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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.




September 2018 Advocacy Update

ELCA Advocacy Office, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Amy Reumann, director                                                                                     

ADVOCACY ON “GOD’S WORK. OUR HANDS.” SUNDAY: On Sunday, Sept. 9, we look forward to celebrating the ELCA volunteer day of service and action, “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. This year, ELCA Advocacy has shared advocacy resources, including a sample letter to Congress supporting the Voting Rights Advancement Act and a Voting Rights Fact Sheet. Be sure to check out all the resources and activities on the “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday toolkit page.

VOTER REGISTRATION: Tuesday, Sept. 25, is National Voter Registration Day. The day draws attention to voter registration deadlines across the nation and encourages prospective voters to sign up, check their status or volunteer for further democratic participation. Additionally, new #ELCAvotes resources will be released later this month, including:  

  • a new Bible study that looks at instructive parallels between the early church community found in Acts 4 and how we vote our faith values in society; and
  • a voting guide for people facing homelessness, including congregation resource tips on facilitating voter registration.

Be sure to check ELCA Advocacy social media in the coming weeks for  more engagement around #ELCAvotes!

FARM BILL UPDATE: It is a crucial moment in the legislative process for the farm bill as it moves to the conference committee, and many important policies dealing with local efforts against hunger and international food security are at stake. A farm bill fact sheet on international food aid will be distributed by ELCA Advocacy later this month. Additionally, faith leaders from certain states are joining a petition to Congress, urging their lawmakers to support a farm bill that reduces hunger and improves nutrition.

“PUBLIC CHARGE” RULE: Both ELCA World Hunger and Advocacy are monitoring a rule change being considered by the Department of Homeland Security. Historically, the U.S. government has restricted immigration applications if it is determined an immigrant would be a “public charge,” that is, they would likely depend on cash assistance or long-term medical care. The rule expansion will raise barriers for people to obtain and maintain legal immigration status in the U.S. if they or their dependents access public benefits.

A post to the ELCA World Hunger blog written by an Advocacy staff member highlights the short period for public comment. Those of us active in hunger-related ministry are encouraged to consider the potential impact and prepare to comment in opposition to this rule.

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

Dennis Frado, director 

UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Ms. Espinosa (right) is congratulated by Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly, following her address to the General Assembly. Also pictured is Secretary-General António Guterres.

U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY: On June 6, the General Assembly elected Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés president of its upcoming 73rd session. She is only the fourth woman to hold that position and the first since 2006. Espinosa Garcés noted that she is also the first woman from Latin America and the Caribbean to preside over the Assembly.

Espinosa Garcés has previously been minister of foreign affairs and human mobility, minister of defense, and coordinating minister of cultural and natural heritage. She was the first woman to be named permanent representative of Ecuador in New York, after having served as ambassador in Geneva. She said, “As you know, I am also a poet as well as a politician. As such, I am fully aware that no view is useful if we do not see, and no word has value, if we do not listen. I will be ready to listen to you all and work for, and with you.” Read her vision statement here.

Espinosa Garcés has published more than 30 academic articles on the Amazon River, culture, heritage, development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, integration, defense and security. She has also published five volumes of poetry and received the Ecuadorian National Poetry Prize in 1990.


Sept. 5                          High-level forum on a culture of peace

Sept. 24                        High-level meeting: Nelson Mandela Peace Summit

Sept. 25 – Oct. 1         General debate

Sept. 26                        High-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Sept. 26                        High-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis

Sept. 27                        High-level meeting to undertake a comprehensive review of the prevention and control of non-  communicable diseases

NEW APPOINTMENT TO U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Michelle Bachelet of Chile the next U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. In September, she will succeed Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan.

Bachelet ended her second four-year term as president of Chile in March 2018, having already held the position between 2006 and 2010.  The first woman elected to Chile’s highest office, after her first term, she joined the United Nations as the first executive director of the newly established U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N.-Women).

A long-time human rights champion and ground-breaking leader,  Bachelet is a pediatrician who began her government career as an adviser in the Ministry of Health, rising quickly to become the first woman to lead the ministry in 2000 and its Defense Ministry in 2002.

