ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/ELCA State Advocacy Update: March 2015ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/122http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/122<div class="ExternalClass951F569705BE40B8970A12AA73525F0A"><p>​<span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthy State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</em></span></p><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></strong></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Washington, D.C.</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">www.elca.org/advocacy</a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-size&#58;14px;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#181818;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;11pt;"><img alt="LOGUM.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/LOGUM.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;border&#58;0px currentcolor;width&#58;100px;line-height&#58;20px;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;left;" /></span></span>&#160;</p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Visits with Lutheran members of Congress&#58;</strong> </span></p></div><p>This year, ELCA Advocacy policy directors continue to work on building connections with Lutheran lawmakers and their staff in Congress. Since the beginning of March, we have had productive conversations with nearly 20 congressional offices&#160;from both sides of the aisle and are working to highlight Lutheran policy values and reaffirm the significance of faith-based advocacy. </p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Selma-to-Montgomery march and the Voting Rights Act of 1965</strong>&#58; This weekend, thousands from across the United States and around the world will gather in Alabama for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Selma-to-Montgomery march and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.&#160; Along with civil rights activists, elected officials and faith leaders, some of our ELCA &#160;churchwide staff and young adult leaders will travel from various parts of the country to bear witness to &#160;this historic event. <a href="http&#58;//elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/121"><span lang="X-NONE" style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Visit our ELCA Advocacy blog</span></a> to read reflections from these Lutheran leaders as they prepare to make the journey to Selma, including why they feel called to attend and what they hope to gain from this experience. Be sure to <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/elcaadvocacy?ref=hl"><span lang="X-NONE" style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">follow this event on ELCA Advocacy social media</span></a>!</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Visit to Central America</strong>&#58; In February, staff from our office joined other ELCA churchwide leaders on a trip to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to understand the factors behind increased migration of children and families and to learn about their repatriation process. The trip reaffirmed our commitment to raise our voices together to ensure the stories we heard are not forgotten. Follow our action alerts to learn more about our advocacy efforts for migrants and new initiatives as a result of this trip.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Lenten Reflections</strong>&#58; As we journey through this season of Lent, ELCA Advocacy policy staff continues to share weekly reflections on ways in which we can act together to affect long-lasting changes in our communities through self-reflection, forgiveness and reconciliation. Follow our Lenten series by <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/mlm/signup/?ignore_cookie=1">signing up for ELCA Advocacy alerts</a> or by <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/121">following our Advocacy blog</a>.&#160;&#160;</span></p><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;<strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></strong></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">New York, NY</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Dennis Frado</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>United Nations</strong>&#58; The 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York March 9-20, 2015. This is the 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. The theme will focus on current challenges that affect its implementation and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women. LOWC is expecting to host 31 Lutheran delegates (six international and 25 ELCA members) and two side events. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">Augusta Victoria Hospital</strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#58; LOWC staff has been working with </span><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Our-Work/Publicly-Engaged-Church/Peace-Not-Walls"><span lang="EN" style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA Peace Not Walls</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> on various advocacy actions related to the financial (cash flow) crisis being faced by The Lutheran World Federation operated Augusta Victoria Hospital. </span><a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/home/"><span lang="EN" style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">Visit the ELCA Advocacy Action Center to learn how you can take action</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">!&#160;</span><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">&#160;</a></strong><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#160;</span></span></p></span></div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font&#58;13px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">California</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA&#160;​</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">www.loppca.org</a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><font color="#569bbe" face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Valentine's Lobby Day</strong>&#58; LOPP-CA participated in a Health and Human Services Coalition&quot;Break Up with Poverty&quot; Lobby Day on Feb. 14th, along with a Lutheran lay leader with a chronic diseaseand &#160;limited mobility.&#160; The agenda included increasing the minimum wage and allowing undocumented immigrants to participate in the Covered California health plans.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><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;" />Climate Change</strong>&#58; 25% of California's carbon cap-and-trade funds are allocated to High Speed Rail (HSR). Although it has become politicized, LOPP-CA supported the original HSR bond financing measure approved by voters, a part of California's climate action plan.&#160; (See photo to the right.)