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November Update: UN and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

U.N.| California | Minnesota | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Washington | Wisconsin

United Nations

Dennis Frado, Lutheran Office for World Community, New York, N.Y.

Women’s Human Rights Advocacy Training: The Lutheran World Federation in collaboration with Church of Sweden, Finn Church Aid, Mission 21, the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance is holding an advocacy training on women’s human rights (26 October – 13 November 2020). The training is usually held annually in person, and this year, due to COVID-19 it is being held virtually.

Topics covered include introduction to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), tools and opportunities for engaging in preparing for parallel (also known as “shadow”) reports to CEDAW, the intersection between human rights, faith and gender, Gender-Based Violence prevention and responses, the role of men and boys in gender justice advocacy among others. LOWC is involved in the planning and facilitation of some sessions during the training. A resource for faith-based organizations on affirming women’s human rights can be found here.

General Assembly’s Third Committee Has Dialogues with Human Rights Mandate Holders: As it has done for some years, the General Assembly’s Third Committee has been having dialogues in recent weeks with various persons holding human rights mandates from the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. While LOWC has been monitoring quite a few of these discussions on topics such as racism and racial discrimination, advancement of women, rights of indigenous peoples, and internally displaced persons, it took special note of the discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Professor S. Michael Lynk.  His report this year reviewed the situation of human rights in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Gaza and focused on accountability related issues. Lynk also held a separate virtual discussion with the UN NGO Working Group on Israel-Palestine, of which LOWC is a member, as he has in previous years on this occasion.


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California

Getting ready for the election: The Lutheran Office of Public Policy in California (LOPP-CA) has been working diligently to prepare for the upcoming election. The staff did work around building patience and an understanding of the process. In the weekly Advocacy in Quarantine meetings, LOPP-CA worked with constituents to talk through the timeliness of the election while holding space for further learning on the state’s Proposition.

Prop 16 Text Banking: LOPP-CA went forward this month in continuing to text bank with the Prop 16 coalition. The office has been reaching out to California voters through a texting platform called Thru Text in hopes of overturning the state-wide ban of affirmative action, something that has been in effect since 1996. There has been a committed group of parishioners and advocates meeting every Monday to push this outreach, and so far the office has reached more than 600,000 voters in the state.

Partnering with California Food and Farming Network: Continuing the office’s commitment to advocate for food and farming, LOPP-CA has begun working closely with the California Food and Farming Network (CFFN), a coalition of around 40 advocacy organizations such as food banks, legislative advocacy, farming service organizations, and partners from across both the food and farming sectors. The Network has begun its strategic process for the year 2021, centering racial justice and equity in their approach. LOPP-CA has joined CFFN for this visioning process, and has given financial contributions toward centering racial justice through committing funds to CFFN’s community Engagement process. Specifically, CFFN will be reaching out into communities of color, finding leaders and advocates within food sectors, and providing compensation for their expertise. This listening campaign will take the expertise learned and structure CFFN 2021 priorities.


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota

State Legislative Elections: Although the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party lost some seats in the House, it retains control of the chamber. In the Senate, some flipped districts occurred, but the balance remains the same. Unfortunately, at least one of the Republicans that was ousted was one who was helpful to our housing agenda. All the main leaders from both parties and both chambers retain their positions.

Minnesota U.S. Elections: Rep. Colin Peterson was ousted from Minnesota’s 7th congressional district seat and replaced by former State Senator/Senate President Michelle Fischbach, who also served briefly as Lt. Governor when Tina Smith was appointed to the U.S. Senate. Representative Peterson served as the long-term chair of the Agriculture Committee, a committee Fischbach hopes to serve on as it also addresses nutrition issues.

Update on Special Session #5: A carefully negotiated $1.36 billion bill including bonding, supplemental appropriations, and “tax  relief” for farmers and small businesses was finally passed when House Minority Leader Daudt let his caucus vote their conscience. Freed by Daudt, many House Republicans joined the bipartisan bill. Thanks for your hard work on the housing pieces!

Included in the bill were

  • $100 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds
  • $16 million in General Obligation Bonds for Public Housing
  • A large amount for transportation including roads and bridges, some public transportation, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Bonds for public facility projects, public safety, the University of Minnesota, and other various public works, including municipal water infrastructure & solar projects
  • $31 million in a supplemental appropriation (added to last year’s biennial budget)


Deacon Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio

Hunger For Justice Conference: On November 9th the Hunger Network sponsored the Hunger for Justice Conference featuring theological reflection on the election and analysis of what is to come so that faith leaders across the state can identify opportunities for successful advocacy!

Visit for links to our plenary panel, theological reflection and musical reflection of what the election means to our communities


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

Shaping Hunger Policy in PA: LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale participated in the quarterly meeting of the state’s Emergency Food Assistance Advisory Committee, where the state Department of Agriculture and charitable feeding organizations assessed the current response to emergency nutrition needs during COVID-19, mapped likely needs and set goals for meeting those needs in the upcoming state budget.

LAMPa Participates in Virtual Human Trafficking Rally: LAMPa participated in a Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Advocacy Work Group sponsored Advocacy Day lifting legislation that provides definitions and the offense of trafficking individuals; repealing provisions relating to patronizing a victim of sexual servitude; promoting prostitution and living off sexually exploited persons; commercial sexual exploitation; and providing for Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund.

Workshop presented at We Love: LAMPa Program Director Lynn Fry shared a workshop titled : Take a Stand: Advocacy & Equality in Pennsylvania at the second ELCA NEPA Synod We Love Event – Building Safer & More Welcoming Congregations for LGBTQ+ Youth and Families.

Equipping leaders and vital congregations for discipleship in a democracy: LAMPa continued to disseminate election information to congregations, synods, and leaders regarding election security, poll watching, and voter safety. DePasquale and ELCA Advocacy Director Amy Reumann presented to leaders in the NWPA Synod Bishop’s Convocation.

Responded to Legislative threats to Medicaid: LAMPa worked to successfully stop legislation that threatened Medicaid provisions and funding.

Advocacy and Faith Formation: DePasquale taught a virtual adult faith formation class at Holy Spirit, Emmaus, SEPA Synod.


The Rev. Paul Benz and Elise DeGooyer, Faith Action Network

Election Successes: WA state passed Referendum 90 for Safe and Healthy Youth, a bill the legislature passed in the 2020 session mandating sex education in our K-12 school system with age-appropriate stages. This referendum was supported by sexual assault and domestic violence advocates, as well as a broad coalition of faith leaders who signed this letter, in contrast to opposition from the “religious right.” FAN was very involved in the campaign to secure the 60% approval. We also secured funding for our Long-Term Care Trust Fund via constitutional amendment – among the first of such funds in the nation.

