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ELCA participating in progress at COP25

By Ruth Ivory-Moore, Program Director for Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility

The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) gets underway in Madrid, Spain today, and an unprecedented number of people from the ELCA are present as part of an ELCA Advocacy delegation – including Lutheran state public policy office directors, young adult leaders, global companions and members of the Lutherans Restoring Creation network. Negotiators and civil society observers meet annually at conference of parties (COP) conferences to hammer out resolutions to remedy, mitigate and adapt to a warming climate. Despite being in a crisis situation, where severe weather patterns are intensified and disaster damage and loss of life are more frequent, we must and can turn this around.

This moment in time involves using all tools at our disposal with a recognition that our human existence is interlinked with all of creation. “Lutherans are called to listen to the cry of the Earth along with the anguished cry of every broken soul so that we assume personal, ecclesial and public leadership in addressing both human justice and Earth justice together,” reads “Why Lutherans Care for Creation.” We are equipped at COP25 to use God’s creative wisdom to take stock of where we are now and where we need to be and to devise plans to wisely steward our place caring for the earth.

Days at a COP are long. Side events, displays and key speakers draw participants to opportunities for engagement and collaboration as well as learning. Lasting and collaborative relationships will be formed and strengthened with our neighbors, whether geographically in Pennsylvania, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa or Asia-Pacific. There are no boundaries to the devasting impacts of a warming earth, be they wildfires out West or historic flooding in Venice, or be they ecological system changes such as migrating species from moose to microbes. Knowing we are living into our role as stewards of creation energizes COP encounters with unparalleled enthusiasm.

Two youths who spoke at an interfaith climate emergency consultation in New York City in September 2019 implored us to think of caring for the earth not as a movement but as part of who we are. The resource, “Why Lutherans Care for Creation,” asserts: “For Christians, care of the Earth is not an ‘environmental cause.’ Rather, it is central to our holy calling to treasure the Earth and to care for it as our common home, fully integrating creation-care into our love of God and neighbor.”

ELCA participants bring another core conviction to COP25. While the environmental impact of a warming climate is dire, hope triumphant over despair is central to our tradition. As the ELCA Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice social statement reminds us: “We testify to the hope that inspires and encourages us. We announce this hope to every people, and witness to the renewing work of the Spirit of God.”


Seismic storm: In the boat together with Jesus beside us

Our advocacy in light of disasters intensified by climate change brought together a group of faith and community leaders for an event hosted in Washington, D.C. by ELCA Advocacy in the spring of 2019. The challenge may be seismic, but the Rev. Amy E. Reumann offered insight and guidance on contemporary issues and scriptural and church resources, preparing us to care in this storm.

The sermon is available in text (pdf available on  and video (message transcends inconsistent quality of available video).

Following are excerpts of the text from which Pr. Reumann preached.

The story [of Jesus calming the storm is] about Jesus’ power and is also a tale of the disciples who are uncertain about their own abilities… Perhaps fear rendered them unable to act.

…But Jesus, after he subdues the seismic event, turns to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

…Facing the full reality of the climate crises is terrifying. It triggers in me flight or fright. When I dwell on the details, it is immobilizing. As ELCA Advocacy, climate cuts across every issue area that we cover and makes it worse, from food security to national security. From increased migration and refugees to heightened international conflict and local violence. From health care to habitat loss. We have a storm, and it is here, and we are perishing.

…What we are facing as a church, as a nation, as a world, demands all of us be sent out. We are focused as a church on vital congregations and building leaders, but we only need them on a planet that can support human habitation. The offense against climate change must be multifaceted, and there is a part for everyone.

…Jesus has given us what we need. My fervent hope and prayer is that we will chart a course as a church together to persistently and resolutely be bearers of God’s fierce love and deep justice. Peace, be still. We got this. Together in the boat – let us go over to the other side.




Goodness of biodiversity: Mindfulness required

By Ruth Ivory-Moore, Program Director for Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility

The intricacies and diversity of creation are mind-boggling, a reflection and reminder of the power and glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit expressed through the created order. The United Nations honors creation on May 22 through the International Day for Biological Diversity. This year’s theme is “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health.” Marking the day increases our understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues in God’s good creation.

