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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:


October Advocacy Update

ELCA Advocacy Office, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Amy Reumann, director

PRAY. FAST. ACT: Our next centering day to #PrayFastAct with the Episcopal Church is Sunday, Oct. 21. The focus this month is on holistic investments in infrastructure programs and ensuring public works assist communities in the greatest need.

The U.S. has a long history of investing in communities across the nation, leaving a foundation that is still in much use today. However, as lawmakers discuss reinvesting in our deteriorating infrastructure, there is a considerable risk that new gains will not be implemented equitably in spaces that need revitalization the most. As stakeholders and drivers of local vitality, places of worship and faith activists can play a critical role in supporting good stewardship of investments and programs that contribute to our infrastructure.

VOTER REGISTRATION: The U.S. mid-term elections are only weeks away, and voter registration deadlines are fast approaching in many states. Churches and synods can be effective places in expanding civic engagement—and ministry outreach becomes even more critical as deadlines loom near. Congregations can learn more about hosting a voter registration drive and other activities at the ELCAvotes webpage.
A new ELCAvotes Homeless Resource has tips and recommendations for congregations inspired to expand voter engagement. Churches engaged in the margins and faith activists are often the best positioned, and sometimes only, means to expand voter outreach to people struggling with homelessness.

PUBLIC CHARGE RULE: Last month the Department of Homeland Security shared a proposed rule that could make it harder for immigrants who receive public benefits to obtain green cards. This ruling expands what it means to be a “public charge,” those who have to rely on public assistance to support themselves and their families. If implemented, it could deny immigrants legal status if they or their dependents have used benefits, such as SNAP or Medicaid. Many civil rights and faith groups have already denounced the effort, concerned that the proposal would limit access to citizenship for lower-income immigrants.

ELCA Advocacy and ELCA World Hunger, in partnership with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, hosted a webinar discussing the ruling and the specific concerns of the faith community. The rule will have a 60-day public comment period. Be sure to follow ELCA Advocacy in the coming weeks for more information and ways to take action.

FAMILY SEPARATION: Many activists in the ELCA Advocacy network participated in an interfaith national call-in day on Sept. 26 to reject family detention. The call-in to lawmakers highlighted the faith community’s concern with separating families and brought attention to alternatives to detention. While new policy changes that harm children and families seeking protection in the U.S. are implemented, Congress has an important role to play in allocating funds for the Department of Homeland Security.

FARM BILL UPDATE: Despite efforts by leadership in the House and Senate Agriculture committees, Congress failed to reauthorize the farm bill by the Sept. 30 deadline. With the prior law now expiring, dozens of programs will stop and many others placed on hold. Long-standing authorized programs such as crop insurance and SNAP will continue, as long as they are not changed.

Earlier this month, ELCA Advocacy shared a blog on mental health in farming communities and how the farm bill plays a critical role in shaping rural life. Be on the lookout for upcoming action on the farm bill and other stories in the coming weeks.

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

Dennis Frado, director

U.N. HIGH LEVEL MEETING TO END TUBERCULOSIS: Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC) staff attended the first-ever U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting on tuberculosis (TB), held in New York on Sept. 26 under the theme “United to End TB: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic.” The World Health Organization (WHO) sounded the alarm that countries are not doing enough to end tuberculosis – the world’s deadliest infectious disease. During the high-level meeting, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed described tuberculosis as a “vicious epidemic,” which infects some 10.4 million people across the world and is fueled by poverty, inequality, migration and conflict. To end the epidemic she urged increased funding, securing the best scientific data, making informed decisions and empowering communities, among other things. The meeting concluded with the adoption of an ambitious political declaration on tuberculosis, endorsed by heads of state.

U.N. Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (center) at the first-ever high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis. Also pictured are Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (left), director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO); and María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, president of the 73rd session of the General Assembly.

On Sept. 27, LOWC staff, together with other faith leaders and health service providers, joined their voices and committed to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis at an interfaith prayer breakfast on building partnerships to end these diseases in children and adolescents. The breakfast was organized by the World Council of Churches-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, in partnership with UNAIDS, the (U.S.) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.N. Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development.