New Regional Organizers: We are excited to share that our organizing team is expanding! FAN is able to fulfill one of our dreams of having a stronger presence statewide by hiring part-time Regional Organizers in Western, Central, and Eastern Washington as well as two social work interns from the University of Washington. We look forward to building deeper relationships with our Network of Advocating Faith Communities (NAFCs) and local organizations statewide.


The Rev. Cindy  Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

ELCAvotes: Wisconsin had a record turnout of voters! Since March, LOPPW placed major emphases on encouraging people to vote, especially absentee, and on countering misinformation. We often worked in coalition with ELCA partners and a statewide voting coalition. October efforts included interviewing a Wisconsin Elections Commission representative for Wednesday Noon Live and creating six Ballot Box FAQs videos, including one with an interview with the ACLU.

Care for God’s Creation: LOPPW’s statewide task force, so far with members from five synods, began planning a Care for God’s creation virtual advocacy day to coincide with an emerging new WI State Budget.

Trainings: LOPPW helped in organizing an advocacy webinar, co-hosted by ECSW WELCA. We also led discussions on voting and advocacy with adults and confirmands in LAS and in SCSW.

COVID-19: Participated in meeting with Lieutenant Governor on health mandates challenged by courts and possibly the legislature. I was then in dialogue with the bishops about drafting a statement, which can be found here. LOPPW also joined an interfaith group to organize an action to address the problem.

New Resource: Read our new resource, “Advocating Locally,” for information about engaging your community!

Criminal Justice: We’ve begun reviving efforts to return 17-year-olds to juvenile courts, led by our Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Kyle Minden.

Anti-Racism: We offered consultation to ECSW’s Global Missions Committee on integrating anti-racism efforts into their work. I invited Regina Banks to give a presentation at one of their meetings.

Immigration and Refugees:  We offered consultation to the SCSW Immigration Task Force and created a video to address decreasing number of refugees in U.S. for the national, “Lift the Torch of Welcome” vigil.

October Update: UN and State Edition

Following are updates shared from submissions of the Lutheran Office for World Community and state public policy offices.

U.N. | Arizona | Colorado | Ohio |Pennsylvania | Washington | Wisconsin

United Nations

Dennis Frado, Lutheran Office for World Community, New York, N.Y.

UN 75TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION: The high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN was held on September 21st.  The meeting adopted a declaration acknowledging both the UN’s achievements and its disappointments, such as: “Our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism,” “Strengthening international cooperation is in the interest of both nations and peoples.” It also included twelve pledges “to ensure the future we want and the United Nations we need.”

CELEBRATION OF THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF BEIJING WOMEN’S CONFERENCE: The UN General Assembly High-level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women was held on October 1st. According to UN Women, no country has achieved gender equality. There has been progress since the Beijing Conference held in 1995, but gaps remain, and in some areas these gains are threatened and even reversed. The meeting was therefore being held under the theme “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. It aimed to “demonstrate the political will and leadership that will bring about the transformative change needed to address root causes, structural barriers, discriminatory practices and social norms that underpin discrimination and inequality.” You can watch the meeting on UN Web TV.

LOWC SPEAKS TO LUTHERAN STUDIES PROGRAM COLLOQUIA 2020-2021 AT YALE: In late September, Christine Mangale and Dennis Frado spoke via Zoom with Lutheran students at Yale University as part of the Lutheran Studies Program Colloquia theme “Public Church.” The LOWC presentations focused on the church’s presence at the United Nations (UN) and the history of the ELCA’s work on human rights, including at the UN.


Solveig Muus, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Arizona

GETTING OUT THE VOTE: In the midst of racial inequity, an upcoming election, a pandemic, and a climate gone crazy, we in Arizona thank God for forgiveness and mercy, and for the miraculous ways God works in us and through us.

This month, we’re all hands on deck to get out the vote. Every faith community and advocacy group in Arizona seems to be in step; all are publicizing the importance of voting and helping in any way to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Arizona has an excellent track record for successful mail-in ballot counting. Rev. Mark Holman, Bishop’s Associate for Mobility and Leadership, wrote a study resource titled “How Would Jesus Vote?” for congregational use, and a member of LAMA’s policy team created a voter volunteer recruitment packet for congregations.

Like every other state office, LAMA continues to reach out to our 85 Arizona congregations, and are encouraged that several are considering adding an advocacy component to their social ministry teams. Building our network, producing a weekly newsletter, and feeding social media keep us busy.

UPCOMING EVENTS: We are planning LAMA’s first state-wide summit on November 7, which is to be a virtual event featuring Dr. Ryan Cumming of ELCA World Hunger. Together with Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center and Bread for the World Southwest, we are planning and promoting a Virtual Town Hall on November 17 featuring Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado

BALLOT MEASURES: Coloradans will vote on eleven statewide ballot measures this fall. Lutheran Advocacy is committed to providing Lutherans and all people of faith with comprehensive and detailed analysis of each measure from our perspective. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado’s positions on the eleven measures are available now. View them at Our 2020 Voter Guide with analysis and information will be available on the same site in the first week of October. Ballots will be mailed to all Colorado voters on October 9th.

THEOLOGICAL CONFERENCE: The Rocky Mountain Synod met virtually for its annual fall Theological Conference from September 21-24. Lutheran Advocacy was present alongside hundreds of rostered ministers, lay professionals and other leaders to learn from expert presenters, engage in Bible study, and have in-depth discussions of anti-racism and building up God’s beloved community of liberation with all present.


Deacon Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio

HUNGER FOR JUSTICE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: As voting begins in Ohio this month, we are all diligently working to discern the best candidates for all positions – including the Ohio Statehouse, State Supreme Court, and community leaders for school board and Township Trustees. Regardless of who wins at the local, state, or national level, our work remains the same – proclaiming God’s desire that all may be fed and have justice and peace in our communities.

Our two-hour conference will be held on zoom and feature theological reflection to help frame the election results and policy landscape moving forward. We encourage clergy, congregational leaders, judicatory staff, and people curious about hunger and poverty to attend. Register at

OHIO COUNCIL OF CHURCHES ANTI-RACISM SUNDAY: HNO is a proud partner with the Council and their efforts to educate and engage congregations throughout the state on issues of white privilege and racism. You can watch the Livestream online here

CROP WALK KICK-OFF: HNO Director Nick Bates will be the featured speaker at the Columbus CROP Walk virtual kick-off on October 11th at noon to discuss our call to advocacy and justice around hunger issues.

