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ELCA Presence in Far-Reaching Efforts of COP28

When you hear of the UN Conference of Parties (COP28) meeting in Dubai Nov. 30-Dec. 12, 2024, a faith voice from the ELCA is there in what may seem like far-away yet far-reaching efforts. Six representatives are attending either in-person or virtually to contribute to the dialogue with world leaders as they debate strategies and ambitions to effectively tackle the climate crisis.

The ELCA’s recent social message “Earth’s Climate Crisis” reads:

The ELCA presence at COP28 advances our duty through global dialogues that seek to address pressing environmental challenges.

Climate change affects everyday realities, in many areas such as food shortages, migration, rising grain prices and conflict over resources. With more than 100 faith-based organizations attending, there will be a Faith Pavilion. View COP28 activities from and from

Past COP output has brought ‘loss and damage’ fund discussion to the fore which can help nations address damage caused by the increased natural disasters. Being present as faith leaders has impact.

Consider registering for the Jan. 24, 2024, webinar to hear from ELCA COP28 participants: “Voices of Faith in Climate Action: COP28 and Beyond.” And get to know our representatives better in the introductions below.



Asked “Why is it important that the ELCA attends COP28?”, Christine Moffett, ELCA Program Director for Environment and Energy Policy, said:

“There are so many risks accompanied by the impacts of climate change, one of which being the loss of hope. It is important that as people of faith, as Lutherans, we answer the call from God to be stewards of God’s creation, which means to advocate and demand action to address and stop climate change, but in the same vein, to be hope bearers toward a future for all of God’s creation for generations to come.”

Moffett brings a background in both environmental science and political science. She holds a Master of Political Science Degree from the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam in Global Environmental Governance, Climate Change and Sustainability. In addition, she brings experience conducting community needs assessments in accompaniment with tribal nations. In this role with the ELCA, she advocates to the federal government around issues of stewardship of creation, environmental justice, climate change and sustainability, among others, all guided by ELCA social teachings.


Watch @loppca socials for timely COP28 reflections from Regina Q. Banks, JD. She is a womanist climate activist and professional advocate for economic, social and political justice. She currently serves as the Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy California, an ELCA-affiliated state public policy office, and Board Chair of Lutheran Social Services of Northern California. Banks is a proud alumna of Valparaiso University School of Law and Lincoln University (Mo.). She lives in her hometown of Sacramento, California, and in her spare time she works on multiple state and local social justice issues including housing security and ending the corrosive influence of money in public policy.


Savannah Jorgensen is the Legislative Coordinator with the Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California, where she previously served as an ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow. Jorgensen holds a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and a Master of Science in Atmospheric Sciences from Valparaiso University and Texas A&M University, respectively. Her passion is climate change and environmental justice policy. This is her first time participating in COP, and she is excited to engage with and learn from world partners to further our work on climate solutions.


Asked “Why is it important that the ELCA attends COP28?”, Christine Moolo, ELCA Program Director, World Hunger Initiatives, said:

“In the U.S. and around the globe, Indigenous communities are leading the fight against the crisis of climate change. Indigenous leadership, knowledge, and innovation have been critical to protecting Creation, fighting fossil fuels, transitioning to just and sustainable economies and protecting some of the most carbon-rich places on earth. As the ELCA, we have the gift of relationship with Indigenous leaders and educators who continue to show us their ways to care for Creation. COP28 is another opportunity for the ELCA to honor and center Native voices from around the globe and consider how we can learn from and apply Indigenous wisdom and expertise in our local communities and in our nation.”

Moolo is working to extend and deepen the work of ELCA World Hunger in the areas of migrant, environmental, racial, gender and economic justice. She has the privilege to serve with the ELCA AMMPARO executive committee, the board of Lutherans Restoring Creation, the Pine Ridge Reservation Housing initiative and re-establishing the ELCA Community Development Loan Fund. Her previous role was as Manager for Love Mercy Do Justice ministries with the Evangelical Covenant Church, with a focus on racial justice education for congregations. Moolo is an Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Assessor and received her Master of Arts in International Development from Eastern University. Moolo currently resides on the ancestral land of the Peoria, Kikapu and Ocheti Sakowin people, today known as Palatine, Ill.


Tammy Walhof is the Director of Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota, an ELCA-affiliated state public policy office. She enjoys hiking and birdwatching. She has worked, lived and traveled throughout Latin America and been to five African countries, where she learned a great deal about the impacts of our actions on others. In 2022, Tammy and her brother (a forester) went to Iceland, to better understand the impacts of climate change on Arctic regions. Walhof has several decades of advocacy experience through Bread for the World, and Lutheran Advocacy-Minnesota.


Asked “Why is it important that the ELCA attends COP28?”, the Rev. Matthew Zemanick, ELCA Program Director for Lutheran Disaster Response Initiatives, said:

“It is important for the church to be present in moments of crisis and important decision making. Mitigating the impacts of climate change and preventing a catastrophic 3-degree Celsius global mean temperature rise is the most important issue human society is facing. It is an honor to be present at COP with the ELCA to bear witness and contribute to solutions to the enormous challenges associated with climate change.”

Pr. Zemanick is responsible for developing emerging initiatives related to Lutheran Disaster Response’s (LDR) resiliency and preparedness programs. Before joining the LDR team, they served for nearly five years on Chicago’s southeast side as a parish pastor, community organizer and environmental justice chaplain. They grew up in the Patapsco River Valley in Central.


November/December Update: Advocacy Connections

from the ELCA advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, Senior Director

Partial expanded content from Advocacy Connections: November/December 2023



IN TIME OF WAR:  As weeks extend in the temporarily paused Isael-Hamas war, faith leaders continue to urge peace. Signed by the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, several ELCA synod bishops and others through Churches for Middle East Peace, a Nov. 29 letter to President Biden says, “We condemn all acts of violence against civilians and grieve with Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones.” It urges: “You have a unique opportunity to turn the tide of history and finally demand that the fighting stop and that the parties involved resolve their differences through negotiations and diplomatic means. Please do not miss this opportunity. Millions of lives depend on the U.S., no longer being complicit in an unjust war that has already devastated the lives of thousands of civilians. Our prayers are with you in the days and weeks to come. We ask that God give you wisdom and courage to do all you can to bring an end to the killing and the violence.”

Our ELCA advocacy continues to urge Congress and the Administration to: 1) Publicly call for a ceasefire to prevent the further loss of life; 2) Prioritize the protection of all civilians, including by urgently securing the entrance of humanitarian aid into Gaza and working to secure the release of hostages and prisoners; and 3) Urge all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law.


FARM BILL EXTENSION:  When Congress temporarily averted a government shutdown until early next year an extension of 2018 Farm Bill programs through Sept. 30, 2024, was also passed. Representatives of ELCA Pennsylvania synods visited Capitol Hill on Oct. 26 and shared experiences and priorities regarding feeding ministries, SNAP benefits, conservation programs and other components of the Farm Bill with U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) staff and offices of elected officials. We thank federal staffers and faith-centered advocates, including bishops, rostered ministers and Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania staff for this impactful effort organized with ELCA D.C.-based advocacy staff. Seeds planted by this fly-in include stronger relationships with USDA staff members, including connecting with ELCA World Hunger colleagues on new ways states and communities can provide healthy nutrition to low-income children during the summer months.

Contacting Congress on Farm Bill measures will be a critical priority for faith-based advocates as negotiations come to the fore in 2024. Our ELCA advocacy will continue to urge Congress to pass a Farm Bill reauthorization that promotes: food for hungry neighbors at home and abroad, healthy rural and farming communities, inclusion of people of all backgrounds, and creation care to feed future generations. Input from hundreds of Lutherans across the country who asked that their voices reach policy makers in the farm bill reauthorization process helped shape this ask, which is described in the ELCA “2023 Farm Bill Asks” summary.