</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Child Care&#58;</strong> Director Mark Carlson participated in a child care rally and a lecture by the author of an </span><a href="http&#58;//uccs.ucdavis.edu/"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">award-winning study</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> on the difference between informal and formal child care for children of immigrant families (formal care makes a big difference in school readiness and avoiding an achievement gap). </span></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Looking Ahead&#58;</strong> Plans are in the works for a conference of the California Budget Project and the annual in-person meeting of the steering committee for California Interfaith Power &amp; Light.</span></p></span></div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Colorado</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lam-co.org</span></strong></a></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="CO1.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/CO1.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Faith Advocacy Day</strong>&#58; <a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/">Colorado Faith Advocacy Day 2015 </a>took place on Monday, Feb. 16. Nearly 100 advocates gathered to hear keynoter Tom Luehrs (pictured right), executive director of the St. Francis Center, and panelists B.J. Iacino from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Keith Singer with Family Tree House of Hope, a shelter for women and children. Thanks to all who attended for a powerful witness of the Church’s call to advocacy. </span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Legislation</strong>&#58; Several notable hunger and poverty bills have emerged in both chambers. SB 12, which would allow child support payments to be received by families on Colorado Works instead of by county governments, is in Senate Appropriations. SB 79, which would use a county clerk document fee to fund a new Affordable Housing Investment Fund, is awaiting an initial committee hearing. HB 1080, which would have reduced participation in the school breakfast program and was opposed by Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado and many other hunger groups, was defeated in committee. </span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="Co2.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Co2.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Other issues&#58;</strong> Gov. John Hickenlooper’s special task force on oil and gas sent nine recommendations to the governor’s desk. Urban and suburban communities on the Front Range have been battling oil and gas companies over development near homes and schools. Recommendations include incentivizing mediation between the two sides to avert costly legal battles, increasing state health department staff to monitor air quality compliance, and encouraging the Legislature to approve new pollution control measures.&#160;</span></p><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Minnesota</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota&#160;</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><a style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">tammy@lcppm.org</span></strong></a></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><img alt="Mn1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Mn1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;133px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Clean Energy &amp; Jobs Day at the Capitol</strong>&#58; Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota (LA-MN) was </span><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/MinnesotaCleanEnergyJobs/photos/pcb.413026118867475/413026098867477/?type=1&amp;theater"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">host at Christ Lutheran</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> for the many partners and 400+ participants of our Day at the Capitol. The event included briefings, legislator visits, prayer circles, a youth meeting with Gov. Dayton, and a renewable energy study presentation. LA-MN Director Tammy was pleased with Lutheran participation. Many non-faith participants notably commented that they didn't realize church people cared for the environment. </span></span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Bishop's Breakfast with State Legislators</strong>&#58; Though primarily about meeting and relationship building, the bishops also shared Lutheran Social Service (LSS) and LA-MN overlapping concerns related to the Homeless Youth Act and the Homes for All with legislators. </span><a href="https&#58;//fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/s720x720/10986926_773580679400180_1824636991616524694_n.jpg?oh=d38aa87858bb5dc9c5141703699c616b&amp;oe=55971715&amp;__gda__=1434691109_5a26c64b32ffe06355bd7bd076d9dbbe"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">Each bishop</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> had a special role during the day, in leading prayer to open of the senate session, opening with prayer for day's different events, or speaking at a press conference. </span></span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Pastor's Day of Advocacy</strong>&#58; The </span><a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/100113576746897/photos/ms.c.eJw9jtsNxEAMAjuKHL~_w~_2~%3bsLma9nyPQAGBRgrdd5EU~_ICMlswyHE5OXHA6fPJdTh0OXjX2~%3bPvq3~%3b2~_Mf~%3bNiPy8HeX3Nf7H~%3bmvu6vk6FmVcc9vo4zJZnX0Vuzv~%3bri~_b~%3buMz~%3b9QPxxDqV.bps.a.773580459400202.1073741828.100113576746897/773580946066820/?type=1&amp;theater"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">joint LSS and LA-MN event</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"> of 30+ pastors and parishioners included briefings on housing, homelessness, youth homelessness, advocacy, a Homeless Youth Act press conference, and visits with legislators. LSS and LA-MN plan to make it an annual event. &#160;</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Homeless Youth Act </strong></span><a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbGArcxdaKY"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Press Conference</strong></span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#58; Bishop Anderson &#160;served as emcee, while Bishop Aitkenshared about the LSS Duluth Homeless Youth Project. House and senate bill authors spoke, and a pastor shared about how churches can help. LSS intern, Ebony, shared her success story of becoming homeless by age 15, landing in an LSS shelter, and now getting a Masters of Social Work. &#160;</span></span></p></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Nevada</strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Rev. Mike Patterson, Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Nevada<span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span><a href="https&#58;//leanforjustice.wordpress.com/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;none;">https&#58;//leanforjustice.wordpress.com/</a>&#160;</strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>&quot;Ashes to Go&quot;</strong> at the Nevada Legislature&#58; The Rev. Mike Patterson offered &quot;Ashes to Go&quot; inside the legislative building. Patterson blessed about 50 legislators and legislative staff. &quot;Ashes to Go&quot; is an Ash Wednesday practice of offering in a public place a brief liturgy and the mark of the cross on the forehead with ashes that has gained popularity. &quot;Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return&quot; is the phrase with which we begin the season of Lent. Saying &quot;remember you are dust and to dust you shall return&quot; to a politician may sound like the stuff of stand-up comedy, but it is both encouraging and humbling to learn that elected officials came to be blessed.