ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/ELCA State Advocacy Update: October 2014ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/102http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/102<div class="ExternalClass1C1D0989E51A4852B6253F26E0268A30"><div><div><div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country!&#160;Below you will find our monthy&#160;State Advocacy Newsletter.&#160;Share with your friends, and&#160;download the document in the </em><a href="https&#58;//drive.google.com/file/d/0B009fXHpAM3ER25HZHFZLThwekU/view"><em>PDF version</em></a><em>! &#160;</em></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><em></em>&#160;<em>---</em></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Washington, D.C. </strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">www.elca.org/advocacy</strong></a></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><div><strong></strong>&#160;</div><div><strong>​​</strong><img alt="1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;113px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /><strong>People’s Climate March</strong> – On Sept. 21, more than 400,000 activists joine​​d together in New York City in what is being called the largest ​climate march in history. The People’s Climate March called on world leaders to support a global climate change agreement and to act on climate change with over 2,700 events in more than 150 countries. In partnership with The Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania, and the Metropolitan New York Synod, hundreds of Lutherans assembled for the march.</div><div><br><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;"><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;190px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" /><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">The U.N. Climate Summit </span></strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">– The weekend of the People’s Climate March, ELCA Environmental Policy Director Mary Minette attended an interfaith conference on climate change at Union Theological Seminary. Following the summit, a delegation of more than 30 faith leaders created an interf</span>aith statement on climate change at an event sponsored by the World Council of Churches. The interfaith statement was presented to the U.N. secretary general during the U.N. Climate Summit later that week. ELCA Advocacy also joined several other climate <span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">events in New York sponsored by the ACT Alliance, including strategies on addressing climate disasters, which included as a speaker a Lutheran pastor from New Jersey speaking about Superstorm Sandy recovery, and limiting climate change with low-carbon development strategies.</span></div><div><strong></strong>&#160;</div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Campaign finance reform</strong> – On Oct. 1, Advocacy Director Rev. Stacy Martin joined a panel of faith leaders, activists and academic experts to discuss the moral and religious dimensions of the question of money in public life and governance. Sponsored by the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, the conference included speakers such as Kathy Saile, the associate director for government affairs at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and interfaith partners from across the religious spectrum.</span></div><div><strong></strong>&#160;</div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><img alt="3.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;142px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Preparing for midterm elections</strong> – Election Day is one month away, and ELCA Advocacy is sending out resources and guides on how to promote civic engagement in Lutheran congregations throughout the country. The electoral process is one way in which we live out our affirmation of baptism to “serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus,” and “to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.” Share our <a href="https&#58;//drive.google.com/file/d/0B009fXHpAM3EMFpkb1Bfc3kzRVk/view">Called to be a Public Church Guide (2014)</a> to learn more about ways you can take action in your community. Tell your friends to “Take the Pledge” by signing our <a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/forms/d/1Bh9btkNZjZfUElLGss56l12LDlnIrPEC0rLnPH5vhhk/viewform">Voter Pledge Form </a>online, and find more&#160;resources on our <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63318056">Action Alert Page</a>.​</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><div>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;">__________________________________________________________________</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">California</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA&#160;​</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">www.loppca.org</strong></a></div><div>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><img alt="4.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/4.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;140px;height&#58;105px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />On Sept. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown completed his review of hundreds of bills passed by the Legislature after completing its two-year session. As attention shifts to direct democracy in the form of ballot propositions, the Lutheran Office of Public Policy–California is disappointed that the DISCLOSE Act, requiring more transparent information on large originalsource funders of ballot measures, did not pass. LOPP-CA is part of developing strategy for the DISCLOSE Act next session. Among other bills of interest signed were measures that dealt with stronger incentives for electric cars in lower and moderate-income communities, groundwater management, equalizing penalties for possession of crack and powder cocaine, a ban on most plastic grocery bags, and a waiver of birth certificate fees for homeless children and youth. </div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Firearms</strong> – As the ELCA Conference of Bishops participated in a prayer revival in Chicago, LOPP-CA was cheering enactment of a “gun violence restraining order” bill adopted in response to the Santa Barbara</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">tragedy. This bill allows law enforcement and family members to seek a temporary court order removing guns from a person who is a danger to themselves or others. As the election approaches, LOPP-CA is focusing energy on support for a $7.5 billion water bond and Prop. 47, a criminal sentencing reform initiative supported by the PICO community organizing network and many other community and civil rights groups, seeking remedies for mass incarceration and “The New Jim Crow” racial disparities.