Try to trace the biodiversity story of many things you eat and use every day. From a lunch bag apple to ingredients in your cold medicine, our food and health are dependent on biodiversity. 

Biodiversity is the variety and diversity of various forms of life on earth, and particularly that in a specific region that includes various species of plant and animal life, microorganisms and the ecosystems where they exist. It is essential. Living entities support each other and interact with their non-living environment to provide and enhance healthy life for all of creation. As told in Genesis, from chaos came synchronization where all life is valued and interlinked. “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good,” (Genesis 1:31).  

Where do we see the essential role of diversity in our food and health? Crop genetic diversity, for example, plays a critical role in creasing and sustaining production levels and nutritional diversity throughout the full range of different agroecological conditions. Diverse organisms contributing to soil diversity perform vital functions that regulate the soil ecosystem, such as decomposition of litter and recycling of nutrients, converting atmospheric nitrogen to an organic form and reconverting this to gaseous nitrogen, and altering soil structure. Ecosystems support soil formation, nutrient cycling, and primary production; provide food, fresh water, fuel, fiber, biochemicals, and genetic resources, and regulate the climate, disease, water, water purification, and pollination.  

Then there are bees! Consider these truly amazing insects. A one-minute video from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations imagines a world without this essential component in the food chain. Threats to biodiversity are threats to us all.  

Havoc imposed on earth and its ecosystems cannot continue unrestrained. While production of basic goods and services are among priorities noted in the ELCA social statement “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice, our quest for economic prosperity and other human activity threatens global biodiversity. Disregard for life of a certain species or ecological system will negatively impact all of life.  

The sabbath and jubilee laws of the Hebrew tradition remind us that we may not press creation relentlessly in an effort to maximize productivity (Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 25). The principle of sustainability means providing an acceptable quality of life for present generations without compromising that of future generations. Protection of species and their habitats, preservation of clean land and water, reduction of wastes, care of the land—these are priorities,notes the Caring for Creation statement. 

On this International Day for Biological Diversity, let’s lift all of creation in prayer. 

God of wisdom, showing us your love in the rising sun and waning tide, you grace Earth with life in all its variety. Everything has meaning, is blessing; everyone is charged with care for the smallest creature to the ocean’s depth. Grant us wisdom to know your ways of love and gentle kindness. Give us the mind to learn what we do not know but long to understand so that we may honor and nurture all that makes us one with you. Amen 


Prayer by Diane Lopez Hughes at  

Additional information: 


Stewarding God’s Creation: Science Matters

By Ruth Ivory-Moore

“Colliding black holes, dinosaur parts in amber, potentially life-friendly planets: The year in science has at times felt almost cinematic in scope.”- National Geographic 

The year was 2016.  Phenomenal discoveries were made which may have life changing implications that range from better understanding the various forms of waves (i.e. light, x-rays) to finding new extraterrestrial objects to explore, such as the newfound potentially water bearing planet dubbed Proxima b. A global collaboration of scientists measured massive colliding black holes producing gravitational waves. This measurement validated Albert Einstein’s 1916 prediction of the existence of these waves in his General Theory of Relativity.  This collision actually occurred about 1.3 billion light-years away, but by the time the waves reached earth they spread like ripples and washed over earth in September 2016.  Scientists are using this discovery to see if there is any connection between gravitational waves and other waves such X-rays, radio, and light.    

(Photograph Source: . A computer simulation shows the gravitational waves emitted by two gigantic black holes spiraling around each other. Illustration by C. Henze, NASA)

These discoveries show the importance of science. Unfortunately, the church has not always been welcoming of science. In 1633, Galileo Galilei was convicted of heresy for his teachings on the universe being heliocentric (sun is the center of the solar system) versus being geocentric (earth is center of solar system). The latter was the belief held by the church. As a result, he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.  It took centuries to prove that his theory was correct.

Today we have a better appreciation of the value of science, knowledge, and wisdom. Divine wisdom is apparent in the created order and guides how we are to live in it. “We are called to live according to God’s wisdom in creation (Proverbs 8), which brings together God’s truth and goodness. Wisdom, God’s way of governing creation, is discerned in every culture and era in various ways. In our time, science and technology can help us to discover how to live according to God’s creative wisdom”. (Social Statement, “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice” (1993)).