&#160; &#160;&#160;</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">---------------------------------------------</span><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Jersey</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Sara Lilja,&#160;New Jersey Synod&#160;</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><a href="mailto&#58;logm@njsynod.org">logm@njsynod.org</a></span></strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="Nj1.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/Nj1.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;280px;height&#58;207px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Poverty on the rise in N.J</strong>.&#58; New Jersey’s official poverty rate obscures the true scope of the current economic struggle in New Jersey because of the state’s cost of living. An income of 200 percent of the federal poverty level comes closer to the actual income needed to meet basic needs. One in four New Jersey residents is struggling, and this percentage of the population is rising! The governor released his 2016 budget this past week, with seemingly no new plans as to address this growing concern. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Income woes</strong>&#58; The state’s high long-term unemployment rate and slow job growth mean that this is still a difficult time for many middle- and low-income families. The Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry is working to promote policies like restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, earned sick days, and food programs to help reduce the pain of this difficult economic situation. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Working for change</strong>&#58; We work diligently to change the landscape of the criminal justice system. Currently we are advocating for new regulations on the use of solitary confinement in New Jersey’s jails and prisons.&#160;</span></p></span></div></div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Mexico</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></span></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</span></strong></span></a></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="NM1.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/NM1.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;240px;height&#58;112px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Bishop’s Legislative Luncheon</strong>&#58; The 2015 Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM Bishop’s Legislative Luncheon &amp; Issues Briefing was held on Feb. 10 in Santa Fe. Advocates gathered at Christ Lutheran Church to hear more about interest rate caps for storefront loans and hunger in New Mexico. Bishop Gonia talked about advocates as “Stewards of the Divine Zoom Paradox.” At the luncheon, 150 Lutheran and ecumenical/interfaith advocates were in attendance. State Sen. Peter Wirth was recognized as “Legislator of the Year” for his many years of good work on fair tax policy. Carlos Navarro, long-time Bread for the World volunteer, received the Chris &amp; John <img alt="NM2.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/NM2.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;111px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Haaland Advocacy Award. Following the luncheon, a number of advocates visited the state Capitol to speak with their legislators.</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Pennsylvania</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-size&#58;13px;">www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</span></a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;&#160;</div><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>State budget</strong>&#58; In February, LAMPa staff, as part of the Coalition for Fair Education Funding, met with the governor's office and legislative leaders ahead of Gov. Tom Wolf's inaugural budget address to unveil the coalition's proposed funding formula. The student-driven formula would direct resources to students and districts with the greatest needs and calls for approximately $3.6 billion in new state investments in public education to be phased in over six to eight years. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>School breakfast</strong>&#58; LAMPa is also gearing up for National School Breakfast Week with partners in the Pa. School Breakfast Challenge. Relationships built through other work enabled us to bring the Pa. State Education Association to the table around child hunger. They have agreed to promote school breakfast through the statewide challenge and teacher training and have invited LAMPa to school breakfast participation at their annual leadership meeting. In addition, LAMPa and PSEA have both been named to the board of Hunger-Free Lancaster County, which is working through Feeding America with the goal of being the first county in the nation to end the meal gap by 2018. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Housing</strong>&#58; Staff also met with the chairman of the House Urban Affairs Committee to encourage his support for expanding the state Housing Trust Fund. Subsequently, a favorable Senate bill was introduced in February and is expected to move out of committee the first week of March. Amy preached and taught at St. James, Gettysburg, to start a Lenten program focused on hunger.</span></p><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Virginia</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Marco Grimaldo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-size&#58;13px;">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</span></a><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;text-decoration&#58;underline;">&#160;</span></strong></div><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​</p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>40 bills in 45 days</strong>&#58; Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy worked on more than 40 bills over the course of this 45-day legislative session. All of our major legislation was killed early in the process – some never survived subcommittee. The good news is that we successfully countered anti-immigrant legislation and defeated a bill that would have made the process of executions in Virginia a secret, not even subject to discovery in a court of law. We made some modest gains on the budget, including a bill that will provide school-age children access to an additional $100 from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families for use on school supplies and clothes.