She became involved in Chilean human rights activism in the early 1970s. She and her parents were political prisoners, and her father, a general in the air force, died in prison. After their release, Bachelet and her mother spent several years in exile. She returned to Chile in 1979, finished school and became a pediatrician and public-health advocate. Bachelet also studied military strategy at Chile’s National Academy of Strategy and Policy and at the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.


Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy                                                              

LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY: The California Legislature concluded its two-year session on Aug. 31 with mixed success for proposals supported by the Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California. SB 100, a bill to require 60 percent carbon-free electrical energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, passed with considerable uncertainty and drama. As this is written, it is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk awaiting action. A New York Times editorial supported it. A major disappointment was the demise of two bills to fund access to safe, affordable water in disadvantaged communities, rural and urban. SB 844, whose supporters included agricultural interests, would have enacted a fee on fertilizer and dairies, primary sources of nitrate contamination in groundwater. SB 845 would have enacted a voluntary fee on water bills to fund domestic water supply projects, including maintenance and operation. Despite long negotiations and a degree of bipartisan support, the fear of distorted political attack ads over “taxes” in the election prevailed on the last day.

NOVEMBER BALLOT PROPOSITIONS: The public launch of the campaign for Propositions 1 and 2, the measures on the November ballot that would fund low-income housing, including permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless and housing for veterans and farmworkers, took place at the Vietnam War Memorial in Capitol Park. Pastor Kirsten Moore of Calvary Lutheran Church, Rio Linda, and conference dean offered a brief statement at the news conference, joined by Sacramento Mayor Steinberg, other local elected officials and several state legislators, including the chairs of the Assembly and Senate housing committees.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado                                                         

Advocates for Proposition 111 gather
in Colorado Springs to officially kick
off the campaign to Stop Predatory Payday Loans

BALLOT MEASURES CERTIFIED: Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado supports two measures on the statewide November ballot. One is a constitutional referendum, Amendment A, referred from the Legislature.

Pastor Caitlin Trussell of Augustana
Lutheran Church in Denver speaks at the Yes on A/Abolish Constitutional Slavery rally in Denver’s City Park

Amendment A would strike the exception from Colorado’s ban on slavery and involuntary servitude, finally abolishing slavery from our state constitution. The campaign kicked off on Aug. 28 with a rally in Denver’s City Park.

The second measure, as Proposition 111, will cap payday lending interest rates at a maximum of 36 percent. We are thrilled to stand up with those who have been exploited by these predatory practices, along with economic justice advocates, in saying no to usury in Colorado. The campaign kicked off with a news conference in Colorado Springs on Aug. 29.

Colorado will have six referred measures and at least five citizen initiatives on the ballot this fall, ranging from redistricting to oil and gas setbacks to funding for transportation and education. Two additional initiatives are awaiting possible certification, which would bring the total to 13 statewide items. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado will be on the road doing a lot of voter education this fall!


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy–Minnesota                                                         

Amy, Tammy, & Kendrick with three of
six Policy Council members who made it
to Kendrick Hall’s farewell open house

STAFF TRANSITIONS: We’re delighted to welcome Amy Shebeck to help part-time with communications and administration! Amy jumped right in, helping create a handout on immigration family separation, representing us on the Homes for All Communications Team and overhauling our website!

We’re excited for Kendrick Hall’s next step – his continuing professional education (CPE) assignment with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Center for Changing Lives (homeless youth), but we already miss his day-to-day work, especially on  housing issues! His Hunger Advocacy Fellowship was completed in August.

ISSUE PIVOTS: Important federal issues need our attention! We aren’t dropping our state-level issues but have

added farm bill and immigration concerns for fall work.

FARM BILL: The House farm bill (passed 213-211) decimates bipartisan rural-urban coalitions. Rep. Collin Peterson states the House bill “doesn’t do enough for the people it’s supposed to serve. It … leaves farmers and ranchers vulnerable; it worsens hunger and it fails rural communities.” The Senate’s bipartisan bill (passed 86-11) doesn’t make drastic changes to programs, offers more certainty for farmers, ranchers, food security advocates and more.