Human wisdom is primary and fundamental to life.  When Solomon was given the opportunity to ask God for anything he desired, he chose wisdom (1 King 3). Wisdom synthesizes knowledge and experiences into conceptual visions and realities.  Knowledge is a tool while wisdom is the craft in which the tool is used.   God provides humankind with unique abilities compared to the rest of creation, namely to reason, research, analyze, and strategize. Wisdom allows us to make use of God’s gifts and deploy them in ways to give us a better understanding of this world; and to follow through on our mandate to be stewards of all of creation. We use wisdom in science to gather together scientific information and discoveries to further our understanding of our environment.

For example, science is the nucleus of our ability to understand the impact of the warming of the earth due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

  1. It is science that has allows humankind to measure the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over time showing the dramatic increase since 1950. (Photograph right: graph displaying carbon dioxide increase over time. Data source: Reconstruction from ice cores. Credit: NOAA. See:
  1. It is science that allows NASA to pictorially show the impact of the accumulation of carbon dioxide emissions globally over the entire earth. Click this link and view what NASA has been observing for in the span of one year compressed:
  2. It was science that allowed Tesla’s Solarcity to convert the island of Ta’u in American Samoa from diesel to 100% solar. This seven-acre solar plant now provides all the power used on Ta’u Island.1  Photo by Daniel Lin. (Photograph below:

It is through science that we find the mechanism to alert us of problems that warrant our attention.  It is through our God-given wisdom that we utilize science to be God’s stewards while we are here on earth. Value science. Embrace it. Thank God for the gift of human wisdom that enables us to use science for the benefit of all. Let us pray.

Unison Prayer

Healing God, forgive us that we see dry bones in places where you see the full vitality of life.  Help us to remember that life comes from you alone.  You alone are the Creator of the universe; you alone are the savior of the whole world.  Help to celebrate the vision of life and to tend to the needs of your world.  Amen2


2Creation Justice Ministries:



COP22 Blog

Ruth Ivory-Moore, Program Director Environment and Energy, traveled to COP22  in Marrakech, Morocco in November as world leaders meet to discuss implementation of the Paris Agreement that went into effect on November 4, 2016.  The first week she is supporting ACT Alliance  of which ELCA is a member by  participating in Side Events that allow for everyone to be directly engaged in discussions addressing the diverse issues surrounding climate change.  The second week she is serving as part of an ACT Alliance delegation as an observer. Below are some reflections and photos of her first week of experiences at this amazing conference where people project to be on one accord to protect and steward all of creation.

In This Together


“If you want to go quickly, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  – African Proverb.

This proverb is particularly instructive in describing the events at COP22.   There is a strong sense of diversity and inclusiveness.   Senior level governmental officials negotiate Paris Agreement implementation provisions; civil society observes and seeks to influence; and those most likely to be impacted now and in the future, sought to be heard.   The latter included indigenous people and our children.  These voices were heard in various ways during this session of COP22.21

The indigenous people have contributed least to climate change, but are significantly impacted.  They need the rest of the world’s assistance, but those providing the help must first understand their community dynamics. Those offering assistance must do so in an accompaniment manner.  We must walk and stand with them in partnership – bridging gaps, while laying the foundation for sustainability and resilience. A diverse group of people including the indigenous staged a march to express the need to hear their voices; and to recognize that they must be included in the conversations. (See picture left)

While the indigenous people are likely to be impacted as part of the world’s vulnerable population today, we should not forget that we must leave a vibrant, clean world for our children.  22

The COP presented opportunities for some amazing young people to show the world that they have voices, and deserve better than what we are on course to leave them today. Whether it was the young girl from Senegal speaking about biodiversity. (See picture left)

The students quizzing a panel of experts with questions that challenged the brightest. (See picture left)

Or those students capturing the moments as camera and production personnel for the hour and half, each presented themselves not only professionally, but passionately and 24credibly. (See picture left)

This COP22 cleverly demonstrated the importance of all and the need for complete inclusiveness.  This all-inclusiveness extends to religion.

Sessions incorporated diverse religious personnel.  An Islamic cleric spoke of the importance of ecology, emphasizing that the Islam mandates that people must protect all. The universe is to show gratitude to God, who is beauty. God loves beauty, not war. A Buddhist leader spoke of how all life is interdependent and that we were born on this earth not to be part of the destruction. COP demonstrates that caring for 23creation is a stewardship requirement that is shared by the faith-based community in general.

