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Prompts for Prayers of Intercession – August 7, 2022

These prompts are provided for worship leaders as they prepare the prayers of intercession for weekly worship. The prompts are prepared by several leaders in the ELCA and reflect current world and national events. You are encouraged to adapt and add other concerns for your local context, including staying informed of events and concerns in your synod.

Intercession prompts: 

For those who are tending, harvesting and sharing seasonal produce…

For communities in eastern Kentucky impacted by flooding…

For communities in the western United States experiencing expanding wildfires…

For collective engagement in the ELCA’s Truth-Seeking and Truth-Telling Initiative

For those who are experiencing insomnia…

For students, teachers, and school workers preparing for the start of the academic year…

For those who are gathering for the Churchwide Assembly…

Praying for the Churchwide Assembly

As the ELCA prepares for Churchwide Assembly in August, prayer petitions are available that may be incorporated into worship six weeks prior and one week following the assembly. Find the full list of petitions here.

Petition for August 7:
Let us pray for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and its members who gather this week in its Churchwide Assembly. Inspire the celebration of God’s varied works throughout the church. Instill your peace in the midst of the work you have called us to and the deliberations that will take place. Shape the work of the church according to your will for the whole world.

Other notable events and observances:

Aug 8: Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
Aug 10: Lawrence, deacon, martyr
Aug 11: Clare, Abbess of San Damiano
Aug 13: Florence Nightingale, renewer of society
Aug 13: Clara Maas, renewer of society

Suggested hymns & prayers: 

A prayer for gifts of agriculture (ELW p. 78)
God, our creator, you have ordered seedtime and harvest, sunshine and rain. Give to all who work the land fair compensation for the work of their hands. Grant that the people of this and every nation may give thanks to you for food, drink, and all that sustains life; may use with care the land and water from which these good things come; and may honor the laborers who produce them; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for health care providers (ELW p. 85)
Merciful God, your healing power is everywhere about us. Strengthen those who work among the sick; give them courage and confidence in all they do. Encourage them when their efforts seem futile or when death prevails. Increase their trust in your power even to overcome death and pain and crying. May they be thankful for every sign of health you give, and humble before the mystery of your healing grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for the mission of the church (ELW p. 75)
Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

ELW = Evangelical Lutheran Worship

ACS = All Creation Sings: Evangelical Lutheran Worship Supplement

Additional topical prayers are found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pp. 72–87) and All Creation Sings (pp. 46–55), as well as in other resources provided in print and online at sundaysandseasons.com.

Follow this link to access resources to assist worshiping communities as they respond to the crisis in Eastern Europe. Several prayers are provided that could be used during the prayers of intercession or at other times, in public worship or for devotional use at home or in other settings.

All Creation Sings includes several resources for lament including “Lamenting Gun Violence” (Leaders Edition, p. 107) and “Service after a Violent Event” (Pew Edition p. 64-66, Leaders p. 110-113) as well as several collect prayers. This content is also available on SundaysandSeasons.com in the Library.

Further assistance for composing prayers of intercession can be found here: Resources for Crafting Prayers of Intercession

Crafted intercessions for every Sunday and festival are provided in the Sundays and Seasons worship planning guide published in-print and online by Augsburg Fortress.

Prayer Ventures, a daily prayer resource, is a guide to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world.

Image from All Creation Sings, © 2020, Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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“Our Wholeness Is In Jesus Christ” by Rev. Peter Heide

I remember a particular Sunday in October 1962. It was the first anniversary of me being blind, and I was pretty proud of myself. I had made the transition from sight to blindness with some degree of competency. I had learned Braille well enough to continue with my class. I had learned how to write with a slate and stylus, a process of writing Braille that requires learning how to write from right to left and backwards. I was adjusting to living in a residential school during the week, only coming home for weekends, and I was learning to live in the world of sound with its many mysteries and delights.

I remember this Sunday so specifically because the sermon text was on the healing of Blind Bartimaeus, and the import of the sermon was, “If you believe strongly enough God can do anything.” After worship, for the first time I remember, but certainly not the last, I remember the man who came up to me and said, “I know that if you believe enough God will heal you.”

The beginning of a life-long consideration by me was suddenly forced on me.  “How much faith is enough?” “Can faith be made a commodity?” and “Is there really anything that we can do to merit God’s favor?”; these were huge questions for me, a ten-year-old. I was so proud of my accomplishments as a blind person, and I felt guilty because I wasn’t being faithful enough to even want to see again. I was having too much fun in my new life adventure.

Later, in 1968, when I was kidnapped, or maybe coercively persuaded, to be healed at an Oral Roberts rally. There I was asked, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ can heal you?” I said, “Yes, if he wants to.” When someone put their hand on my forehead and pushed be back into the arms of the people behind me, the declaration was, “In the name of Jesus, be healed!”

Then, because I wasn’t healed, I was told that I really didn’t have enough faith. On the trip home, I proudly told the people in the car that I wasn’t healed because God had things for me to do as a blind person. When I did get my eyesight back two years later, one of the people came to me and said, “I knew it could happen. It just took longer than we thought. All things are possible for God.” (Ironically, getting my eyesight back initiated the worst time of my life.)