</span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Immigration</strong>&#58; Implementation of the DACA/DAPA program for undocumented immigrants is on hold but we are continuing to work on building a strong network to educate potential applicants. We have been working with LIRS at the request of our two bishops to help reach former Rep. Frank Wolf to help weigh in with Virginia Republicans about immigration and that work is ongoing.&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;</span></p><p class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">​Washington</strong></div></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;text-decoration&#58;underline;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#005594;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;none;"><span style="color&#58;#005594;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.fanwa.org</span></a></strong></div><p><strong></strong>&#160;</p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Legislative session</strong>&#58; The public conversation on revenue and the state budget is just beginning. Our state Supreme Court decision, requiring full funding of K-12 public education, is hanging over the Legislature's head. In terms of Faith Action Network's (FAN) legislative agenda, some of our key policy bills are&#58; reducing wage theft, increasing our minimum wage, Breakfast After the Bell (increasing school breakfast participation), lifting the prohibition on providing post-secondary education in our state prison system, Family Unity Act (reducing ICE detainers and deportations), preventing human trafficking, and better state regulations to prevent oil train disasters</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Faith-based organizing&#58; </strong>FAN just completed four legislative forums around our state with good attendance. We are pleased to announce that FAN's 2015-2016 ELCA intern has been selected and will begin her work in late August. We are also grateful to the ELCA for being approved to be a Horizon Site.<strong> </strong>FAN participated in and helped coordinate an interfaith press conference recently at a Hindu temple north of Seattle where a hate-crime occurred.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><font color="#222222"></font></span>&#160;<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Wisconsin</strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.loppw.org</span></a></strong></div><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5" style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="WA1.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/WA1.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Proposed biennial budget</strong>&#58; Funding has been proposed for trafficked youth and six of our bishops sent a letter to Wisconsin legislators and the governor supporting it. Additional financial support for mental health services and transitional jobs has also been proposed. We are challenged by the enormous cuts that would impact education, seniors, people with disabilities and our environment. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Right to work</strong>&#58; The senate passed a bill prohibiting as a condition of employment membership in labor organizations. LOPPW was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the subject. LOPPW’s Statement on Right to Work was edited and revised by the advisory council and Wisconsin bishops. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Safe harbor kickoff</strong>&#58; LOPPW and Cherish All Children’s kickoff event drew more than 40 people. Local police and members of our task force led the conference. We wrote letters to legislators and Bishop Richard Hoyme of the ELCA Northwest Synod of Wisconsin blessed those letters. </span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Other advocacy</strong>&#58; The director led a workshop at Midvale Community Lutheran Church in Madison. For information about our rally on human trafficking visit&#58; </span><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/events/coming-soon"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">http&#58;//www.loppw.org/events/coming-soon</span></a><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">&#160;</span></span></p></span></div>03/06/2015Looking ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting-rights marchELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/121http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/121<div class="ExternalClass0DC26B84965648B0A87E50ADC1AB043F"><p><strong>​</strong><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><strong>T</strong></span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><strong>his weekend, thousands from across the United States and around the world will gather in Alabama for the 50</strong></span><sup><strong>th</strong></sup><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><strong> anniversary of </strong></span><a href="http&#58;//www.history.com/topics/black-history/selma-montgomery-march" style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><strong>Bloody Sunday, the Selma-to-Montgomery march and the Voting Rights Act of 1965</strong></a><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;"><strong>. Along with civil rights activists, elected officials and faith leaders, some of our ELCA churchwide staff and young adult leaders will travel from various parts of the country to attend events.</strong></span></p><p><strong style="line-height&#58;1.6;">Today, we share with you some reflections from these ELCA leaders as they prepare to make the journey to Selma, including why they feel called to attend and what they hope to gain from this experience&#58;</strong></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">​---<br></p><h4><strong>Nathaniel Viets-VanLear, Chicago&#58;&#160;</strong></h4><p><strong></strong><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&quot;Selma becomes important not as an observation of a moment in history but as a reminder that the past and present are only two parts of a continuum. Already steeped in the Black-lives-matter movement in Chicago, I travel to Selma to offer testament to the fact that a movement began long before I arrived on this earth, through the work of many young men and women before me. I want these streets, these structures, this history to flow through me as I walk through Selma, acting as a life-giving force that can only add more furor to all of the work that needs to be done. Like an empty cup, I plan to go to Selma </span><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">&#160;ready to be as filled as possible. Growth is my only expectation. My biggest task will be opening my ears and mind to the lives and experiences of my elders past and present. I hope to be corrected, refined, and further ingrained as a leader toward positive change in our shared community.