SIDE-EVENT: TIME TO ACT ON GLOBAL MENTAL HEALTH: Near the start of the 73rd session of the General Assembly, a side-event took place to raise awareness about mental health. Organized by the Permanent Missions of Ecuador, Canada, Bahrain, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the WHO and United for Global Mental Health, several leaders outlined their will to strengthen mental health care in their countries.

Health care ministers from these countries noted that general health care that does not include attention to mental health can never be holistic. The key to good mental health care is early protection, prevention and the reduction of stigma.

U.S. FUNDING FOR AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL IN PERIL: In response to media reports on Sept. 7 that the State Department, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, would discontinue its financial support to Augusta Victoria Hospital and five other East Jerusalem hospitals, the Peace Not Walls campaign, an ELCA program, issued an action alert. It appeals to ELCA members to call the White House hotline (202-456-1111) and use the comments page to urge the president to order the release of the $25 million for Augusta Victoria and the other hospitals, and to urge that senators and representatives contact the White House as well. Earlier in the month, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the matter. As of the end of September, the situation had not appreciably changed as no official notification had been given to the hospitals as to whether or not the funds would be forthcoming. Continued advocacy is welcome.


Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California (LOPP-CA)       

2018 LEGISLATIVE ACTION CONCLUDED: Sept. 30 was the deadline for departing Gov. Jerry Brown to take action on bills passed in the two-year session. With considerable fanfare, he signed SB 100 (September Advocacy Update), placing California on a path to 100 percent clean electrical energy by 2045.  He signed several other LOPP-CA-supported bills related to protecting California’s coast from any new federal offshore oil leases, and expanding environmental justice protections for disadvantaged communities.  Of other bills supported by LOPP-CA, he signed measures enhancing disclosure of campaign contributions for social media political advertising, narrowing the sweep of the “felony murder rule” that has significant racial disparities, and requiring greater disclosure of video footage and personnel information in police deadly force incidents.

Sign at Global Climate Action Summit

GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT: LOPP-CA was part of the leadership team for Lutheran-hosted “Talanoa Dialogue” events on “Loss & Damage” and “Just Transition,” held at Grace Cathedral during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco

The Rev.  Dan Smith (left), Mary Shaima and Joann Anderson.

2018 BALLOT MEASURES: Work in the next month is focused on the 11 measures on the November ballot, with housing the top priority.

NEW BOOK: Retired U.S. Rep. Lois Capps’ (Santa Barbara) new book, Keeping Faith in Congress – Why Persistence, Compassion, and Teamwork Will Save Our Democracy, was published in September (Fortress Press). LOPP-CA had been involved in encouraging Capps to pursue the book project as she retired from Congress two years ago. She is a former board member of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, Calif., and an alumna of Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., and Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn.


Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry–Colorado                           

BALLOT MEASURE ADVOCACY: Colorado ballots will be in the mail in just two and a half weeks’ time. Voters will have plenty of time to fill them out, which is why Lutheran Advocacy encourages all voters to vote ballot measures first! There are 13 items on the statewide ballot addressing a range of issues from oil and gas development to transportation to education.

Check out the resources available at You’ll find the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado 2018 Voter Guide, as well as bulletin inserts, flyers and posters related to the efforts we’re supporting on the ballot: “yes” on Amendment A and “yes” on Prop 111.



THEOLOGICAL CONFERENCE: The Rocky Mountain Synod held its annual Theological Conference in Estes Park, Colo., Sept. 17-20. Among the featured speakers was Prairie Rose Seminole, ELCA program director for American Indian and Alaska Native Ministries; Dr. Ray Pickett from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley , Calif.; and the Rev. Albert Ranaivomanana, director of Betela Seminary in our companion synod in Madagascar.

STATE PUBLIC POLICY GATHERING: Colorado was host to the network of ELCA state public policy office directors and staff at Cathedral Ridge retreat center in Woodland Park, Sept. 8-11. The network welcomed Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda of California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, to lead conversation around ecological ethics and creation justice.


Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy–Minnesota              

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATE FORUM (watch or listen) : Lutheran Advocacy-MN actively promoted Homes for All’s gubernatorial forum. Both major-party lieutenant governor candidates, Donna Bergstrom and Peggy Flanagan, have housing and low-income experience. More than 500 people attended in person or by livestream.  Another 150 plus have watched online. If you haven’t seen it, watch the forum!

LUTHERAN ADVOCACY-MN HIGHLIGHTED AS A HOMES FOR ALL PARTNER (read): Lutheran Advocacy-MN is honored to be the first partner featured, as Homes for All recently started to highlight coalition partners on its blog. Learn more about our work on housing and how you can participate.


Clean energy: The Minnesota Legislature voted nearly unanimously to pass the 2007 Next Generation Energy Act. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed it into law. It set a standard of 25 percent renewable energy to be reached by 2025 (30 percent for Xcel Energy) and encouraged energy efficiency. The law has helped Minnesota add many businesses and jobs, reduce prices with low-cost renewables (15 percent below national average), cut energy consumption by 1 percent a year and dramatically lower emissions from power plants.

  • What would you do to continue Minnesota’s transition to renewable energy?
  • How would you support clean energy businesses and jobs?

Housing: Across Minnesota, there isn’t enough affordable housing. High housing costs contribute to increased hunger rates. Families with minimum-wage jobs must work 71 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. In Minnesota, 450,000 households are cost burdened.

  • What would you do legislatively to increase levels of safe affordable housing?
  • How would you protect existing affordable rental housing?
  • What would you do to prevent and end homelessness?

New Mexico

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

Legislative interim committees are in full swing: New Mexico legislators meet in various interim committees from May until December. LAM-NM monitors, attends and provides public comment at the interim committees, which consider topics related to the LAM-NM Advocacy Agenda. During July and August, LAM-NM attended meetings of the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee as well as the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Additionally, LAM-NM director, Ruth Hoffman, attended the quarterly meeting of the Medicaid Advisory Committee, of which she is a member. Among the other interim committees we follow are the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee, the Mortgage Finance Authority Oversight Committee (which deals with affordable housing issues), and the Legislative Finance Committee.


Nick Bates, The Hunger Network in Ohio (HNO)             

On Sept. 23 faith leaders from across Ohio convened at HNO’s Faith and Advocacy Summit. This year the theme was “Beyond Resistance.” We are called to do more than resist structural evil by saying “no.” As people of faith, we provide an alternate vision of our future that is just and compassionate, especially for those who are living on the margins. As people of faith we work to rebuild our communities by saying “yes” to a just and compassionate world.

The Rev. Sally Padgett discussed our immigration policies and the steps of First English Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio to provide sanctuary to a mother and her children – one who has special needs. Kelsi Robinson packed a wealth of information into a few minutes to present facts related to Issue 1 – otherwise known as the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment. Ohio prisons are running at 130 percent of capacity, largely due to low-level, nonviolent drug offenses that unfairly target the poor and African American communities in Ohio. This amendment will:

  • Reduce felony charges for low-level, nonviolent drug possession to misdemeanors.
  • Reward individuals with reduced sentences for completion of education, treatment or other programs that will reduce recidivism.
  • Reduce the prison population with community-based approaches to probation violations instead of mass incarceration.
  • Reinvest saved dollars into treatment programs that we know work.

The Hunger Network in Ohio encourages a “yes” vote on Issue 1 this November.



Tracey DePasquale, Lutheran Advocacy – Pennsylvania  

ELCA CONGREGATIONS SHARE THEIR VOICES: Pennsylvania Lutherans shared their voices for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday by addressing letters to federal and state legislators, advocating on behalf of those whose voices may not always be heard. Because of their thoughtful advocacy, several hundred letters were shared. Learn more.

REJECT ENVIRONMENTAL ROLLBACKS: Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) constituents received an alert urging them to contact their state senator to ask them to oppose HB 2154, which would significantly change the environmental requirements for conventional oil- and gas-drilling operators, putting clean air and pure water in jeopardy. The Senate is poised to vote soon. Take action.