Today, I am blind again. In many ways it was like going home. I am happy with my world of sound. I am pleased to read Braille again. I am somewhat frustrated by the world of technology, but grateful and excited by the possibilities it offers too. In many ways, this is the best time in history to be blind, and I am excited to be part of the blindness movement working to make life better for other blind people and all people living often inconvenient lives.

It is paramount for me to say to you today, “Our wholeness is in Jesus Christ. Whether one is blind, deaf, or otherwise living with a perceived disability, with that wholeness, our lives have wholeness in themselves.” Our faith is not lacking. Faith cannot be a commodity. Faith is something that can only be expressed from the places where we live. In that place of faith and centeredness, we can say, “We are not broken. We are not pitiable accidents. We do not need to be healed. We have gifts to share with the world because of own world understandings.” We have faith enough to forgive the fears of able-bodied people when they see in us their greatest nightmares. We continue to remain strong in faith—strong enough to continue knocking at the door of blessing and equity. We are uniquely created children of God, in God’s own image. Get used to it!

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July Updates: UN and State Edition

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

U.N. | Colorado | Minnesota | Pennsylvania | Virginia | Washington


 

U.N.

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

Dennis Frado, Director

The UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is was held from Tuesday, 5 July, to Thursday, 7 July, and from Monday, 11 July, to Friday, 15 July 2022, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It included a three-day ministerial segment of the forum from Wednesday, 13 July, to Friday, 15 July 2022. The high-level segment of the Council concluded with a final day on Monday, 18 July 2022.

The theme for the 2022 HLPF was “Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The HLPF reviewed in-depth Sustainable Development Goals: 4 on quality education, 5 on gender equality, 14 on life below water, 15 on life on land, and 17 on partnerships for the Goals. In addition, 44 countries will carry out voluntary national reviews (VNRs) of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The HLPF is scheduled to adopt a Ministerial Declaration as the outcome of its session.


 

Colorado

Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado (LAM-CO) – lam-co.org

Peter Severson, Director

ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod Bishop Jim Gonia (left) joins Episcopal Church in Colorado Bishop Kimberly Lucas (center) and Mountain Sky Area of The United Methodist Church Bishop Karen Oliveto (right) to walk together in the Denver Pride Parade on June 26, 2022.
Image credit: Saint John’s Cathedral, Denver

This summer, Lutheran Advocacy is working as a member of the Healthy School Meals for All Coalition to advance a ballot measure. The measure – which was referred directly onto the ballot by the Colorado Legislature via House Bill 22-1414 – will ask voters to approve covering the cost of school meals for all public school students. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government initiated a nationwide program to cover public school students’ meal costs. That temporary program is ending, and Coloradans now have the opportunity to do so at a state level in perpetuity. The program will be paid for by capping state income tax deductions for wealthy Coloradans who earn over $300,000 in annual income. The revenue generated by the tax code change is dedicated solely to the program, which will keep Colorado kids fed and ready to learn.

 


 

Minnesota

Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota (LA-MN) – lutheranadvocacymn.org

Tammy Walhof, Director

Lutheran Advocacy-Minnesota held its quarterly policy council meeting on June 3rd. We discussed the end of the legislative session and held two important elections. Sharon Josephson from the Northwestern Minnesota Synod was re-elected as Vice-President and the Rev. Kyle Hanson from the Minneapolis Area Synod was elected as Treasurer. We are grateful for the ways that Josephson and Pastor Hanson are sharing their time and talents to support the work of LA-MN, and we look forward to their two-year terms.

Hopes for a special session in the Minn. legislature have dissipated in recent weeks. This is due to partisanship, with all eyes on the November elections. Communities across Minnesota are suffering as a result of inaction this legislative session, which ended on May 23. We lament lack of action on systemic issues that harm our neighbors, ourselves, and all of creation, and we continue to anticipate how we can use our public voice to generate systemic change.)

Rachel Wyffels, Hunger Advocacy Fellow with LA-MN, recently had the opportunity to attend Community Organizing Training with the Minneapolis Area Synod. Members of Street Voices of Change and other congregational leaders from the synod gathered for a week centered on understanding and building power. Wyffels looks forward to applying this training on strategy, coalitions, and more to her future work.

Tammy Walhof is on sabbatical from June 13th to August 12th! Rachel Wyffels, Hunger Advocacy Fellow, is the primary contact person for LA-MN during this time.

 


 

Pennsylvania

Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Pennsylvania (LAMPa) lutheranadvocacypa.org

Tracey DePasquale, Director

The Rev. Angela Hammer of St. Paul’s, Penryn, in Lower Susquehanna Synod, speaks at a Capitol Press Conference about hunger among seniors and persons with disabilities.

The 2022-23 Pennsylvania budget includes significant gains for education, housing and creation care, but only a modest increase for anti-hunger programs. A $1.8 billion increase in education funding makes strides toward decreasing the funding gap in what has been one of the least equitable school funding systems in the country.

“We are celebrating the progress made in closing these equity gaps, as well as the major investments in housing and creation care,” said LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale. “While we are grateful for the modest increase in anti-hunger programs, we have concern that it will not go far enough in the face of rising food prices.

“Advocates engaged in ministry with neighbors facing hunger and homelessness shared stories with lawmakers of increasing need on both fronts,” DePasquale said.

Among LAMPa’s priorities, the spending plan allocates $375 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding for affordable housing construction, rehabilitation, and repairs.