The bills will be negotiated by a conference committee–- the house appointed an unprecedented 47 members, compared to nine from the senate!

IMMIGRATION: Immigration took center stage in national news this summer with the outcry around family separation, court ordered reunification and many related issues. Tammy Walhof, LA-MN director, participated in a trip to Tucson and Nogales, Ariz., (both U.S. and Mexican sides of the city) to learn more. She has many stories to share. See our action alert on Facebook (and in the photo!). Watch our website and Facebook for updates and urgent action alerts!

North Carolina 

GeoRene Jones, North Carolina Synod Social Justice & Advocacy Ministries 

ENCOURAGING VOTER ENGAGEMENT: St. Mark’s Lutheran in Asheville is a good example for congregations desiring to support the ELCA’s Voter Engagement Initiative, ELCAvotes.  The congregation’s Christian Action Team partnered with The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, which provided materials, submitted voter registrations and emailed voting reminders to those who took the pledge to vote. Team preparation included production of event handouts, which included sample ballots and early voting information detailing dates and locations. Production costs were covered by a Thrivent Action Team grant.

Making themselves available in the common areas of the building after Sunday services, the team (pictured above) helped currently registered voters verify their registration record as up-to-date – including correct address –and registered eligible voters using official registration forms. Team members delivered the completed forms to the local Board of Elections. Also available were non-partisan information on candidates running for office, links to websites with additional information, and a sign-up sheet for people willing to make their pledge to vote. The team also provided a transportation sign-up sheet for individuals needing assistance in getting to the polls. Overall, the event garnered 49 pledges to vote, including eight individuals aided in registering to vote.

VOTER EDUCATION RESOURCES: Our website provides congregational leaders ELCAvotes resources through synod conference deans and direct mail. Bible studies, the ELCA’s Civic Education and Voter Education Guide and support information for the Voting Rights Advancement Act.


Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy–Pennsylvania                           

ELCA WORLD HUNGER: ELCA World Hunger staff members Julianna Glassco and MaeHelen Jackson recently visited several anti-hunger sites in central Pennsylvania, including the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which they toured with Karen Woodings, advocacy manager. They are shown, at right, at the food bank alongside corn they picked at The Wittel Farm, a ministry of the Lower Susquehanna Synod and the Lutheran Camping Corporation.

CREATION JUSTICE: LAMPa continues to promote the upcoming Energy-Star Stewardship Tour for faith communities Sept. 25-27 at seven locations across the state. Learn more about this partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and faith-based organizations. In addition, LAMPa, along with other faith partners, is sponsoring a community solar webinar on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Learn more. Attendees at all events will be equipped to connect with policymakers on renewable energy.

In the photo, Senator Cy visits
with a family who has two children
with pre-existing conditions.

POVERTY SIMULATION: Lynn Fry, program director, recently participated in a poverty simulation in Franklin County. “It would be quite beneficial if all legislators were able to participate in this simulation so they could gain insights into how difficult life is for a segment of our population. Even though assistance programs are available, many are very difficult to access,” Fry said.

GOD’S WORK. OUR HANDS.: LAMPa is providing resources to help congregations take their service to their neighbor a step further toward justice through advocacy.

HEALTH CARE ROUNDTABLE: Fry also attended a health care roundtable hosted by U.S. Sen. Robert Casey. Casey spoke about concerns related to insurance requirements on existing conditions with those in attendance.

Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin, director               

We are excited to introduce our new Hunger Advocacy Fellow, Kimberly Jordan Slappey, who started on Sept. 4. Jordan is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia.

  • Major: religion. Focus: the religion of the civil rights movement and the intersections between gender, race and religion.
  • Minor: political science. Focus: constitutional law and the law as it pertains to marginalized populations.