PROBLEMS WITH VOTING: HNO is partnering with the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition. You can check your voter registration and find your absentee ballot at You can report a problem or concern to 1-866-OUR-VOTE or view their website,


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

EQUIPPING LEADERS AND VITAL CONGREGATIONS FOR DISCIPLESHIP IN A DEMOCRACY: LAMPa staff and volunteers contacted Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to assess their preparedness for the Nov. 3 election and shared the results with synod leaders to target congregations so that they could support safe access to polls in areas of need. Read more.

POLICY COUNCIL RETREAT: The Rev. Amy Reumann, ELCA Advocacy Director, joined virtually to talk about advocacy as discipleship. She invited the council to imagine how congregational leaders could engage in LAMPa’s ministry as faith formation through the practice of testimony.

HUNGER ADVOCACY FELLOW: Larry D. Herrold, Jr. joined LAMPa as our ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow. A member of Zion, Sunbury (Upper Susquehanna Synod), and active in hunger ministry there, he is discerning a call to ministry. Learn more about Larry.

ADVOCACY ON RENT RELIEF AND SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLS: LAMPa advocates urged state lawmakers to improve and extend the application deadline for the CARES Rent Relief Program and to end surprise medical billing.

UNITED LUTHERAN SEMINARY CONVOCATION: LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale shared whys and ways of connecting with policymakers as a form of loving our neighbor.

GWOH: Congregations around Pennsylvania added their voices to God’s work. Our hands. Sunday by writing letters to lawmakers addressing issues to which they have been called in service of neighbor.

OTHER WORK: Opposed legislation rolling back clean water protections; Supported use of CARES funding to stop utility shutoffs; Garnered signatures in support of waivers for school nutrition programs; Increased SNAP benefits


The Rev. Paul Benz and Elise DeGooyer, Faith Action Network

FAN’s Annual Dinner will be held virtually this year on November 15. We hope this change will allow more people from across the state to join in, expanding the traditions of our Renton and Spokane dinners! Our theme is “Rise Up Together,” which speaks to our current and future work in confronting the challenges of multiple pandemics – COVID-19, systemic racism, economic uncertainty, and environmental devastation. Learn more at

NEW REGIONAL ORGANIZERS: FAN is building our statewide outreach by creating a staff team of Regional Organizers! In Central Wash., we welcome Zahra Roach (pictured here) who is a Pasco City Councilmember and who worked on our Census Equity Team earlier this year. In Western Wash., we welcome Jaspreet Singh who has experience working with the legislative session in Olympia and is representing FAN at the Career and Technical Colleges coalition. More to come as we add University of Washington social work interns and a Spokane area organizer!

WORKING FAMILIES TAX CREDIT: FAN is part of several state policy coalitions – one is the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) coalition. Several years ago, our legislature passed this law to provide tax credits to low-income working families, but it has never been funded. Now more than ever in this pandemic where so many households are struggling, funding an emergency cash assistance program like this with an annual credit is critical. Another important piece to make this program more equitable is to statutorily include Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) filers so that ALL workers in our state receive this benefit. Learn more at or


The Rev. Cindy  Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

WELCOME TO LOPPW HUNGER ADVOCACY FELLOW KYLE MINDEN:  Kyle is with us full-time for one year thanks to a generous grant from ELCA World Hunger.  He graduated from Wartburg College with a B.A. in Religion and Business Administration and a Minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Kyle is passionate about solving the systemic inequities and injustices that stem from public policy at the local, state, and federal level.

VOTING: Kyle has developed two voting resources, the Comprehensive can be found at 2020 LOPPW Voting Guide, while the one-page summary can be found here: 2020 LOPPW Voting Overview

HUNGER: We made known information about people eligible for a stimulus check but who have not filed.  Kyle used the center to create this resource:  file:///Users/cynthiacrane/Downloads/Stimulus-Payment-Outreach-Resource-1-1%20(12).pdf

As part of our project to highlight at least one hunger ministry in each synod for others to learn from, we interviewed Bill Binroth, Director of Let’s Eat Community Meals of Chassell, MI in the NGLS.

CARE FOR CREATION: Our LOPPW statewide climate task force continues to meet.  We sent this press release as a letter to the WI Legislature:  file:///Users/cynthiacrane/Downloads/Revised-Climate-press-release-Team-Bishops.pdf

WEDNESDAY NOON LIVE & IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION: The video of Attorney Mary Campbell, Ms. Marisol Fuentes de Dubon, and Dr. Stephanie Mitchell mentioned last month was published in September:

“LIFTING OUR VOICES DURING THE PANDEMIC”: This Zoom webinar, co-sponsored by East Central Synod Women of the ELCA and LOPPW, will be held on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 from 6:30-7:30 PM. Register here:

November Update: U.N. and State Edition

U.N. | California | Colorado | Kansas | Minnesota | New Mexico | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Southeastern Synod | Washington | Wisconsin

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: During October, UN Special Procedure mandate-holders and other experts delivered reports to the General Assembly’s Third Committee (on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues), as mandated by the Human Rights Council. These reports focused on the advancement of women, indigenous issues, the protection of children and the promotion and protection of human rights to name a few. The meetings were chaired by H.E. Mr. Christian Braun, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg and can be viewed online here.

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Women, gave opening remarks on the Third Committee’s session on Advancement of Women, highlighting that “violence against women and girls and the renewed pushback against women’s rights remain pervasive around the world so as we prepare for the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action in 2020, we need renewed commitment from all.” The Secretary-General focused two reports on Advancement of Women, titled “Improvement of the situation of women and girls in rural areas” and “violence against women migrant workers.” A report was also submitted by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples report focused on the implementation the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination through autonomy and self-government. The report includes eight recommendations, one including the role of States in adopting and implementing “all measures necessary to ensure the adequate recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, territories and natural resources, as that recognition represents the cornerstone of their autonomy and self-government and is essential for their survival as distinct peoples.” Documentation of all reports for the Third Committee’s agenda items can be accessed online here.