“The Whole Home Repairs Program is exciting because it will help Pennsylvanians, especially seniors and persons with disabilities, stay in their homes,” DePasquale said. “It will extend the life of our aging housing stock, help build generational wealth, and increase energy efficiency. It’s a win for our communities and our environment.” Read more about LAMPa’s budget advocacy here.

Along with the budget, the legislature approved five constitutional amendments, including one that would deny any right to an abortion. Though the amendment would not ban abortions outright, it could pave the way for such a ban, which LAMPa would oppose. Read more about the amendments here.

 


 

Virginia

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP)

Kim Bobo, Executive Director

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) finally finished the 2022 General Assembly when the governor signed the budget bill in June. The budget included an additional $40 million for affordable housing that VICPP had advocated and a partially refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that will put more money into the hands of working Virginians.

This summer, VICPP is moving forward two of its priorities that had turned into study bills in order to be prepared for the next General Assembly. One is a bill to require health professionals to get trained in unconscious bias. The other is a bill to reduce the use of solitary confinement in Virginia’s prisons.

In addition to the policy work, this summer VICPP is organizing several activities to promote justice. On July 23, VICPP led a religious fact-finding delegation to learn about conditions in the Lawrenceville Correctional Facility, the state’s only for-profit prison. On July 30th, VICPP will host a Living Wage Certification Canvass Day to reach out to businesses about living wages (in Richmond, Harrisonburg, Alexandria and Charlottesville). On August 11, VICPP is organizing a religious delegation to meet with Dulles airport workers about the need for paid sick days and employer provided health care. Lutherans are invited to join any of these social justice events. Email Kim Bobo, Kim@virginiainterfaithcenter.org to get more information on any of the upcoming events.

 


 

Washington

Faith Action Network (FAN) – fanwa.org

Elise DeGooyer, Director

Advocacy this summer has already included bills in Congress that will impact communities across our state, with an urgent need to prevent gun violence in the wake of too many mass shootings. We prayed and marched with local faith groups and Alliance for Gun Responsibility partners, remembering the victims and calling for action. We applaud the recent bipartisan gun legislation passed in Congress, while we know there will be more protections needed. We have also signed on to letters regarding federal housing legislation, immigration reform, the Child Tax Credit, and truth and reconciliation for survivors of Native American Boarding Schools.

Pictured are FAN Eastern Wash.A organizer Lauren Schubring and baby Stella, board member Rev. Jim CastroLang, and Policy Engagement Director Kristin Ang.

Our FAN Governing Board and staff issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court Dobbs decision that will restrict access to abortion and reproductive healthcare across our nation. Also, a faith leader in our network, the Rev. Doug Avilesbernal of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, came to Washington, D.C. on the day of Bremerton v Kennedy arguments to speak out in front of the Supreme Court to uphold the separation of church and state in the case involving a Bremerton, Wash. football coach. We have much work to do to support the religious freedoms that we value as a multi-faith movement.

During the month of June, we were able to celebrate as well. FAN had a presence at the Spokane Pride march and festival, and many of our faith communities were visible in their local Pride events. Faith communities and community groups collaborated to celebrate Juneteenth in a big way for the first time as a federal holiday. We give thanks for the ability to celebrate love, inclusion, and freedom in the midst of the hard work we all do together!

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Prompts for Prayers of Intercession – July 31, 2022

These prompts are provided for worship leaders as they prepare the prayers of intercession for weekly worship. The prompts are prepared by several leaders in the ELCA and reflect current world and national events. You are encouraged to adapt and add other concerns for your local context, including staying informed of events and concerns in your synod.

Intercession prompts: 

In gratitude for and solidarity with members of our community living with disabilities…

For communities harmed by earthquakes in the Philippines and threatened by wildfires in California…

For the life of Rev. Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo, the first Native American woman ordained in the Lutheran church…

For European and world leaders in discernment and negotiations over energy resources…

For volunteer election judges across the country, as they train and give of their time to ensure the integrity of the election process in the U.S…

For farm workers suffering the effects of climate change and recent extreme weather…

Praying for the Churchwide Assembly

As the ELCA prepares for Churchwide Assembly in August, prayer petitions are available that may be incorporated into worship six weeks prior and one week following the assembly. Find the full list of petitions here.

Petition for July 31:
By your word, eternal God, your creation sprang forth, and we were given the breath of life. By your word, eternal God, death is overcome, Christ is raised from the tomb, and we are given new life in the power of your Spirit. May we boldly proclaim this good news in our words and our deeds, rejoicing always in your powerful presence. Direct the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by your Word, as this church prepares to gather in assembly.