Jordan plans to attend Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall of 2019 following her internship as an ELCA World Hunger advocate. Jordan has a background in church work, LGBTQ+ advocacy and local government. When she isn’t working, Jordan enjoys podcasting, geocaching, attending concerts and playing video games. Jordan is looking forward to broadening her knowledge and understanding of the many facets of advocacy.


Paul Benz, Faith Action Network                                                                                                     

BALLOT INITATIVES: FAN is engaged, as always, on numerous statewide initiatives:

  • 940 – Reform our state’s use of deadly force statute, which is one of the most egregious in the ability of a county prosecutor to convict a law enforcement officer. Endorsed
  • 1000 – Reinstate our affirmative action laws that were rescinded by an initiative several years ago. It is currently in the signature-gathering stage and has until the end of the year to complete that stage. Endorsed
  • 1631 – Create a carbon fee of $15/ton on our state’s largest emitters of CO2s and is an obvious way to reduce global warming through our state laws. Endorsed
  • 1634 – Prohibit municipalities outside of Seattle from enacting a tax on sugary beverages. FAN right now is neutral.
  • 1639 – Improve gun responsibility laws in our state, raising the purchase age to 21 for semi-automatic rifles, enhance the background checks for those purchases, and create a liability law for gunowners who are found to not have safely stored their firearms/weapons in an incident where someone in the owner’s home was injured with that firearm. Endorsed

CANDIDATE FORUMS: FAN is finalizing the logistics for four highly competitive state legislative district races and one congressional district race. These are hosted by faith communities in FAN’s network and sponsored or co-sponsored by FAN. Candidates are allowed opening and closing statements, are asked prepared questions and then take questions from the audience, but they are not allowed to ask questions of one another.

CLUSTER GATHERINGS: FAN convenes the 21 geographic clusters that make up our 141-member state Network of Advocating Faith Communities every fall. We have 18 scheduled for September through November. These gatherings allow us to inform and strengthen our relationship with our faith community advocates and to have intersectional conversations about how to be more collaborative and effective in our justice work.

ANNUAL DINNER: FAN has two major events during the year – IFAD (Interfaith Advocacy Day during the legislative session), and our Annual Dinner. This year’s dinner will be on Sunday evening, Nov. 18, and we’ve invited Washington’s U.S. Rep Pramila Jayapal to speak. Our goal is to have 400+ in attendance.


Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin                                      

HUNGER FELLOW: Welcome to Kelsey Johnson, who just started as LOPPW’s 2018-19 Hunger Fellow! Thank you to ELCA World Hunger for providing a grant for this important ministry! Kelsey has been active in the church. Most recently, she served with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program in Jerusalem and the West Bank. At the Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah (West Bank), she assisted with English and art classes. She has explored topics related to refugees, interfaith dialogue and accompaniment. Kelsey graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Iowa. She has interests in writing, using social media and working with young people. Kelsey says she is very excited to be working with LOPPW.

FARM BILL: LOPPW has continued to encourage people to contact their members of Congress about the farm bill.  Kelsey has initiated a social media campaign with a focus on the bill.

CARE FOR CREATION: LOPPW with the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin’s Care for God’s Creation team is organizing an event to focus on what’s working in Wisconsin to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Participants will gain practical ideas and resources for increasing renewable energy in their business and congregational lives and advocacy tools. Save the date.

WISCONSIN HAS TWO NEW BISHOPS: Congratulations to Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld of the South-Central Synod and Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson of the Northwest Synod! LOPPW was delighted to have a presence at both joyful installation services.


January Advocacy Update


Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthly State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!


Washington, D.C. – Amy Reumann, Director of Advocacy

Earlier this week, President Obama gave his final State of the Union address to Congress. As lawmakers across the political spectrum prepare their 2016 legislative agendas, we urge our elected officials to ensure that our nation’s public policies embody biblical values of peacemaking, hospitality to our neighbors, care for creation, and concern for our brothers and sisters facing poverty and struggling with hunger. Among other advocacy priorities, we urge Congress to: 

REFORM OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: In early 2015, the ELCA, alongside our faith community partners, demanded criminal justice sentencing reform to restore a common-sense approach to nonviolent drug sentencing. We know that excessively high mandatory minimum sentences over-crowd federal prisons, unfairly punish our brothers and sisters living in poverty, and do little to reduce crime. We are pleased that Congress responded! The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S.2123) is bipartisan legislation that makes modest reforms to the federal criminal justice system by restoring the ability of federal judges to determine fairer and more realistic sentences and by reducing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses. This call is shared by both sides of the isle in Congress, and now the president has joined. We are pleased by the momentum this important legislation is gaining, and we will continue our advocacy efforts until common-sense reforms are made.