</div><div>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;">__________________________________________________________________</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Colorado</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado </strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">www.lam-co.org</strong></a><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"> </strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><img alt="5.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/5.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;209px;height&#58;117px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" /></strong></span><strong>Hunger </strong>– The Hunger Free Colorado Summit took place on </span>Sept. 8, featuring Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus and NETWORK, the Roman Catholic social justice</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">organization. Her exhortation about developing a social</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">justice “for the 100 percent” was powerful and resonant.</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">LAM-CO has been connecting more intentionally with campus</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">ministry groups. Director Peter Severson visited both</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">University of Colorado-Boulder and Colorado State University</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">this past month. Additionally, the Strengthening Colorado</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">Families &amp; Communities Summit took place in Keystone on Sept. 15-16, sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services-Office of Early Childhood. LAM-CO was able to participate in several</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">discussions around the formation of a Colorado Child Maltreatment Prevention Plan for 2015-2020.</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong></strong>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong></span></span><strong>Transportation </strong>– LAM-CO has been partnering with Iliff School of Theology and the Office of the Auditor</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">for the City of Denver to oppose the Colorado Department of Transportation’s proposal to widen Interstate</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">70 in vulnerable community areas in north Denver. A meeting with Iliff faculty and students and community representatives has led to the creation of a faith community petition that will be delivered to CDOT in response to the Environmental Impact Statement for the project. The Rocky Mountain Synod Theological Conference (Sept. 22-25 in Colorado Springs) led to great networking with pastors, ministers and other leaders in the synod. Congregations have been faithfully supporting Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Colorado and New Mexico for 30 years!​</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><br>__________________________________________________________________</div><div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Minnesota</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota&#160;</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="mailto&#58;tammy@lcppm.org"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">tammy@lcppm.org</strong></a><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"> </strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><div>&#160;</div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>New name</strong> – Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota replaces Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota (LCPPM) as our name. The Policy Council voted unanimously for the change, and feedback on the new name has been very positive from partners, supporters, participants and others.&#160;</span></div></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Legislative policy development</strong> – Tammy continues to be deeply involved in the policy shaping process with the Homes for All Coalition. She is also active with A Minnesota Without Poverty, which has just started thinking about policy options and directions for the 2015 session. The Clean Energy and Jobs Campaign narrowed their focus to two policy objectives for 2015. Tammy is thinking about the materials needed for Lutheran churches to be ready for the key objective, focused on improving the Minnesota Clean Energy standard to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Education and awareness raising</strong> – Tammy has been working closely with the Minneapolis Area Synod and the Alliance for Sustainability to find leaders to build a synod chapter of Lutherans Restoring Creation.and is beginning outreach for a similar St. Paul effort. On Sept. 30, Dr. David Rhoads came to the Twin Cities and met with potential leaders for LRC. Tammy has been in various churches talking about the key themes of hunger, poverty, care of creation and advocacy.</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Communications/administration</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> – We are deep into the process of rebranding, building our “new” website</span>, and making lots of administrative processes work better. The new office is almost completely furnished now with cubicles and a welcoming area for partners to gather.</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><br>__________________________________________________________________&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>New Mexico</strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</strong></span></a></div><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;"></strong>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Poverty and Hunger Coalition</strong> – Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico has been an active partner in the newly created Interfaith Hunger Coalition as a part of the advocacy committee by helping to organize several gatherings in the Albuquerque area with coalition members and candidates for election to the New Mexico House of Representatives. The gatherings were opportunities for coalition members to express their concern about the unacceptably high rates of hunger and poverty in New Mexico and to engage in&#160;conversation with the candidates about how to address the situation. Eight candidates attended the gatherings, which took place at Albuquerque congregations. Ruth Hoffman, LAM-NM director, also spoke about state public policies that would help address poverty and hunger at a recent education workshop sponsored by the Coalition at Holy Rosary Catholic Community.