Other notable events and observances:

Disability Pride Month – July
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, Heinrich Schütz, and George Frederick Handel, musicians – July 28
Commemoration of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany – July 29
Commemoration of Olaf, King of Norway, martyr – July 29

Suggested hymns & prayers: 

A hymn of God’s bounty
God of the Fertile Fields (ACS 1063)

A prayer for disability (ACS p. 52)
Creator God, you made us all in your image. Help us to embrace one another as you do, beloved and blessed; not in need of fixing, but in need of authentic welcome. Bring healing where it is desired, affirmation where it is lacking, and awareness to all. Open our hearts to receive the gifts and needs of all people, and to become communities where everyone can find a place. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. (ACS p.52)

A prayer for the elders of the community (ELW p. 83)
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, maker of heaven and earth. From everlasting you are our God, our dwelling place in all generations. You are the source of holy wisdom, and the fountain of all truth. We give thanks to you for the elders among us. We are graced by their wisdom and seasoning. We are touched by their knowledge and faith. Bless them, O God, as they are a blessing to us. Pour out your spirit, that our elders may continue to dream dreams and testify to the Light of their salvation, Jesus Christ. May we find inspiration in their years of faithfulness. May we follow their example by serving you with steadfastness and singleness of heart; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

A prayer for faithful living in society (ACS p. 50)
Gracious God, we pray for our public servants, [______], that they do their work in a spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice. Inspire them to use their authority to serve faithfully and to promote our common life. Guide our leaders to govern in such a way that all people enjoy a peaceful and just society. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

ELW = Evangelical Lutheran Worship

ACS = All Creation Sings: Evangelical Lutheran Worship Supplement

Additional topical prayers are found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pp. 72–87) and All Creation Sings (pp. 46–55), as well as in other resources provided in print and online at sundaysandseasons.com.

Follow this link to access resources to assist worshiping communities as they respond to the crisis in Eastern Europe. Several prayers are provided that could be used during the prayers of intercession or at other times, in public worship or for devotional use at home or in other settings.

All Creation Sings includes several resources for lament including “Lamenting Gun Violence” (Leaders Edition, p. 107) and “Service after a Violent Event” (Pew Edition p. 64-66, Leaders p. 110-113) as well as several collect prayers. This content is also available on SundaysandSeasons.com in the Library.

Further assistance for composing prayers of intercession can be found here: Resources for Crafting Prayers of Intercession

Crafted intercessions for every Sunday and festival are provided in the Sundays and Seasons worship planning guide published in-print and online by Augsburg Fortress.

Prayer Ventures, a daily prayer resource, is a guide to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world.

Image from All Creation Sings, © 2020, Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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July/August Update: Advocacy Connections

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

Partial expanded content from Advocacy Connections: July/August 2022

AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL FUNDING  |  BORDER ENCOUNTERS  |  SUPREME COURT ABORTION RULING  |  USE OF LANDMINES  |  BIPARTISAN GUN LEGISLATION

 

AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL FUNDING: President Joe Biden visited Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) on July 15 as part of a two-day presidential visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. While there, the president announced a $100 million multiyear commitment toward the East Jerusalem Hospital Network (EJHN), of which AVH is a member. Use the Action Alert from ELCA Peace Not Walls to urge support by members of Congress of the president’s commitment by voting to appropriate at least $100 million to support the work of AVH and other East Jerusalem hospitals.

Biden’s visit to the hospital was the first visit of a sitting U.S. president to East Jerusalem. In her thank you letter to the president for his visit, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton said that many “found our hope for peace with justice in the Holy Land bolstered by your visit last week in support of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. AVH is the first and only hospital to provide radiation therapy for cancer patients in the Palestinian territories and the only medical facility in the West Bank offering pediatric kidney dialysis. AVH faces ongoing cash flow problems as a result of the inability of the Palestinian Authority to pay on a regular basis the fees for cancer patients it refers to the hospital.

 

BORDER ENCOUNTERS: The tragic deaths of 53 migrants abandoned in the trailer of a semi-truck in San Antonio, Texas on June 27 was decried in a statement, which included the ELCA Southwestern Texas Synod, as a painful example of what happens when migrants seek dangerous alternatives to migrate. The ELCA continues to advocate for a dignified and humane process at the border.

The public health order known as Title 42 has been in place since March 2020, sealing away a path for most people fleeing personal danger or persecution who arrive at the southern border to legally request asylum. The number of encounters with migrants at the U.S. southwest border has continued to be high and includes migrants from around the world. Our, a nation’s policy response can strengthen the economic resiliency of the nation and neighborhoods, keep families together, and generously respond to the needs of our neighbors.

 

SUPREME COURT ABORTION RULING: Following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson, which removes the federal protections previously provided by Roe v Wade, Bishop Eaton issued a pastoral message. Several ELCA affiliated state public policy offices are working with synods to monitor and update state legislation related to reproductive health.

Faith Action Network in Washington, for example, recommitted to advocating for equitable policies regarding reproductive health in their statement. Others, like Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) have been working closely with the synod bishops in the state to keep people informed. Bishops across Pennsylvania posted on Facebook, sharing Bishop Eaton’s statement and committing to working closely with LAMPa to monitor and advocate on state policy development as updates are available.

 

USE OF LANDMINES: The Biden administration announced changes to the U.S. Anti-Personnel Landmine policy, “joining the vast majority of countries around the world in committing to limit the use of anti-personnel landmines.” In January 2020, the Trump administration reversed 2014 policy by the Obama administration that had unequivocally banned U.S. production and acquisition of antipersonnel landmines.

ELCA advocacy is encouraged by changes and will continue to monitor developments. Reporting in June 2022 following a site visit in northern Ukraine described the impression by Lutheran World Federation visitors was described as: “Landmines, destroyed infrastructure, traumatized people.”

 

BIPARTISAN GUN LEGISLATION: President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a historic gun safety, mental health, and school safety bill. Our office issued an action alert in June encouraging Lutherans to urge passage of this bi-partisan compromise. The need for future gun safety advocacy remains.

