Sunday with postcard campaigns for childhood nutrition and school funding. LAMPa Director Amy Reumann helped organize and participated in an Interfaith Climate Advocacy Training sponsored by Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light. </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><img alt="pa2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/pa2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;112px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />MIGRATION</strong>&#58; Associate Director Tracey DePasquale helped train volunteers for the immigration detainees visitation program, &quot;Walking Together,&quot; and connected LIRS to leaders looking to make York a &quot;Welcoming Community.&quot; </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;">Also in August&#58; Lutheran hunger leaders and pastors from the Allegheny and Upper Susquehanna synods participated in a round table on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization held by congressman Glenn Thompson. Youth from St. Luke's, Bloomsburg, visited with LAMPa to learn more about advocacy and tour the state Capitol. LAMPa had a display table at the Lower Susquehanna Synod Women of the ELCA gathering in Shippensburg. </p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Virginia</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Charles Swadley</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</a></strong></h3><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong></strong>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>The Virginia Interfaith Center For Public Policy (VICPP) activities include&#58;</strong></p><ul style="text-align&#58;left;"><li>Sent action alerts on a number of federal policy issues, including feeding program reauthorization and economic policy, to approximately 10,000 statewide faith-based supporters.</li><li>Organized and hosted two statewide educational webinars/teleconferences on the topic of redistricting in Virginia that attracted more than 125 participants. The events were produced in partnership with the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, New Virginia Majority, and One Virginia 2021.</li><li>Organized and hosted a chapter meeting of American Families United, a national organization of families working to help improve immigration law. </li><li>Hosted Virginia Department of Health for a policy and grassroots education planning sessions for nutritional and feeding programs.</li><li>Exhibited at the Interfaith Center of Greater Richmond's annual meeting.</li><li><img alt="VA.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/VA.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;360px;height&#58;204px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Hosted a table with our New River Valley Chapter at &quot;<a href="http&#58;//www.downtownblacksburg.com/steppin_out.aspx"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Steppin' Out&quot; in downtown Blacksburg</span></a> on Aug. 7 and 8 (<em>see photo</em>). Handed out more than 200 &quot;Building Community&quot; stickers. People filled in blanks on the stickers about what builds community. The stickers were intended to counter the pro-gun elements that permeate the event.</li><li>VICPP&#160;and Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare (VICPP's healthcare advocacy program) attended and exhibited at Happily Natural Day on Aug. 29 and presented at the New River Valley Chapter's annual &quot;Coming Together to Make a Difference&quot; of social justice organizations in Roanoke Valley on Aug. 30.</li><li>Participated in planning meetings for an Anti-Poverty Summit to be held February 2016 in Hampton Roads in partnership with the Center for American Progress and a number of statewide organizations planning.</li><li>Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare supported our Northern Va. Chapter's organizing&#160;a Medicaid Expansion event on Sept. 10 in partnership with the League of Women Voters.</li><li>Worked with Virginia United Methodist Conference leaders to plan for seven &quot;Social Action 101&#58; Effective Advocacy with the General Assembly&quot; educational events to be held across Virginia in November.</li><li>Chapter leaders, including Virginia Union Seminary faculty member, the Rev. Dr. Faith Harris, are working with the center to produce social justice and action coursework and workshops.</li><li>Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare will be participating in Labor Day activities in the Hampton/Newport News area to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.</li></ul><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Washington</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"></a><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"><strong>www.fanwa.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong></strong>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>POLICY UPDATES</strong><strong>&#58;</strong>&#160; The lead congressional issue for Faith Action Network (FAN) continues to be the reauthorization of our nation's child-nutrition programs. We are supporting summer hunger reduction bills and urging support for all of this as we meet with members of congress and their staffs. We are also setting interim meetings with our state legislators in preparation for the next legislative session in January. Additionally, FAN is excited that all three of our ELCA bishops are going to Washington, D.C., for the congressional convocation with bishops of the Episcopal Church USA.&#160; </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><img alt="wa1.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/wa1.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;450px;height&#58;309px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />FAITH BASED ORGANIZING</strong><strong>&#58;</strong>&#160; FAN's Network of Advocating Faith Communities (now at 101) is divided into 17 geographic clusters around our state. We are in FAN's third programmatic season of gathering in cluster meetings to build relations between FAN and our advocates and their faith communities. We discuss FAN's policy work as well as best practices for advocacy at the congregational level.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>STAFFING</strong><strong>&#58;</strong>&#160; FAN is excited about our two new interns. One is an ELCA seminary student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and will be shared with an ELCA congregation two days a week. Our other new intern is from the United Church of Christ and will be at FAN four days a week. We also sadly say goodbye to Kelle Rose, who is moving on to graduate school—but welcome Erin Parks, who is a Pacific Lutheran University grad and recently spent a Lutheran Volunteer Corp year with the ELCA churchwide organization's Justice for Women program.&#160;&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Wisconsin</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/" target="_blank"><strong>www.loppw.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong></strong>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>DIALOGUE WITH BISHOPS</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>The<strong> </strong>director met with four bishops at a Region 5 meeting to review LOPPW's priorities and resources and receive input and ideas for future priorities. They also discussed ways LOPPW could play a role in supporting and rejuvenating ELCA World Hunger teams in their synods.</p><p><strong>CARE FOR CREATION/WATER CAMPAIGN</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>LOPPW and the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin began working together to create a team that will access resources from ELCA World Hunger and the Washington, D.C., Advocacy Office. The team will focus on the impact of climate change on water availability and hunger and the interrelatedness of the three.&#160; </p><p><strong>TRAFFICKING</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>LOPPW is working with UW-Madison to secure an intern for 10 hours per week for one semester beginning this fall. The intern will work with the director and the LOPPW/Cherish All Children advocacy team to create resources for congregations.</p><p><strong>MONEY IN POLTICS</strong><strong>&#58;</strong>&#160; The director discussed this as one of the root causes of hunger in relationship to public policy with the bishops and one legislator to prepare for part of the agenda of our September annual Advisory Council/Staff Retreat. More immediately, LOPPW will address the threat of dismantling our state's Government Accountability Board.</p><p><strong>TRAINING</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> The director participated in a one-week community organizing training hosted by the ELCA.</p><p><strong>INTERFAITH&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>The director met with staff from the Wisconsin Council of Churches to begin discussions about partnering on a future project with a focus on a public policy.&#160; </p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>What advocacy efforts are going on in your synod or state? We want to hear about it!</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Contact us at </strong><a href="mailto&#58;washingtonoffice@elca.org"><strong>washingtonoffice@elca.org</strong></a><strong> ​​</strong></h3></div>09/03/2015Connecting Mental Health and HungerLeah Shelton, ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/140http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/140<div class="ExternalClassF35DF982F3C14CC991DF760AC02B7FCB"><p><a href="http&#58;//www.cdc.gov/features/childrensmentalhealth/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">One in five</span></a>&#160; children in the United States experience a mental disorder each year. <em>That's nearly 16 million children</em> <em>every year</em>. Mental disorders can be extremely debilitating, leading to isolation, self-harm, and a life-long stigma of weakness and danger. These effects, if not treated in childhood, can affect the child's entire life. </p><p>With that statistic in mind, now consider that only <a href="http&#58;//www2.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=federal_and_state_policy_legislation&amp;template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&amp;ContentID=43804"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">20%</span></a> of childhood mental disorders are treated. This is the 20-20 effect&#58; 20% of children have a mental disorder and 20% are treated. Treatment exists for such a small number for many reasons, including a scarcity of pediatric and adolescent psychiatrists and the cost of treatment. Childhood mental health awareness and treatment in the United States is detrimentally dismal. </p><p>We have a problem. &#160;&#160;</p><p>What is causing mental illness in children? There is an innumerable set of influences, but among the many risk factors is poverty. Recent <a href="http&#58;//www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4167107/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">evidence</span></a> points specifically to poor nutrition. While there is not yet evidence of a causal relationship (lack of/poor nutrition causing mental disorders), <strong>it is evident that there is a definite relationship between child nutrition and mental health.