</span></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Food stamps </strong></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">– In mid-September, Ruth traveled to southern New Mexico and testified before the interim Legislative Health and Human Services Committee in opposition to increased work requirements for</span> SNAP recipients proposed by the state Human Services Department. She also spoke in opposition to the proposed rule changes at a public hearing that was attended by at least 100 people. At the hearing, Ruth also spoke on behalf of the New Mexico Conference of Churches. Ruth’s testimony was highlighted in a recent KUNM radio segment&#58; <a href="http&#58;//kunm.org/post/faith-leaders-speak-against-new-snap-requirements">http&#58;//kunm.org/post/faith-leaders-speak-against-new-snap-requirements</a>. </div><div style="text-align&#58;left;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;">__________________________________________________________________</div></div><div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Pennsylvania</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/">www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</a> </strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;"><br></strong>On Sept. 7, LAMPa helped Lutherans add “Our voices” to the theme of “God’s work. Our hands.” with letter-writing and speaking to media in locations around the state on behalf of our neighbors on housing, hunger and immigration.</div><div><br><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="6.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/6.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;140px;height&#58;187px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />At the capitol </strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">– LAMPa delivered a letter from Bishop Kusserow, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, urging lawmakers to act to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. LAMPa staff brought others engaged in ministry with the homeless to meet with legislative leaders to push for passage of bills to expand the state Housing Trust Fund. The visits were made powerful by the presence of one mother, accompanied by the Rev. Matthew Lenahan, who shared how a Lutheran congregation in Lancaster County is walking with her as she struggles with homelessness. Collaborating with the Lower Susquehanna Synod on a food drive/hunger advocacy project, LAMPa accompanied youth motivated by a synod retreat themed “Hungry” to participate in the “Can Hunger” event at the capitol, where they spoke with the leader of the legislative hunger caucus.</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="7.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/7.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;113px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />On the road</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> – LAMPa staff participated in Bishops convocations in the Allegheny and Lower Susquehanna synods, the launch of a hunger team in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, a Lutherans Restoring Creation and training in the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod and the People’s Climate March in New York City. We conducted our biennial survey to establish LAMPa’s agenda for the next legislative term. The results showed education and health care to be top priorities after hunger </span>and were analyzed at our policy council retreat.</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><br>__________________________________________________________________</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Virginia</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Marco Grimaldo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy <a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</a> </strong></div><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;"><br></strong><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Civic engagement</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> – The fall continues to be a busy time for educational forums and advocacy training in Virginia. We are also encouraging in-district meetings with legislators in advance of the January legislative session. Most recently we have been offered programs in Charlottesville and Roanoke that allow the immigrant community to better understand their rights and engage decision-makers including local law enforcement in productive discussions about their community. We have also been part of a growing minimum-wage campaign for raising the wage both in Virginia and at the federal level.</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Health </strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">– Our health care work continues even though there has been no agreement on Medicaid. Small numbers of local leaders join us each Monday for our Moral Monday call for Medicaid, and it continues to be a great way to muster solidarity. As we prepare for the next assembly, we will prepare to also work on legislation related to health equity and network adequacy that can help make sure that low-income and underserved communities</span>, which may already be covered, get the health care that they need with reasonable access.</div><div>Our policy priorities have been revised for the year ahead, and we also have a new website so Virginians can better follow our efforts and download the resources they need. We have background papers and talking points on each of our top priorities as a way to jump start those campaigns. Visit us at <a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</a>.</div></div><div>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><div>__________________________________________________________________</div><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">​Washington</strong></div></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/">www.fanwa.org</a> </strong></div><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;"><br></strong><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="8.