COMMIT TO REDUCING EXTREME POVERTY: Millions of people around the world continue to suffer from extreme poverty. Food insecurity, lack of medical services, gender-based violence, and humanitarian crises are some of the issues we will continue to focus on this year. The U.S. government plays a critical role in improving the lives of our brothers and sisters in need. It is imperative that we hold our government accountable to its commitments to reducing extreme poverty. A big part of this work is to ensure that Congress allocates funds for existing relief and development programs, as well as to advocate for systemic reforms so that these programs are more efficient.

PROTECT THOSE WHO SEEK SAFETY: ELCA Advocacy will continue to focus on ensuring that U.S. policies protect those who must leave their homes in search of safety. In 2015, we joined with faith leaders across the country to speak out against religious discrimination in our refugee system and asked for a compassionate investment in Central America to address the displacement of unaccompanied children and families. This year, we will continue to urge the U.S. government to ensure that funding recently allocated for Central America is spent in ways that protect those fleeing violence and persecution. In addition, we will work to make sure that refugees coming through Europe receive appropriate humanitarian protections. Refaai Hamo, a Syrian refugee present at the State of the Union, was fortunate to find safety in the United States and a new home through Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, but thousands continue to risk their lives to find safety or live in refugee camps.

FULFILL OUR PROMISE TO CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION: In 2015 the Obama administration issued two final rules under the Clean Air Act that restrict carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants. Coal-fired power plants are the single largest source of emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the primary causes of climate change. The carbon rules are the centerpiece of the administration’s strategy to carry out pledges made in Paris toward a new global climate change agreement that will go into effect in 2020. Although the carbon rules are now final, Congress has the ability to challenge them under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House and Senate held a CRA vote on the rules last fall but failed to get enough votes to override a presidential veto. This spring, ELCA Advocacy will take action as Congress again considers use of the CRA to block these rules and will continue to build upon last year’s legislative successes, such as protecting U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund.


New York, NY – Dennis Frado​, Lutheran Office for World Community

A DISCUSSION ON ‘FORCED DISPLACEMENT, REFUGEES, AND MIGRATION’: On Dec. 16, Dennis Frado and Nicholas Jaech with the Lutheran Office for World Community participated in a public consultation on the discussion paper “Forced Displacement, Refugees, and Migration” produced by the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM). This paper highlighted the current migration crisis, citing 230 million current migrants, which includes 59.5 million displaced persons. ICM, which is affiliated with the International Peace Institute, writes that this is the “biggest humanitarian crisis in the history of the United Nations.” This paper also offers recommendations for “an improved multilateral response” including convening a global summit on the issue, strengthening international coordination among key agencies, organizations and U.N. member states, and strengthening the 1951 Refugees Convention. During a question and answer period, Dennis inquired about the negative impacts of climate change on migration and displacement, citing the current and future crises of island nations facing rising ocean levels. He asked about the probably inevitable need to resettle the populations of these island states and its implications for national sovereignty and preservation of cultures.

Two days later, on Dec. 18, International Migrants Day was recognized at the United Nations. During an event held by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), William Lacy Swing, director general of IOM, stressed the need to recover from the “amnesia” about historic patterns of migration, citing the migration patterns in and out of the United States. At this event, the Population Division of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs reminded the audience of the connection between migration and the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals, referencing goal 10.7, which calls on countries to “facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.”