The legislation passed by strong bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House, and it is the first major federal gun safety law to pass Congress in nearly 26 years.

 


Receive monthly Advocacy Connections directly by becoming part of the ELCA Advocacy network – http://elca.org/advocacy/signup , and learn more from elca.org/advocacy .

 

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August Recess opportunity

OVERVIEW | SUPPLEMENTARY RESOURCES | MOMENT – CHILD TAX CREDIT  |  MOMENT – HOUSING | MOMENT – GUN VIOLENCE | MOMENT – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE | MOMENT – GENDER BASED VIOLENCE | MOMENT – ASYLUM AND IMMIGRATION | MOMENT – VOTING RIGHTS

 

By design and adapted to present realities, August Recess is a congressional tradition that brings heightened opportunities to reach out to your federal lawmakers where you – and they – live. U.S. representatives traditionally return to their home districts in this month to engage with their constituents. Town Halls and in-district meetings may be available to you in this period that create windows to raise your experiences, the experiences of your faith community, and policy concerns locally.

Start by locating your lawmaker’s Web presence (govtrack.us is one place to connect). Doing a little homework by looking around at the person’s top issues and sphere of influence can deepen any encounter. If a Town Hall is listed, it may be an open forum or a virtual experience. Virtual experiences may be more constrained in question-and-answer format, but any Town Hall can be a meaningful connection point.

Alternatively, instigate a local meeting. Prepare what you want to say, with pointers from resources below. A virtual visit can be a value-added creative moment to showcase placement of your ministry in the community, building relationships and future potentials. Offering a lawmaker a chance to speak or connect with fellow constituents after a worship service or event will increase the chance of their participation.

Advocacy resources to help you plan from ELCA Witness in Society include:

Below find suggestions from our ELCA policy staff about issues that intersect with 2022 ELCA Federal Policy Priorities that are presently on the horizon. The question prompts may help you shape a timely way to use August Recess opportunities.

 


 

THIS MOMENT IN TIME: Expand the Child Tax Credit

“Although those living in poverty are particularly visible in cities, their more hidden reality in suburban, small town, and rural areas can be just as painful. A greater proportion of people of color live in conditions of poverty. The poor are disproportionately women with their children. Systemic racism and sexism continue to be evident in the incidence of poverty.” – From ELCA social statement Sufficient Sustainable Livelihood for All (p. 12)

REMARKS

Expanded provisions of the Child Tax Credit (CTC), authorized in the American Rescue Plan Act, expired at the end of 2021. The CTC lifted millions of children in our nation out of poverty. Working families, many struggling to feed their children in the face of rising food costs and other essential needs like childcare and school supplies, experienced an economic cliff in January. Expanding monthly and fully refundable CTC creates greater stability for families, reductions in poverty and hardship, and improves children’s’ educational and health outcomes plus long-term earnings potential. All children stand to benefit from CTC expansion, but children from groups that have disproportionately high hunger rates will benefit most. Making the CTC permanent is one of the most effective ways to reach those trying to meet basic human needs with positive, wide-ranging childhood and family impacts.

QUESTIONS

  1. Expanding the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan reached families in which food insecurity and hunger are widespread. Now that it expired, what are you doing to renew and make permanent this transformative policy that so effectively reduces hunger and poverty among our nation’s children?


 

THIS MOMENT IN TIME: Ending the Housing Crisis

“’Sufficiency’ means adequate access to income and other resources that enable people to meet their basic needs, including nutrition, clothing, housing, health care, personal development, and participation in community with dignity. God has created a world of sufficiency for all, providing us daily and abundantly with all the necessities of life.” – From ELCA social statement Sufficient Sustainable Livelihood for All (p. 11)

REMARKS

The historic shortage of housing supply in the United States has become one of the main drivers of homelessness, wealth inequality and inflation. This moment in time has led to a crisis in demand for many congregations, faith-based shelters and ministries seeking to address poverty and end homelessness in our communities. To address the root cause of these structural challenges, Congress should invest in programs that help expand the supply of housing, eliminate barriers that disincentivize development and back proven models that house people facing homelessness.

Find out your local affordable housing stats at nlihc.org/state-housing-profiles for greater context when speaking with policy makers.

QUESTIONS

  1. The cost of buying a new home for families continues to grow each year and has become one of the leading drivers of homelessness. What steps are you taking to expand the supply and access to affordable housing here in our district? (Add your local statistics to emphasize the local situation.)
  2. What policies, if any, do you support that a) help increase home ownership and b) address the historic racial homeownership gaps still present in our communities?


 

THIS MOMENT IN TIME: Gun Violence Prevention

“Violent crime and those who perpetuate it must be stopped. The challenge is to restrain violence in ways that effectively limit it, and that do not simply repay violence with more violence.” – From ELCA social message “Community Violence” (p. 6)

REMARKS

Congress and President Biden recently passed and signed into law the first major bi-partisan gun violence prevention law in nearly 30 years. It includes incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. It also strengthens background checks for persons 18-21 seeking to purchase guns. More must be done. There have been at least 281 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 according to the Gun Violence Archive, an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily.

QUESTIONS

  1. What are your next steps to reduce gun violence in our nation?
  2. Already this year there have been 27 school shootings. What policies have you supported to make students safer?
  3. Do you support a ban on military-grade assault weapons like the ones used in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas?