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/8.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;160px;height&#58;107px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Promoting advocacy </strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">– Faith Action Network’s 15 geographic clusters convened to discuss effective types of advocacy efforts in faith communities in Washington, share FAN updates, and talk about future collaborations. Meanwhile, ongoing meetings with state legislators and members of congress continued. This month FAN met with multiple legislators, including the state House Republican leader, state Senate Democratic leader and her district House member, and a federal House member meeting with members of an African American Baptist church. FAN is also currently getting ready for our Annual Dinner on Nov. 16 where local philanthropist and travel guide speaker Rick Steves will speak on the importance of faith-based advocacy. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has also been invited.</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Upcoming election and the ballot</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> – FAN has coordinated and sponsored three candidate forums with three more to go. The forums are focusing on state legislative races with each one having three questions coming from FAN – of which one is always on hunger and poverty. Average attendance has been 50. FAN continues be the statewide faith organization coordinating support for Initiative 594 (mandating universal background checks for gun sales). A Faith March to the Ballot Box will </span>occur on Sunday, Oct. 19, in Seattle – local marches/vigils will be encouraged. Two forums on preventing gun violence were sponsored jointly by ELCA Southwestern Washington Synod Bishop Rick Jaech and FAN.</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><br>__________________________________________________________________</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Wisconsin</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;">Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin <a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/">www.loppw.org</a> </strong></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;"><strong></strong></span>&#160;</div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Poverty</strong></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> – With secular and faith partners, LOPPW will endorse a referendum on whether Wisconsin should take federal dollars for Badger Care on the November ballot in 20 Wisconsin counties. Although the vote cannot determine a change, it provides an opportunity for citizens to voice concern about 87,000 residents unnecessarily going without health care. LOPPW will work on an op-ed and additional ways to promote a Vote Yes on BadgerCare Nov. 4th campaign initiated by Citizen Action Wisconsin. On Nov. 8, LOPPW will lead a summit on poverty for the Northern Great Lakes Synod in Marinette. </span><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/files/2014/10/Poverty-Summit.pdf"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Click here to see the flyer​</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">!&#160;&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Sex trafficking</strong> – LOPPW is starting a campaign to pass a Safe Harbor Bill. Recently Women of the ELCA leaders led a workshop with a PPT created by Cherish All Children’s (CAC’s) director and LOPPW’s director in the Northwest Synod. Our new CAC/LOPPW advocacy group will meet for a second time in October with additional members and discussion about how to further include Women of ELCA and involve congregations.</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong></strong>&#160;</span></div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Upcoming events</strong> –</span></div><ul><li><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Advocacy and Hunger workshop at synod-wide event in Marquette, Mich</span>. – Oct. 11.<br></li><li>​The director will be the Lutheran representative on a panel at an event hosted by Catholic and Lutheran campus ministries&#58; “Faithful Citizenship&#58; A Christian Perspective on Voting and Political Involvement” on Oct. 21 at UW-Eau Claire</li></ul><strong>Federal</strong> – This month, LOPPW will set a plan to build awareness and advocacy on the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, the EPA rule on carbon dioxide emissions, and other federal issues related to environment. Additionally, LOPPW’s director was at a third 2015 Advocacy Day planning committee meeting organized by the Wisconsin Council of Churches.</span></div></span></div></div></div></div></div>10/09/2014Living Earth Reflections: This month we march out of love for our neighbors and God’s earthMary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/101http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/101<div class="ExternalClass82CE84F268C44CFF9809C53A62333BC9"><p><em>​&quot;Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.&quot;</em></p><p>Hebrews 12&#58;1</p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">On September 21, 2014, hundreds of thousands – perhaps even millions – of people are expected to gather in New York City for what may be the largest march to date on climate change.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">During the upcoming <a href="http&#58;//peoplesclimate.org/">People's Climate March​</a>, marchers will be asking global leaders, who will meet at the United Nations later that week, to take this issue seriously and to pledge themselves to action on this critical issue that threatens our children's future and the future of God's creation.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">I'm planning to be there, along with thousands of other people of faith, because I see climate change as a threat to the future of God's creation and the lives of all those to come. God created the earth and called on us to take care of it and</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Jesus called on us to care for our neighbors, whoever and wherever they may be.