A U.N. BRIEFING ON EL NIÑO: On Jan. 7, the Lutheran Office for World Community attended a briefing on “The Humanitarian Consequences of El Niño and the Need for Urgent Action,” organized by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This event informed member states and U.N. organizations about the current and potential effects of this season’s El Niño weather pattern. Consistently reinforced was El Niño’s connection to climate change – El Niño is not a product of climate change, but occurring in a world with a changing climate makes El Niño’s effects more extreme and unpredictable. The 2015-2016 El Niño pattern is already one of the three strongest since 1950, with models predicting that it could become the strongest on record. Various reports were made on the already damaging effects of the 2015-2016 El Niño – major droughts in Eastern and Central Africa, Central America, and the Pacific region, among others. As the rainy seasons return, the risk of flooding, landslides, and waterborne diseases significantly increase in these drought-ridden regions. Key messages issued by OCHA and other speakers centered on two actions: 1) an urgent response by the international community to address the current humanitarian needs caused by El Niño, and 2) investing in long-term risk and vulnerability reduction, which is critical and needs to be increased. For further analysis of El Niño’s effects by region, please click here.


California – Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy

STATE LEGISLATURE: California’s legislators reconvened Jan. 4 for the final year of its two-year session, and nearly one-sixth of them gathered that afternoon at Mercy Commons (see photo), a newer permanent supportive housing site in the block next to the county jail and Matsui Federal Building, to launch a bi-partisan effort to generate new resources and redirect existing resources to address our state’s homelessness crisis. The focus will be on “housing first” and mental health services, and the proposal becomes part of budget priority debates that are underway following Gov. Jerry Brown’s Jan. 7 release of his fiscal year 2016-17 budget proposal. With healthy growth in revenue, the governor is still wary of future recessions, the expiration of temporary recession-era sales and income taxes, the need to invest in deteriorating infrastructure, and the challenge of paying for MedicAid/Cal, which now covers one-third of Californians and half its children. California’s first Earned Income Tax Credit is funded into its second year, and there is a small cost of living allowance for elderly and disabled assistance, but an LOPP-CA priority, eliminating the CalWORKS/TANF maximum family grant rule that contributes to child poverty, was not in the proposal.


CLIMATE CHANGE PRIORITIES: Defending California’s climate change laws and advocating for equitable investment of cap-and-trade funds, now growing into the billions, will continue to be a LOPP priority. We joined a letter initiated by the Trust for Public Land calling for a Community Greening Fund focused on green infrastructure and forestry in urban communities. LOPP also participated in an interfaith post-Paris briefing.



Colorado – Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado

The Colorado General Assembly convened on Wednesday, Jan. 13, to begin its 2016 legislative session. Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado was on hand for the opening ceremonies and is ready to dive in for a busy year of public policy advocacy.

As we celebrate the arrival of the new year, we also reflect on where we’ve been. In the past year, LAM-CO has been deeply involved in congregational-level education about advocacy, with a particular focus on how advocacy fits into the life of discipleship to which we are called as people of faith. Besides visits to Colorado ELCA congregations to preach and teach, presenting at the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly and Theological Conference, addressing the many coalitions in which we participate, and sending e-newsletter updates, LAM-CO is connecting with thousands of people across Colorado and beyond. We hope to see even more of this in 2016, which will be an important election year in our state and nation.


State Sen. Jessie Ulibarri (center, front) visits the RMS Office of the Bishop and staff in December. Sen. Ulibarri represents the neighborhood in which our office is located.

Our priorities remain steadfast in the coming year: a better and more robust social safety net for those living on the margins, improved access to anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs for those who need them, a higher minimum wage that is commensurate with the actual cost of living, consistent shelter and support services for those without a home, an end to denial of dignity and needless taxpayer expense in the criminal justice system, and a higher standard of environmental protection that shows real care for creation.


Minnesota – Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy Minnesota

CAPITOL RENOVATIONS: Continuing capital renovation will keep the capitol closed through 2016. The session will begin Tuesday, March 8, and will be only 11 weeks long. Access to legislators in St. Paul will be very difficult. It will be challenging to know how fast legislation will move, how to best access legislators, and how many decisions will be made in advance or around the edges of session by committee chairs and leaders.