</strong> The grips of poverty force families to go hungry, and without proper nutrition children may have an increased risk of developing a mental disorder or worsening a pre-existing one.</p><p>Childhood nutrition in the U.S. is as bleak as mental illness&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.nokidhungry.org/pdfs/Facts-Childhood-Hunger-in-America-2013-grid.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">1 in 5 </span></a>children in the U.S. do not know where their next meal will come from. <em>Approximately 16 million U.S. children are food-insecure.</em><em>&#160; </em>Although I have never experienced the kind of anxiety that comes from searching for food, during my time interning at the ELCA's Advocacy Office in Washington D.C., I've witnessed advocates from across the country telling their members of Congress stories about the constant anxiety they and their friends suffer because of food insecurity. Their stories opened my eyes to both the desperation of hunger and the vital role that public policy must play to keep them from starvation.&#160; </p><p>The federally funded <a href="http&#58;//www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/national-school-lunch-program-nslp">National School Lunch Program</a> makes possible school breakfasts and lunches, which these children depend on as a consistently reliable source of nutrition. While it may appear as if these hungry children will receive at least one meal a day for the rest of their school years, Congress has the power to change this, for better or worse. The National School Lunch Program and <a href="http&#58;//www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/advocate/hunger-issues/about-child-reauthorization.html">other programs</a>, such as The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children<span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"> </span>(WIC), are <strong>set to expire at the end of </strong><strong>September</strong><strong>.</strong> ELCA Advocacy is calling upon Congress to reauthorize &#160;these programs in order to continue providing nutrition for low-income families and children. So far, Congress has not reauthorized these programs, leaving <a href="http&#58;//www2.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=federal_and_state_policy_legislation&amp;template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&amp;ContentID=43804"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>16 million children with food-insecurity</strong></span></a><strong>.</strong> </p><p>By defunding programs such as the National School Lunch program, Congress is essentially sweeping the carpet out from under the feet of these children and telling them that their lives are not worth the <a href="https&#58;//schoolnutrition.org/AboutSchoolMeals/SchoolMealTrendsStats/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">$16 billion</span></a> school breakfasts and lunch cost, combined. Even in terms of money, compared to the <a href="http&#58;//www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6202a1.htm"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">$247 billion</span></a> childhood mental healthcare costs each year, funding nutrition programs is much more fiscally feasible and responsible. Even if the programs are reauthorized, special interest groups are lobbying Congress to neutralize federal nutrition standards for these programs. Students, some of whom find school lunch to be their only meal of the day, could find lower health standards in their food and continue this long term problem. </p><p>Why would Congress remove a program which is so closely linked to a risk factor for mental illness when the rates for both child nutrition and mental illness are oppressive? This &#160;would be detrimental, not only for children like the ones I met, but also for the federal budget. <strong>It is moral, fiscal, rational, and imperative that Congress fund child nutrition programs. </strong></p><p>ELCA Advocacy has long supported child nutrition programs and intervening in the cycle of hunger and poverty which mental illness is so frighteningly connected to. As Lutherans, <strong>we must raise our voices to this injustice and ask Congress</strong> to stand by Matthew 23&#58;35&#58; &quot;For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.&quot; By doing this, we stand by our challenge to ourselves to &quot;become good stewards of … physical and mental health by attending to preventive care, personal health habits, diet, exercise, and recreation&quot; (ELCA Health Care Statement).</p><p><strong>*Check out&#160; how Lutherans are getting involved in healthcare initiatives at </strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranservices.org/advocacy"><strong>Lutheran Services in America</strong></a><strong>. </strong></p><p>**For more information on other&#160;public policy initiatives for preventing common mental disorders click <a href="http&#58;//www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3534562/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>. </p></div>08/19/2015ELCA Advocacy Update- August 2015ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/139http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/139<div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><p><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</em></p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​​​Washington, D.C.</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Mary Minette, </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Interim Director of Advocacy </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy"><strong></strong></a><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy">www.elca.org/advocacy</a></strong><a></a><a></a><strong></strong></h3><p>&#160;</p><p><strong><img alt="ELCA ADVOCACY LOGO.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/ELCA%20ADVOCACY%20LOGO.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;float&#58;left;" />EPA CLEAN POWER PLAN ANNOUNCED&#58;</strong> This week, President Obama unveiled details about a new EPA Clean Power Plan. The plan will work with states and industries to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and help combat climate change. Following the release of the rule, ELCA Advocacy's new interim director, Mary Minette, released the following statement applauding the announcement&#58;</p><p><em>&quot;Reducing carbon emissions from power plants must be a top priority for the U.S. and the world if we hope to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and protect communities around the world.</em></p><p><em>The rule released today by the Environmental Protection Agency is a critical step in reaching that goal. It provides individual states the flexibility to implement the rule in ways that make the most sense for their economies and power needs while still reducing overall emissions and demonstrating our country's leadership in combating climate change.</em></p><p><em>Climate change is already affecting all of us. Most importantly, it will cause countless problems for our children, our grandchildren, and our most vulnerable neighbors if we fail to take bold action now to curb its worst impacts.&#160;We have a moral obligation to leave our children a healthy and safe world, and to care for our neighbors.&#160;The rule released today is an important step on the path to meeting that obligation.&quot;&#160;</em></p><p><strong><img alt="youth.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/youth.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;240px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />ADVOCACY AT THE ELCA YOUTH GATHERING</strong>&#58; ELCA Advocacy joined with ELCA Young Adult Ministry for engagement and action at the ELCA Youth Gathering this July in Detroit. Youth took action in support of Child Nutrition reauthorization, called on the United States to lead in addressing climate change, and learned about how to continue connecting with the ELCA as young adults. We are excited to build our partnership with ELCA Young Adult Ministry by supporting efforts to foster connections and engage on important issues in our communities. Watch for important social media conversations by following @elcayoungadults and #elcayoungjustice!.</p><p><strong>RESTORING RELATIONS WITH CUBA</strong>&#58; On July 23, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved three amendments on Cuba. The first amendment lifts the travel ban to Cuba for one year. The second amendment repeals the costly and outdated requirement that any ship entering Cuban ports shall not load/unload cargo anywhere in the United States within 180 days without a license from the secretary of the treasury. Lastly, the committee voted to allow the private sector to provide financial services to Americans for sales of permitted agricultural goods to Cuba. While these amendments have yet to pass the full Senate, it is indicative of the growing bipartisan consensus in Congress and <a href="http&#58;//support.elca.org/site/R?i=CPvM8geETv3FHZALxDWGtQ"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">around the country</span></a> for our government to normalize relations with Cuba. Through advocacy and high-level dialogue, the ELCA continues to support all efforts to fully restore relations with Cuba. </p><p><strong><img alt="child.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/child.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;134px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />CHILD NUTRITION REAUTHORIZATION</strong>&#58; The Senate Finance committee will consider child nutrition program legislation starting Thursday, Sept. 17. This legislation will determine the continuation of cost-effective federal programs that are critical to the wellbeing of children in schools across the nation. Take action today to <a href="http&#58;//support.elca.org/site/R?i=xXOHfNMYuDdVt5vYnmEmQw"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">support these programs at the Advocacy Action center</span></a>. <strong>NOTE&#58;</strong> <strong>For advocates who collected and shared ELCA child nutrition postcards on this issue, please</strong> <strong>send in all signed postcards to the ELCA Advocacy office as soon as possible</strong>! (<em>Mail to&#58; 122 C Street NW, Suite 125, Washington, D.C. 20001</em>).