CLIMATE-SMART FARMING FUNDING:  As the Farm Bill reauthorization continues to be negotiated, members of the House Committee on Agriculture are worried about a move to steer conservation money intended for climate-smart farming into other programs. This would threaten the additional funding for climate-smart agriculture programs in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. It seems to be a hurdle toward achieving a bipartisan Farm Bill.


GENDER JUSTICE:  For the first time, the U.S. government will contribute to the UNICEF/UNFPA’s Global Programme to End Child Marriage. This program was launched in 2016 to fight child marriage in 12 countries that have high prevalence rates, but the United States had not contributed funding for this work. The UNICEF/UNFPA work is separate from the bilateral work that USAID and the State Department are doing to end child marriage globally. Early and forced marriage is among types of gender-based violence identified in ELCA social teaching as the ELCA shares “rich convictions and significant commitments” to address justice for women and girls.


NOTEWORTHY LEGISLATIVE BREAKTHROUGHS:  While it can appear that Congress is immobile in bipartisan immigration reform, some breakthroughs are taking place. Of note, the House has introduced the Afghan Adjustment Act which would enable Afghans with parole status to adjust their legal status;Bthe Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act (H.R.1325) which is responding to the community’s support of families seeking safety by shortening the length wait-period for work authorization; and most recently, the Immigration Court Efficiency and Children’s Court Act of 2023 which would help make sure that unaccompanied children receive due process and meaningful support navigating immigration proceedings streamlined through the creation of a Children’s Court. These bills are noteworthy in scope and support, and because they are responsive to concerns raised by people of faith including ELCA Witness in Society staff and other advocates.

The ELCA supported a campaign of gratitude for sponsorship of the Afghan Adjustment Act through the Immigration Interfaith Coalition, inviting tagging of lawmakers with expressions of thanks, in addition to urging passage through an Action Alert.


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New Thing in Climate Justice

Grounded in hope for a world where all of creation may flourish, 24 passionate young adults from Hawaii to New York and many places in between (including 15 synods!) turned to one other and resourced themselves with ELCA social teaching, storytelling and action planning to (as phrased by one participant) “see how these brilliant minds continue to make this Earth a better place.” Following is a reflection presented during worship at the close of the ELCA Fall Climate Summit held in October 2023. In it Savannah Jorgensen – who brings gifts including training in meteorology and faith-based advocacy practice – found in Isaiah 43 room to explore lament, God’s presence, and a spark for hope and action.


New Thing in Climate Justice

By guest blogger Savannah Jorgensen, Legislative Coordinator,
Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California


The first overarching theme I hear when I read Isaiah 43 is one of lament.

Isaiah 43 takes place within the context of the Israelites exile and captivity in Egypt. In the extensive exile period, people were understandably losing their faith and their way, which is pointed out near the end of the chapter in verse 22: “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel!” After enduring such hardships and strife, I can’t say that I blame them for losing their faith in some ways. The past few years have definitely tested my own faith.

Despite being here and talking with you all about faith in action, I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s still a struggle sometimes to see God moving in the world, in my life. Maybe you have felt that way too.

There are indeed many injustices in the world today: racial, gender, and in our context at the summit, environmental. Reading Isaiah 43 for the first time, I thought that the writer was telling us that God was angry at the Israelites for not turning to their faith and to God. However, after reflecting on the chapter further, I think that God is instead lamenting what they are enduring, the sins of the world, and that the injustices they’re witnessing and experiencing have caused them to lose hope and faith. We are certainly in a period of lament at this moment in history. We lament ongoing environmental injustices, pollution, the degradation of natural and cultural spaces, extreme weather, habitat decline and the continued denial of these realities by world leaders and their inaction.

Lamentation, grief and anxiety are normal emotions to be feeling right now. Let’s not diminish our emotions and our lived experiences, but rather, let’s move to the second major theme in Isaiah 43. Lament, but remember…



That God is with us even now, even through this, even when we forget and cannot see God. Verses 1 and 5 ask us not to fear. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” and “Do not be fear, for I am with you”. These verses are reminding us of who we are as God’s children. We are loved, and God walks with us in times of distress. Verse 4 emphasizes this point when it opens, “Because you are precious in my sight and honored and I love you…”

In the context of Isaiah 43, the author is telling the Israelites that God loves them and hears their prayers. God will bring their people together, and exile will end for them eventually. In our context, these verses can act as a balm for our anxieties.

Once again, we can’t dismiss the realities of climate change and the real concerns we have surrounding it. However, we can lean on each other and remind ourselves of our faith that God is in our corner and working through us to strive for justice.

Isaiah 43 also points out not to dwell on the past. This goes back to the first theme of lament and takes us to the third theme of my reflection this morning. We lament, but remember our faith and hope, so that…



We ignite a new spark and look forward to what can be! “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?” (v. 19). Friends, I’ve got news for you; we are all part of that new thing! The climate movement is part of that new thing. Young adult and youth advocacy is part of that new thing.

Our faith at its core is one that longs for justice, which includes the stewardship of creation and mending of historical environmental injustices done to our neighbors. I think that’s what makes faith-based organizing and advocacy so exciting and so unique. We are driven deep down by that faith that things can get better, and that this is not how the world is supposed to be.

Through our faith we can speak and lead with love, compassion and hope. As verses 8 and 9 say in Isaiah 43, “Bring forth the people who are blind yet have eyes, who are deaf yet have ears! Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble.” I view these verses as the biblical version of a call to action. They’re basically saying to organize, and later in this passage, to be witnesses, which all connect to being a part of the new “thing” that God is doing.

Bring people together. It’s going to take all of us here, across the country, and across the globe working together to help adapt to and mitigate further climate change. I’m not saying it will be easy, but neither is Isaiah 43. We have the foundation, our faith and theology; we have each other; we have the tools; we have the lived experiences; we have hope.



That was a lot pieced together yet reflecting on Isaiah 43 is rich.

We should acknowledge the hurt and grief tied up in climate change and environmental injustices, but we can’t get caught in the quicksand of our lamentation. Remember our faith and the calling to strive for justice in all capacities. God is with us even in this. Remember and lean into it so that we can spark change and do the new thing that God is creating.

Take the conversations you’ve had at this summit with you, along with the tools and connections to make that movement a reality. Use your fear and anger and fuel it into collective action and advocacy for justice. Cling to hope.



Please pray with me:

God, our Creator,
Thank you for the gift of creation in all its forms, from the animals and plants to the oceans and our weather. It is indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.
Thank you for the charge you have given us to be stewards together of this beautiful planet and the life on it.
Help us to see and embrace that call to be stewards of Your creation.
Give us grace as we repent for our sins against our neighbors and our planet.
Send Your Holy Spirit among us and into our hearts as we look ahead with hope and determination to strive for justice as carers of creation and organizers of action.
In Your name we pray, Amen.


October Updates – U.N. and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices (sppos) in the ELCA Advocacy Network this month. Full list and map of sppos available.