UNITED NATIONS DAY: On October 24, 2019, the United Nations celebrated United Nations Day, marking 74 years since the UN Charter came into force in 1945, launching the United Nations. The Charter consists of a preamble and 19 chapters, calling for the U.N. to “maintain international peace and security, promote social progress and better standards of life, strengthen international law and promote the expansion of human rights”. The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres commented at its commemoration that “United Nations Day highlights the enduring ideals of the Charter, amid stormy global seas, the Charter remains our shared moral anchor.” Guterres has announced that 2020 will kick off with a UN75 initiative that will feature the world’s largest international dialogue on “the role of global cooperation in building the future we want ” to commemorate the 75th anniversary. A special UN Day Concert, featuring musicians from Qatar (pictured above with the Secretary-General) was also held and can be viewed online here.

MANDATE ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT: The ten-year anniversary of the Mandate on Sexual Violence in Conflict was commemorated at the United Nations ECOSOC Chamber on 30 October, 2019, hosted by the Republic of South Africa and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The event began with imagery from the exhibition “Youth Speak Out Through the Arts” (pictured left), showcasing art from a diverse group of youth working in New York as well as two young artists working in Iraq.

Ms. Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, stated that “sexual violence in conflict has been called history’s greatest silence, the least reported, the least condemned.” Mohammed reflected on the creation of the mandate as the UN’s commitment to “highlight, prevent and seek justice for these crimes” after it was established through the adoption of Security Council resolution 1888 in 2009.

A ‘survivors hearing’ panel was held with panelists sharing first and secondhand testimonies and recommendations from those who have experienced sexual violence in conflict. Ms. Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2018 Peace Prize Laureates, officially launched the “Global Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence” to help survivors and their families rebuild through locally designed solutions including reparations for survivors. Read the 2019 annual “Conflict Related Sexual Violence” report of the United Nations Secretary General here.


Regina Q. Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California (LOPP-CA)

POLICY COUNCIL MEETING AND PRIORITIES: The policy council of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA met at the Luther Center in Glendale, CA on October 26, 2019 to discuss the legislative priorities of the ELCA and LOPP-CA, welcome new staff and plan FUNdraisers for the upcoming program year. It was a great meeting and much was decided. Look for updates soon. But set your calendars now for LUTHERAN LOBBY DAY 2020: Wednesday May 20, 2020. We will use this opportunity to again engage with legislators and staff on issues of concern to Lutherans across the state.

Our priorities for 2020 have shifted but continue to reflect a deep concern for the least and the last in our communities, and care for creation and justice in our golden state. We will continue to advocate for the elimination of Deep Childhood Poverty and accompany those who immigrate to and migrate within California. After listening to your concerns during our congregation visits and in consultation with our partners at Lutheran Social Services of Northern California, we are adding engagement with and for the unhoused to our portfolio of issues. And with the addition of Nicole Newell as our Hunger Advocacy Fellow, we are adding food and farming as a new policy priority for the 2020 legislative session. As the largest producer of food in the U.S., California is dominated by large farms relying on undercompensated migrant labor and extensive use of water throughout the driest of months. These farming systems are too often disconnected from the processing, distributing, eating and waste aspects of the cycle. In keeping with God’s call to care for creation and our neighbor, LOPP-CA seeks to promote equitable food and farming systems in California that support healthy communities, full bellies and the preservation of vital ecosystems. Our policy council has decided to continue to support our ministry and secular partners in the implementation of the Clean Safe Affordable Drinking Water Fund though take a less active role.

All of these issues and more will be discussed leading up to and during Lutheran Lobby Day 2020 on May 20, 2020. If these priorities are in your area of expertise or you are looking for ways to get involved with LOPP-CA, there are openings for synod representatives in Pacifica, Sierra Pacific and Southwest California synods. Contact us at to discuss your service.

SYNOD AND CONGREGATION VISITS: A sincere Thank You goes out to the pastors and members of Immanuel Lutheran Church, San Jose; Ascension Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks; University AME Zion Church, Palo Alto; and Advent Lutheran Church, Morgan Hill for welcoming us into your worship experiences. We continue to delight in the varied ways that the Holy Spirit manifests in your families. Continue to invite us. We will continue to walk with you.

Thank you to Bishop Mark Holmerud and staff of Sierra Pacific Synod for their hospitality during the 2019 Professional Leaders Conference at Monterey Tides. LOPP-CA was offered primetime to talk about the church’s way forward through advocacy, and God is truly still working through contacts and connections made there. Similarly, a big thank you goes to Trinity Lutheran Women of the ELCA members for welcoming our Director Regina Q. Banks’ offer of the Sunday sermon on October 20th. This was her first sermon. She was humbled and blessed to take that journey with you.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado,

2019 VOTER GUIDE: Our Colorado ballot measure voter guide is now available! Colorado voters received their ballots in the mail in mid-October and have until November 5 to return them. Download our guide here and share it with your friends, family and congregation today.

THEOLOGICAL CONFERENCE: The Rocky Mountain Synod held its annual Theological Conference in Estes Park, Colorado, in early October. Lutheran Advocacy was on hand to share our 2019 Colorado voter guide, while participants engaged in deep conversation about structures of accountability within the church.

NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES: LAM-CO Director Peter Severson joined other ELCA representatives at the National Council of Churches Christian Unity Gathering in Hampton, Virginia. The Joint Action & Advocacy for Justice and Peace Table met during the first day to share updates, stories and resources on advocacy across the denominations participating at the table. On day two, participants joined a ceremony of remembrance at Old Point Comfort to mark the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to English North America 400 years ago.

LUTHERAN DISASTER RESPONSE (LDR): Rocky Mountain Synod representatives participated in the LDR Consultation in New Orleans, Louisiana, focusing on climate change adaptation and mitigation in disaster preparedness. As Colorado faces elevated drought and fire risks in a warming climate, congregations and ministries are invited to be aware of threats and to advocate for policies that will mitigate these risks.


Rabbi Moti Riebe, Kansas Interfaith Action (KIFA)

REFORM WORK: Kansas Interfaith Action has joined an effort to reform the payday loan industry in the state. Called the Kansas Coalition for Payday Loan Reform, it was initiated by a local DART (community organizing) affiliate which, realizing that this is a statewide issue, put together a wide-ranging statewide coalition – including KIFA. The legislation is being written, and there is a kick-off press conference for the campaign on November 12th. We anticipate this being a bipartisan effort, which unfortunately tends to be rare these days.

We have also had planning meetings with our coalition partners working on criminal justice reform and voting rights (two separate coalitions) to plan strategy for the 2020 session.

MEDICAID EXPANSION: Medicaid Expansion seems to be moving forward. A Senate select committee met to propose a bill that contains a lot of conditionals (if the federal government lets us, then we will expand to only 100% of the federal poverty line; if not, then we’ll expand to 138% of FPL). Each of these conditions costs money and causes delays. We are working for a bill with, as our coalition is saying it, “No barriers and no delays.”