EXPECTED DISTRACTIONS: In addition to the upheaval of renovations, House and Senate leaders agreed in 2015 to address tax reform in 2016. Although the Legislature will be addressing bonding bill requests, differing perspectives on tax reform may tie up most non-tax efforts.

RAPID ACTION NETWORK: Lutheran Advocacy-MN continues to build its network to be ready for nimble rapid action. Willing to be part of the network? Please send your contact information to LA-MN Director Tammy Walhof, at or 651-238-6506. LA-MN may even need to activate the network in January or February if decisions are being made by leaders in advance of session.

2016 ISSUES FOR EDUCATION AND ACTION: (click here for one-page description of 2016 agenda)

  • Affordable housing and homelessness: The lack of affordable housing is causing families and individuals to spend too much income on housing, taking from other family needs, especially food. In addition, once a person or family becomes homeless, food security no longer exists.
  • Payday lending/alternative lending: People caught in the debt trap of payday loans are spending thousands of dollars on interest and fees. This is taking food off their table. Additionally, many people taking payday loans are doing so to cover basic needs but find that they are worse off after the loan(s).
  • Refugees and immigrants: Children and families are forced by violence, hunger or poverty to flee their countries. They face huge threats, including hunger and trafficking, while trying to get to a safe place. If they successfully arrive in the United States, additional barriers exist. The nation and Minnesota need to be welcoming of the stranger/immigrant in our midst as they seek security and stability.
  • Creation care through clean energy, the Clean Power Plan, and climate concerns addressed through the frames of: 1) vulnerable and low-income Minnesotans and U.S. residents, 2) health, well-being and economic growth, 3) clean, accessible water (tying into the ELCA World Hunger’s water focus), and 4) global poverty.

Facebook  Twitter: @LuthAdvocacyMN


New Mexico – Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran advocacy Ministry New Mexico

The 2016 session of the New Mexico Legislature convenes on Jan. 19 at noon. This session is a so-called “short” session of 30 days. That’s 30-straight calendar days (including weekends) not 30 legislative days. Such sessions are intense and jam packed with legislation. Already more than 120 pieces of legislation have been filed in anticipation of the session and about 1,000 pieces are expected to be introduced. The LAM-NM Policy Committee adopted our 2016 advocacy agenda at its November meeting and that agenda guides LAM-NM’s advocacy activity throughout the year and particularly during legislative sessions.


This session will be focused on budgetary concerns and LAM-NM and other advocates will be working to ensure that human services programs are not cut. State revenues are way down due to the drop is the price of crude oil. New Mexico is overly dependent on oil and gas revenue. LAM-NM is supporting full-funding for Medicaid expansion. More than 250,000 low-income New Mexicans have been added to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and about 40 percent of New Mexicans are now enrolled in Medicaid.

LAM-NM is also supporting the passage of a constitutional amendment to reform the state bail system. Of particular concern to LAM-NM is changing the constitution so that non-dangerous defendants cannot be detained before their trial solely because they lack the money to post a cash or surety bond.



Pennsylvania – Tracey DePasquale, Interim-Director

Even as Pennsylvania begins 2016 six months into a budget standoff, LAMPa looks back on 2015 with gratitude for the opportunity to witness to the love of God and stand together for justice in the state capitol.

Among the highlights: LAMPa and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg partnered, bringing together Lutheran Day in the Capitol and Spring Academy Week. The venture led to plans for more collaboration in 2016. LAMPa brought Lutherans together with partners from around the state for a rally for fair education funding, featuring a prayer service on the front steps of the capitol. (See photo.) As 2015 closed, we celebrated the signing of the bill to expand the state Housing Trust Fund, which will improve access to safe, affordable housing and eliminate blight.