&quot;</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="line-height&#58;1.6;">---<br></span></p><h4><strong>Jackie Maddox, Washington, D.C.&#58;</strong><br></h4><p>&quot;I am attending for those who stood 50 years ago and were knocked down, beaten and humiliated because they wanted the right to have a voice. Those who were denied but never gave up. Fifty years later I want to stand for the people, including my parents, who struggled for me and are the reason why I and many others can vote today. Although the events that led up to having a right to vote were horrific, I will feel privileged to be among people who fought for justice and won.&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">---<br></p><h4><strong>Ryan Martin-Yates, Oklahoma City, Okla.&#58;</strong><br></h4><p>&quot;This trip is an important moment in time for me. I've grown up always oriented toward seeking justice, but only recently have I found the bravery to use my voice in that. This past year has been a year of growth that has been facilitated by what has gone on in this country and how those events began to affect my daily life. I currently live in Oklahoma, a place dealing with underlying racial prejudice that's perpetuated by places of faith, and I soon realized it was time for me to step up and use my voice. Once I began to see a lack of empathy for people who were hurting, I knew I could no longer be submissive. I've been walking alongside fellow people of color here at the university who are seeking more from our school in the way of dialogue about race. I belong to a family whose struggle to survive in this country is directly tied to systematic injustice against people of color, and I'm not OK with that anymore. For me, this weekend is a moment to reflect on a powerful moment in our country's history and to engage in dialogue about how the fight for justice is to keep moving 50 years later.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">---<br></p><h4><strong>Mark Carlson, Sacramento, Calif.&#58;</strong></h4><p>&quot;I went to the 40th anniversary of Selma in 2005 to honor my father, a Lutheran pastor and voice for racial justice,&#160;who was not able to march in 1965 as he hoped; as well as for his clergy colleagues who did.&#160;Fascinated by the extraordinary courage of so many who were dehumanized and the objects of terror and violence, another pilgrimage was just something I had to do. I returned&#160;for the 45<sup>th</sup> and am&#160;going again to learn, to listen, to walk, worship, sing, and to be nourished and inspired as I remember the sacrifices and recommit to resist racism and violence.&#160;​This time it is more personal.&#160; My mother, Rosemary, who is now in her last days under hospice care, asked me if I had been to Selma while we were watching the Oscars performance of &quot;Glory&quot;<em> </em>from the movie &quot;Selma.&quot; Since my 2010 trip, I&#160;learned that her great-grandfather and his brother, who served in the 8<sup>th</sup> Wisconsin Infantry, had been in Montgomery and Selma 150 years ago, mustering out in nearby Demopolis in 1865.&#160;I also continue to wonder why we are not in a better place with race relations, poverty, violence, the criminal justice system,&#160;voting rights and voter participation,&#160;after my ancestors went through hell, as did those who endured and gave so much those 50 years ago.&#160; Selma 2015 will point the way to a better place, with God's help.&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">​---<br></p><h4><strong>Natalie Young, Chicago&#58;</strong></h4><p>&quot;This trip is important to me as a person of color whose father grew up in the south (Mississippi) during the civil rights movement. I am 30 years old and identify as multiethnic and am always baffled when my peers do not show up at the polls and vote! I think that people in my generation and younger sometimes forget the struggle that our elders went through so that we could live the way we do today. I saw the movie &quot;Selma&quot; with my family and was reminded how recently these events occurred in our history. The film gave a certain humanness to the iconic civil rights leaders that we learned about in school and made me realize that great leaders have to start somewhere!&quot;</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">---<br></p><h4><strong>&#160;Judith Roberts, Chicago&#58;</strong><br></h4><p>&quot;My grandfather, CC Bryant of McComb, Miss., testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in February 1965. His testimony, along with several others, named the racial discrimination and intimidation experienced by African Americans trying to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Today, we are still facing voter disenfranchisement through public policies in the form of preserving state's rights (e.g. voter ID legislation and the criminal justice system that can temporarily or permanently deny access to the ballot).&#160;This moment in our current history is about lifting up the values of living in an electoral democracy – where every citizen should have the right to cast a ballot for the elected officials that will represent their communities. This church <a href="http&#58;//www.transformationresourcesnetwork.com/TRANSFORMATION_RESOURCES_NETWORK/Resources/Entries/2014/1/29_The_ELCA_Recently_Passed_Voting_Rights_Resolution.html">adopted a social statement policy to ensure just that.&quot;</a></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">​---<br></p><p><strong>We pray for our ELCA leaders and all those who gather in Selma this weekend. We will continue to bring photos and stories from the events, as well as reflections after the anniversary celebration.&#160;&#160;</strong></p></div>03/06/2015Lenten Reflection: The penitent thief and second chances John B. Johnson, Program Director, Domestic Policyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/120http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/120<div class="ExternalClass837D059D4E2D46F5B6505C6647351CA0"><p><em>Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. </em><em>When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus</em><em> there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.—One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding</em><em> him and saying, &quot;Are you not the Messiah?</em><em> Save yourself and us!&quot; </em><em>But the other rebuked him, saying, &quot;Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? </em><em>And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.&quot; </em><em>Then he said, &quot;Jesus, remember me when you come into</em><em> your kingdom.