</p><p><strong>U.S. MIGRATION</strong>&#58;&#160; In late July, Judge Dolly Gee ruled that the U.S. government must stop detaining families because it violates a 1997 agreement that upholds the best interest of children. The U.S. government has until the week of Aug. 10 to appeal the decision. However, in a move signaling their willingness to appeal, the Department of Justice has already asked the judge to reconsider her decision. The faith community has stood together <a href="http&#58;//support.elca.org/site/R?i=MGLGLf1C6PK94x7OnknAHA"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">asking the administration to release families as soon as possible</span></a> and not appeal the decision.</p><p><strong>CENTRAL AMERICA/MEXICO</strong>&#58; The Senate released their version last month of the funding bill that would address migration from Central America. Their version focuses on addressing poverty, violence and corruption. This stands in contrast to the House version, which incentivizes stopping children and families at all costs by releasing funding only if Central American and Mexican governments increase border security and stop migrants. Although neither bill is expected to be approved, the ELCA is advocating for the continuous resolution, which keeps funding levels the same as the previous fiscal year, to contain the provisions in the Senate version of the bill.</p><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;">____________________</p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;">New York, NY</h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Dennis Frado​, Lutheran Office for World Community</strong></h3><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</p><p><strong>TRAINING WORKSHOP ON ADVOCACY FOR FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS&#58; </strong>The Lutheran World Feder<img alt="lwf.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/lwf.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;160px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />ation Women in Church and Society program organized a training workshop from July 6 to July 11 in Geneva on women's human rights advocacy.&#160; It was held jointly with the World Council of Churches, Finn Church Aid, the ACT (Action by Churches Together) Alliance, and the World YWCA. The &#160;workshop's aim was to help participants from member churches or other faith-based organizations to better understand and use U.N. mechanisms and treaties, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Universal Periodic Review, and the U.N. &#160;Commission on the Status of Women to advance gender quality. Submitting &quot;shadow&quot; reports is one of the avenues faith-based organizations can report on human rights situations in the countries being reviewed. The Lutheran Office for World Community's Christine Mangale presented and moderated a workshop that explored the linkages between Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Universal Periodic Review and the proposed U.N. <a href="http&#58;//support.elca.org/site/R?i=UJZUGHCaBNoRSogdNSnl2g"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Post-2015 Development Agenda</span></a>, including the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. </p><p><strong>LUTHERAN WORLD FEDERATION GENERAL SECRETARY VISITS LOWC&#58; </strong>In early July, the general secretary of The Lutheran World Federation, the Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, visited the Lutheran Office for World Community.&#160; The primary purpose of his visit was to attend a donor-faith-based organizations-U.N. &#160;consultation and reflect together in depth on three areas&#58; governance and democratization, peace and security, and gender equality and women's empowerment. They will be included in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. While in New York, he also visited the offices of U.N. Women, UNICEF, the U.N. Development Program, and the U.N. Population Fund to discuss possible future areas of collaboration. LOWC staff accompanied him to all of the meetings.</p><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>California</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Mark Carlson </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Lutheran Office of Public Policy</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/"><strong>www.loppca.org</strong></a><strong>​</strong></h3><p>&#160;</p><p><strong>STATE LEGISLATURE</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> The California Legislature is on summer recess until Aug. 17, when it will reconvene for three weeks of final activity for the year. Before recess, LOPP-CA expressed support in the Assembly Human Services Committee for a bill, SB 23, to repeal the Maximum Family Grant rule that prohibits additional cash assistance for a new pregnancy and birth in a family already enrolled in CalWORKS/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, except for reported rape and incest, or specified, medically documented contraceptive failure. Ending this harsh, &quot;thin the soup&quot; policy based on demeaning stereotypes, which contributes to one-quarter of California's children living in poverty, is a high priority for women's advocates.&#160; A coalition is planning a &quot;Stronger Together&quot; action day at the Capitol on Aug. 26.</p><p><img alt="CA1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/CA1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Director Mark Carlson's activities included a half-day briefing by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (focus on health access for undocumented immigrants); attendance at the funeral of the Rev. &#160;Richard Bowley, a leader in justice and anti-racism ministry; anti-racism training offered by Faith Lutheran, Meadow Vista, and Bethlehem Lutheran, Auburn; panelist at a forum on police-community relations at Our Redeemer, Sacramento; and hosting a Day at the Capitol for participants in the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network, sponsored by Lutheran Episcopal Campus Ministry at UC Davis (<em>see photo with legislative director for Senate majority leader</em>).&#160; A highlight was viewing a Senate hallway press conference by about eight senators who condemned the anti-immigrant rhetoric of Donald Trump.&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span><br></strong><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Colorado</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/"><strong>www.lam-co.org</strong></a></h3><h4></h4><p><strong>ELCA YOUTH GATHERING</strong>&#58; Director Peter Severson was present at the Youth Gathering in Detroit to raise the profile of advocacy, partnering with ELCA Young Adult Ministry and ELCA World Hunger to create action stations in the Interaction Center. The advocacy offices in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., were represented. Hundreds of youth and group leaders filled out child nutrition <img alt="CO2.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/CO2.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />postcards for members of Congress and signed the Interfaith Climate Petition, and even Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton came to visit us!</p><p>You can see more pictures and updates from the Youth Gathering by searching for #RiseUpELCA and #ELCAYoungJustice on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us @LutheranAdvoCO and like us on <span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">facebook.com/LutheranAdvocacyCO </span>to hear more about what we're up to. &#160;</p><p><strong>CHILD NUTRITION</strong>&#58; LAM-CO has been deeply involved in raising the profile of child nutrition issues in Colorado this summer. As Congress looks ahead to working on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act this fall, LAM-CO has joined members of the anti-hunger coalition in planning events for the Colorado delegation during the August recess to highlight the importance of summer meal programs, especially for low-income households.</p><p>In addition, pastors and lay leaders in rural counties are preparing to attend town hall meetings this month hosted by the Colorado Department of Human Services in order to speak out on hunger issues.</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​Minnesota</strong><br><strong>Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy - Minnesota</strong><br><a href="mailto&#58;tammy@lcppm.org"><strong>tammy@lcppm.org</strong></a><strong>&#160;&#160;</strong></h3><h4></h4></div><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><p><strong>KIDS COUNT</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> The new KIDS COUNT report ranks Minnesota No.1 for well-being of children, based on education, economic well-being, health, and family and community. However, significant concerns still exist for Minnesota children&#58; 14 percent live in poverty; one-third live in households with overly high housing costs; more than 3,500 (half &#160;under age 6) are homeless with their parents on any given night. The report confirms that &quot;<strong>children in low-income families that have limited access to affordable housing</strong> are <strong>more likely to live in crowded housing or become homeless</strong>, and are <strong>more likely to be food insecure</strong> and have to <strong>postpone accessing health care</strong>.&quot; [Emphasis added.]</p><p><a href="http&#58;//www.cdf-mn.org/research-library/kids-count"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">MN KIDS Count report</span></a> </p><p><a href="http&#58;//datacenter.kidscount.org/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">National KIDS COUNT Data Center</span></a></p><p><a href="http&#58;//www.aecf.org/work/kids-count/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">National website and links to report(s)</span></a></p><p><strong>AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>The Homes for All Coalition has started the process to determine priorities for the 2016 legislative focus. Over several previous months, more studies on housing and homelessness have shown the importance housing stability plays for families, especially in hunger and health&#160;(reaffirmed in the new KIDS COUNT). Also, senior homelessness is increasing at dramatic rates. LA-MN will push to address these concerns.