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Stewardship and love of neighbor demand that we act on climate change&#58; ours is the first generation to feel the impacts of a changing climate in the form of more extreme weather and rising sea levels, and ours is the last generation with a chance to do something to stop it.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">When I first heard about the march, I was skeptical--I struggled with the idea of thousands of people traveling to New York, emitting carbon into the atmosphere, for a single day's event.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">But we are at a critical moment on a critical issue, and maybe this march will mark a beginning. My hope is that this will be the day that turns the tide and changes the hearts and minds of the cloud of witnesses that surround us, and marks the new beginning we need if we are to protect God's creation for our children and their children.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">This past week </span><a href="http&#58;//www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/science/earth/greenhouse-gas-emissions-are-growing-and-growing-more-dangerous-draft-of-un-report-says.html?_r=0" style="line-height&#58;1.6;">the New York Times</a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"> reported that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the group of scientists that periodically comes together to report on the latest science on climate change, will release the final part of its Fifth Assessment report next month. For the first time, this report will include the word &quot;irreversible.&quot;</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">The draft report outlines a sobering reality – unless all countries act very soon and very deliberately to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, some of the worst predictions of prior reports will occur; melting ice sheets in the Arctic will raise sea levels by as much as 23 feet, global production of staple grains will see significant drops, and extreme weather events such as heat waves and flooding rains will happen with increased frequency.</span></p><p><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">In the face of these sobering predictions, some may lose hope.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Some may continue to deny, saying it will never happen, believing that it can never happen.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">But we are people of faith and hope, and we know that we can change our ways, and we can prepare for this challenging future.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">And so we march, before the great cloud of witnesses, to demonstrate God's love and hope for each of us and for the world.</span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160; </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">We march, marked by the cross, saved by grace, out of love for our neighbors and God's earth.</span></p><div style="color&#58;#000000;font-family&#58;verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size&#58;10px;"><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">If you would like to join us in the People's Climate March, you can sign up on our&#160;<a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZDZfUCjUixSXloai1UiC-Zh4Bvp6BdWRarm37Vt4qPA/viewform?edit_requested=true" data-mce-href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZDZfUCjUixSXloai1UiC-Zh4Bvp6BdWRarm37Vt4qPA/viewform?edit_requested=true">ELCA Google Form</a>!&#160;</span></div><div style="color&#58;#000000;font-family&#58;verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size&#58;10px;"><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><br></span></div><div style="color&#58;#000000;font-family&#58;verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size&#58;10px;"><div style="text-align&#58;center;"><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;"></span></span><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span><em style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">Want to learn more about ELCA’s commitment to advocating for public policy that&#160;supports the care for creation? &#160;</em></div><div align="center"><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><em>Visit our&#160;</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Advocacy" target="_blank" data-mce-href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Advocacy"><em>website</em></a></span></div><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span><div align="center"><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><em>Like us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy" target="_blank" data-mce-href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Facebook</em></a></span></div><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span><div align="center"><span data-mce-style="font-family&#58; verdana, geneva; font-size&#58; 13px;" style="font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><em>Follow us on&#160;</em><a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaadvocacy" target="_blank" data-mce-href="https&#58;//twitter.com/elcaadvocacy"><em>Twitter</em></a><em>&#160;</em></span></div></div></div>09/03/2014ELCA participating in NY Climate Events in SeptemberMary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacy & Christine Mangale, Assistant to the Director Lutheran Office for World Community in New Yorkhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/100http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/100<div class="ExternalClassA132F8D3890A474AAB1C175B5CEF334B"><p><strong>​UN Climate </strong><strong>S</strong><strong>ummit</strong></p><p>Lutheran&#160;Office for&#160;World Community (LOWC)&#160;will host a delegation of Lutheran&#160;World&#160;Federation Youth that will come to attend the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's <a href="http&#58;//www.un.org/climatechange/summit/">Climate Summit</a> in September 23, 2014, New York. The delegation will also attend an <a href="http&#58;//interfaithclimate.org/">Interfaith Summit</a> that is being organized by the World Council of Churches and Religions for Peace September 21-22, 2014. The main goal is to mobilize action and ambition on climate change and garner support for climate change agreement by 2015. Lutheran&#160;World&#160;Federation Youth will host a one-hour fasting vigil parallel to the Ban Ki-moon Summit September 23, 2014 at 1-2pm EST. Please join in reflection and prayer wherever you are. Join the <a href="http&#58;//www.fastfortheclimate.org/"><strong>www.fastfortheclimate.org</strong></a>.