New York

Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC), U.N. –

Christine Mangale, Director

  • LWF Assembly: Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) director Christine Mangale joined more than a thousand participants from around the global Lutheran communion who gathered in Krakow, Poland for the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Thirteenth Assembly. It took place from 13 to 19 September 2023 under the theme “One Body, One Spirit, One Hope.” The theme is drawn from Ephesians 4:4 (NRSV). The Assembly was hosted by the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (ECACP). The Assembly is the LWF’s highest decision-making body which elects a new president and Council and sets directions for the global communion over the coming years. Danish Bishop Henrik Stubkjær was elected as the new president of the LWF.  Mangale took part in the Assembly with LWF Action for Justice (AfJ) Unit and ELCA Service and Justice colleagues, and supported several events held, including co-leading a session at the LWF Women’s Pre-Assembly in Wroclaw and a Jarmark workshop at the Assembly.  
  • U.N. General Assembly: The United Nations General Assembly – High Level Week 2023 marked “a crucial milestone in the journey towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and the urgent need to put the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track.” LOWC staff were presence and monitored elements including 
    • SDG Action Weekend (Sept. 16-17) – A call for inclusive collaboration and partnership was a recurring theme. Many stakeholders pointed out the impossibility of progress if specific groups continue to be targeted and excluded. Women, children, people with disabilities, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people migrating are at risk of being left behind. 
    • March to End Fossil Fuels (Sept. 17)  
    • SDG Summit (Sept. 18-20) – The year 2023 is the halfway point for the SDGs. Only 15% of the SDG’s targets have been achieved. Covid19, conflict and climate change were named the leading contributing factors for failure to date. While Member States reiterated their commitment to sustainable development, enormous shortfalls remain in funding and actionable political will. Without concrete actions and commitment there is a risk that many will be left behind.  
      • Finance for Development (Sept. 19) – Official development assistance (ODA) is below commitments and in trending decline. Developing states are increasingly vocal about their nearly insurmountable challenges resulting from a legacy of colonial occupation followed by cycles of increasing debt. States locked in this debt crisis have formed partnerships with increasing numbers of mild income and industrialized states calling for negotiations toward a UN Tax treaty.  
      • Annual U.N. Ecumenical Prayer Service for Children and Young People (Sept. 19) 
      • Freedom of Religion (Sept. 20-21) 
      • PEPFAR-UNAIDS Communities of Faith Initiative Breakfast (Sept. 20)  
      • Climate and Migration Workshop (Sept. 19) – ACT Alliance, Bread for the World, and Open Society Foundations co-hosted a workshop titled:  “Addressing the Protection Gap- Human Mobility and the Climate Crisis in International Frameworks.” 



Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Arizona (LAMA) –

Solveig Muus, Director

 Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Arizona (LAMA) hosted the ELCA-affiliated state public policy office (SPPO) directors, D.C. advocacy staff and Hunger Advocacy Fellows at a retreat at Spirit in the Desert in September – that was an amazing opportunity for learning and sharing! 

 We welcomed our new Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Autumn Byars, to the team for a year of advocacy training, congregational engagement, faith formation and much more. Byars comes out of the Campus Ministry program at Arizona State University, and we’re delighted to have this amazing person working in our office. Thank you to ELCA World Hunger! 

 Following the unanimous vote on our Hunger Resolution at the Grand Canyon Synod Assembly in June, we continue to record congregational responses to a synod-wide Hunger Ministry Survey. To date, 100% of the congregations are involved in at least one feeding ministry. We continue legislative and congregational visits to share updates and invite new folks to join LAMA’s mission, strengthening our network of churches and advocates. 

 LAMA’s annual Summit is on November 4th. Congregational liaisons, synod hunger leaders, clergy, policy council members, staff and community members will gather to explore the theme of Advocacy as a Spiritual Practice.  

 Following a productive Policy Council retreat, LAMA identified its policy priorities for 2024:  

  1. Food Insecurity and the root causes of hunger in Arizona 
  2. Voting and Civic Engagement, providing education on the intersection of voting and justice and encouraging faithful voter participation 
  3. Water as a precious resource in the face of droughts and population growth in Arizona 
  4. Housing and Homelessness in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest

State Public Policy Office directors, DC advocacy Staff and Hunger Advocacy Fellows at the Spirit in the Desert Retreat



Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California (LOPP-CA) –

Regina Banks, Director

The deadline for Governor Newsom to sign or veto bills passed on October 14th. There were policy victories in the 2023 legislative session, but there were also notable losses. Here are the results of some bills the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California (LOPPCA) was actively tracking and advocating around this session: 


SB 4 (Wiener)- This is a huge advocacy win this year! SB 4 will allow faith institutions and non-profit colleges to build affordable housing on their lands despite previous zoning restrictions. 

SB 253 (Wiener)- One of the major climate bills this year, which was a part of the corporate accountability package, SB 253 requires large corporations to report their emissions in all phases of their manufacturing, operations, and supply chain processes. 

SB 616 (Gonzalez)- Expands the required amount of paid sick leave provided to an employee from 3 to 5 days. 

 Vetoed/Failed in Legislature- 

AB 249 (Holden)- Clean school drinking water; lead testing and infrastructure improvements. This is one of our Lobby Day bills that was unexpectedly vetoed. 

AB 1498 (Gipson)- Would have created a minimum value of $300 for the California Earned Income Tax Credit.  

AB 524 (Wicks)- Would have prohibited discrimination against employees based on their family caregiver status. 



Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado (LAM-CO) –

Peter Severson, Director

VOTER GUIDE GOES LIVE: The 2023 edition of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado’s (LAM-CO) annual Voter Guide is now available online! Check out to see our position and analysis for each of Colorado’s statewide ballot measures, Prop HH and Prop II. 

 CHRISTIAN UNITY GATHERING: LAM-CO Director Peter Severson attended the 2023 Christian Unity Gathering of the National Council of Churches in Nashville, Tenn., representing the ELCA on the Joint Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace Table. The program focused on addressing the role of the church in a public square that is increasingly besieged by extremism and nationalism. The ecumenical gathering was marked by spirited worship, thoughtful conversation and joyful reconnection. 



Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA) –

Rabbi Moti Rieber, Executive Director

Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA) is holding a series of panel discussions throughout the state in October and November to explore Christian nationalism: what it is, how it is affecting state and national politics and how people of faith can effectively stand against it. 
Christian nationalism has been called by somethe single biggest threat to religious freedom in the United States today.” It holds that the United States is defined by Christianity, and that the nation is and must remain a “Christian nation.” 
Called “Countering the Threat of White Christian Nationalism,” these conversations will include an academic to explain what Christian nationalism is and how it is affecting state and national politics; a pastor to talk about how it is a twisting of the teachings of Christianity and why it is important, particularly for white Christians, to stand against Christian nationalism; and Rabbi Moti Rieber, executive director of KIFA, who will explore how this tendency is being used to push regressive policies in a wide range of areas in Kansas and throughout the nation.  
The events will take place in Emporia, Wichita, Salina, Fairway, Newton and Manhattan, Kan., t
hroughout October and early November. Visit for more information and to register.  



Lutheran Advocacy Minnesota (LA-MN) –

Tammy Walhof, Director

Energy Tax Credits & Rebates: As director of Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota, I recently attended a full day event to learn more about the opportunities. State programs are just getting up and running, and guidance is still coming regarding federal options. There are exciting opportunities for churches and nonprofits (tax credits for entities that don’t pay taxes). Some homeowner options are geared toward lower and

lower-middle income households so they don’t get left out of energy transitions. I’ve been in touch with colleagues from a partner organization about jointly planning an event (or series of events) to help churches learn what is available. Even before that, it helps to assess if there are actions needed first (new roof or upgraded electric panel). There is some funding to help with preparation, too. 

 COP28 UN International Climate Conference: I am honored to be one of a few people representing the ELCA in Dubai for the upcoming conference. I plan to follow the Land Use track which includes agriculture, forestry, and food issues. Trainings and other preparations are ongoing in anticipation.   