FAITH AND PUBLIC POLICY FORUM: Every year KIFA runs a program called “Faith and Public Policy Forum,” a panel discussion of the pressing issues facing Kansas voters. The participants are representatives of organizations that we are in coalition with, including Kansas Action for Children, the ACLU of Kansas and the Climate & Energy Project. Topics include Medicaid Expansion, criminal justice reform, voting rights, climate and clean energy and more. KIFA Executive Director Rabbi Moti Rieber moderates the panel and presents on KIFA’s legislative priorities, as well as gives remarks about the role of the faith community in developing public policy. We have three events scheduled for November in Wichita, Topeka and Johnson County. Our goal is to give Kansans good, solid information about the issues facing the state, as well as build our base of support for the 2020 legislative session.



Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy- Minnesota (LA-MN)

POLICY COUNCIL RETREAT: In October, LA-MN Policy Council members gathered at St. John’s Abbey in the center of the state to spend almost 24 hours together. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know one another better and benefit from both an outside Bible study leader and a guest speaker regarding the Minnesota housing crisis, in addition to evaluating and visioning for the work ahead.

BONDING MONEY FOR HOUSING: The Homes for All Coalition Policy Team has been meeting twice per week as we work to discern additions or changes to the 2019-2020 biennium agenda we created a year ago. In these discussions and presentations, it is very clear that in addition to the housing crisis, Minnesota has a severe statewide shortage of shelter beds for homeless individuals and families.

Given that 2020 is a bonding year at the legislature, bonding will be our primary coalition-wide focus. Last year the coalition made a bold request of $300 million, $200 million in Housing Infrastructure Bonds (HIBs) to increase the number of affordable housing units supplied through private or nonprofit developers and $100 million to create or rehab public housing options. Last session, we were able to secure $60 million in bonding (HIBs), the only area to get any bonding money in the midst of a focus on budget. (We had anticipated that the bulk of that would need to be secured in the second year of the biennium).

After long discussions about the merits of making an even bolder bonding request vs. filling in the remainder of the $300 million request, we opted to go big and bold. We intend to push for $500 million for the creation & rehabilitation of affordable housing. Within that appeal we will be asking the legislature to add shelter development as a one-time eligible use of bonding money.

CLEAN ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE: In our environmental coalitions, we are a long way from having our detailed clean energy and climate agenda decided but are busy with partners trying to figure out what may be able to gain momentum in 2020. One hundred percent clean energy/carbon neutral electricity by 2050 will certainly be part of the work again.


New Mexico

Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry—New Mexico (LAM-NM)

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IS ESSENTIAL: LAM-NM has supported putting a constitutional amendment before the voters of our state which would increase the amount of funding available for quality early childhood education programs. Those programs include home-visiting for young children and their parents, pre-Kindergarten, child care assistance and other programs. Such programs have been proven to improve the lives of the children and families who participate in them over generations. Legislation to put the constitutional amendment on the general election ballot will be considered in the upcoming 2010 legislative session.

EFFECTIVE TAX POLICY IS CRUCIAL TO MEETING THE NEEDS OF OUR NEIGHBORS: LAM-NM advocates for tax policy that is fair and provides stable, sustainable and adequate revenue to meet the needs of our state, particularly the most vulnerable. A good tax system should be fair (distribute the tax burden broadly and progressively, with those with higher income paying more), balanced, accountable and able to be efficiently administered.


Nick Bates, Hunger Network in Ohio  

A BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM: Miriam Vargas moved into Sanctuary in the summer of 2018 at First English Lutheran Church in Columbus. On Tuesday October 29th, Miriam hosted Bishop Allende (NEOS) and others in a Facebook Live broadcast about the ELCA sanctuary declaration. In Ohio, we are not one of the ‘big immigration states,’ but individuals like Miriam are our neighbors and valued members of our community. Deportations threaten our neighbors and our neighborhoods.

In Ohio, we are trying to live into the declaration that the ELCA is a sanctuary denomination. This will look different for everyone, because God gifts us with different gifts and talents to express God’s love for the community. What it does mean for all of us is to ask the question: “How is God calling me to love my neighbor?”

We will continue to advocate to fix a broken immigration system, a system that divides parents from children, a system that sends people to famine soaked and war plagued communities. A system that causes fear and delay for stability for those who are most in need.

It is time to fix a broken system.

You can read more here on how to accomplish this and watch our Facebook Live event here

UNTIL ALL ARE FED: Our director Deacon Nick Bates and board member Pastor Larry Novak both testified this month against SB 165. This bill will put photo IDs onto a household’s SNAP benefits card. This will create headaches for children and spouses who attempt to use the card, headaches for pastors and mission team volunteers who do the grocery shopping for homebound members and headaches for grocery stores who have no clarity on how to implement or enforce these rules.

There is no need for these headaches, because they will do little to nothing to prevent fraud. Instead Ohio should invest these resources into outreach for those who struggling with addiction and help them access the necessary medical services. Take action by clicking here



Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

LAMPA VOLUNTEERS AND STAFF ATTEND LUTHERAN DISASTER RESPONSE (LDR) CONSULTATION: Director Tracey DePasquale accompanied seven Pennsylvania Lutheran Disaster Response coordinators and synod representatives to the 2019 LDR Consultation in New Orleans. This year’s consult focused on building relationships with synod, congregation and advocacy partners to address not only disaster relief but climate change mitigation and adaptation. There is great enthusiasm for building on these relationships for the good of our neighbors, near and far. Read more about the hopes for our work together.

STAFF ATTENDS GOVERNOR’S ANNUAL FOOD SECURITY PARTNERSHIP SUMMIT: DePasquale and LAMPa Program Director Lynn Fry attended Governor Wolf’s Annual Food Security Partnership Summit in Harrisburg. Attendees received reports on the Blueprint for a Hunger-Fee PA from various state agencies. The afternoon addressed college hunger in Pennsylvania. College students and staff representing schools across the commonwealth shared their personal experiences with hunger and the social services system. Deacon Alicia Anderson of Lutheran Student Community / Lutheran Campus Ministry at Penn State joined LAMPa staff and connected with Penn State students working to fight hunger. LAMPa hopes that the network of Lutheran Campus ministries in Pennsylvania might become engaged in helping to shape policy in this area as the First Lady focuses attention on hunger among college students.