 

THIS MOMENT IN TIME: Energy and Environmental Justice Measures

“Processes of environmental degradation feed on one another. Decisions affecting an immediate locale often affect the entire planet. The resulting damages to environmental systems are frightening…” – From the ELCA social statement Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice (p. 4)

REMARKS

Accelerating a transition to clean energy through investments in clean energy and environmental justice will decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, reduce pollution, combat climate change and protect human health as well as the wellbeing of God’s creation. To address the climate crisis, Congress needs to enact legislation that invests in clean energy. Currently, Congress is negotiating climate investment provisions as part of a larger reconciliation package.

QUESTIONS

  1. Do you support climate investments as part of the reconciliation package currently being negotiated?
  2. What policies do you support that help invest in clean energy and environmental justice?


 

THIS MOMENT IN TIME: Preventing gender-based violence globally

“Governments, activists and experts have amply documented the wide-ranging and long-lasting destructive effects of this violence on victims and survivors, on family and friends, and on the whole human community. It creates not only personal suffering but also losses across the country—of peaceful communities, medical care costs and economic productivity. Gender-based violence is a public health and safety crisis.” – From the ELCA social message “Gender-based Violence” (p. 6)

REMARKS

Gender-based violence increases during conflict and humanitarian crises. For example, 1 in 5 refugees or internally displaced women have experienced sexual abuse. At this time when a record number of people are living in conflict or humanitarian situations, it is crucial to ensure that U.S. government programs aimed at preventing gender-based violence in these situations are resourced and working as efficiently as possible.

QUESTIONS

  1. As a member of Congress, what can you do to help reduce gender-based violence among people living under humanitarian conditions around the world?
  2. Do you support the Safe from the Start Act of 2021? If not, can you say why you oppose it? (be ready to describe the bill in brief)


 

THIS MOMENT IN TIME: Generous U.S. Asylum and Immigration Policy

“We of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will advocate for just immigration policies, including fairness in visa regulations and in admitting and protecting refugees. We will work for policies that cause neither undue repercussions within immigrant communities nor bias against them.” – From ELCA social statement Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture (pg. 7)

REMARKS

According to The U.N High Commissioner for Refugees, a record 100 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, a twelve percent increase in just one year. The grim milestone was passed as the war swept through Ukraine, and difficulties impacting people from Afghanistan to Venezuela were compounded by global economic hardship and deepening climate-change realities. Access to asylum is a pillar of a humane migration policy. Yet with present patchwork practice, people in the greatest need of protection will seek more dangerous, less visible ways through to safety and a better future.

In addition to having a humane migration system, we know that directing attention to factors driving migration and facilitating family reunification can more meaningfully address the reasons people flee their homes, thus reducing migration pressures. As another fundamental change, lawmakers have a chance at passing a pathway to earn citizenship for DACA recipients and others who have called the U.S. their home for many years. Immigrants with temporary status and no status like Dreamers, TPS-holders and migrant farm workers have called for permanent protections. Our nation’s policy response can strengthen the economic resiliency of our nation and neighborhoods, keep families together and generously respond to the needs of our neighbors.

QUESTIONS

  1. With many countries beginning to ease protocols that severely restrict asylum access, which especially impact LGBTQIA+, Indigenous and Black migrants, what policies and funding, if any, are you supporting that will ensure that the U.S. restores asylum and strengthens refugee resettlement?
  2. The US has a special interest in supporting individuals impacted by the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which saw around 70,000 arrive to the United States through a temporary mechanism called humanitarian parole. Many are well underway to rebuilding their lives, with the help of friends in communities like ours. With the understanding that congressional action will make a crucial difference in the next few months, will you support an Afghan Adjustment Act?
  3. Do you support permanent protections for immigrants, like DACA-recipients, Dreamers, TPS-holders, migrant farm workers and others with deep ties to the United States? As a member of Congress, what is your plan to break through deadlock in Congress on these protections?


 

THIS MOMENT IN TIME: Voting Rights

“The political health of our nation still suffers from the stain of antidemocratic exclusion. Efforts to restrict access to voting should be condemned and resisted.” From ELCA social message “Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy” (p. 10)

REMARKS

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would prevent discriminatory practices and rules in voting from being implemented in states and localities where discrimination is persistent and pervasive, protecting access to the vote for all eligible voters, regardless of race, color or membership in language minority groups. The bill would also restore voters’ ability to challenge discriminatory laws nationwide.

QUESTIONS

  1. House members—Did you support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that was passed by the House earlier this year? Why or why not?
  2. Senate members—What are you doing to move the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the Senate?
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Prompts for Prayers of Intercession – July 24, 2022

These prompts are provided for worship leaders as they prepare the prayers of intercession for weekly worship. The prompts are prepared by several leaders in the ELCA and reflect current world and national events. You are encouraged to adapt and add other concerns for your local context, including staying informed of events and concerns in your synod.