 Homes for All Planning: Our Homes for All Coalition is just beginning planning for the next session. We did get major legislation and funding in the last session, but our legislators and the public need to understand the housing/homelessness crisis was decades in the making, and will require significantly more commitments at the federal, state, and local levels. Please watch your email for federal action alerts this fall. If Congress cuts housing in budget actions, it could wipe out many of our state gains. 



Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) –

Tracey DePasquale, Director

The legislature returned in September to the as-yet-unfinished work of passing code bills needed to enact the spending plan signed in August after a showdown over state-funded vouchers for students to attend private and religious schools.  

 Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) welcomed Hunger Advocacy Fellow Quentin Bernhard in September. Bernhard and Director Tracey DePasquale joined ELCA-affiliated state public policy office colleagues for a convening to share legislative updates and effective practices and explore the impacts of Christian nationalism. LAMPa also welcomed four new policy council members, just in time for the annual retreat, which  focused on relationship building and understanding how they and LAMPa fit into the life of the wider church.

LAMPa Annual Retreat

 LAMPa co-hosted a convening of the Pennsylvania Hunger Action Coalition. Teams presented their priorities for our common agenda for 2024.  

DePasquale participated on state Emergency Food Assistance Advisory Council in making recommendations to the Department of Agriculture for the upcoming budget.  

In other items, LAMPa staff: 

  • Gathered reports from hunger ministries to issue an alert regarding WIC funding and collaborated with ELCA federal advocacy staff in preparing for Hill visits on the Farm Bill with Penn. synod bishops.  
  • Organized depolarization training. Register here for the Nov. 8 interactive virtual event. 
  • Engaged advocates in a social media campaign for Season of Creation.  
  • Helped congregations add advocacy to God’s work. Our hands. Sunday.

Joined Lutheran advocates rallying in support of safe schools for trans youth.



Faith Action Network  (FANWA) –

Elise DeGooyer, Executive Director

This month we welcomed Tomo Duke as our ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow for an internship year funded by ELCA World Hunger

with our ELCA Witness in Society partners. Duke brings ecumenical and interfaith experiences to our work to address root causes of hunger.  We also welcomed a new Faith Action Network (FAN) Network Events Manager, Alex Robinson, who brings a background in theater and event production for faith communities.

 As we work on our state legislative agenda, we focused our advocacy attention on food justice this past month. We invited our network to our annual Food Week of Action (October 15-22). Leading up to the week, we compiled and shared this resource of advocacy opportunities for individuals and communities of faith and conscience to plan an action or raise awareness in their time of worship or gatherings. During the week, we also offered an Anti-Hunger Advocacy webinar where we covered anti-hunger policy efforts and the next legislative priorities. We addressed the importance of advocating for federal legislation like the Farm Bill and the WIC program for nutrition access for marginalized populations and state legislation like Free School Meals for All Students. We have earnestly invited and encouraged our network to equip their faith-driven compassion and social services for hungry communities with policy advocacy.  

FAN staff have been setting up regional cluster meetings for our network, from Spokane to Wenatchee, from the Puget Sound region to Vancouver, and listened to their concerns during this interim time between legislative sessions. It is a valuable opportunity for us to hear more about local organizing efforts and how FAN can be supportive.  

FAN Staff joined hundreds of Windmill mushroom workers, UFW, and supporters to demand the workers’ union rights.




The Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW) –

The Rev. Cindy Crane, Director

Lutheran Office of Public Policy – Wisconsin (LOPPW) interviewed Christine Moffett who is the ELCA Program Director for Environment and Energy. She discussed her work on climate change, water, and different federal efforts she is working on. She also told us about the hope she has for the future as a young adult. Learn more about the 2023 Senate Bill 312 through this action alert: Hold Polluters Responsible for Contaminants they Produce. It would adjust Senate Bill 312 to help the Department of Natural Resources to thrive in doing their work to address the insidious problem of PFAS (forever chemicals) in our water.  To learn more about PFAS, please see our issue paper from our spring advocacy day:  PFAS Issue Paper 

As was intended, there is a bill to define how the $125 million will be spent.  Senate Bill 312 unfortunately includes limiting the Department of Natural Resources’ ability to hold polluters responsible for the contaminants they produce in our water. Learn more here: 

Expand Voting Access 

Senate Bill 39 and Assembly Bill 38 expand voting access by allowing people to opt-in through email to receive updates via text about their absentee ballots as well as request their absentee ballots this way.  Support this bipartisan effort! Read the bill here: (23-1550/1) ( Learn more here 

October Update: Advocacy Connections

from the ELCA advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, Senior Director

Partial expanded content from Advocacy Connections: October 2023



IN A TIME OF WAR: The devastating loss of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories since Oct. 7 grieve us all.
U.S. churches including the ELCA have spoken on the conflict several times (including 10/7/23 and 10/12/23); the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop, issued a statement on Israel-Hamas war (10/13/23); and an Action Alert for all of us to reach out to U.S. policy makers was advanced through the Peace Not Walls network; among faith-based responses to this situation.

Corresponding to calls from Churches for Middle East Peace, a coalition in which the ELCA is a member, we are calling on Congress to act in ways that will help de-escalate the violence and stop further loss of life. Specifically, we call on Congress to:

  • Publicly call for ceasefire, de-escalation, and restraint by all sides;
  • Call on all parties to abide by the laws of war, including the Geneva Conventions and customary international law; and
  • Prioritize steps to secure the immediate release of hostages and ensure international protection for civilians.

We implore Congress to refrain from steps that only exacerbate the violence and increase the risk of expanding war into the broader region. Any Congressional effort that is one-sided and rushes to send new weapons to Israel will only intensify the conflict, leading to further deaths and destruction. Congress must work to prevent the spread of more violence, including against Palestinian civilians in Israel and the West Bank.

Find additional resources at


NATIVE AMERICAN HOUSING REFORMS: In July, the Senate passed a reauthorized version of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) – the main vehicle of U.S. housing assistance and funding for tribal communities.

The legislation, which has not been reauthorized since 2013, was attached as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which passed by a wide margin of 86-11. NAHASDA block grant funding to tribal communities has remained flat and not risen with inflation since its expiration over a decade ago – making renewal a core priority for many housing advocates. Final passage could be quite possible as the Senate conferences the wider bill with the House of Representatives later this year. Witness in Society staff are tracking the legislation and will be coordinating with partners on the issue in the coming weeks.


COUNTERING GLOBAL CORRUPTION: The Biden administration has launched the first ever U.S. strategy on countering corruption. Among other things, the new strategy aims to elevate anti-corruption work as a priority in diplomatic efforts and improve international anti-money laundering efforts.

In 2021 when coming into office, President Biden asked his national security team to take a lead on creating a comprehensive U.S. strategy to strengthen the U.S. government’s ability to fight corruption, combat illegal finance and improve accountability. This development is encouraging for priorities of the ELCA, as the ELCA social statement, The Church and Criminal Justic: Hearing the Cries, says both “This church knows that human evil is prevalent, ancient and often heinous” (p. 6) and “Drawing from the biblical witness to God’s wondrously rich forms of love and justice, we are compelled by a ‘holy yearning’ to address the need for a change in public mindset and for dramatic reforms in policies and practices” (p. 1).


YOUNG ADULT MIGRATION ADVOCACY: On Sept. 26 and 27, ELCA Witness and Society and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) staff provided support for the first ever Young Adult Migration Advocacy Day. Constituents met with the offices of 12 members of Congress from six states.

The day brought together 12 young adults virtually from across the nation to return to share their witness and recommendations with their elected representatives after immersing themselves in an educational trip to the border where they met with government and community stakeholders. The day of advocacy (see Facebook post) took place just as Congress was considering key federal spending bills and legislation.