LAMPA STAFF ATTENDS PA HUNGER ACTION COALITION BI-ANNUAL MEETING: Members shared reports on poverty and anti-hunger programs from the perspective of providers and advocates and heard from staff of state human services, agriculture and education departments about impacts of proposed federal rule changes. The coalition discussed strategy for addressing hunger policy together in the face of federal proposals and the upcoming state budget.

LAMPA JOINS COALITION PARTNERS AT RELIGIOUS SECURITY SUMMIT: Fry joined religious and community leaders in the Capitol to learn about threats to security of religious institutions as we prepared to mark the one-year anniversary of murders at the Tree of Life synagogue. Presentations were shared by: Anti-Defamation League, Pennsylvania Governor’s Office – Public Safety, Pennsylvania Homeland Security, Pennsylvania State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Secret Service and United States Postal Service. LAMPa invited congregation, synod, seminary and social ministry leaders to attend the summit, the first of several to be held around the commonwealth.

EDUCATING AND EQUIPPING: DePasquale participated in the inaugural meeting of the Upper Susquehanna Synod Advocacy Team, launched at the direction of Bishop Collins and Synod Council to support congregations and church leaders in following their baptismal call to strive for justice and peace. She also participated in Lower Susquehanna Synod’s day of equipping on the actions taken at the Churchwide Assembly, offering to assist attendees as they encourage their congregations to live into the calls coming from that gathering – particularly around the social statement on Faith, Sexism and Justice, the Day of Repentance for the Emmanuel Nine, the Declaration of Apology to people of African Descent and declaration of sanctuary denomination. In addition, DePasquale taught about LAMPa’s work at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Bangor (Northeastern Pa. Synod) and St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia (Lower Susquehanna Synod).


Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin, Southeastern Synod advocacy team

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: The kick-off for the Second Chance campaign was very well attended. There are 31 organizational partners. According to the Georgia Justice Project’s (GJP) Facebook page, “Georgia has the highest rate of correctional control in the nation, yet is one of only a few states that do not allow expungement of convictions, no matter how long ago they occurred. 4.2 million people have a Georgia criminal record (approximately 40% of adults) and as a result they face barriers to employment, housing, higher education and other opportunities long after their sentence is over.

“Employment is the most effective way to reduce recidivism. Changing Georgia’s law so that certain misdemeanor and felony convictions can be restricted and sealed after a period of time will unlock opportunity for thousands of Georgians who are rehabilitated and want to work, rebuild their lives and provide better futures for their families and communities.”

Our synod staff is aware of our GJP partnership and have been given basic information on what “Second Chance” is about.

I also attended a documentary screening at GJP, Life After Life; if you have the opportunity to see it, the film does a good job of representing the barriers that people face after serving their time.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: While Georgia has made great legislative strides with Safe Harbor, the funding of the rehab programs has been held up by lawsuits. We continue to monitor that process and what is happening with these funds.

HEALTHCARE: The American Cancer Society has targeted Georgia this year for Medicaid Expansion. We have contacted the Georgia chapter to see what that will look like; we should know more next week.

SOUTHEASTERN SYNOD LEADERSHIP CONVOCATION: Most of the Advocacy Policy Council and myself attended our synod leadership convocation at Lutheridge. The theme was “Preaching in Such a Time as This: Kairos, Truth, and Prophetic Gospel,” the Rev. Dr. Sam Giere, Wartburg Theological Seminary, explored the proclamation of Jesus Christ in such a time as this (Esther 4:14), by discerning “the times,” considering the relationship of trust and truth and engaging the prophetic nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

GEORGIA INTERFAITH PUBLIC POLICY CENTER: At our October board meeting, we added two people to our Board of Directors: Bishop Kevin L. Strickland and John Moeller, CEO of Inspiritus (formerly Lutheran Services of Georgia). Our 2020 Lobby Day will be February 26. Three of us attended an event at Redeemer Lutheran on October 30th sponsored by Inspiritus, titled “How to Have Hard Conversations Well, The Practice of Empathetic Listening .”


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network (FAN)

ANNUAL DINNER: FAN’s annual fundraiser will be Sunday, Nov. 10 with the theme “Raising Our Voices.” Our keynote speaker will be ELCA Minister Priscilla Austin from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seattle. This is a great event where our partners for the common good come together to celebrate our successes and be inspired for the work ahead. We are grateful to the ELCA Hunger as one of our year-round sustaining sponsors.

NEW ELCA BISHOP INSTALLED: Shelley Bryan Wee is the new bishop for the NW Washington Synod and will be installed Nov. 2 at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. Bishop Wee has been a great supporter of FAN, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with her and the 95 congregations and ministries of this synod.

FOOD WEEK OF ACTION: Every fall FAN works with the national Presbyterian Hunger program to promote Food Week of Action. We created an action-centered resource for faith communities to use that week and throughout the year. You can view our PLEA (pray-learn-educate-advocate) here:

2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: FAN members have been meeting with their state legislators to build relationships and prepare for next session which will begin on Jan. 13. The House and Senate will have their annual committee days Nov. 19-22 in Olympia when most legislators will be present for caucus and committee meetings.

CONGRESSIONAL FOCUS: As one of the main congressional issues we are following this season, we are asking our members to urge US Senator Cantwell to put her support behind the expansion of funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Care Tax Credit (CTC) to keep more households from falling deeper into poverty. We are also thanking her for her leadership on expanding funding for housing tax credits.


Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)

SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: Via an action alert and social media, we supported our D.C. office’s efforts encouraging people to comment on the new proposed rule for SNAP. The director also sent individual emails to hunger leaders around the state inviting them to access their networks to respond.

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: Several months ago, the director suggested that members of the Wisconsin Climate Table explore how we can amplify the positive environmental efforts in parts of our state government within a highly partisan atmosphere. LOPPW is now part of a campaign that is planning how we can support Wisconsin having a clear, actionable plan to equitably meet the 2050 carbon neutral goal.

We are also supporting a bill on regulating PFAS and testing lead in water in facilities that would require child care centers, child care providers and recreational and educational camps to test for lead in drinking water.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: The director was asked to give a legislative update to the Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Consortium at our last quarterly meeting. We also had a legislator on the phone for part of our meeting and strategized next steps.

LOPPW has continued regular contact with WELCA and other LOPPW supporters to move Safe Harbor forward.

The director has met regularly with LOPPW’s intern, Amelia, who successfully had a letter to the editor published, has organized other college students to advocate and has delivered petitions written by WELCA members to legislators.

NEW PROGRAMS: The director worked with volunteers to plan for our first monthly update on FB live (Wednesday Noon Live) on November 6th and our first pilot of a gathering for young adults (Engage) on November 7th.