LAMPa POLICY COUNCIL MEETS: The LAMPa Policy Council recently gathered for its annual retreat. One of this year’s retreat goals included building a sense of call to the ministry of LAMPa as the body of Christ. Read more.

 “SAFE HARBOR” DEADLINE LOOMS: LAMPa staff shared an alert, participated in a capitol rally and contacted constituents seeking their help in contacting their state representatives and Speaker Mike Turzai to pass SB 554, a bill to protect child sex trafficking victims. If it is not passed in this session, the bill dies and will need to be reintroduced. Learn more.

CREATION JUSTICE: More than 60 people participated in the Community Solar webinar that LAMPa, along with other faith partners, sponsored on Sept. 20. Learn more. The PA Energy-Star Stewardship Tour visited seven locations statewide with the EPA sharing resources for congregational creation and financial stewardship. Learn more

Southeastern Synod

Hilton Austin, director                                                             

HUNGER ADVOCATE FELLOW: It has been an exciting month, with the addition of our hunger advocate fellow. Jordan Slappey hit the ground running with the State Public Policy Office (SPPO) Retreat in Colorado. Two days later, she represented Southeastern Synod Advocacy at the Women of the ELCA convention at Lakepoint State Park in Eufala, Ala. We are currently in the process of creating new synod advocacy trifold brochures; the first is ready to go to print.

MEDICAID EXPANSION: Virginia Interfaith has shared many of the details of their successful Medicaid expansion campaign with our Tennessee Healthcare ready bench. This group has been fighting for Medicaid expansion for several years now and is currently preparing for the upcoming legislative season; it was encouraging for us to see the success in Virginia.

BALLOT INITIATIVES: We are currently working on developing an educational resources around upcoming ballot initiatives.


Kim Bobo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

In June, Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill allowing Virginia to expand Medicaid. This will allow up to 400,000 eligible Virginians to receive health care as of Jan. 1, 2019. Lutherans and other people of faith in Virginia helped make this happen. But as part of the bill passage, Virginia agreed to apply for a federal waiver to create work requirements and cost sharing with Virginia’s Medicaid program. The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) opposes these proposed work requirements and cost sharing proposals because they will reduce those served by approximately 25,000 people, they will be costly for the state to administer, and they will be confusing for participants.  VICPP urges Virginians to submit comments by Oct. 20 opposing the proposed work requirements and cost sharing requirements. It will only take a few minutes to submit your comments at


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

IMMIGRATION:  Within four days, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 83 people in Wisconsin. Several city and Dane County leaders decried those actions. ICE did not cooperate with local authorities and gave no indication that it was apprehending criminals. We are investigating ways we can respond. Read one of LOPPW’s posts of the press conference at Centro Hispano in Madison here.

LOPPW’s hunger advocate fellow, Kelsey Johnson, is keeping track of the possible changes that could be made in the public charge of benefits, in conjunction with our D.C. office.

 BISHOPS’ INPUT:  LOPPW staff recently met with all six bishops in Wisconsin to hear about their concerns in their communities and give updates. LOPPW will take their feedback to its advisory council. One of the outcomes of the meeting was that the bishops agreed to sign on to a letter about the farm bill to U.S. senators in Wisconsin and Michigan and all U.S. representatives for Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. Read the letter to Rep. Sean Duffy.  All letters are posted here.

ADVOCACY CONFERENCE: Women of the ELCA’s Shirley Paulson of the East Central Synod of Wisconsin invited the national organization’s new director for justice, Jen DeLeon (far left), to be a keynote speaker at its synodical advocacy event in Plover, Wis. LOPPW Advisory Council member Deb Martin and Rep. Katrina Shankland also spoke.

STAFF RETREAT: LOPPW’s hunger fellow with other fellows from around the country at our annual advocacy staff retreat.

COMING SOON:  Care for God’s Creation conference and overnight campus retreat.