CLIMATE WEEK NYC: In partnership with the U.N. General Assembly, Climate Week NYC was held from Sept. 17-24, 2023, and Witness in Society advocacy and Lutheran Office for World Community staff were present. Around 75,000 people took part in a March to End Fossil Fuels on Sept. 17.

Within this march, organized through GreenFaith, diverse people of varying faiths and traditions collaborated to create a “faith contingent” and host a prayer service before the March commenced. Some Lutherans visibly participated. LOWC and D.C.-based advocacy staff joined in conjunction with values of Lutherans to protect creation and promote climate justice.


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Young Adult Leaders Serving with ELCA Witness in Society

by William Milner, ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow

Advocacy is driven by perseverance and connection building. The Hunger Advocacy Fellows, now in its seventh year, is made achievable through the support of ELCA World Hunger. This program spans a year and offers a transformative experience that encompasses leadership growth, spiritual development and impactful advocacy efforts aimed at advancing a just world #untilallarefed.

In the 2023-24 cycle, Hunger Advocacy Fellows are placed with the ELCA D.C.-based advocacy team, with the Lutheran Office for World Community, and in four ELCA-affiliated state public policy offices. This positioning enables them to actively participate in addressing issues that impact both local and national policies and communities. We are pleased to introduce the 2023-2024 Hunger Advocacy Fellows below.


Quentin Bernhard (he/him)

Quentin Bernhard is placed with Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Pennsylvania. He comes to the work with Pennsylvania roots and global perspective. He grew up in the Lehigh Valley, graduated from Muhlenberg College and just returned from a year in Yeumbeul Bene Baraque, Senegal, where he served with ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission. A 2020 Muhlenberg graduate, Bernhard majored in history and political science and minored in Spanish. He was active with the Student Government Association, orientation, peer tutoring, writing tutoring, and campus chapel and spent a semester studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has worked with community and advocacy organizations including the Allentown School District Foundation, the Lehigh Valley Zoo, the Climate Action Campaign, Conservation Voters of PA, Common Energy, and Action Together NEPA.  He is currently a member of New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania.


Erin Brown (she/her)

Before becoming a Fellow at the Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC), Erin Brown worked at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan as a fellow in cross-cultural ministry. She is passionate about multicultural exchange, language, and the power of storytelling. Brown is a diaconal student at the Lutheran Diaconal Association and completed her diaconal internship as a youth and family minister at Iglesia Sola Fe in San Sebastian, Costa Rica. She holds a BA in Spanish & Global Service from Valparaiso University and an MA in Latin American & Caribbean Studies from Indiana University. In her free time, she loves dancing salsa. Brown speaks English, Spanish and Haitian Creole!


Autumn Byars (she/her)

Autumn Byars is the first Hunger Advocacy Fellow placed with Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Arizona! She is a life-long Lutheran from the southwest. Her parents taught her that civic engagement, advocacy, and the democratic process are tools that can and should be used to further Christ’s directive to love and protect our neighbors. In high school, Byars took this philosophy as her own, and began participating in small-scale advocacy and grassroots activism. She attended Arizona State University, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Spring of 2023, while working at Maricopa County Voting Centers, sewing masks during the pandemic, and organizing protests and civic engagement with her peers.  After college, she sought work that would allow her to serve her community and dedicate her time and energy to improving people’s lives. She discovered the Fellowship through the Grand Canyon Synod and joined the LAMA team, excited to pursue her long-held passion for advocacy engagement within the professional sphere.


Frances Dobbs (she/her)

Frances Dobbs is the Hunger Advocacy Fellow placed with the Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin. She is a recent graduate from Marquette University with a B.A. in Political Science, a B.A. of International Affairs, and a minor in Theology. She is a Melkite Catholic which is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. She lives in Milwaukee and commutes to Madison for work. She has engaged in a variety of volunteer opportunities including receiving her Girl Scout Gold Award in which she started a library for Amahoro Children’s School in Musanze, Rwanda. She is looking forward to this year.


Tomo Duke (she/her)

Tomo Duke serves at Faith Action Network (FAN) in Washington state. She was born and raised in Japan and has lived in the United States since 2014 as a first-generation immigrant. She graduated with a M.Div. from Duke University in 2023 and holds a B.S. in Political Science. Prior to joining FAN, she gained experiences in immigration service from humanitarian relief to policy advocacy for immigrant justice both in secular and faith-based contexts. As a Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Duke is passionate to continue living out her faith in advocacy for marginalized populations facing food insecurity. Through this position, she hopes to gain more skills to mobilize communities of faith and conscience on the path toward systemic changes.


William Milner (he/him)

William Milner is serving with the ELCA advocacy staff in Washington, D.C. and is a passionate graduate student pursuing a Master’s in public policy at George Mason University. Raised as an African Methodist Episcopalian, Milner brings a unique perspective and a deep sense of community to the ELCA. Milner formerly taught in both private and public schools and takes the skills he learned there with him everywhere. His academic pursuit is driven by a deep-seated desire to bring about meaningful societal change and empower marginalized communities. A native northern Virginian and baseball player, Milner loves all things D.C. sports, but has a soft spot for the Nationals. Milner’s favorite things include, but are not limited to, the beach, bacon cheeseburgers and fog.


We also welcome an intern this year with LOWC in New York City.

Naomi Mbise (she/her)

LOWC intern Naomi Mbise is a graduate of California Lutheran University with dual degrees in Political Science and Theology and Christian Leadership. She is from Tanzania and has been a part of the ELCA International Women Leaders Program for the past four years. She is looking forward to serving in a global church through her internship with this Lutheran representation to the United Nations.

Peace Beyond the Backyard

By Alex Parker, ELCA Federal Policy Intern 

The people of the Central African Republic (CAR) are in a period of unrest, currently facing a disastrous humanitarian crisis. Part of my job as the Federal Policy Intern with D.C.-based ELCA advocacy staff has been to advance our international policy priorities, including tracking ongoing developments in this nation. The more I learn, the more I ask: What can we do to support and accompany the people of CAR who seek peace?  

Adopted in 1995, the ELCA social statement For Peace in God’s World notes “we share with people everywhere hope for a more peaceful and just world.” Defining a word, we may take for granted, it “understands earthly peace to mean relationships among and within nations that are just, harmonious, and free from war. It offers direction as we act to keep and to build earthly peace…” (p. 1).  

To be peace-directed is both direct and simultaneously unclear. We are drawn to action – to do something when we recognize harm being done to others. We are also called to pray – “In praying for peace in the world, in interceding for all who suffer from war and injustice and for those in authority, the Church acts for peace” (p. 3). But sometimes it is hard to feel like you can do something when conflict is so far away.  


Daily Affronts to Peace 

There are many examples in our daily lives that force us to face this responsibility to be peace-directed. We may witness violations of peace in our communities or current environments, and our commitment to peace encourages us to act through a variety of outreach programs, church groups and more.  

And news filters to us from outside of our immediate community. How can we be active in confronting such conflict? What if abscissions of peace are having impact on communities that we may know little about?  


Harms in the Central African Republic 

Since independence, CAR has experienced continuing episodes of violence amongst armed group rivalries and competing government forces. As a result, most of the harm has been inflicted on the civilian population. According to ReliefWeb International, the period between October 2022 and January 2023 saw more than 600 documented and verified human rights violations, as well as estimates of over 1.1 million people currently displaced (over a quarter of the population). 

While the United Nations (U.N.) has deployed a peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) to CAR, the continued efforts have sustained ongoing challenges in fulfilling its goal of protecting civilians and disarming mobilized paramilitary forces. Lack of sufficient funding, unfulfilled infrastructure needs and religiously polarized violence have continued to plague ongoing international stabilization efforts. 