Tracey DePasquale is serving as LAMPa’s interim director as Amy Reumann takes the reins at the ELCA Washington office. In light of the temporary staff reduction, the policy council adopted a revised agenda for 2016 at its December meeting. Hunger and education funding remain top issues. LAMPa will continue to fight payday lending and has added electoral reform to the agenda. Our annual Lutheran Day of Advocacy in Pennsylvania will be an official part of the Gettysburg seminary’s Spring Academy Week, with a theme of “Science, Faith and Action,” on April 17 and 18. The week will begin with an ELCA Glocal Event, including an interpretive paddling trip, interfaith blessing of the waters and community meal at City Island in Harrisburg.


Virginia – Charles Swadley, Interim President and CEO

Neill Caldwell, Communications Director 

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy will host the 2016 “Day for All People,” an opportunity to learn about some key issues facing the Virginia Legislature and then speak to delegates and senators about those issues. This is an annual event that invites participation of multi-faith communities in the process of advocating for issues that impact the most vulnerable and voiceless in the state. The theme for 2016 is “Racism, Beyond the Confederate Flag.” The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. James Forbes of New York City, recognized as one of the best preachers in America.

The event will start at 9 a.m. at the Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center on the campus of Virginia Union University and move to the General Assembly building and the state Capitol. The day will conclude at 3 p.m. Tickets are $30 for the event, $15 for students, which includes continental breakfast and lunch. Transportation to and from the VUU campus and the General Assembly will be provided. For more information or to register, go to

Regional legislative public hearings are scheduled for Jan. 7 in Fredericksburg, Wytheville, Chesapeake and Richmond. The hearings will receive comments on the governor’s proposed amendments to the 2016-18 biennial state budget. Gov. Terry McAuliffe introduces his proposed two-year, approximately $100 billion spending plan on Dec. 17. That will be the starting point for the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees, which are tasked with presenting a budget before the end of the 2016 General Assembly session.

Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare staff are thinking of friends and neighbors who still don’t have access to quality, affordable health care. Gov. McAuliffe has included a proposal to take the federal dollars that would fund that access for Virginia’s working poor, including many veterans and/or their families, whose income is too low to qualify for tax credits for coverage on the marketplace and who don’t have health benefits through their employers. Taking the federal dollars would pay for 90 percent of the bill. With the savings from covering some state expenditures with these new dollars and hospitals willingness to contribute, Virginia would save more than the 10 percent.

The proposed spending plan does include money for a universal breakfast program for elementary school children, something that is a new advocacy effort for the Virginia Interfaith Center in partnership with the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Virginia Hunger Solutions.


Washington – Paul Benz, Faith Action Network

The Washington state legislature will begin its 60-day session on Monday, Jan. 11. Faith Action Network’s (FAN) legislative agenda will have five policy “buckets”:

1) reducing wealth inequality (our lead area); 2) fully funding and protecting health and human services, mental health programs and public education; 3) dismantling the culture of violence; 4) protecting housing and preventing homelessness; and 5) sustaining Washington’s environment.


FAN will have a three-person part-time lobby team to do our advocacy at the state capitol, covering four of the five week days. FAN’s annual Interfaith Advocacy Day will be Thursday, Feb. 4, in addition to two other sponsored legislative conferences around the state (in Spokane on Jan. 30 and in Yakima on Feb. 6). FAN will be sending its regular weekly alerts to our network of individual advocates and partners. We will also be sending targeted alerts to any of our 49 state districts, where a particular legislator needs the focus of our advocates.


Wisconsin – Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin


A 2015 REVIEW: LOPPW was the only Wisconsin group to hold a Safe Harbor rally to support legislation and funding to assist youth victims of sex trafficking.

Bishops, grassroots leaders and LOPPW staff visited legislators on the Hill for the ELCA/Episcopal Advocacy Convening.

LOPPW worked with two synods to help initiate a hunger team in one, and a Care for God’s Creation team linked to ELCA World Hunger in the other. We also participated in the Region 5 hunger gathering in Dubuque, Iowa.

LOPPW is a part of People of Faith United for Justice, a group that organized the 2015 statewide Advocacy Day focused on poverty.

LOPPW staff was present at the governor’s signing of an anti-trafficking bill that we supported.




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