We are commanded by God; and have a duty to our children.

Prayer: Oh God of Heaven and Earth, you desire a reconciliation of the whole creation.  We confess that we too often make choices that separate and destroy.  Forgive us our selfish ways.  Help us to seek justice, oh God, and to walk humbly beside you as we seek life that is centered on you and as we protect your creation.  Help and guide us to joyfully seek your wisdom and guidance.  Amen.  

(Prayer adopted from Creation Justice Ministries,


Gender and Equity


“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”  (Galatians 3:28, NRSV)

It is unfortunate that being “one in Christ” is not recognized  universally in the world as we live our lives today.   The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) a Malaysian based organization sponsored an interactive discussion session at COP22 entitled “Paris Agreement and Women – Locating Health in Climate Change Discourse”.    The reality is that women are disparately impacted by the effects of climate change.  The time has come to acknowledge and integrate the gender rights issue into the discussions addressing climate change.

The Paris Agreement in the preamble states:  “ Acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity…”   At the COP22 where the representatives from the many nations are beginning to hammer out the implementation rules and guidelines of the Paris Agreement, the hope is that key linkages between women’s health and climate change will be considered and incorporated in the implementation discussions.

ARROW has captured the stories of women on post cards.  Here are the stories of two of them.

Supl’s story is:12


Gladys’ story is:13


These women’s stories are unfortunately not atypical particularly in developing countries.  ARROW representatives gave the example of  Bangladesh which is a densely populated country with a poverty level that is very high. Bangladesh is experiencing more severe weather in the form of increased frequency of floods and cyclones where women are impacted the most.   The women do not want to leave their homes for fear of property losses, but are often forced to leave and migrate internally walking through high flood waters that results in gynecological illnesses that can impact the reproductive system.  These women can also be the targets  of sexual violence.  Living through situations such as these can cause depression which impacts mental health.

This ARROW presentation at COP22 was unique in that the end of the session was all about hearing what the audience had to say.  The session facilitators engaged the audience in a robust conversation.  Questions raised included: (1) How will women’s health issues be incorporated in the Paris Agreement implementation; and (2) What can be done to make this happen?  The consensus of the group was  that the time has come where gender issues needed to be integrated into the talks and be given the same weight/status as other issues.

Women in a marginalized society, are the most vulnerable among us.


Caring for Shishmaref and all of God’s creation

By Nathan Detweiler

Shishmaref’s receding shorelines. Photo credit: HelenMarie Bessi Sinnok

“Climate change is the biggest challenge that we face. Because of climate change we are forced to relocate within three decades,” Esau Sinnok said during a recent phone interview about Shishmaref. Esau was born and raised in this village in Alaska. He has recently become an outspoken advocate for Shishmaref and environmental conservation.

The island village has recently gained national attention for its historic decision to relocate. On Aug. 16, by a narrow majority of 11 votes, the village decided to move to the mainland.

Shishmaref residents were driven to this decision because of the unique and challenging circumstances of its environment. Located north of the Bering Strait, the Inupiat island community has struggled for decades with receding shorelines. Rising temperatures have reduced the sea ice, which has historically protected Shishmaref from storm surges.  “The ice has started to melt a lot earlier [each] year,” Sinnok said.

Climate change has led to increased flooding and erosion. In addition, the permafrost, on which the island stands, is slowly melting. As a result, Shishmaref is one of the most dramatic examples of a population effected by climate change. Shishmaref is  “two good storms away from being underwater,” said one resident.

The Rev. Thomas Pastor Richter performs a baptism.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Richter

Thomas Richter, a Lutheran pastor, shepherds the only congregation in town, which on a typical Sunday morning sees around 50 people in worship. The relocation vote has left the village “a community divided,” he said. Many residents feel that the outside world has abandoned them.

So what are the options available to Shishmaref? Old Pond and West Tin Creek Hills are two potential sites on the mainland that could house the village. But relocating would be an expensive endeavor, costing an estimated $180 million. And just relocating would not immediately solve all the problems. Amenities and infrastructure would take time to develop, and the suggested site doesn’t have barge access, a critical flaw for a population that is isolated from traditional transportation.