Passion and fresh ideas from Hunger Advocacy Fellows

By Abbigail Hull, ELCA World Hunger Fellow

(L-R) Erica Earnest, Abbigail Hull, Kimberly Jordan Slappey, Paisha Thomas, Sarah Vatne,  and Kelsey Johnson

Advocacy requires collaboration and a gaze towards the future. It was this vision that created the ELCA Hunger Advocacy fellowship. A program made possible by ELCA World Hunger, this fellowship is a year-long transformative experience that combines leadership development, faith formation, and impactful advocacy that moves us toward an end to hunger and a just world where all are fed. This program is in its second year and has already received and developed thoughtful leaders with passion and fresh ideas.

Fellows are placed in various faith-driven public policy offices throughout the United States. The goal of the Hunger Advocacy Fellowship is to build ELCA World Hunger’s capacity to end hunger by deepening and expanding Lutheran advocacy efforts in synods, coalitions and networks. My name is Abbigail Hull and I have the pleasure of introducing six Hunger Advocacy fellows for 2018-2019.

Abbigail Hull- ELCA Advocacy Office– Washington, D.C.

My name is Abbigail Hull and I am the Hunger Advocacy Fellow serving at the ELCA Advocacy office in Washington, D.C.. I grew up in Minnesota and graduated from St. Olaf College with degrees in psychology, Asian studies, and women and gender studies. After graduation, I spent a year in Cambodia volunteering through the ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM). In Cambodia, I worked for the NGO Life With Dignity, which focuses on rural development. Through my role at Life With Dignity, I gained a passion for donor communication, grassroots capacity building, and lifting up vulnerable voices. Through this fellowship I hope to continue building these skills in a new “jungle” live out my faith through action, and build a faith advocacy “toolkit”.

Erica Earnest, Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministries of New Jersey

Erica Earnest is a native of Chicago and has always had a passion for serving the community. Her love for God and God’s people fueled her desire to receive a Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work to help bridge two worlds. Earnest sees the pulpit as a platform to preach the breadth of Gospel that will set the captives free (Luke 4:18) and transform the hearts, minds, and souls of God’s people. She hopes that through proclamation, the floodgates of God’s love, justice, and mercy are poured out onto communities globally. Erica aspires to change the world by fusing her gifts as a theologian and advocate.

Kelsey Johnson-The Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin (LOPPW)-Madison

Kelsey Johnson has an active history with the church. Most recently, she served as a ELCA YAGM volunteer in Jerusalem and the West Bank. At the Lutheran School in Ramallah (West Bank), she assisted with English and art classes. She has explored topics related to refugees, baptism, and accompaniment. Johnson graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa. She has interests in writing, using social media and working with young people.


Kimberley Jordan Slappey, Southeast Synod– Decatur, Georgia

Jordan Slappey is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. They majored in religion with a focus on the religion of the civil rights movement and the intersections between gender, race and religion. They also minored in political science focusing on constitutional law and the law as it pertains to marginalized populations. Slappey plans to attend Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall of 2019 following their fellowship. Slappey has a background in church work, LGBTQ+ advocacy and local government.


Paisha Thomas, Hunger Network Ohio– Columbus, Ohio

Paisha Thomas’s passions of music and justice are a great addition to Hunger Network Ohio. She is a dynamic singer and social activist based in Columbus, Ohio who commands attention from the moment she takes the stage. Thomas was able to join her passion for justice and music with Ohio’s Poor People’s campaign. From that experience in 2017 and early 2018, she wanted to learn more about justice, public policy, and how people of faith are responding.



Sarah Vatne, Faith Action Network– Seattle, Washington

A native of the state of Washington, Sarah Vatne grew up in Auburn, Washington. After high school, she got her BA from Western Washington University in Political Science and Communication Studies, specializing in Washington State’s Government and Public Policy. She spent a year serving in ELCA YAGM. She volunteered in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and worked at a Safe Home/Boarding School for kids who were orphaned, abandoned, abused, or neglected. It was during her YAGM year where she found a passion and power in both listening to other’s stories, and lifting up the voices around her. Vatne also spent two Legislative sessions working in Olympia at the State Capitol – one interning for the Senate, and another as the Assistant Coordinator of the Page School.

I am so excited to be a part of this talented, driven cohort. Please lift us up in prayer as we begin this journey together, and get in touch with the local faith state policy office for more information on the work they are doing.


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.