This is further compounded by the Russian paramilitary Wagner group. President of CAR, Faustin-Archange Touadera, first elected in 2016, has worked with Wagner to make advances against various armed groups. With Wagner operating in several neighboring African countries that have followed autocratic trends, political opposition in CAR is fearful of a Russian-backed leadership imposition. Wagner increased their presence before a contentious referendum, which would allow Touadera to amend the constitution and prevent him from having to obey the two-term rule when his Presidency ends in 2024. On July 30th, the referendum was held with a supposed 95% of voters approving of the constitutional change amidst cries of corruption.  


Current U.S. Response 

Considering both the ongoing need for U.N. presence and the negative impact of foreign influences, it is critical that the U.S continue its support for humanitarian efforts in CAR. But, as Congress reconciles the differences between their budgetary operating bills, a lingering threat remains. 

In the House version of the foreign affairs budget at this writing, humanitarian support, State Department funding and beneficial social programs that contribute to stabilization efforts in CAR are massively underfunded, and in some instances eliminated entirely. For example, the House version states that CAR is one of 28 countries which are not eligible for many of the programs it would fund (p. 90). As the FCNL notes, these slashed funds include the complete elimination of crucial programs such as the Atrocities Prevention Program, which provides funding for CAR communities to “form local peace committees that devise solutions to local and regional challenges.” The House proposal also eliminates U.S. funding – entirely – for the U.N. regular budget as well as several U.N. departments that would aid the people of CAR. 


Present Church Activity 

“The Church is a disturbing presence when it refuses to be silent and instead speaks the truth in times when people shout out ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace,” (p. 5) declares the ELCA social statement on Peace referencing Jeremiah 6:14. So, when the people of CAR shout out “peace” amid violent turmoil and humanitarian need, we as church must be present, even when the conflict seems so distant and complicated to address. We affirm the biblical insight of the “unity and goodness of created existence, the oneness of humanity, and the dignity of every person” (p. 7). 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic (EEL-RCA) has, according to data from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), 120,000 members. LWF has multiple programs that train EEL-RCA leaders in peace values and conflict management skills. LWF also has used donations to support over 88,000 people in CAR, especially those who have been displaced, lack clean sources of water or are at risk of gender-based violence.  

The ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod is a great model for how one might support the EEL-RCA. “It is our hope that every congregation will find some way of supporting the Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic (EEL-RCA),” it writes of this partnership “in hope.” They have a variety of programs supported through monetary contributions that prioritize medical clinics, women’s health, educational materials and more.   


Continued Advocacy Efforts 

As federal lawmakers begin to reconcile their versions of the foreign policy budget, we can pressure our representatives to pursue funding of humanitarian efforts, support for U.N. entities and ensure that our U.S. direct stabilization programs are not erased. Our Action Alert, “Support Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Programs in the International Affairs Budget,” is an opportunity to make your voice heard right now in this federal process.  

Through faith-based advocacy, social media, engagement with interfaith coalitions and using your voice, we can stive toward ending a conflict that damages the oneness and dignity of humanity. We cannot let this humanitarian issue fall to the wayside. 


Peace is Presence Not Absence 

As I have worked on understanding what is happening in CAR and thought about what peace means from a Lutheran perspective, I’ve found myself constantly going back to Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. In that work, Luther breaks down petitions of the Lord’s prayer and asks, “What then does ‘daily bread’ mean?” Answer: “Everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors and the like.”  

The people of CAR need a daily bread that provides nourishment, safety and everything that culminates in a life of dignity. Peace is much more than the absence of physical violence, but the continued efforts to uplift those who suffer economically, politically, socially and more. We can share this bread with those who “shout out ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace,” no matter where in the world we are.  




One Home One Future

Have you ever passed a congregation’s street sign and glanced for a symbol – say, that four-color globe overlaid with a cross that indicates “ELCA”? What you see tells you something about what’s going on inside. Or maybe you’ve seen a symbol on a bumper sticker – say, “26.2”, that once you’re in-the-know indicates the person could tell you something about running marathons.

With the launch on October 4 of “One Home One Future”, congregations of many varieties will start popping up with a new symbol that tells you something about what’s going on inside and that can start important conversations. It is a visible effort to invite creation care and climate action.



“In the ELCA, we are called to care for creation and for each other. The ELCA is proud to be part of ‘One Home One Future’, a multi-faith campaign to strengthen vitality, relevance and community connections across generations in local congregations nationwide. We invite all of our congregations to participate no matter if they have an active creation care program or are just getting started,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA Presiding Bishop, in a campaign launch video. “I look forward to seeing ELCA congregations participate in cities and towns across the country, and I am proud to stand together across faith traditions to protect our given and shared home.”

A banner to hang in front of your house of worship is one of the items in a free congregational toolkit for those that sign up for the campaign, along with free access to trainings, guides and more organized through ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow program. (The ELCA is a Blessed Tomorrow partner). Check out for details.



When Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact in the ELCA-affiliated state public policy office network, spoke of her enthusiasm around the new campaign, she said it is easy for local congregations to feel “that they’re the only one in their community who cares about this issue. [Seeing] those signs is going to help them understand it’s not just them, and it’s not just their little congregation… [They] are going to be able to see all over the country, and all over their local community, that there are people who share those values.”

Plus, the resources help. “Our folks know that no organization, no matter how great it is, and no denomination has all of the answers and all of the tools they need. So the access to a library of information from all of our colleagues is really important.”

Explore “One Home One Future” for your worshipping community to strengthen your congregation and care for creation in ways that are inspiring, fulfilling and accessible. Moorhead is excited. “It’s going to bolster [our congregations’] courage and make them take steps they might not otherwise have felt confident to take.”



And maybe wave or honk when you see the new symbol, because it tells you something about what’s going on. It is our duty to be responsible caretakers of God’s creation, motivated by hope. As stated in “Earth’s Climate Crisis,” an ELCA social message: “With God’s help humanity can turn from the present course, take loving and just action, and live more harmoniously within God’s beautiful and verdant creation.”


August/September Updates – U.N. and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices (sppos) in the ELCA Advocacy Network this month. Full list and map of sppos available.




Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC), United Nations, New York, N.Y. –

Christine Mangale, Director


LOWC co-hosted a mini-series of events over the summer focused on the rights of migrants and refugees. These events included:

  1. “Confronting Anti-Blackness in Global Migration” with Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)and ELCA. The event was held on May 30 at the Church Center for the UN; Rev. Lamont Wells and LOWC staff presented. Event was held during the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD), which was in its second session at the United Nations.
  2. “Commemoration of the World Refugee Day” (June 8), virtual event co-hosted by the NGO C, including the LWF (who is co-chair of this committee).
  3. “World Refugee Day- Renewing Passion and Reclaiming Resilience” Freedom Dreams from the Margins Event held on June 20 at the Church Center for the UN. This event was co-hosted by Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference (SDPC,) ELCA, LWF and Ecumenical Women.
High Level Political Forum updates

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the voluntary reporting mechanism for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme of the July 10-19, 2023 session of the HLPF was, “Accelerating the Recovery from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the Full Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels.” The session reviewed in-depth sustainable Development Goals: 6 on clean water and sanitation, 7 on affordable and clean energy, 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and 17 on partnerships for the Goals.

ELCA/ LWF was represented at the HLPF by staff of the Lutheran Office for World Community in New York, staff of ELCA World Hunger, ELCA Advocacy office in Washington DC and a young adult delegation from the United States. Unfortunately, a LWF delegate from Liberia who works on the “waking the giant” initiative was denied a visa to enter the US for these meetings. Visa denial in the US is a rapidly increasing reality faced by civil society groups and organizations engaging with the UN.