“Our battle is not unique nor is it something that only applies to those in far off, hard to reach places. The sinking sands of Shishmaref are the same sinking sands of the rest of the world. This is our planet that is melting because of us. If the people of Shishmaref become climate refugees, we are all climate refugees.”

The residents are also concerned that relocating risks diluting or losing aspects of the community’s unique culture. Pastor Richter said of the challenges facing the community, “The biggest challenge is preserving the culture.” The traditional language has slowly been lost as more residents interact with other parts of Alaska and the world. Shishmaref is also a renowned hub for art. The carvings of bone and walrus ivory are sought throughout the United States. Moving to new locations may frustrate this carving industry as the resources become more difficult to acquire.

Not all are against relocating. Sinnok thinks the relocated community could be preserved. While the current location holds many dear memories, he emphasized how grateful he is for the chance “to move as a community so that [we] can still be called Shishmaref. And our 4,000-year culture can stay alive.”

Fishing in Shishmaref. Photo credit: HelenMarie Bessi Sinnok

Residents of Shishmaref are part of a growing group of “climate refugees.” Earlier this year, a community in Louisiana received a $48 million federal grant to relocate because of the effects of climate change on their environment. As climate change is increasingly felt by communities around the world, climate refugees will increasingly be displaced from their homes.

While support for Shishmaref has been shown by some church groups, more support from other people and groups will be needed for relocation. Pastor Richter said that support from the lower-48 states is paramount to helping Alaska transplant Shishmaref. Thinking more broadly, Sinnok emphasized the importance of everyone recognizing their impact on the environment and trying to reduce it. He encouraged people everywhere to raise awareness of the effects of climate change with their peers and to be more social in the outdoors. Being outdoors reduces the energy resources used and improves sustainability.

The Rev. Shelley Wickstrom, bishop of the ELCA Alaska Synod, said the synod will accompany the community through prayer and support as it relocates. In particular, she mentioned the need for a new church and parsonage when the community relocates.

Everyone who was interviewed emphasized the importance of raising awareness of Shishmaref. As people of faith we are called by our social statements to recognize that “care for the earth [is] a profoundly spiritual matter.”[1] In raising awareness of Shishmaref, we are both fulfilling our duty to love our neighbors and committing to care for all creation. This commitment to creation involves us as individuals, congregations, advocates and members of a larger community.

coastline II
Shishmaref’s coastline. Photo credit: HelenMarie Bessi Sinnok

One way to raise awareness is by writing to lawmakers about the importance of supporting legislation that helps communities affected by climate change. ELCA Advocacy has an easy-to-use toolkit for writing your members of Congress. Please consider advocating for Shishmaref and other communities like it. By encouraging policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encourage using renewable energy resources and promote energy efficiency in all sectors of society, we send a message that Congress needs to act. In addition, if you or a community you know faces challenges associated with climate change, please contact us at Finally, we can advocate for Shishmaref through prayer. We may face despair, but we remember that as people of faith we are called to be hopeful while committing to doing God’s work through our hands.

Pastor Richter’s parting remarks carry a call to action and an affirmation of the interconnectivity of all of God’s creation: “Our battle is not unique nor is it something that only applies to those in far off, hard to reach places. The sinking sands of Shishmaref are the same sinking sands of the rest of the world. This is our planet that is melting because of us. If the people of Shishmaref become climate refugees, we are all climate refugees.”

May we heed his words and work for God’s justice throughout creation.


[1] ELCA social statement “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice” (1993)

Photo credit: HelenMarie Bessi Sinnok and Thomas Richter


Living Earth Reflection: When water becomes no longer safe

By: The Rev. Jack Eggleston, South East Michigan Synod

People around me know that I drink a lot of water. Many years ago, Carl, a member of the congregation I served, told me of the health benefits of drinking water. I drink at least 80 ounces of water a day. When I am tired, a glass of water refreshes my body and renews my energy. Nothing renews like the life-giving water Jesus offers (John 4), but safe water is one of our most basic needs.

Last fall, when refilling my water bottle at Salem Lutheran Church in Flint, Mich., numerous people told me they had concerns about the water and that I should use bottled water. I filled my water bottle from the faucet, but along the road found it discolored and did not taste right. Only later did I learn how dangerous the water is. Flint’s water is unsafe, toxic and a danger to health.