&quot; </em><em>He replied, &quot;Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.&quot; </em>(Luke 23 32; 39-43)</p><p><strong><img alt="blog snipp.JPG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/blog%20snipp.JPG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;179px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />The penitent thief and second chances</strong></p><p>Luke's account of the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross with two other &quot;criminals&quot; intrigues me.&#160; When I read this Gospel, I find myself wondering about the man who made it to paradise with Jesus that day.&#160; Because of his penitence and faith, Jesus gives him a second chance for redemption and for paradise.&#160; </p><p>I think two of the most important sentences in the English language are <em>I'm sorry </em>and <em>thank you.</em> Lent is a time of penitence and forgiveness.&#160; The penitent thief's story is, for me, one of the all-time best &quot;second chances.&quot;&#160; I like second chances—and throughout my career, I certainly have needed them.&#160; Second chances are part of our national character in everything from bankruptcy for businesses or individuals, to youth who make mistakes and find themselves in the juvenile justice system.&#160; Individually or as a society, offering a second chance is a Gospel value.&#160; </p><p>One of my heroes—who I had the pleasure of meeting in person (and I even bought him a Coca-Cola)—is former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, <a href="http&#58;//www.today.com/video/today/54614800#54614800">who said</a>, &quot;No one is beyond redemption.&quot; Forgiveness is more for us than it is for the one who may sin against us.&#160; </p><p>The opportunity to serve the ELCA in our Washington, DC Advocacy Office as the Program Director of Domestic Policy feels like a second chance for me because I served in a similar capacity with the Episcopal Church some years ago.&#160; I left that job for new opportunities and experiences that were both wonderful, challenging and no-so-great.&#160; What those experiences taught me, however, was that I was &quot;operating outside of my call.&quot; Getting back to faith-based advocacy is a great blessing for me and I love that I have an opportunity to bring second chances into my professional work.</p><p><strong>Second Chance Reauthorization Act and Smarter Sentencing Act</strong></p><p>Criminal justice reform is becoming a passion of mine in large measure because of my faith in redemption and second chances.&#160; In the last Congress, several promising bi-partisan bills were introduced that would reduce the US prison population, reduce mandatory minimum requirements for non-violent drug offences and improve reentry services to reduce recidivism for the formerly incarcerated.&#160; The <a href="https&#58;//www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/1690">Second Chance Reauthorization Act</a> and the <a href="https&#58;//www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/1410">Smarter Sentencing Act</a> are two key opportunities to reform our criminal justice system in the US.</p><ul><li><strong><em>The Second Chance Act </em></strong>was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2009, this legislation provides federal resources to states for reentry programs, but could do more through the reauthorization process with a number of enhancements directed at incarcerated young people—including additional mentoring programs, transitional services, and new granting opportunities.</li><li><strong><em>The Smarter Sentencing Act </em></strong>makes incremental reform that allows federal judges to appropriately sentence certain non-violent drug offenders below existing mandatory minimum sentences.&#160; The bill provides federal judges some case-by-case review of each offender to prevent overly harsh sentencing.&#160; Finally, the bill refocuses the resulting savings into crime and recidivism prevention programs and improves transparency through public access to statutory and regulatory criminal provisions.</li></ul><p>When legislative action begins in earnest on these important reform opportunities, I hope Lutherans and all of our Christian brothers and sisters will find their voice and call on our Senators, Representatives and the President to pass these bills.</p><p>Thank you for the opportunity to reflect and to share the ministry of advocacy with so many of you. May you have a good and reflective Lent. </p></div>03/04/2015Will TPA, TPP and TTIP create “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All?”Rachel Williams, Legislative Internhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/119http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/119<div class="ExternalClassF66B37829CC64DE0B0848EBFBE197B50"><p>In the State of the Union speech last month, President Obama reaffirmed his priorities and his interest on passing trade agreements with Asia and the European Union. These agreements, he claimed, would &quot;protect our workers, protect our environment and open new markets to new goods stamped 'Made in the USA.'&quot; Announcing his intentions, the President is now looking to Congress to help pass three main pieces of legislation, including&#58;</p><ul><li><strong>Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)</strong> –<strong> </strong>the authority of the President&#160;to negotiate trade agreements from Congressional approval.&#160;It is a technique which has been used to&#160;block opportunities for dissenting members of Congress to amend or filibuster an agreement. </li><li><strong>The Trans-Pacific Partnership Act (TPP)</strong> - A trade agreement between 11 different countries in the Pacific Ocean Region. Congress and the public have not seen the trade agreement itself, making it difficult to know the final compromises and agreements.</li><li><strong>The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)</strong> - A trade agreement with European Union members.</li></ul><p>Trade may at times seem insignificant, but it affects many aspects of our daily lives&#58; from jobs, wages, and benefits, to international relations and global poverty. In light of the globalizing economy and reality of these new agreements, we must ask ourselves as people of faith, &quot;<em>will these policies help all of God's people thrive</em>?