by Rachel Wyffels, 2021-22 Hunger Advocacy Fellow [about the author]

It can be hard to feel God’s restorative presence in these times. In the midst of violence towards each other and the Earth, I often wonder how the Holy Spirit is realizing God’s promise of resurrection in our lives and in our world.

For me, one answer is with the people and relationships in my life.

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

An opportunity for regenerative relationship in my position as a Hunger Advocacy Fellow comes from my work with the EcoFaith Network of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod. The EcoFaith Network is a dedicated group of stewards of creation across the great geographic diversity of the synod, spanning from Princeton near Minneapolis to International Falls 244 miles north, just under the Canadian border. The EcoFaith Network connects and grows efforts to care for creation across the synod and beyond through grants that support congregational initiatives, educational opportunities, an annual EcoFaith Summit and a supportive community maintained with intentionality and joy.

I felt God at work among the members of the EcoFaith Network as we worked to prepare the 2022 EcoFaith Summit, “Holy Ground Holy Table: Regenerative Practices for the Wholeness of the Earth.” Even in the midst of despair about climate change, about dying ecosystems and shrinking biodiversity, about suffering, violence and migration that disproportionately affects black and brown bodies and communities, and about the failure and brokenness of a political system that refuses to act, God is still bringing new life. The Holy Spirit is moving through the quiet perseverance of Mary Jo, the warm encouragement of Dave, the meditative reflection of Sue, the focused tenacity of Kristin, the eager hospitality of John, and so many others.

As Lutherans, we believe that God is who God has revealed Godself to be: One who brings new life in the midst of suffering and death. We also know that we are set free in Christ to seek justice.

I am grateful to work alongside the dedicated stewards of the EcoFaith Network to advocate for all of creation. Their wholehearted communal spirit reminds me of God’s constant movement to bring new life even amidst great loss.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Wyffels (she/her) is a Hunger Advocacy Fellow with Lutheran Advocacy-Minnesota, an affiliated state public policy office. Her areas of focus include affordable housing, hunger and climate justice. Wyffels is a graduate of St. Olaf College, where she served as president of the St. Olaf Student Congregation Council. She will begin studies toward an M.Div. at Luther Seminary next year.