The SDGs are at their halfway point in their 15-year mandate and at their current course they will not be achieved in any context. Rapid acceleration is required to meet any of the targets under each of the goals. The LWF has a unique opportunity to push this agenda forward; especially giving its links to climate and human rights policy areas. Further support from a potentially reaffirmed mandate from the LWF assembly in September 2023 is a big opportunity for accelerating and amplifying this area of our work together.



Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California (LOPP-CA) –

Regina Banks, Director

Movement in CA Legislature

The California legislature is reconvening from their summer recess, so the final push to get remaining bills across the finish line has commenced. The Lutheran Office of Public Policy, California (LOPP-CA) is working with our partner coalitions and organizations to pass legislation covering issue areas spanning affordable housing, worker and family protections, and environmental justice. Of LOPP-CA’s priority bills, two remain moving through the process. Those bills are SB 4 (Wiener), Affordable Housing on Faith and Higher Education Lands Act, and AB 249 (Holden), school lead testing and clean up. SB 4 was passed by the California legislature on September 8, and is expected to be signed by the governor soon.

Another bill, AB 660 (Irwin), which would have required food date label reform, was made into a 2-year bill, so it will be considered in next year’s legislative session.

State Budget Summary

Key efforts were impacted by the budget this year, which was unavoidable given the $31.5 billion shortfall. Funds have been shifted to bonds or delayed to future years. The tax credits for low-income households didn’t make it this year (though, there is still hope for some of that within SB 220). Environmental issues took a hit, and a lot will be riding on a climate bond. However, a lot of programs were also spared, and funding increased in some critical areas, such as flood resilience. Other bills that will require appropriations of some kind are still moving, but any major piece of spending legislation will face difficulty.



Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado (LAM-CO) –

Peter Severson, Director

Two Propositions on Fall Ballot

Coloradans will be voting on two statewide propositions this fall:

  • Proposition HH is a measure to use some of the state’s surplus revenue – as defined by Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) – to provide property tax relief to homes and businesses instead of doling out the excess funds as income tax reductions or refunds.
  • Proposition II would allow Colorado to retain in excess tobacco tax revenue dedicated to preschools that has been collected under Proposition EE, which was passed by voters in 2020.
    • The Blue Book estimated $186.5 million would be collected, but $208 million was actually collected; TABOR requires the amount in excess of the initial estimate to be refunded to tobacco retailers and the tax rate lowered in subsequent years unless Prop II is approved.

Lutheran Advocacy will be producing a Voter Guide with information about each of these propositions in the coming weeks. Look for our guide to be available online and in print soon!

Proposed Evolution of Lutheran Advocacy Office

The leadership of the Rocky Mountain Synod ELCA and the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado are currently in conversation about creating a joint Lutheran-Episcopal advocacy office for Colorado. Such an office would represent a new phase of evolution for Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado, which has been advocating in our state since 1984.

The proposed office would advocate on behalf of both denominations’ theological and social teaching and would be accountable to (and supported by) congregations from each. Keep an eye out for more information about this dynamic proposal in the coming months.



Lutheran Advocacy Minnesota (LA-MN) –

Tammy Walhof, Director

Forum on Sacred Settlements (or Sacred Tiny Home Communities

How do we cultivate communities for those experiencing homelessness? What is the “Communities First” model? How are we called to support Sacred Settlements in Duluth?

These were questions explored at a well-attended forum Sunday, Aug. 13, at Trinity Lutheran of Duluth. People of many denominations and nonprofits gathered to explore the research-based model, and learn from the experiences of the Settled staff, advocates, friends, and the Sacred Settlement at Mosaic Community (St. Paul).

The Northeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly has passed a resolution endorsing the Sacred Settlements concept, supporting the legislation, and committing to both learning about homelessness & exploring the creation of Sacred Settlements. This forum was the next step for Duluth Community.

Minnesota Court Strikes Down Tenant Protection

Eviction actions by landlords follow tenants for years, making it difficult to find new housing. We have worked with the Homes for All Coalition since 2019 to ensure that such a mark does not remain on the tenant’s record if they win the court judgement. It passed the legislature in 2023 as part of a broader tenant reform package.

However, we learned that this provision was recently ruled unconstitutional, with the court claiming it is “contrary to the rules of public access.” The disappointing ruling came as a surprise to Homes for All, and the legislative bill authors, as we did not know it was being challenged. We are now exploring what kind of word changes might be acceptable.



Hunger Network in Ohio –

Deacon Nick Bates, Director

August Special Election

In early May, Ohio politicians voted to create an August special election to end majority rule in Ohio in hopes that a low turnout would allow them to sneak this issue past voters. With more than 3 million Ohioans showing up (38% voter turnout) Ohioans voted to protect our right to hold political corruption in check.

Issue 1 would have blocked citizen-initiated referendums by increasing signature requirements, eliminating a 10-day window to fix technical mistakes, and would have allowed 40% of voters to silence the will of 60%. Ohioans came through and defeated Issue 1 by a 57%-43% margin – protecting Ohio from more political corruption and cronyism.

Our right to the ballot is essential for our advocacy work to fight for a day when all shall receive their daily bread. Read more about Issue 1 in this Op-ed by Deacon Nick Bates that was published in the Columbus Dispatch less than two weeks before the election.

Service Learning Camps

Throughout the summer, the Hunger Network joined Service-Learning Camps through the Northwestern Ohio Synod and taught about advocacy and our Church’s role in creating systemic change. The foundation of Service-Learning Camps is that “learning is just as important as the service.” During these sessions, Hunger Network led the youth in a light-hearted and fun simulation with deep lessons that connect to the root causes of poverty – including racism, classism, wealth disparity, and many other issues. We had a lot of fun hearing the reflections of young people in our church and are excited to see them lead our communities toward a world where all shall receive their daily bread!

If your youth group is interested in participating in our simulation, please contact us at and we can set something up!



Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) –

Tracey DePasquale, Director

New Staff

Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania(LAMPa) is pleased to welcome the Rev. Erin Jones as our Communications and Advocacy Engagement Manager.

Erin Jones headshot

Erin Jones joins LAMPa as Communications and Advocacy Engagement Manager

Jones is an ELCA pastor serving in Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod since 2018, brings experience in advocacy, communications and ecumenical community-building justice work to the position.

“I’m beyond happy that Pastor Erin said, ‘Yes’ to this new call,” said LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale.  The role itself is new, and the search was extensive, “In the process,” DePasquale said, “we were blessed to meet people with an incredible variety of gifts who are seeking to live out their faith in transformative ways. It’s a big job, requiring a challenging set of skills to find in one person.

Jones’ work will take her to Harrisburg and beyond, DePasquale said, as her work supports and equips the church’s advocacy across the Commonwealth.  LAMPa staff, including an incoming hunger advocacy fellow, plan to visit with ministries in each of Pennsylvania’s seven synods in the coming months.  Jones will get a running start in the role, which begins Aug. 28, as she has been serving on LAMPa’s policy council and active with the ELCA’s advocacy for years.

“I’m so excited to come on board as staff with LAMPa!” Jones said. “My faith is deeply shaped by the way I and the Church show up in the public sphere. The more engaged I am in justice work, advocating for policies that feed and house and affirm others, the more connected I feel to God’s vision of the kin-dom.” Read more.


Texas Impact –

Bee Morehead, Director

Education Policy in Special Session

The Texas Legislature is in-between their 140-day regular session and multiple summer special sessions. The special session this fall will address school funding and private school vouchers. Texas Impact is preparing Texans of faith for the conversations through a new “Public School Defenders” program.