&quot;</p><p>The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America supports policies which help promote holistic economic growth, recognizing the value of raising families out of poverty and fostering a <em>&quot;sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all&quot;</em> (see the <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Economic-Life"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA Statement on Economic Life</span></a>). We believe that everyone should be able to support themselves and prosper within an economy. </p><p>Proponents of TPA support the trade agreements because it shows a united government during trade negotiations, creating stronger leverage in the trade talks. However, there is concerned about haste in passing these agreements. Some have indicated that there won't be enough time to read the agreement, debate it, or know what agreements will actually be upheld in the final version. Opponents worry that, if written carelessly, agreements may continue to weaken standards that harm workers (both domestically and internationally), enable policies which harm the environment, and prey on marginalized communities for their resources. With that being said, strong trade policy can be a chance to create regulations that benefit both businesses and consumers.</p><p>The Church has acknowledged that <em>what is in our interest must be placed in the context of what is good for the neighbor.</em> When making decisions in the economic realm how our actions affect our neighbors must also be taken into consideration.<em> Sudden shifts in globalized capital and financial markets can dramatically affect the economic well-being of millions of people, for good or for ill (</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Economic-Life"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA statement on Economic Life</span></a>).</p><p>Some Members of Congress have also explained how TPP and TTIP could be a chance to set high-standard trade rules for the international community. These trade agreements could create regulations that benefit both American businesses and consumers. Although TPP and TTIP can be a chance to create regulations that benefit both American businesses and consumers, terms of trade often work to the disadvantage of developing countries. Furthermore, benefits of trade agreements hinge on whether or not the countries signatory to them honor them as well whether there are ways to enforce the trade agreements. </p><p>Trade agreements are important reflections of our values as a country and can have a positive or detrimental effect on the daily lives of billions of people. With TPP agreements to finish in March, we will continue to support policies that are inclusive and protect marginalized populations. Trade agreements should give everyone a chance to thrive and create a livelihood can be an agreement we all can stand behind. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus brings good news to the poor and releases the captive. God executed justice for the oppressed. As followers of Christ, we must ensure that the actions of our government do not cause dire consequences to those with less power. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p></div>02/27/2015Lenten Reflection: Thinking about food in a time of fastingMary Minette, Director for Environmental Education and Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/118http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/118<div class="ExternalClassF90EF8A9E33242A994D2084D52EF04B0"><p><em>&quot;You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.</em><em>&#160; </em><em>The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together with joy.&quot; </em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;">Psalm 65&#58;11-13</p><p>For Lent, some people give up a favorite food as a way to reflect on scarcity and abundance, the gifts that God has given, and the sacrifice embodied in Christ's life, death and resurrection.&#160; I've done this myself because I thought it was a good way to focus on the meaning and purpose of the Lenten season (although my husband says that the year I gave up chocolate I became unbelievably cranky).&#160; Rather than giving up a food this year, my plan for Lent is to try to be more mindful of and thankful for the food that blesses and feeds me and my family. I aim to do this by finding ways to eat more sustainably and avoid waste.</p><p><img alt="mary23.PNG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/mary23.PNG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;190px;height&#58;254px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />If you've been reading the &quot;Living Earth Reflections&quot; I send each month, you probably know that I get a little obsessive about food waste.&#160;&#160; I lay that at the feet of my depression-era mother, who never had a leftover too small to stick in a little plastic container against some future need.&#160; For her to do otherwise would have gone against what she was taught during her childhood. Food was a gift and a blessing, especially in times of scarcity. To waste it was wrong.</p><p>She definitely had a point.&#160; In our world of abundance, many still don't have enough to eat.&#160; In our country and in the developed world as a whole, we waste a lot of food. &#160;This waste has economic, environmental and moral costs. </p><p>Each year an average U.S. family of four wastes an <a href="http&#58;//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141013-food-waste-national-security-environment-science-ngfood/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">estimated</span></a> $1484 in food. In our slowly growing and wage-stagnant economy, that's not a small amount! In 2010, the USDA <a href="http&#58;//www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib121.aspx"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">estimated that</span></a> 153 billion pounds of food with a retail value of $161 billion was wasted by U.S. consumers and retailers, more than one-third of our food supply. Wasted food also wastes all of the resources that go into growing, shipping, packaging and refrigerating food before it even reaches your table—and this also includes a lot of energy, much of which comes from polluting fossil fuels.&#160; </p><p>Most wasted food ends up in a landfill. According to the <a href="http&#58;//www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Environmental Protection Agency,</span></a> food thrown away by consumers, restaurants, grocery stores and others at all points along our industrial food chain is the largest single component of landfills.&#160; Food waste not only takes up space in landfills, it also produces methane as it decays. (Methane is one of the most potent of the greenhouse gases that is causing climate change, and landfills are the third largest source of U.S. methane emissions.)</p><p>Then there is the moral cost of food waste. Wasting food shows disregard for the farmer who grew the food, to all those who played a role in bringing it to the table and to our God whose creation offers us food in abundance.&#160; In a world where many of our neighbors are hungry, wasted food seems to embody an indifference to their suffering.&#160; When your mother told you to &quot;think of the starving children&quot; if you refused to clean your plate, she was making a moral point that deserves further reflection.&#160; How should we as Christians view a food system that allows millions of tons of food to rot in landfills while billions go hungry?