Water pipes are corroded throughout the city, and lead contamination in many homes and at Salem Lutheran Church far exceed safe limits. Lead harms the blood and can damage the brain. After extended exposure, it builds up in organs and bones, remaining years after exposure. All of this contamination could have been prevented. When people complained and physicians reported unsafe levels of lead, the concerns were dismissed. After 18 months, the water is still unsafe for consumption, cooking or even doing the dishes.

Flint is one of the more impoverished cities in America. Local General Motors employment fell from a high of 80,000 in 1978 to under 8,000 in 2010. More than 40 percent of the people of Flint live below the poverty line. The population has declined from a high of 196,000 in 1960 to just under 100,000 today. The city, under an emergency manager, decided to switch water sources and failed to adequately treat the water. The state of Michigan houses nearly one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. It is hard to comprehend unsafe water with such great water supplies nearby.

The long unheard cries of people in Flint remind me of the Israelites refusing to drink the water at Marah because it was bitter (Exodus 15). They complained to Moses, and he cried out to the Lord. The Lord and Moses made the water sweet. Every day, the water crisis in Flint touches me more deeply and reminds me that there are many water concerns throughout the world. Global warming is drying up lakes. The Aral Sea, once one of the world’s largest inland seas is mostly desert now, having receded by more than 75 percent in recent decades. Lake Chad in Africa has diminished by nearly 80 percent over the last 30 years due to global warming, reduced rain and water extraction.

Sharing God’s gifts and life-giving water with people in Flint

After visiting Salem Lutheran Church in Flint, Bishop Donald P. Kreiss and Robin McCants, assistant to the bishop for advocacy and urban ministry, both of the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod, shared the expanding depths of the crisis with the synod and the ELCA. With some government support and generous response from the synod, ELCA World Hunger, and people around the ELCA, Salem is now one of the largest distributors of fresh bottled water in the city. Claimed in baptism, refreshed by life-giving water from Jesus that gushes up to eternal life, members of the ELCA are sharing God’s gifts and life-giving water with people in Flint.

jack EgglestonFlint will need water for a long time to come. Find out how you can help by visiting the Southeast Michigan Synod website at

Congress is currently considering funding for resources to make the water in Flint safe to drink again. Find out more and take action by visiting the ELCA Advocacy Action Center.

This Sunday when I preach at Salem, I will bring cases of water and two of my own large drinking water bottles. When I return home I will refill them from my faucet and remember the people in Flint. I will be more attentive to ELCA blogs and advocacy requests. Jesus, who gives life-giving water, compels me to do this and to act.

ELCA World Hunger is providing support to address the immediate need for water and food through the Southeast Michigan Synod. Click here to show your support for the welfare of Flint and to ensure that we can continue to work for systemic change that truly supports our brothers and sisters facing poverty and hunger. 


Into His Harvest Field

Greetings from our nation’s capital!  I join the ELCA Washington Office as the new Director for Grassroots Advocacy and Communication, where I look forward to working with Christians as we connect faith and public life.

Humbled by Christ’s constant inclusion of people living on the margins of society, Christians identify with and support the vulnerable through prayer and public witness.  God’s inescapable call to his people to lift up the sick, welcome the stranger, and aid the poor follows us outside of our church walls and in to our communities, our wider nation, and our world.

Christians in the United States have unique opportunities to work through political channels on behalf of the vulnerable.  Through advocacy ministries, the Church intercedes and creates space for the voiceless by engaging governments to aid immediate need and shatter deeply imbedded cycles of injustice.  This citizenship and view of government was central to the Reformation and remains important today.

My work here in Washington is based on an active partnership with you and your congregation.  I very much look forward to hearing your vision, and it is my hope that you will share your advocacy ministries with me and our larger Church body, as well as your communities and elected officials.  We seek to keep you informed of governmental action, and our office can provide resources to assist you in standing up for God’s most vulnerable children.

Everyday the God of our fathers and mothers, the Lord who always lives and is always near, goes with us as we collaborate to carry out Christ’s work on earth.   Jesus tells us, “The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”   Today we ask the Lord of the harvest to call us, unite us, and work through us to shape public perception and policy affecting Creation, the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the stranger.