Intercession prompts: 

For those in London and all across Europe, experiencing record-high temperatures and facing the on-going threat of wildfires…

For jurors, students, and families in the midst of the Parkland shooting sentencing trial…

For the victims of the mall shooting in Indiana, for their families, and for all the bystanders who experienced the trauma of that event…

For all who continue to suffer the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with prayers and hope that the thirst for power can quelled and peace can again be established…

For countries in the midst of a transition of power, including Sri Lanka and Japan…

For people around the world who continue to delight in the images from the James Webb telescope…

For safety for all who travel in this season…

Praying for the Churchwide Assembly

As the ELCA prepares for Churchwide Assembly in August, prayer petitions are available that may be incorporated into worship six weeks prior and one week following the assembly. Find the full list of petitions here.

Petition for July 24:
Loving God, through holy baptism you continue to make us new and gather us together across all human divisions, reconciling us to yourself in one body through the cross. Strengthen us by your presence, that our thoughts and actions may be rooted and grounded in your love for us. Direct the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by your reconciling love, as this church prepares to gather in assembly.

Other notable events and observances:

Commemoration of James, Apostle – July 25
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, Heinrich Schütz, and George Frederick Handel, musicians – July 28
Commemoration of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany – July 29
Commemoration of Olaf, King of Norway, martyr – July 29

Suggested hymns & prayers: 

A prayer for church musicians (EWL p. 74)
O God of majesty, whom saints and angels delight to worship: Pour out your Spirit on your servants who, with the gifts of music, enliven our praises and proclaim your word with power. Through this ministry give us new awareness of your beauty and grace, and join our voices with all the choirs of heaven, both now and forever; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

ELW = Evangelical Lutheran Worship

ACS = All Creation Sings: Evangelical Lutheran Worship Supplement

Additional topical prayers are found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (pp. 72–87) and All Creation Sings (pp. 46–55), as well as in other resources provided in print and online at sundaysandseasons.com.

Follow this link to access resources to assist worshiping communities as they respond to the crisis in Eastern Europe. Several prayers are provided that could be used during the prayers of intercession or at other times, in public worship or for devotional use at home or in other settings.

All Creation Sings includes several resources for lament including “Lamenting Gun Violence” (Leaders Edition, p. 107) and “Service after a Violent Event” (Pew Edition p. 64-66, Leaders p. 110-113) as well as several collect prayers. This content is also available on SundaysandSeasons.com in the Library.

Further assistance for composing prayers of intercession can be found here: Resources for Crafting Prayers of Intercession

Crafted intercessions for every Sunday and festival are provided in the Sundays and Seasons worship planning guide published in-print and online by Augsburg Fortress.

Prayer Ventures, a daily prayer resource, is a guide to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world.

Image from All Creation Sings, © 2020, Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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Index of the July 2022 Issue

Issue 83 of Administration Matters

ELCA Churchwide Assembly Pre-event: “Embody the Word” Bible study sessions

In preparation for the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, ELCA members are encouraged to participate in a series of online Bible studies. Participants will explore the meaning of “embodiment,” from Luke 24, and get the chance to engage with the presenters. Sessions take place Sunday afternoons in July from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Central time, and they can be streamed live or on-demand in the Churchwide Assembly Playlist of  the ELCA YouTube channel. The presenters are:
• Rev. Jay Alanis (July 10).
• Sally Azar (July 17).
• Man-Hei Yip (July 24).
• Denise Rector (July 31).
Register for the live Bible study sessions.

Get a jump on your Portico Annual Enrollment

Health benefits are critically important to the ELCA’s rostered ministers and church staff. Want to help your organization select its 2023 health benefit option? Download Portico’s 2023 Annual Enrollment checklist and complete the two July tasks now. EmployerLink users will receive more enrollment-related information in August and September.

Prepare for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday with new resources

On Sunday, Sept. 11, congregations of the ELCA will join for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday, our dedicated day of service. As you explore opportunities to participate, visit ELCA.org/DayOfService for planning resources including a tool kit, worship material, videos, posters, social media graphics and a special hymn for the day. As we continue our tradition of service to our neighbor, we remember the words of Martin Luther: “Our faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing.” Plan your day of service.

New mileage rate July through December 2022

The Internal Revenue Service announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate for the final six months of 2022. Taxpayers may use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business and certain other purposes. For the final six months of 2022, the standard mileage rate for business travel will be 62.5 cents per mile, up 4 cents from the rate effective at the start of the year. This new rate becomes effective July 1, 2022. The IRS provided legal guidance on the new rates in Announcement 2022-13, issued June 9, 2022.

Cyber liability insurance

Cyber insurance is a specialty insurance product intended to protect businesses from internet-based risks and, more generally, risks related to information technology infrastructure and activities. The cost of containing and repairing system damages, coupled with addressing customer fraud and damage claims, can cripple a small business. Insurance against cyberattacks can help a small business cover the resulting liability and damages. >More

Choose your payroll provider wisely

Outsourcing payroll services has become a common practice for small and large organizations. This helps them to reduce costs, follow all tax laws and obtain expert solutions to pay their employees accurately and on time. The Internal Revenue Service provides tips on how to choose a reliable and trustworthy payroll service. >More

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Advocacy Cafe

Our Christian faith compels us to attend to the world through the lens of our relationship to God and to one another. Sometimes, we may echo the sentiment: The world’s so big and I’m so small. Yet there is much we can do act for greater justice, and we are far from alone.

Drop by an Advocacy Cafe to hear from ELCA advocacy community leaders about timely topics. The 30-minute presentations will be offered twice on the same day. The day session will wrap-up with 15-minutes for a Q&A session with panelists. The evening session will wrap-up differently, with 25 minutes to meet in a small group with others to exchange experiences and ideas.