</p><p><strong>CLEAN ENERGY</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>Analysis following the difficult 2015 session suggests a significant lack of knowledge around clean energy and the damage coal burning causes to people and the environment. LA-MN fall education will try to address this deficit. </p><p>Director Tammy Walhof also fulfilled her civic responsibility of jury duty this month, serving on one trial and jury pools for two others. </p><p>Twitter&#58; <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/LuthAdvocacyMN"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">@LuthAdvocacyMN</span></a>&#160;&#160; <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/pages/Lutheran-Advocacy-Minnesota/100113576746897"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Facebook</span></a><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">&#160;&#160;</span></p>&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​New Mexico</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</a></strong><br>&#160;</h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><img alt="NM1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/NM1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico joined with many other groups and individuals to urge that new work requirements not be imposed for families receiving SNAP benefits. The Martinez administration through the New Mexico Human Services Department intends to institute work requirements for recipients from the age of 16 to 60 and for families with children over the age of 5. LAM-NM Director Ruth Hoffman was member of a panel that presented to the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee on July 16 in Las Cruces.&#160; Ruth emphasized that over 30 percent of New Mexico's children live in poverty and that our economy is lagging far behind in the recovery from the great recession. She also stated that there is little or no evidence that the Human Services Department is prepared to or able to administer such a new program that will involve tens of thousands of recipients. Because LAM-NM now is in a covenant advocacy relationship with the NM Conference of Churches, LAM-NM spoke on behalf of that ecumenical organization as well.&#160; <a href="http&#58;//kunm.org/term/snap"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Here is a link</span></a> to an interview that Ruth did (along with our advocacy partner, the NM Conference of Catholic Bishops) with KUNM radio about the proposed requirements.&#160;&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​Ohio</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Nick Bates, The Faith Coalition for the Common Good&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="mailto&#58;nick@oneohionow.org"><strong>nick@oneohionow.org</strong></a></h3><p>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">Happy fiscal new year from the state of Ohio! On July 1, 2015, fiscal year 2016 began with Ohio's new budget. It's a month into the new fiscal year, and advocates and faith leaders continue to scratch their heads at missed opportunities to expand food access, help low-income families through a refundable earned-income tax credit, and help rural poverty-stricken school districts. Recent reports continue to show Ohio's unacceptable infant mortality rate and child poverty rates. While Capitol Square has quieted down this month, faith advocates continue to ask what does it mean for us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">If you would like to get involved with faith-based advocacy in Ohio, contact Diaconal Minister Nick Bates at <a href="mailto&#58;Batesyep@gmail.com"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Batesyep@gmail.com</span></a>.&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania&#160;</strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><h3><strong>Tracey DePasquale, Associate Director</strong></h3></div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/"><strong>www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">The state budget is now more than a month overdue. Rank-and-file lawmakers are in summer recess as their leadership and the Wolf administration negotiate in the wake of last month's vetoed spending plan.&#160; The budget impasse has begun to <a href="http&#58;//cumberlink.com/news/local/state-budget-impasse-hurts-nonprofits-in-variety-of-ways/article_a2056748-a6e2-5b5f-bdbb-702896020ce8.html#utm_source=cumberlink&amp;utm_campaign=/emails/dailyheadlines/&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=featured_headline"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>hurt nonprofits and ministries.</strong></span></a> </p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">LAMPa continues to help Lutherans connect with Harrisburg lawmakers through email advocacy, editorial writing and congregational postcard campaigns on the key issues of housing trust fund expansion and fair education funding. LAMPa acted with <img alt="PA1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/PA1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;140px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />75 other organizations to urge the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/lampa-calls-for-strong-payday-lending-rules/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>address loopholes in its draft payday lending rules.</strong></span></a></p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">Tracey joined advocacy colleagues at the Youth Gathering, engaging Pennsylvania youth in advocacy on the Interfaith Climate Petition, federal Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill and the ELCA Day of Service and inviting them to connect with LAMPa upon their return. LAMPa is inviting youth to bring their #Proclaim Justice Day activities home with <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/riseupelca-taking-action-on-water-and-blight/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>resources for youth</strong></span></a> to combat blight and act on clean water in Pennsylvania. </p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;"><img alt="PA2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/PA2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;164px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />LAMPa connected the State Education Association with the state's food security coalition, resulting in training more than 100 teacher leaders on poverty and hunger and their connection to learning. That partnership, which will be ongoing, has also yielded the association's <a href="http&#58;//www.partnersforpubliced.org/PartnersForPE.aspx?id=12691"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>August newsletter</strong></span></a> devoted to child hunger and nutrition.</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">Check out our resources for preachers during <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/blog/six-weeks-of-bread-preaching-john-6/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong>Six Weeks of Bread Texts&#58; Preaching on John 6.</strong></span></a> </p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;">We bid a fond farewell to Pastor Paul Lubold as he leaves LAMPa staff – but not Lutheran advocacy! We are grateful for his friendship and his entire ministry.&#160;&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Virginia</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Charles Swadley</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</a></strong></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">&#160;</p><p>The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) provided support for an ELCA Hunger Summit with Bishop Jim Mauney on July 25. It was well attended by interdenominational partners from across Virginia. &#160;At the summit, presentations on feeding programs were provided by state government representatives. With lively discussion, strategizing, and a focus on the future, a follow-up meeting will be held in Charlottesville on Nov. 18 to include interfaith leaders.</p><p><img alt="VA1.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/VA1.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;236px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Seminary student and Public Policy Fellow Lana Heath de Martinez is leading VICPP's organizing efforts to expand ethnic, age and faith diversity through the statewide chapters. VICPP is partnering with a new coalition of agencies called RISE for Youth with the intention of closing juvenile prisons in Virginia. A partnership with the Center for American Progress continues and will culminate with the co-hosting of a Poverty Summit in Hampton Roads in September.</p><p>VICPP and its health care program, Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare, met with Ben O'Dell, a representative of the White House Faith and Community Relations Office, to discuss working together on advocating for Medicaid expansion during the forthcoming General Assembly session. The health care program supported two events on July 29 and 30 in the Hampton Roads area to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid. The regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services presented at both events, noting the impact of these programs on improving Americans' lives. VICPP is assisting the Chesapeake Foundation in organizing an interfaith conference focused on the environment at the Living Waters retreat center in Hampton Roads this September.&#160; </p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Washington</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"></a><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"><strong>www.fanwa.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong></strong>&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;"><strong>POLICY UPDATE</strong>&#58; Washington's Legislature, after three special sessions and 176 days, finally adjourned on July 7, with its final decision being the suspension of a class-size reduction initiative approved by voters last November. All three budgets (operating, transportation and capital) were signed just before midnight on June 30 by the governor to avoid state layoffs. (The 2015-2017 biennium began July 1.) A summary of the issues we worked on this past legislative session can be viewed at <a href="http&#58;//fanwa.org/2015-end-of-session-report/">http&#58;//fanwa.org/2015-end-of-session-report/</a>. &#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;"><strong>CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>FAN's goal every year is to meet with as many of our congressional delegation (12) as possible. Our latest meeting was with key staff of Sen. Maria Cantwell in her Seattle office, where we discussed the Green Climate Fund, I-VAWA, Child nutrition/summer hunger bills, and recognition for the Duwamish tribe (first peoples of Seattle).</p><p style="text-align&#58;justify;"><strong>PROGRAMMING AND ORGANIZING</strong>&#58; FAN is now in its third programmatic season of the year, convening our 17 geographic clusters that make up our Network of Advocating Faith Communities, which now numbers 101 faith communities around the state. The purpose is to deepen relationships and discuss ways to better advocate individually and collectively on issues FAN is working on. FAN is planning two forums on taxation called &quot;What Kind of State Do You Want to Live In? A conversation and mobilization about our state's regressive tax structure.&quot;&#160; Washington state has the most regressive tax structure in the nation.&#160;&#160;</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Wisconsin</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/" target="_blank"><strong>www.loppw.