The Texas Impact Weekly Witness podcast series is hosting a legislative wrap-up series with elected representatives and an August “Houston Faith Votes” campaign. Elected officials and faith leaders will discuss the importance of civic engagement and tools for how local congregations can mobilize their communities. Bishop Mike Rinehart was one of the featured speakers.

Bishops Pen Letter

The three Texas Lutheran Bishops also penned a letter urging Texas to end the Operation Lone Star militarization of the border with Mexico. Texas Impact also hosted a webinar with authors of the Dignity Act, Rep. Veronica Escobar and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar discussing immigration reform.


Faith Action Network –

Elise DeGooyer, Executive Director

Board Retreat
: FAN board and staff work hard to carry out our mission and advocate for justice across WA state. We were grateful to get to spend some time together in person at Chobo-ji Zen Center.

FAN board and staff work hard to carry out our mission and advocate for justice across WA state. We were grateful to get to spend some time together in person at Chobo-ji Zen Center.

This summer we had our annual board-staff visioning retreat in June, hosted at one of our advocating faith communities, Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Temple (Chobo-ji) in Seattle. Our hybrid retreat allowed us to consider together the changes since FAN was founded 12 years ago, the current context that provides new challenges and opportunities for our multifaith-based movement, and possible priorities for FAN. As we discussed and prepared for this coming year, we reinvigorated our commitment to take on what will be another crucial year of advocacy.

Summer Advocacy Focus

Our policy attention this summer has included how federal legislation will impact our local communities, especially the Farm Bill and any requirements that might limit access for people who rely on Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. We look forward to welcoming our ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Tomo Duke in September to help further these efforts.

Cluster Meetings

We are also planning geographical cluster meetings around our state. In each meeting, community partners will have the chance to strengthen their relationships for local and statewide advocacy and build solidarity with one another for the year ahead.


The Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin –

Rev. Cindy Crane, Directory

Raise the Age

Republican bill authors made a draft of their bill known to the Raise the Age steering team and anticipate introducing it in September.  This bill proposes returning 17-year-old youth to the juvenile justice system.


ELCA Program Director for Migration Policy, Giovana Oaxaca, advised the Lutheran Office of Public Policy in Wisconsin(LOPPW) on advocacy for the Protect-Vulnerable-Immigrant-Youth-Act-of-2023,which would help ensure access to vital protections for young immigrant survivors of trafficking, abuse, domestic violence, and other harms.  The act would also ease backlogs in the EB-4 category and free up visas for people such as religious workers, while allowing the children to continue life in the United States as lawful permanent residents.

We received this information in response to a request we made about advocacy for church workers to gain permanent residency more quickly.  LOPPW was also in contact with Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office about individual church work.


Youth who attended the LOPPW workshops at the tri-synod youth conference received these stylish ELCA sunglasses.

LOPPW led two workshops on advocacy at the tri-synod youth conference including the La Crosse Area Synod (LAS), Northwest Synod of Wisconsin (NWSW), and the Northern Great Lakes Synod (NGLS) in River Falls.  Many of the youth also enjoyed ELCA sunglasses from our DC office, as the above photo attests.

Hunger Storytelling Event

Rev. Walter Baires from the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin (SCSW), Cindy Dobberke from the Greater Milwaukee Synod (GMS), Meg Finerty and Rev. Kathryn Ingbritsen from La Crosse Area Synod (LAS), and Deb Martin from the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin (ECSW) were supported by an ELCA World Hunger grant to organize two evenings of advice on how to craft, record, and edit your story about hunger. LOPPW led a presentation on the second evening.

Those recordings can be found here (use password “0?&b$Mz8” to access), and here (use password “G!6fit*.” to access.




Allow Flourishing in Season of Creation

“The Season of Creation is a splendid opportunity for Christians around the world to embody the communion for which we human earthlings are created, and to do so in the quest for lifeways that build justice among people and allow Earth’s web of life to flourish,” said the Rev. Dr. Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda, Director of the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary’s Center for Climate Justice and Faith. The celebration spans Sept. 1 through Oct. 4, shaped as an annual season instrumentally by the World Council of Churches, and is a time for Christians to come together to care for our common home (more).

In interwoven global awareness, local action and prayer, many of us are seeking to embody communion for the sake of God’s good creation. “Time after time a new report, study or press conference calls a ‘code red’ for our planet,” observes Christine Moffett, ELCA Program Director for Environment and Energy. “It is time for less talking about it and more acting about it.”



Significant global decision-makers will be meeting in confluence with Season of Creation dates. New York City hosts the highest-level gathering of the United Nations – the United Nations General Assembly – on Sept. 19-26, 2023. Heads of state meet, including for a “Climate Ambition Summit” on Sept. 20 to accelerate action by all sectors of society to address the increasing threat of climate change. National governments have not done enough to stop global warming in the seven years since the Paris Agreement was signed, relays our Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) program director Daniel Pieper from content of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change March 2023 Synthesis Report. In that context, he notes that UN Secretary General António Guterres said “the world is running out of options to defuse the ‘ticking climate time bomb.'”

As a joint ministry with both the ELCA and Lutheran World Federation (LWF), LOWC colleagues find foundational affirmation from the Twelfth LWF Assembly: “the global ecological crisis, including climate change is, human-induced. It is a spiritual matter. As people of faith, we are called to live in right relationship with creation and not exhaust it.”

Stay attuned to COP28, the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, being held Nov. 30-Dec. 12, 2023, at the Expo City, Dubai. ELCA and LWF presence will be onsite to advance advocacy priorities.



GreenFaith has organized a March to End Fossil Fuels on Sept. 17 in New York City in conjunction with the Climate Ambition Summit. Several of our faith partners and some ELCA congregations and leaders will be participating. Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) describes the event as a time to witness “in search of a better way to offer healthy energy to our communities.”

While advocating for global impact is vital, in each of our communities we are aware of the splendor of and the degradation to God’s gift of creation. The ELCA’s most recent social message, “Earth’s Climate Crisis,” reads: “This social message is rooted in our duty to be responsible caretakers of God’s creation. It is motivated by that responsibility and by hope… With God’s help humanity can turn from the present course, take loving and just action, and live more harmoniously within God’s beautiful and verdant creation” (pp. 1-2).

The 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization will have significant impacts for all: those of us with farm-related vocations; those of us who go to supermarkets, farmers markets, SNAP provisions and global food aid for needed provision; and the communities and natural foundations that are needed to feed us into the future. If you didn’t use the Farm Bill background & template letters as an act of advocacy in service to your neighbor on “’God’s work. Our hands.’ Sunday” this year, revisit the resource and consider reaching out to policy makers to influence a policy outcome that can – as Pr. Moe-Lobeda characterized – “allow Earth’s web of life to flourish”.



Many of us sense these times as a “Kairos moment,” a descriptor from the social message of a decisive time in our relationship with God’s creation. In this Season of Creation, let us all join in prayer.

Prayers and other liturgical resources are available around the 2023 Season of Creation theme, “Let Justice and Peace Flow.”

Additionally, LRC has shared a prayer composed by the Rev. Lee Gable and the Rev. Inge Williams called “Sowing the Seeds of Transformation.” It can be found in full online, but here is an excerpt:

O God, whose fingerprint is reflected in every leaf and person,
you have entrusted us with the resources of Creation
And yet we squander your generous life-giving gift as if there is endless supply.
Transform our stewardship from immediate gratification to generational investment.

Inspire in us repentance and encourage our struggle for a just future
As we join you in mending this wounded world and its people
So that the fullness of your Kin-dom dream may become reality for all
Into the ages of the ages.