</p><p>In addition to this, the UN will also hold the <a href="http&#58;//wcip2014.org/">World Conference</a> on Indigenous Peoples on 22-23 September 2014. </p><p>The ELCA Washington Office is also working with the ACT Alliance to help plan a day of side events on climate change issues on September 24th, and LOWC and ELCA Washington staff will attend the Religions for the Earth conference at Union Theological Seminary the weekend before the summit along with other global interfaith leaders.</p><p><strong>People's Climate March in New York</strong></p><p>Plans are underway for what is expected to be the largest march in history on climate change in New York City on the weekend preceding the UN Climate Summit.&#160; The ELCA Washington Office is working with the Metro New York Synod to support Lutherans attending the march. If you have plans to go, please let our office know and we will keep you informed of meeting places on the day of the march and other events.&#160; Fill out our <a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZDZfUCjUixSXloai1UiC-Zh4Bvp6BdWRarm37Vt4qPA/viewform?edit_requested=true">google form​</a> for Lutheran march participants!</p></div>08/29/2014Climate Justice for all God's Creation: How you can speak out now!Mary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/98http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/98<div class="ExternalClass51A8957373594B5A879E79ADCBB6B992"><p></p><p>Last week, Lutheran leaders across the US testified before the EPA to publicly proclaim that Climate Change is a moral dilemma, and to announce their support for the proposed <a href="http&#58;//www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/clean-power-plan-proposed-rule">Clean Power Plan</a>.&#160; &quot;For us as Lutheran Christians, addressing environmental concerns is part of what it means to live as responsible caretakers of the earth,&quot; said Rev. Robert Moss in Denver, Colorado. &quot;… I believe that support for the Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule to regulate and reduce carbon emissions is part of our responsibility.&quot; Excerpts of some of their testimonies can be found on our <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/~/link.aspx?_id=ADB246B3FDA64651B712A0C8E7AD296E&amp;_z=z">Advocacy Blog</a>! </p><p>We write today to ask you to join these fellow Lutherans in taking action! Here are three steps you can take to help address climate change caused in part by pollution from our nation's power plants&#58;</p><ol><li>Submit a comment to the EPA through our <a href="http&#58;//capwiz.com/elca/issues/alert/?alertid=63258596">Action Center</a>, telling them why you support addressing Climate Change and protecting God's Creation by reducing carbon emissions at our nation's power plants. </li><li>Sign the <a href="http&#58;//www.faithclimatepetition.org/">Faith Climate Petition</a> urging US Leaders to become more engaged in negotiations for a new global climate change agreement.</li><li>Join the <a href="http&#58;//peoplesclimate.org/march/">People's Climate March</a> on Sept. 21, 2014 in New York City as world leaders meet to discuss a framework for international action on climate change. Be sure to check out <a href="http&#58;//peoplesclimate.org/transportation/">group transportation options​</a>, and <a href="https&#58;//docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZDZfUCjUixSXloai1UiC-Zh4Bvp6BdWRarm37Vt4qPA/viewform?c=0&amp;w=1">RSVP on our Google Form​</a>&#160;as well.&#160;If you can't make it to New York, <a href="http&#58;//www.faithclimatepetition.org/ny-un-climate-summit.html">find or help plan an event</a> that weekend in your own community!</li></ol><p>As people of faith, we are equipped to name and to confront this moral crisis. As the impacts of Climate Change are becoming more severe on our most vulnerable neighbors, the time for action is now! Share how you are addressing climate change in your congregation or community, and be sure to pass along any stories you may have to our office (<a href="mailto&#58;Washington.Office@elca.org">Washington.Office@elca.org</a>)!&#160;</p></div>08/18/2014Lutheran participation in the 20th International AIDS Conference​Ulysses IIIhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/99http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/99<div class="ExternalClassF45126081B5744E6BE4DCE37CEFF4599"><p><em>Ulysses III from ELCA Young Adult Cohort AIDS 2014 reflects on their recent group trip to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia!&#160;You can check out the full blog article on </em><em><a href="https&#58;//elcaaids2014.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-aids-2014/">their website</a>.</em></p><p>&quot;As with most things in life, the 20th&#160;International AIDS Conference (IAC) and its associated events, were full of &quot;highs,&quot; but neither void of the &quot;lows,&quot; nor the &quot;really lows&quot; for that matter. Here I'll recap the good, the bad, and the ugly of the 2014 Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) Interfaith Preconference and International AIDS Conference based solely on my opinion as a three time participant of both events.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>The Good</strong></p><p>The Interfaith Preconference brought together the world's foremost faith leaders in HIV and AIDS to address what most faith groups are reluctant to discuss&#58; faith, stigma, sex, and HIV…To conclude the Interfaith Preconference, the EAA highlighted the voices of young adults for the first time in my history of attending, which is a move in the right direction for faith communities and the HIV and AIDS discussion in general.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Clinton!.jpg" alt="Clinton!.jpg" style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">Bill Clinton speaking&#160;at the 20th International AIDS Conference</em></p><p>With headliners in the field of HIV medical research abound, the latest advances in the fight to end AIDS were brought to the stage; information presented publicly for the first time in some cases. Government dignitaries were present, most notably Bill Clinton who has been a regular at IAC and a faithful partner in the AIDS epidemic vis-à-vis The Clinton Foundation… By my assessment, there was far less science and far more social justice focus during AIDS 2014, which I see as a benefit to the majority of stakeholders in the AIDS epidemic&#58; people living with HIV, and advocates – mostly people who are not medical science professionals… As a faith representative I was equally pleased to see 8 faith related workshops during the main conference, the most since my participation in 2010 and 2012, and if I had to guess, probably the most ever.