&#160; And what role does our own wasted food play in that system? </p><p>Lent and its focus on spiritual discipline is a good time to ponder the role of food in our lives and to try some new, more sustainable practices (and see if they stick). &#160;Here are just a few&#58;</p><ul><li>Find ideas and resources from the <a href="http&#58;//www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/index.htm"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">USDA/EPA Food Waste Challenge</span></a> </li><li>Eat down your <a href="http&#58;//www.today.com/food/eating-down-fridge-I542193"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">refrigerator</span></a>, <a href="http&#58;//www.thekitchn.com/how-i-save-money-by-eating-down-the-freezer-love-your-freezer-215862"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">freezer</span></a> and <a href="http&#58;//goodcheapeats.com/2013/12/pantry-challenge-2014/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">pantry</span></a>.&#160; Oh and <a href="http&#58;//www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>'s some good information on what &quot;use by&quot; and &quot;sell by&quot; dates really mean and which foods are still safe to eat.</li><li>Try new ways of cooking that use leftovers and food scraps&#58; </li><ul><li><a href="http&#58;//gracelinks.org/3292/smart-cooking-trounces-food-waste-how-to-make-mincemeat-or-just-"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Smart Cooking Trounces Food Waste&#58; How to Make Mincemeat - or Just Lunch - of Leftovers</span></a></li><li><a href="http&#58;//www.tamareadler.com/wp-content/themes/organic_studio/images/favicon.ico"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace</span></a></li></ul><li>Read a new (and potentially controversial) <a href="http&#58;//www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2015/02/0040.xml&amp;contentidonly=true"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">report</span></a> from the scientific advisory panel that helps create the U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines that, for the first time, urges consumers to consider the environmental impact of their food.</li><li>This year's Earth Day <a href="http&#58;//www.creationjustice.org/earth-day-2015---sustainable-food-in-a-changing-climate.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Sunday</span></a> resource from Creation Justice Ministries focuses on the relationship between food and climate change.&#160; </li></ul><p>Thank you for this opportunity to reflect with you today.</p><p>&#160;</p></div>02/24/2015Reflect and take action with us this Lenten seasonTia Upchurch-Freelove, ELCA Program Director of Communications and Grassroots Outreachhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/117http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/117<div class="ExternalClass7799C53C36D146999C56CD08316387B0"><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><em>&quot;Is not this the fast that I choose&#58; to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?&quot;</em></span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;right;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">- Isaiah 58&#58;6-7</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">This season of Lent is a time of fasting, prayer and reflection in preparation for the feast of Easter. The words of the prophet Isaiah remind us that our fasting should connect deeply to meaningful changes in the way we live our daily lives and the way we see our world.</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span><strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">As we journey through these 40 days of Lent, we invite you to join our ELCA Advocacy staff each week for reflections on important issues and discussions on&#160;ways in which we can act together to affect positive and long-lasting changes in our communities.</span></strong></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span></strong>&#160;</div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span></strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">Today, on Ash Wednesday,</span><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span>we pray that God grants us renewed and honest hearts so that we may fully repent our sins and receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. This day, we begin to think about the beauty and brokenness we see in our world, and we consider how our daily lives affect this beauty and brokenness.&#160;</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><hr /><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Reflecting on hunger and poverty in our world</strong></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">As you begin your fasting and reflection this week, consider those in the world for whom going hungry is not a spiritual practice. We encourage you to raise awareness around issues surrounding hunger and poverty by utilizing multiple important ELCA World Hunger resources&#58;</span></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><ul style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><li style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><em><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Into_The_Wild.pdf" style="color&#58;blue;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">“Into the Wild&#58; a Lenten Liturgy and Intergenerational Study on Hunger”</span></span></a></strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span></span>-</em>This program includes liturgies, scripture readings, and activities for young people and adults to learn more about hunger and faith.&#160;</span></li><li style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><em><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Into_The_Wild_Parents_Guide.pdf" style="color&#58;blue;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">“40 Days of Wonderings&#58; A Family Discussion Guide for Lent”</span></span></a></em><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span></strong></span>&#160;- This calendar includes a variety of activities that parents and children can use to talk about hunger, faith, and hope during the Lenten season.</span></li><li style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">Visit<span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-World-Hunger" style="color&#58;blue;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA World Hunger</span></span></a></strong></span><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span>to find additional resources for Lent and Easter seasons.</span></li></ul></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><hr /><div style="text-align&#58;center;">Be the first to recieve our Advocacy Reflections this Lenten season by signing up for our <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/mlm/signup/?ignore_cookie=1">ELCA Advocacy Alerts</a>! </div></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></div></div></div></div>02/18/2015