Register today – and invite others!

The ELCA “is called to be a part of the ecumenical Church of Jesus Christ in the context in which God has placed it—a diverse, divided, and threatened global society on a beautiful, fragile planet” (from the ELCA social statement The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective). Together, there is much we can do.


 

Tue. July 26 – August Recess

August Recess is a traditional time for U.S. representatives to return to their home districts, which presents windows to raise your experiences and policy concerns locally with elected officials. Learn about this opportunity for impact and hear from ELCA advocacy staff about some current issues where your voice matters.

Choose

 

Tue. Aug. 30 – Civic Engagement Actions

In Lutheran teaching, one way God works to preserve creation and build a more peaceful and just social order in a broken world is through government. As a church we do not endorse a particular candidate, party or form of government or strive for a Christian one. Yet our civic engagement in the electoral process can have positive impact.
Offered in conjunction with the ELCAvotes initiative.

Choose

 

Tue. Sept. 27 – Barriers to Voting

The guarantee that all citizens be able to exercise the right to vote on an equal basis is a fundamental requirement for a just society, affirmed in ELCA social teaching. As individuals, in congregations and in other partnerships, acting to remove barriers can demonstrate our Christian faith as Lutherans and have value for our communities and country.
Offered in conjunction with the ELCAvotes initiative.

Choose

 

Tue. Oct. 25 – Public Discourse

Election season is, unfortunately, a time of heightened rhetoric aimed at instilling fear and belittling others. The church of Jesus Christ is uniquely equipped to foster and model civil relationships and dialogue, invite trust amid differences and lead healthy community conversations on the common good.
Offered in conjunction with the ELCAvotes initiative.

Choose

 

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Independence in Inches: A July 4th Reflection by Nathaniel Viets-Van Lear

 Independence in Inches: A July 4th Reflection by Nathaniel Viets-Van lear

For the last four years, I’ve made the same walk on Fourth of July weekend. Each walk feeling as hot as any other before it. Shoes sticking to cracked Chicago concrete. Dots of melty black asphalt. Signs of streets deserving a little tender love, as my grandma called it.

 

These long walks on Douglas Boulevard in North Lawndale always have something to teach me about the past. In this all-Black neighborhood, it’s a street named after a white Illinois senator, slave owner and avid advocate for slavery. One of many dark legacies in a very American city.

 

For the last four summers, every July Fourth weekend I walked these streets. Because I am a youth worker. And the July Fourth weekend marks the final dress rehearsal for our youth-led community walks program. A youth job program of the organization My Block My Hood My City. A program that trains young people from the west side in how to tell the stories and history of their community. They lead myself and hundreds of guests through these same steps of North Lawndale civil rights history.

 

Each July Fourth weekend, walking past these iconic sites of old becomes a form of timeless therapy. A reminder of time shifting while the endemic remains all too similar.

 

A century-old funeral home. Formerly Jewish. Currently Black-owned. Agelessly busy during the summertime.

 

The corner store pharmacy. Providing affordable medicine for a class in need.

 

A former Jewish synagogue and then Baptist church. A building that became the center of Martin Luther King Jr.’s organizing during his time in Chicago. Stone Stars of David intermixed with stained-glass crosses. An eternal center of religion and activism.

 

It was here that MLK organized a movement against the relegation of blacks to slums and ghettos in the city. With gentrification and segregation as prevalent now as ever before, it’s a movement to which Chicagoans of today can certainly relate.

 

Independence Day comes and goes. But so much remains the same.

 

Yet each year I still cherish my time in this space especially. This annual walk through the aged stone temple building brings visceral images to the imagination. You can almost taste 60 years ago. MLK speaking to a packed crowd of Black folks. Sweating in that Chicago heat. Folks taking significant time and significant risk to be in radical community with one another. Many of them as young as the high schoolers I work with today.

 

I cherish that time in that space, because it’s in that nostalgia that you feel the weight of the movement.

 

On July 4, 1777, our American ancestors were still struggling as slaves.

On July 4, 1877, our ancestors were new freedmen struggling to survive.

And almost 100 years after that MLK was leading our struggle for civil rights.

 

That struggle is in the bones of Black folk. It is in our ancestral DNA.

 

And where will we be on Independence Day 2065? With God’s grace, I hope to live to see it. I hope to see it and smile, as my ancestors are today watching over me as I walk these same streets. Mere footsteps on the long path to justice. Inches closer on the road to freedom.

 

It’s the inches that I contemplate. And it’s for the inches I celebrate. Not with a burst like fireworks and loud sparks. More like a quiet flame. That same flame I see in the eyes of our young folk. Those passionate for justice. The ones who lead the way.

 

 

BIO:

Nathaniel identifies as a multiracial activist, youth social worker, facilitator and teaching artist. Born and raised in Chicago, Nathaniel currently serves as director of youth development for the organization My Block My Hood My City. He has served in various leadership roles within the ELCA, including the Lutheran Youth Organization, the Multicultural Advisory Committee, the MYLE planning committee, and GLOCAL. He served as a multicultural consultant for the ELCA  and crafted an anti-bias curriculum for the 2015 youth gathering. Nathaniel believes radical change can happen in communities with the right tools and investment.

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