March Update: U.N. and State Edition

U.N. | California | Colorado | MinnesotaNew Mexico | Southeastern Synod | Pennsylvania | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin

Lutheran Office for World Community, United Nations, New York, N.Y.

Dennis Frado, director

57TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: The fifty-seventh session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD57) took place from 11 to 21 February 2019, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Priority theme this year was “Addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social protection policies”. The Commission’s emerging issues theme was “Empowerment of people affected by natural and human-made disasters to reduce inequality: Addressing the differential impact on persons with disabilities, older persons and youth”.

Across nine days, the challenges and inequalities of social inclusion were explored through fiscal, wage and social protection policy during high level panels and side events. A plenary on February 13 highlighted the peoples most affected during times of crisis; people with disabilities, older persons and youth and how current policies could be more inclusive and empowering through all stages of planning and implementation. An emphasis on the importance of including those with psychosocial/mental disabilities in disaster planning was also addressed, with the need for visual materials, and verbal cues during moments of natural or man-made disasters.

For further information, check out CSoD57.

UNITED NATIONS BLACK HISTORY MONTH TOUR: During the month of February, the United Nations

Ark of Return located on the United Nations Visitors Plaza. © LOWC/Rebekka Pöhlmann

offered for the first time a special Black History Month tour. Each weekday the Black history-themed tour of the United Nations included a look at the Ark of Return, a permanent memorial in honor of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, located on the United Nations Visitors Plaza. The art piece was designed by Rodney Leon, an American Architect of Haitian descent, and unveiled on 25 March 2015 to commemorate the more than 15 million African men, women and children, who were enslaved.

During the tour the visitors had the chance to learn about the contributions of people of African descent to the work of the United Nations in fields such as peace and security and human rights, with a special emphasis on decolonization. Ralph Johnson Bunche, for example, was the first person of African descent to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his efforts to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1940s, specifically the 1949 Armistice Agreements. He was also highly involved in the formation and early administration of the secretariat of the United Nations.

The tour was also organized in the context of the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024.


Regina Banks, Lutheran Office of Public Policy

BILL INTRODUCTION DEADLINE: February 22, 2019 marked the final day for the California Legislature to introduce bills for the 2019 Legislative Session. The Senate and Assembly Desks remained open through the weekend to process the bill introductions. Nearly 2,600 bills were introduced this year, covering an extensive range of topics and subject-areas. Among the several bills introduced were no fewer than 17 that represent the End Child Poverty Plan recommendations. Many other bills were introduced with respect to LOPP-CA’s other legislative priorities of Water Justice and Immigration and Migration issues. The policy council will begin to narrow down bill priorities in the coming weeks.

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS: The Communications Committee has heard your cry: Invest in LOPP-CA’s Social Media presence! We know that you are looking for LOPP-CA on social media platforms and we are preparing to meet you there. Please visit us on Facebook at Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California. We are sharing updates, article and time-sensitive action items. Like, share and repost our content. The policy council has a goal of getting 5000 followers by the end of the year. You can help us meet our goal and stay up-to-date with the activities. Plans are underway for Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Watch this space!


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado

LUTHERAN DAY AT THE LEGISLATURE: We had a successful lobby day event on Thursday, February 21.

Constituents of State Sen. Tammy Story (2nd from right) meet in her office at the State Capitol for Colorado Lutheran Day at the Legislature

Thanks to all who came out for fellowship, conversation, education and advocacy! We heard from State Senator Jeff Bridges, Rocky Mountain Synod Bishop Jim Gonia, and Colorado Center on Law & Policy attorney Jack Regenbogen. Our asks were all criminal justice related: support for automatic record sealing, “Ban the Box,” and abolishing the death penalty.

Many attendees met with their legislators and/or a legislative aide during our time at the Capitol. The next day, Bishop Jim Gonia offered the opening prayer for the House of Representatives, where he gave thanks for the vocation to public service of our state legislators. You can watch video of his remarks online here (via Facebook).

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: We have been advocating recently on bills to extend eviction notice windows for renters (HB 19-1118) and to expand the Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Act (HB 19-1171). LAM-CO Director Peter Severson testified in both hearings. We expect the introduction next week of several high-profile bills on our agenda, including Paid Family Leave and Abolishing Colorado’s Death Penalty. Follow all the bills that have been introduced at and be informed on issues that you care about. Stay tuned!


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy–Minnesota

HOUSING & THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET: Gov. Walz’s budget highlights housing as a critical issue facing Minnesota, calling for investments across the housing continuum from homelessness to homeownership. We appreciate that the governor gives the housing crisis the increased attention it needs! However, we must go beyond his proposals to even do more to meet the housing needs of students, families, employers, and communities across Minnesota. State investments must also include supportive services (in Health & Human Service budget).

CLEAN ENERGY LEGISLATION: Legislation has been introduced that creates a set of renewable and carbon-free energy targets for Minnesota’s utilities to meet between now and 2050, with 100% carbon-free energy the eventual goal. It allows flexibility if meeting the targets significantly effects energy costs or reliability, and allows modification for future unknowns like new technology, environmental impacts, or obstacles to building energy infrastructure. (The bill defines “renewable” energy as electricity produced from solar, wind, small hydroelectric facilities, hydrogen and biomass. “Carbon-free” energy is defined as electricity produced without emitting carbon from sources like nuclear energy which aren’t renewable).

CLEAN ENERGY & CLIMATE ACTION DAY: Join students, neighbors, families, people of faith! Engage in opportunities throughout the day to learn, share, meet with legislators and let them know you want action on clean energy. Participate in action stations, inter-faith worship, and a rally in the Capitol Rotunda. Stay for the day or come when you can. Register at:

  • WHEN: Wednesday, March 13, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, 105 University Ave. W., St. Paul 55103

New Mexico

Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry- New Mexico (LA-MN)

2019 LUTHERAN ADVOCACY DAY: The 2019 Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico Bishop’s Legislative

Rep. Armstrong with LAM-NM Director
Advocates gather

Luncheon and Issues Briefing drew over 150 advocates from throughout the state. For the first time, over half of the attendees were from our ecumenical partners. The morning began with our Issues Briefing at the United Church in Santa Fe, one of our partner congregations from the United Church of Christ. Advocates attended briefing sessions on several issues included in the LAM-NM 2019 Advocacy Agenda. Bishop Jim Gonia shared remarks in the morning as well as at the luncheon. At the luncheon, Rep. Deborah Armstrong was recognized as Legislator of the Year for her work on health care issues. Also honored was the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice for its dedicated work to advocate for and serve the interests of the immigrant community in New Mexico.

Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin, Director

CAPITOL VISITS: It has been an exciting month, packed with lobby days at Georgia’s state capitol. Hilton and Jordan have been able to participate in several of our partner’s Lobby days to raise awareness for a myriad of issues including environmental justice, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, and Medicaid expansion.

ANNUAL GATHERING: We were humbled by a great turn out and positive responses to our office’s Fourth Annual Advocacy Gathering, titled “Walking Wet,” in Atlanta. Amy Reumann joined us for our event as the keynote speaker and left all in attendance feeling reenergized and ready to advocate both in our local communities and as a Church body. Participants were also able to enjoy fellowship time with other advocates and participate in workshops hosted by Inspiritus (formerly Lutheran Services of Georgia), Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Catherine Strate and Policy Council Member Dawn Bennett.

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND UPDATES: It has been a busy month with many reoccurring themes across the 3 states(Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee); Our office is currently determining our priorities for the push leading up to Georgia Crossover Day, March 7th. The Alabama legislature kicks off March 5th. In addition to helping the folks in our Synod make sense of current legislation, we are publishing legislative updates so folks can see what their lawmakers have been up to so far this session.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy – Pennsylvania (LAMPa)

LAMPA CO-SPONSORS ADVOCACY WEBINAR: LAMPa and United Methodist Advocacy are co-sponsoring a webinar March 5 to help congregations and faith-based non-profits in Pennsylvania understand their right to engage in advocacy. Click here to register.

STAFF & VOLUNTEER OUTREACH: Tracey visited with members of the Tree of Life (LSS) sharing an informative conversation about LAMPa. Over the course of several months in 2018, LAMPa assisted a group of congregants at Upper Dublin Lutheran Church (SEPA Synod) who were interested in creating an advocacy team. They did their homework, including a congregational survey, and launched what they call the “A Team” on the Sunday she visited. Tracey also spoke at worship services. Lynn and policy council member Cheryl Burns shared a program on Advocacy and Hunger at St. Stephen’s (LSS).

JOIN US IN THE CAPITAL: Bring Your Faith to the Table — On May 19 and 20, join people of faith from around Pennsylvania for inspiration, education and participation — in worship, service, learning and advocacy. MONDAY, MAY 20 — LAMPa’s traditional Lutheran Day of Advocacy — Set a Welcome Table! features Keynote speaker Kathryn Lohre, assistant to the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA. Learn more and register.

SUNDAY, MAY 19 Come to the Welcome Table! and join neighbors of many faiths for service, learning, prayer, artistic expression and a community meal — all with an emphasis on strengthening what unites us. A variety of service and learning opportunities will be offered, as well as preparation for advocacy for our common home. Learn more.


Kim Bobo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

The Virginia General Assembly adjourned on February 24thafter a chaotic session. VICPP is thrilled that 2 bills passed both the Senate and the House and are now waiting for the Governor’s signature. Under current state law, jobs like shoe-shine boys, newsboys, ushers, and movie ticket-takers are exempt from the minimum wage, stemming back to the Jim Crow era. We worked with Del. Cia Price and Sen. Lionell Spruill to remove this discriminatory language from Virginia’s minimum wage law. We also worked with Del. Lashrecse Aird and Sen. Frank Wagner to pass legislation that requires employers to provide workers with a paystub. Under current state law, paystubs are optional. However, paystubs are critically important to helping prevent and deter wage theft. VICPP is looking forward to working on more aggressive legislation for the 2020 General Assembly Session.


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network (FAN)

FAN has had a busy month! We are right in the middle of Washington State’s Legislative session. The House and Senate are hearing and discussing thousands of bills and working hard to set the budget for the next two years.

We had scheduled our Interfaith Advocacy Lobby Day for Valentine’s day. The Seattle area experienced numerous winter storms in the beginning of the month and had more snowfall than we’ve had in more than 50 years – nearly 22 inches in just the first two weeks of February. Unfortunately, these icy roads and hazardous conditions led to canceling Interfaith Advocacy Day. We are working hard to ensure that the faith communities in our network have the tools they need to make their voices heard at the legislature in other ways. The FAN staff has been leading and speaking at educational events, attending and supporting other lobby days, and assisting faith communities in their own understanding of different bills and the legislative structure.

Legislative session is about halfway through. As we move through different votes and policy cutoffs, we are keeping a keen eye on the bills on our legislative agenda. A few of the bills we’re advocating for address:

  • Repealing the death penalty (HB 1488/SB 5339)
  • Increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables through funding the Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentives (FINI) program (HB 1587/SB 5583)
  • Revising economic assistance programs by updating standards of need, revising outcome measures and data collected, and reducing barriers to participation (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF) (HB 1603/SB 5684)
  • Establishing a post-conviction review board and review process for early release for qualifying individuals who are incarcerated (SB 5819)
  • Establishing a statewide policy supporting Washington State’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace (Keep Washington Working) (HB 1815/SB 5497)
  • Supporting 100% Clean Electricity to make our state’s electric grid free of fossil fuels by 2045 (HB 1211/SB 5116)


Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin

ADVOCACY TRAINING/PREPARATIONS: The director, Cindy Crane, preached and led a workshop on advocacy for pastors from conferences in the Northwest Synod in Chetek. The focus was on how to talk to congregants about faith-based advocacy.

Our intern, Sarah, is gathering information about legislators on a spreadsheet that will help us in our advocacy.

LOPPW is involved in planning the People of Faith United for Justice Advocacy Day on April 11. The director is investigating a focus on water, which is one of our priorities related to Care for God’s Creation.

Kelsey Johnson, LOPPW’s hunger fellow, is working on materials based upon LOPPW’s resources to create packets for our advisory council members to present to conference deans in their synods.

Kelsey and Cindy engaged several people who expressed a passion for justice but were not signed up for our action alerts at the Greater Milwaukee Synod’s Together in Mission in Brookfield.

ANTI-SEX TRAFFICKING: Kelsey and Cindy led a workshop on anti-sex trafficking in the South-Central Synod in Boscobel. Kelsey managed an LOPPW table at an anti-trafficking event at a Catholic church in Madison. She has been in regular contact with one of our speakers from our January rally to explore writing a bill together. Cindy was in regular contact with WELCA in the East Central Synod to discuss what’s next after the rally. She was also in touch with Jen DeLeon, director of advocacy for WELCA, about how Jen can support our efforts.

ELCA: Cindy was part of a relators for DEMs meeting.