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong></strong>&#160;</p><p><strong>PAY DAY LENDING</strong><strong>&#58;</strong><strong>&#160; </strong>LOPPW has a history of trying to protect Wisconsinites, especially those living in poverty, from predatory lending.&#160; Recently our constituents responded to the sudden state budget addition to allow payday lenders to provide more services, such as insurance, annuities and financial advice. The proposed addition created bipartisan resistance.&#160; We are pleased that Gov. Scott Walker responded to the advocacy against the measure and vetoed it.</p><p><strong>LIVING WAGE COALITION</strong><strong>&#58;</strong><strong>&#160; </strong>The coalition initiated by Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice is made up of faith-based and secular partners.&#160; We recently met for a second time and explored broader issues&#160; beyond raising the minimum wage, including predictable, stable hours (Hours that Work); paid sick leave; paid family leave; affordable, quality child care; access to public transportation; and pension protection.</p><p><strong>ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING CONSORTIUM</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>At the most recent statewide meeting we discussed the newly formed Safe Harbor Bill; consensus is that this bill will have more of a chance of passing than previous bills related to Safe Harbor. </p><p><strong>DIALOGUE WITH BISHOPS</strong><strong>&#58;</strong><strong>&#160; </strong>The director contacted all the Wisconsin bishops to introduce the idea of creating a project that would focus on one of the root causes of hunger – money in politics impacting public policies.&#160; She will and all six bishops will meet at a Region 5 gathering at the end of August to discuss the project further. LOPPW's<strong> </strong>director also participated in two half-day trainings for our advocacy office's new database.&#160;</p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>What advocacy efforts are going on in your synod or state? We want to hear about it!</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Contact us at </strong><a href="mailto&#58;washingtonoffice@elca.org"><strong>washingtonoffice@elca.org</strong></a><strong> ​​</strong></h3>08/10/2015American by Grace, Compassionate by ActionSean Bonawitz, ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/138http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/138<div class="ExternalClass8A90DD4296454CC594600DF19E7265BC"><h3>Rethinking Perspectives of Migration in The Northern Triangle</h3><p>We do not choose where we live, who our families are, or the time that we are born into. We are thrown into the mystery of life. Some land gracefully while others crash and crash hard. For those of us who are born as citizens of the U.S.A., our environment is a stable one. Not without its own challenges, but with general safety. Life is difficult at times for all, but have you ever felt a strong enough presence of danger that forced you to flee from your home? Rarely do we ever look across the Gulf and wonder what our lives would be like had they begun in Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador; the Northern Triangle of Central America.&#160; </p><p>Children and families in the Northern Triangle continue to leave their homes due to complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement and lack of opportunities. These problems are exacerbated by the failure of governments to address these issues, leaving many with no choice but to flee. Children are forcibly recruited and targeted by gangs as they cross gang territories to attend school. Many business owners are forced to pay a &quot;protection&quot; fee to criminal actors to avoid harm. Although numbers of migrant children and families at the U.S.-Mexican Border have dropped significantly this past year, deportations and detentions of Central Americans along the Southern Mexico Border have increased drastically due to Mexico's <a href="http&#58;//www.wola.org/news/mexico_now_detains_more_central_american_migrants_than_the_united_states"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>2014 Southern Border Plan</em></span></a>, which is backed by the United States. </p><p>Why do we continue to prevent Central Americans access to the protection our nation's stability has to offer? It is possible we have been labeling migrants from the Northern Triangle incorrectly. So far we have refused to identify them as needing international protection or <em>refugees</em>, but rather, have colloquially categorized these children and families as &quot;illegal immigrants&quot;. The <a href="http&#58;//www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><em>1951 Refugee Convention</em></span></a> under Article 1(A)2 says, &quot;the term <em>refugee</em> shall apply to any person who fear(s) being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion&quot;. Although persecution via gang violence does qualify many of these people for international protection, most children and family members do not qualify as textbook <em>refugees</em>, and fail to receive adequate aid. Why are these persecuted children and family members not regarded as deserving of this legal status? In a region where homicide rates and gang violence run rampant, fleeing from a community culture such as this should qualify these people as <em>refugees</em>.</p><p>Those of us who were born in America were handed this privilege by chance, not choice. As one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, once proclaimed, &quot;We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights&quot;. We are endowed with, we were gifted these rights as humans and people of God. Our privilege as Americans is that we, as a nation, persistently fight for these values. So why should we deny these rights to others who actively seek acknowledgement of their unalienable rights? Should we not embrace our neighbor with open arms? </p><p>We as Americans should provide a safe haven for these refugees and welcome our neighbors, who have shown extreme bravery, courage, and faith. We should listen to the words in Philippians 2&#58;4 which states, &quot;Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others&quot;.&#160; We should welcome refugees, as we previously have, and continue the idea of America as &quot;The Great Salad Bowl&quot; of diverse communities. America was founded and forged by immigrant communities. We should not turn away those who seek life, liberty and pursue happiness. </p></div>07/13/2015ELCA Advocacy Update - July 2015ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/137http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/137<div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><p><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</em></p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​​​Washington, D.C.</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy"><strong></strong></a><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy">www.elca.org/advocacy</a></strong><a></a><a></a><strong></strong></h3><p>&#160;</p><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong><img alt="ELCA ADVOCACY LOGO.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/ELCA%20ADVOCACY%20LOGO.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;float&#58;left;" /></strong><strong>Vatican Encyclical &quot;Laudato Si&quot;</strong>&#58; &#160;On June 18 Vatican officials released &quot;Laudato Si,&quot; an <a href="http&#58;//w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">encyclical letter on caring for creation</span></a>. In the encyclical, Pope Francis I places a special emphasis on our moral obligation to address the growing threats to our world caused by climate change. Arriving shortly before the upcoming global climate summit in Paris, the pope's encyclical affirms that climate change is largely a man-made dilemma, and is a principal challenge facing humanity today. Immediately after its release, ELCA <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/7752"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, praised the encyclical</span></a> noting parallels to our own social statement &quot;Caring for Creation.&quot; Bishop Eaton also called for action to help less-privileged nations that must now face the most brutal effects of climate change. </p><p><strong>Smarter Sentencing Act</strong>&#58; ELCA Advocacy took action earlier this month to support The Smarter Sentencing Act, now in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, as part of our ongoing effort to address mass incarceration and racial justice in our communities. The bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act makes modest reforms to our justice system by alleviating overcrowding in our prisons, restoring the ability of federal judges to determine fairer and more realistic sentences, and creating more transparency about how federal laws and regulations are applied. You can <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=66454626"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">take action now at the ELCA Action Center</span></a>. </p><p><strong>Mexico and Central America</strong>&#58; This month, members of ELCA Advocacy and the churchwide organization staff traveled to Mexico to learn about the detainment and treatment of migrant children and families from Central America. Staff met with civil society leaders and government officials to learn more about the ongoing crisis. <img alt="1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;135px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />This visit came in the wake of the Obama administration's ongoing foreign policy discussion that continues to focus on encouraging increased border security measures by the Mexican and Central American governments without acknowledging the immediate need to protect migrants who are forced to flee. ELCA Advocacy continues to urge lawmakers to <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=66134716#sthash.jTLYCkXB.dpuf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">support the protection and human rights of all God's children</span></a> and will be releasing a full report on the findings in Mexico within the coming weeks. </p><p><strong>Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, S.C.</strong>&#58; &#160;Presiding Bishop Eaton and leaders of the ELCA offered their prayers to the victims of the Mother Emanuel AME tragedy earlier this month. Two of the victims, including the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, were graduates of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, an ELCA seminary in Columbia, S.C. Bishop Eaton, who later attended Pinckey's funeral, <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/long_season_of_disquiet_letter.pdf?