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>The Bad</strong></p><p>Although the world's foremost faith leaders in HIV response were present at the Interfaith Preconference, they were the same leaders who've been out front since my introduction to the faith and HIV arena. If this was your first experience at such a forum you left encouraged and excited about what you were hearing from the faith community, but if you've been doing the work for a while, you realize there have been few new voices added to the conversation over the years….This is no fault of the EAA or those who continue to be present, but a testament to how far we've come by faith, and how much farther we still have journey to fully integrate our churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques in the conversation on HIV, faith, sex, and stigma…The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has consistently been well represented during the preconference by its young adult delegation, often supplying the full complement of registrants under the age of 30… this is not an issue for the EAA to solve, rather a deeper issue of the faith community's need to engage youth and young adults more intentionally.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>The Ugly</strong></p><p>…By far, the lowest moment of the IAC happened before the conference even began in the skies over the Ukraine/Russia conflict zone when flight MH17 was downed by a missile fired as a result of what's believed to be mistaken identity. We quickly learned that many of the passengers on the plane were delegates headed to Melbourne for the IAC, including world renowned HIV expert and former IAS president, Joep Lange. Needless to say this sad and unfortunate event completely changed the tone of a conference that otherwise gathers every two years to celebrate life. The impact was felt right away during the opening ceremony that usually has the feel of an international party, but felt more like a memorial service as moments of silence, tributes, and solemn song were abundant. Many of the persons lost were not only colleagues of those present, but close friends of a lot of the keynote speakers... IAS did its best to honor the lives of those lost in a way they would be proud of; by carrying on with AIDS 2014 in spite of the tragedy, because the best way to honor them, is to continue the work they began.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Conference.jpg" alt="Conference.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;300px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Participants​&#160;join in an interfaith worship service</em><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>El Fin</strong></p><p>The 20th International AIDS Conference and its associated events were not short of ups and downs, but life was present all around us, even in the wake of death; people LIVING with HIV, not dying. HIV and AIDS is no longer a death sentence, and even as many died trying to advance the work being done in the field, millions more will live as result of their sacrifice. AIDS 2014 was much more than a medical science conference; it was a gathering to celebrate humanity; a time to not just focus on HIV treatment, but people treatment; an opportunity to not just share the statistics, but to share the stories. AIDS 2014 was about &quot;Stepping up in Faith&quot; and &quot;Stepping up the Pace,&quot; leaving no one behind in the fight against AIDS. I look forward to continuing the good fight at AIDS 2016 in Durban, South Africa.&quot;</p></div>08/05/2014EPA Clean Power Plan Hearings: Days 2-3Mary Minette, Director of Environmental Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/97http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/97<div class="ExternalClassFA41CFDCEE28473E8267C86FCFD590F3"><p><em>Yesterday, Lutherans continued their testimonies at the Environmental Protection Agency. Our speakers were notably engaging, energized and forthright in their discussion on how climate change is an important matter in their community. Their testimonies gave an excellent impression, demonstrating how Lutherans are active and concerned about protecting&#160;God's creation. Here are some excerpts of their testimonies&#58;</em></p><p><strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;text-align&#58;center;"><strong style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">7/30 Washington D.C. Hearing</strong><br></strong></p><p><strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;text-align&#58;center;">Mary Minette, Director of Environmental Policy</strong></p><p>…We know that climate change has many other public health impacts, and that those impacts fall hardest on those who are most vulnerable, including children and the elderly, and particularly hard on vulnerable people who live in poverty.&#160;And we are already seeing the impact that a changing climate can have on food production and food security, with the drought in California as only the most recent example. &#160;&#160;</p><p>…The arguments of economic impact and job loss also ignore the costs of doing nothing, of allowing global temperatures to continue their upward trend and earth's climate to become less and less predictable.&#160; Losses in productivity, increases in food prices, dwindling supplies of water, will all have steep costs and huge economic impacts, together with the continued cost of responding to ever more frequent weather disasters.</p><p>We are faced with an important choice—we can act now, and help to protect future generations and God's creation from the worst impacts of climate change, or we can fail to act and let our children and the earth suffer the consequences. This rule is a critical step in the right direction.&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/epa3.jpg" alt="epa3.