_ga=1.216214484.378179692.1424451403"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">reaffirmed in a statement</span></a> the immediate urgency to address racism as a society and as a church. ELCA Advocacy recognizes that we cannot truly seek justice and peace through advocacy without being committed to ending racism. We commit ourselves to working toward this goal and ask that you join us in this effort. Follow our Advocacy efforts and <a href="https&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Racial-Justice-Ministries"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA Racial Justice Ministries</span></a> to learn how you can join in the conversation. </p><p><strong><img alt="2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;151px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />The Endangered Species Act</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>On June 25, ELCA Environmental Policy Director Mary Minette was on a panel of experts about our moral obligation to care for creation by protecting endangered species. The event was attended by Senate and coalition-partner staff. In her message, Mary reaffirmed our religious calling to be stewards of nature by caring for creatures and the environments around them. To protect God's creation, we must make environment-friendly choices as well as advocate for continuing the Endangered Species Act, which is, as Mary put it, &quot;a modern-day Noah's ark.&quot;&#160;&#160; </p><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;">____________________</p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;">New York, NY</h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Dennis Frado​, Lutheran Office for World Community</strong></h3><h4></h4><p><strong>Ministerium meeting at LOWC</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> On May 12, LOWC welcomed the Lutheran pastors from Manhattan to the Church Center for the United Nations. The meeting of the ELCA Manhattan Ministerium Conference started with worship on social justice under the heading &quot;Sing a new song to the Lord.&quot; Afterward the ministers had an opportunity to learn about the work of the Lutheran office and discussed possible areas of cooperation. The LOWC staff also expressed their offer to visit congregations that are interested in our work to the United Nations. </p><p><strong>Peace Not Walls gathering</strong><strong>&#58;</strong>&#160; About 30 members of the Peace Not Walls network gathered in mid-June at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio to discuss recent activities and future work plans. They shared ideas for synod engagement, heard reports on advocacy activities, proposed teleconferences with speakers from the Holy Land, heard updates about future young adult trips to the region, discussed the intersections of work between Peace Not Walls and racial justice and received an update about staff efforts to explore &quot;positive investment&quot; in connection with the 2013 Churchwide Assembly request.</p><p><strong>Lutheran World Federation Council meeting</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> As has become the custom, Dennis Frado served as co-opted staff for several of the committees of the annual meeting of the Lutheran World Federation Council when it met last month in Chavannes-de-Bogis, near Geneva, Switzerland. The council adopted four public statements and four resolutions. The public statements were on climate justice, protracted conflicts and over-stretched humanitarian response, the situation in Tanah Papua (West Papua, Indonesia) and the sin of racism (in response to the shooting in South Carolina).&#160; The <a href="https&#58;//www.lutheranworld.org/blog/lwf-council-makes-strong-resolutions-international-issues"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">four resolutions</span></a> covered the Middle East, Migrants, the post-2015 Development Agenda and the recent Nigeria elections.&#160; </p><p><strong>Unaccompanied and migrant children consultation</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> Following a number of conversations with synodical bishops, the ELCA Church Council and others, the churchwide organization called together a consultation last month to provide input for a proposed churchwide unaccompanied and migrant children initiative. Dennis is serving on the writing team to prepare the document related to the initiative with Alaide Vilchis Ibarra of the ELCA Advocacy office and Megan Brandsrud, program interpreter for Lutheran Disaster Response.&#160; It is expected to be reviewed by the Conference of Bishops later this year and be considered by the Church Council at one of its future meetings.</p><p class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>California</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/"><strong>www.loppca.org</strong></a><strong>​</strong></h3><h4></h4><p>Sadness about Emanuel AME is mixed with good feelings about a state budget that includes a new state Earned Income Tax Credit, over $300 million in new funding for preschool and child care, health insurance coverage for undocumented children, resources to assist immigrant integration into society, and money for access to scarce water in disadvantaged communities as the drought worsens.&#160; There is good news about housing, as the first grants of carbon cap-and-trade funds were announced under the <a href="http&#58;//www.sgc.ca.gov/docs/Attachment_B_Summary_of_AHSC_Recommendations.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Affordable Homes and Sustainable Communities</span></a> program, with more to come.&#160; LOPP-CA was part of the collective effort needed to achieve this progress.</p><p><img alt="3.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />On Friday following the Charleston massacre, LOPP-CA Director Mark Carlson attended a prayer service at Murph-Emmanuel AME (site of a former ELCA congregation) and left Bishop Eaton's statement and spoke with the pastor of St. Andrew's AME, the oldest AME church west of the Mississippi. </p><p>On his own time, Mark went with family to see<em> </em>&quot;Inside Out,&quot; a <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MC3XuMvsDI"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">&quot;a major emotion picture,&quot;</span></a>the Pixar-animated tale of Riley Anderson, age 11, who moves from Minnesota, where her &quot;core memories&quot; were made, with her parents to more diverse &quot;San Franstinktown.&quot; Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust live in her head.&#160; She is engaged with Islands of Friendship, Family, and Honesty, among others, which crumble as she and her family try to adapt to a new life. Joy and Sadness work in grace for renewal, including a new Island of Friendly Argumentation, what we might call &quot;moral deliberation.&quot; </p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span><br></strong><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Colorado</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/"><strong>www.lam-co.org</strong></a></h3><h4></h4><p><strong>Self-Sufficiency Standard&#58;</strong> The Colorado Center on Law &amp; Policy recently released the 2015 Colorado Self-Sufficiency Standard, a measure of how expensive it is to live in Colorado. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado was present at the launch event alongside many other interest groups. The standard calculates the income required for a family to meet basic needs without assistance. On average, costs increased by 32 percent across Colorado between 2001 and 2015. While the amount needed to be self-sufficient varies considerably by geography, 7 out of 10 of the most common occupations in Colorado pay median wages below the standard. Closing that gap will require both reducing costs and raising incomes, both of which will be part of LAM-CO's economic policy agenda for the 2016 legislative session.</p><p><strong>Other events</strong>&#58; LAM-CO Director Peter Severson was invited to give the benediction at the graduation of the Family Leadership Training Institute, a civic engagement program run by the Department of Public Health. Severson shared the stage with more than 100 graduates as well as Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Severson also recently attended the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative annual summit, took part in the commissioning of summer staff at Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp, and participated in Together Colorado's summit of Denver faith leaders at Shorter Community AME Church.</p><h3 class="ExternalClassA83F8A29E0B94225A558B4B0D584EF72" style="text-align&#58;center;"></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​Minnesota</strong><br><strong>Tammy Walhoff, Lutheran Advocacy - Minnesota</strong><br><a href="mailto&#58;tammy@lcppm.org"><strong>tammy@lcppm.org</strong></a><strong>&#160;&#160;</strong></h3><h4></h4></div><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><p><strong>The legislative special session&#58;</strong> Gov. Mark Dayton had been cut out of negotiation processes through much of the session and vetoed three funding bills, necessitating a special session. A month of negotiations finally reached adequate agreement to call the special session, though even then it was not a smooth process. LA-MN's priority issues saw little change, although both housing and clean energy were in a vetoed bill.</p><p><strong>Homes for all priorities (final)&#58; </strong>The coalition, supported by grassroots action, secured a&#160;$25.5 million boost for&#160;housing&#160;and homeless services (including $10 million in bonds for housing). Homeless Youth programing increased $1 million per year. New funds will help thousands of Minnesotans access safe, stable and affordable&#160;housing. (For funding table, click&#160;<a href="http&#58;//r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001DgFlUqDP-Dxpd2ntkqj96Di_ZPnS3LBd6fM0nOQPtSUW3RHcz-2vv5wdrwKXKDSslv4oTKFWkShKnE3ZhMipYDhD7NKgd2fLjbF-mDLzCmnQOSpHUmxJ1BblG7bxNDixZzBHKT9-oL4_vBi0LsBWvnq_N3Nn54f8m1tFnQ4ZyGW6EbfpagLybsK7bm91csiO3rBt5M-NG_VjQmjW2bMDjCycYoiriWaqGa5YxQ8cz4g=&amp;c=8p1i1wOL-JqoyLhQTdS0bQU56p_nBlAPKxJpuDES2oTUGI9jrMqtfQ==&amp;ch=mBFmLS335NEitOKnaH80v_rB6QQM9OLOJsXyUTS8X8N_HdRzDD3biA=="><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>, and find the full bill&#160;<a href="http&#58;//r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001DgFlUqDP-Dxpd2ntkqj96Di_ZPnS3LBd6fM0nOQPtSUW3RHcz-2vv5wdrwKXKDSsN-GX-EvtJsePc6R5bDzP8DRd_b3d9WxBQWEJmt5Ok5-N8ZV3fLKWolvMzdYajLVZ9rSgDn21E_X889sRlHwJLFNtAat3_HUQK907p8jVQLq6oBXP3WoCmSx97f4QB6jemMIlMzzPy8m2hT1vfIiIrkles5JZGW07bsKUnUJmylb9KqWhlTh5zkWGmuvJgxO6ARAdUFRk-7oY58w3Tb4o5c-v3bi-VdO2mDXlcKpS2ROfHVIIKa9ggg==&amp;c=8p1i1wOL-JqoyLhQTdS0bQU56p_nBlAPKxJpuDES2oTUGI9jrMqtfQ==&amp;ch=mBFmLS335NEitOKnaH80v_rB6QQM9OLOJsXyUTS8X8N_HdRzDD3biA=="><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>.)&#160;</p><p><strong>Clean energy (final)&#58;</strong> There were no improvements to the Renewable Energy Standard or energy efficiency (original goal). Success became stopping roll-backs taking Minnesota significantly backward. The <a href="http&#58;//www.cleanenergyjobs.mn/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/FaithLeaderLtr-CleanEnergy2015-MEDIA-FINAL.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">faith leader letter</span></a> (see May update) played a significant role in that regard.</p><p><strong>Papal encyclical</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> LA-MN used news of the new encyclical to draw attention to the ELCA social statement on the care of creation. Plans are to use the encyclical for study, to emphasize our stewardship role, and to tie poverty to climate and environmental degradation.</p><p><strong>Synod-related activities&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>LA-MN Director Tammy Walhof led a workshop on housing, homeless youth and advocacy at the Southwestern Minnesota Synod.</p><p><strong>Continuing education</strong><strong>&#58; </strong>&#160;A theological retreat with colleagues, focused on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's &quot;Ethics,&quot; made for interesting reflection in the advocacy context.</p><p>Twitter&#58; <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/LuthAdvocacyMN"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">@LuthAdvocacyMN</span></a>&#160;&#160; <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/pages/Lutheran-Advocacy-Minnesota/100113576746897"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Facebook</span></a></p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><font color="#444444" face="Segoe UI"></font></h3></div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​New Mexico</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</a></strong><br>&#160;</h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong><img alt="4.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Learning about advocacy ministry&#58;</strong>&#160; Youth from Peace and Trinity Lutheran churches in Las Cruces stopped at the Roundhouse, as the New Mexico state Capitol is nicknamed, on their &quot;mystery trip.&quot;&#160; LAM-NM Director Ruth Hoffman spoke to the group about advocacy ministry in a legislative committee room where they were able to sit in the legislators' chairs and learn about how to be involved in advocacy. Ruth also took them on a tour of the Capitol.&#160; Thanks to Laura Carson, AIM and the Christian education and youth ministry director at Peace Lutheran for inviting LAM-NM to be a part of the adventure.</p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong><img alt="5.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/5.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;171px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Ecumenical connections</strong>&#58;<strong>&#160; </strong>Rocky Mountain Synod Bishop Jim Gonia and LAM-NM Director Ruth Hoffman were part of the ecumenical and interfaith attendees at the installation of the new archbishop of Santa Fe. The Most Rev. John C. Wester comes to the archdiocese from Salt Lake City where he served as bishop and worked in partnership with local ELCA pastors on issues of immigration and poverty.&#160; Utah is within the territory of the Rocky Mountain Synod so we look forward to continuing our partnership with Archbishop Wester.</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>​Ohio</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Nick Bates, The Faith Coalition for the Common Good&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="mailto&#58;nick@oneohionow.org"><strong>nick@oneohionow.org</strong></a></h3><p>Gov. John Kasich signed the Ohio budget on Tuesday, June 30. Faith advocates are pleased that the conference committee restored Medicaid services for pregnant women up to 200 percent of the poverty level, removed a last minute amendment that would have cut homeless and affordable housing programs in half, and increased funding for emergency food banks. Faith advocates in Ohio will continue to advocate for increased access to emergency cash assistance, more equitable school funding, and a more progressive state tax system – including a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit to help lift Ohio families out of poverty. For more information, please contact Nick Bates at <a href="mailto&#58;batesyep@gmail.com">batesyep@gmail.com</a>.</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Pennsylvania</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania&#160;</strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><h3><strong>Tracey DePasquale, Associate Director</strong></h3></div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/"><strong>www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><img alt="6.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/6.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;225px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />As the July 1 budget deadline looms without promise of being met, Lutheran advocates are making their voices heard in the Capitol. </p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">LAMPa led a prayer service on the Capitol steps June 23 in conjunction with a rally by the Campaign for Fair Education Funding and a faith-based organizing fast. Lutherans from around the state joined in the day of advocacy.&#160; The Rev. Carlton Rodgers, Philadelphia, preached on the Capitol steps.&#160; <img alt="7.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/7.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;169px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/a-moral-imperative-to-act-for-fair-funding-a-sermon/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Read his stirring sermon.</span></a> The Rev. David Byerly, Shamokin, a LAMPa policy council member, spoke at the press conference. Both called for an end to the injustice of the state's record of being the worst in the nation for school funding equity. </p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">The LAMPa network responded quickly to help stall a bill that would have created a lifetime ban for those with felony drug offenses from receiving nutrition benefits. Lutheran advocates have also been active in alerting lawmakers against supporting another bill that would legalize payday lending. </p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">LAMPa submitted <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/lampa-testifies-in-favor-of-death-penalty-moratorium/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">testimony in support of the death penalty moratorium</span></a> and assisted in publishing a <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/pa-bishops-support-anti-discrimination-bill/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">letter from the state's seven bishops</span></a> in support of legislation to prohibit discrimination in areas of employment, housing and public accommodation on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Staff attended seven assemblies, which included advocacy-related <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/pennsylvania-synods-adopt-resolutions-on-food-insecurity-lgbt-discrimination-clean-energy-and-eco-reformation/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">resolutions on hunger, non-discrimination and the environment.</span></a></p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">&#160;LAMPa also equipped confirmation campers for their calling to strive for justice and a trip to Washington, D.C., where they advocated for clean water and child nutrition. </p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Virginia</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Charles Swadley</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</a></strong></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">On June 30, VICPP's Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare program held a highly successful event, &quot;Healthcare Access as a Moral Imperative,&quot; which was co-organized by VICPP's Richmond Chapter. Donations were generated for the Health Wagon, which provides remote-area medical services in Virginia and has been featured on &quot;60 Minutes.&quot; A capacity crowd of more than 150 was called into action for affordable health care access and expansion in Virginia! We are now planning to replicate this event with the two nurses of &quot;60 Minutes&quot; fame in Hampton Roads, Northern VA and Roanoke in the months ahead! </p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">On June 18, Virginia Interfaith Center members joined people of all faiths at a prayer vigil at Second Baptist Church to trump fears and setbacks associated with the Charleston murders the previous day. Those assembled are organizing for unity and faith in action about the chronic issue and the solutions for hate crimes. </p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">VICCP joined the Virginia Council of Churches in developing Virginia's <a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Virginia-Faith-Communities-Condemn-Racist-Murders-in-Charleston.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">interfaith condemnation</span></a> of the murders in Charleston. &#160;</p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">Members of VICPP's New River Valley Chapter joined members of the NAACP, Common Cause, and League of Women Voters in a Voting Rights Act rally in Roanoke on June 25. VICPP is joining with the Center for American Progress to produce an Anti-Poverty Summit to be held in the fall in Hampton Roads. VICPP is helping to lead a statewide anti-hunger effort with faith communities and partners, including the ELCA, the Office of the First Lady and the Virginia Poverty Law Center.</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong></strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Washington</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"></a><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/"><strong>www.fanwa.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong>Policy&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>The state Legislature, after three special sessions, finally got the 2015-2017 biennial operating budget approved and signed by the governor just before midnight on June 30 – the last of day of the current biennium. The $38.2 billion operating budget (capital and transportation budgets were approved separately on the same night) raised only $185 million in new revenue by eliminating two tax exemptions (Washington state has 600). Funding for the K-12 public school system is under a state Supreme Court order – we await the court's response as to whether this portion of the budget is adequate to fund education. The state education secretary is adamant that it's not enough and does little to change the unfair levy funding system.</p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">One key policy/revenue-related bill that passed allows counties (by a vote of the people) to raise one-tenth of 1 percent in local sales tax dedicated to housing and mental health services.