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;300px;vertical-align&#58;text-bottom;" /><br></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;"></div><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>​Mary Minette testifies before the EPA pannel&#160;</em><br></p><p><strong><strong style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;">7/31 Pittsburg, PA Hearing</strong></strong></p><p><strong>The Rev. Paul Lubold</strong></p><p>I share their concern about the impacts of global climate change, especially as it takes its largest toll on &quot;the health of young children and their families, disproportionately affecting the poorest among us,&quot; </p><p>The Bishops [Elizabeth Eaton] wrote&#58; &quot;Multi-year droughts, sea level rise, extreme weather events and increased flooding dramatically affect communities internationally, from the… north slope of Alaska to Midwestern farming families to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines… We recognize with concern that climate change particularly harms low-income communities.&quot;</p><p>I also want to speak personally in support of the Clean Air plan… As a Christian, I believe that God created the earth, sky and seas.&#160; And that as creation was happening God declared that it was &quot;good.&quot;</p><p>God then entrusted humans with &quot;caretaking&quot; responsibilities... But unfortunately, we've not been all that 'responsible.' Rather than use natural resources, like fossil fuels, in a sustainable way, we have often squandered them for selfish, profit-driven reasons… If we who were entrusted to be &quot;care-takers&quot; of creation have an opportunity to make changes that would insure an environment that is 'more healthy' for our children and grandchildren, then we have <em>a moral imperative to do just that.</em></p><p><em><strong style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;text-align&#58;center;"><strong><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/10517958_708345165868226_468551723894775184_n.jpg" alt="10517958_708345165868226_468551723894775184_n.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;410px;height&#58;234px;" /></strong></strong><br></em></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;text-align&#58;center;">​Lutheran Advocactes show support in Pittsburg​<br></span></em></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;text-align&#58;center;"></span></em></p><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>8/1 Pittsburg, PA Hearing</strong></p><p><strong>The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade, PhD</strong></p><p>&quot;…Yes, the new EPA rules will force Pennsylvania to reduce its air pollution and burn less coal. But <em>how</em> we adjust to less coal will make all the difference.&#160; If we build more renewable energy infrastructure and increase energy efficiency, our air <em>will</em> be cleaner and greenhouse gases will be reduced. But if we replace coal with fracked gas, we will only be making our air and atmosphere worse.&#160; These rules, as written, only codify the transition from coal to gas that is already underway. As well, the rule gives implicit consent to burn more trash, tires, coal sludge, and other forms of toxic waste for electricity.&#160; So while I believe the proposal is a good first step, it is not only inadequate, it will have the unintended consequence of replacing one source of dirty fuel with many others.</p><p>I am committed to helping people of faith learn how to do their part to care for God's Creation and support eco-justice issues.&#160; I call for the EPA to not only stand its ground with this rule, but to actually strengthen and expand it in order to put in place the strongest protections possible to defend public health, the fragile atmosphere of our planet, and the communities that will bear the costs and suffering from our addiction to fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/The%20Rev%20%20Dr%20%20Leah%20Schade_headshot_speaking%20(2).jpg" alt="The Rev Dr Leah Schade_headshot_speaking (2).jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;300px;height&#58;400px;" /><br></strong></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><em>Rev. Schade speaks on the Clean Power Plan</em></p><p><strong>Pittsburg, PA Hearing </strong></p><p><strong>Cricket Eccleston Hunter, Executive Director, PA IPL</strong></p><p>&quot;Climate change magnifies ills that faith communities have long responded to&#58; food insecurity, water insecurity, disease, conflict, and many natural disasters, and we are stepping up again.&#160;&#160; We know that the EPA's charge is to protect the health and welfare of Americans.&#160; We also know that the health and welfare of other beings and other peoples is at risk.&#160; We act for them as well.&#160; </p><p>…Coal representatives will tell you that acting responsibly on carbon pollution will steal jobs from communities on the economic edge.&#160; They won't say that those jobs have never driven executive decision-making.&#160; They won't mention that those jobs are already in a decades-long decline, or that the decline is about bottom lines, not about federal policy nor even booming gas.&#160; Combined coal output from West Virginia and Kentucky has held nearly steady since 1983, but mining jobs have dropped by half. &#160;We <em>do</em> need to help generate new paths for employees and communities that currently depend on fossil fuels.&#160; Holding tight to the diminishing fuels of the 18<sup>th</sup> and 19<sup>th</sup> centuries instead of reaching forward to the power of the 21<sup>st</sup> is not the way to do it.&#160; </p><p>Like our faith communities, the United States is explicitly founded on values.&#160; As such, we have a unique opportunity to lead according to those values.&#160; When we don't, as we have not on climate change, our silence is deafening.&#160; When these proposed standards were announced in June, the world took note. China immediately began hinting at an absolute cap on its own carbon emissions, and has since created 8 pilot carbon trading markets.&#160; Christians talk about acting as a &quot;city on a hill&quot; — when we act as we should, using the gifts we've been given, the example shines, and draws others in.&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><em><span style="line-height&#58;20.799999237060547px;text-align&#58;center;"><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/395.JPG" alt="395.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;400px;height&#58;300px;" /><br></span></em></p><p><strong>You can add your voice to the conversation too! Send your comments to the EPA through our</strong><strong>&#160;</strong><a href="http&#58;//t.co/W9PsNhUXpx"><strong>Action Center</strong></a><strong>, and tell them that you support the new Carbon Rule on Existing Power Plants to protect our children's future!&#160; </strong></p></div>08/01/2014