&#160; </p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3">On the congressional front, our four primary issues are&#58; trade (Trans-Pacific Partnership), Child Nutrition Reauthorization (summer hunger bills), Green Climate Fund, and the International Violence Against Women Act. FAN's goal is to meet with all 12 members of our congressional delegation. A FAN delegation had our first meeting on July 1 with Rep. Derek Kilmer, and later this month we'll meet with Sen. Maria Cantwell.</p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong>Organizing and programs&#58;</strong><strong> </strong>&#160;FAN's Network of Advocating Faith Communities reached a milestone with our 100<sup>th</sup> faith community joining&#58; Three Rivers Unitarian Universalists in eastern Washington. Our outreach continues with the Muslim community by attending the beginning of Ramadan in an eastern Washington mosque and an interfaith Iftar dinner in a Seattle-area mosque. FAN also released its <a href="http&#58;//fanwa.org/fan-statement-on-shooting-at-mother-emanuel-ame-in-charleston-sc/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">statement on the Charleston murders</span></a> and signed on to the <a href="http&#58;//sccouncil.net/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Statewide Ecumenical Executives statement</span></a>. FAN is in its third program season of the year, which is the convening of our Network of Advocating Faith Communities by 17 geographic clusters around the state. The purpose is to deepen relationships among local faith communities and strengthen our joint advocacy efforts. We're beginning to plan two fall forums on taxation and its role in building a more equitable and sustainable state. Planning is also underway for our annual dinner in November.</p><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span></span></strong></h3><div class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Wisconsin</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin&#160;</strong></h3><h3 class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3" style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/" target="_blank"><strong>www.loppw.org</strong></a></h3><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong>State budget&#58; </strong>The Legislature will likely make final decisions about the state budget soon. We are pleased with the $2 million included in the budget to assist youth victims of sex trafficking but are disappointed in some of the deep cuts and the decision to add the requirement for drug testing for recipients of public assistance to the budget.<strong>&#160; </strong></p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong>Other bills&#58; </strong>The bill that would return 17-year-old non-violent offenders to the juvenile justice system will now be addressed apart from the budget. Safe Harbor, ensuring youth under 18 caught in the sex trade will be treated as victims, has officially become a bill and will likely go to committee later in the summer or fall.</p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong>Synod assemblies&#58;</strong> LOPPW had a display table and held the following workshops at four synod assemblies&#58; </p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong><img alt="9.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/9.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;170px;height&#58;82px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />La Crosse Area Synod&#58;</strong> &quot;How to be an Advocate from a Faith Perspective,&quot; co-led by the director and Council Member Bridget Crave.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p class="ExternalClass2D1F82D5E4954D23AD020570F603F1F3"><strong><img alt="10.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/10.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;170px;height&#58;113px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Greater Milwaukee Synod</strong>&#58; &quot;Human Trafficking in our Backyard,&quot; led by the director. The Assembly was held at Carthage College. </p><p><strong>Northwest Synod</strong><strong>&#58;</strong> &quot;Advocacy and the Proposed State Budget,&quot; co-led by the director and Council Member the Rev. Diane House.&#160;&#160; <img alt="11.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/11.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;120px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /></p><p><strong><img alt="12.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/12.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />South-Central Synod</strong>&#58; &quot;Poverty and our State Budget,&quot; co-led by the director and Council Member Lisa Hassenstab.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p><strong>Sermon after Charleston deaths</strong>&#58; LOPPW's director <a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/45/files/2015/06/Sermon-June-21-2015.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">preached</span></a> at St. John's Lutheran Church in Madison&#160;on June 21.&#160; </p><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"></span><span style="line-height&#58;20.79px;"><span style="text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20.79px;">____________________</span>​</span></strong></h3><div style="text-align&#58;center;">&#160;</div><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>What advocacy efforts are going on in your synod or state? We want to hear about it!</strong></h3><h3 style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Contact us at </strong><a href="mailto&#58;washingtonoffice@elca.org"><strong>washingtonoffice@elca.org</strong></a><strong> ​​</strong></h3><p><br>&#160;</p>07/09/2015Living Earth Reflection: We have no such rightMary Minette, program director, Environmental Policy and Education http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/136http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/136<div class="ExternalClass82E8796276CB4582853673DC703BEA32"><p><span style="font-size&#58;16px;">June 2015</span></p><p><em>But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being</em>. – Job 12&#58;7-10</p><p>Last week, when Pope Francis released his <a href="http&#58;//w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">encyclical</span></a>, &quot;Laudato si,&quot; on care of creation, most of the media attention around the world focused on what he had to say about climate change and how Catholics might react to this message. However, Pope Francis addresses a broad range of issues affecting God's earth in his teaching document, and his call to care for God's creation is addressed to &quot;every person living on this planet,&quot; not just to those of the Catholic faith. This encyclical also reflects many of the same concerns and approaches as the ELCA's &quot;Caring for Creation&quot; social statement. </p><p><strong>One issue that is featured prominently in &quot;Laudato si&quot; is the protection of plants and animals from the threat of extinction. </strong>From the first chapters of Genesis to the end of the book of Revelation, the Scriptures that lie at the core of the Christian faith celebrate creation and our fellow creatures as a gift from God. God calls us into a relationship with our fellow creatures that is one of stewardship and care. God calls us to name &quot;every living creature&quot; – a responsibility that we are still fulfilling as new species are discovered. When God becomes angry with humanity for its corruption and plans to destroy the earth in a cleansing flood, God picks a righteous man, Noah, and tells him to save two of every living creature – a breeding pair – from the waters of the flood along with his own family. After the flood, God makes a covenant not just with humanity but with all creation to never again destroy the earth. And in the book of Job, God tells Job that his fellow creatures have much to teach him about the power of the creator and the connections between all of life.</p><p>The ELCA's social statement on caring for creation notes that <strong>&quot;humans, in service to God, have special roles on behalf of the whole creation. Made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth.&quot; </strong>We are to name the animals, uniting us in relationship, and to love the earth as God loves each of us.</p><p>In &quot;Laudato si,&quot; Pope Francis argues that concern for our fellow creatures and concern for our fellow humans are deeply related&#58; &quot;A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings … . It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings.&quot;</p><p>Today, Earth is losing mammal species at 20 to 100 times the rate in the past – a rate so rapid it could rival the event that killed the dinosaurs. Since 1900, 69 mammal species are believed to have gone extinct, along with about 400 other types of vertebrates. Pollution, habitat destruction, hunting and poaching and increasingly climate change all cause God's creatures to vanish from the earth.</p><p>Pope Francis also describes this extreme rate of extinction in his encyclical&#58;</p><p><em>Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right. </em></p><p>Earlier this spring a number of media outlets shared pictures of <a href="http&#58;//www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/27/ol-pejeta-kenya-sudan-worlds-last-male-northern-white-rhinoceros"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Sudan</span></a>, the last male northern white rhino on our planet. Sudan lives in a nature preserve in Kenya surrounded by armed guards tasked with protecting him from poachers who want to kill him for his horn (powdered rhino horn sells for as much as $75,000 a kilo). He is 42 years old – rhinos typically live between 40 and 50 years – and so far, attempts to breed him with one of the four remaining female northern white rhinos have failed. </p><p>We are failing in our task of protecting God's creation and our fellow creatures, and by doing so we are failing ourselves and those who come after us. We have no such right. </p><p><strong>Learn more</strong></p><p>In 1973, Congress passed (and President Richard Nixon signed) the federal <a href="http&#58;//www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Endangered Species Act</span></a> to protect our nation's native plant and animal species from the threat of extinction. For more than 40 years the act has protected species and their habitats and has dramatically increased populations of iconic species, such as the bald eagle and the grey wolf. Unfortunately, despite its successes, some would like to <a href="http&#58;//www.defenders.org/endangered-species-act/endangered-species-act"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">weaken</span></a> the protections of the act. This is why we must work to fulfill our call to protect all of God's creation.</p></div>06/25/2015