(From left) Bishop Jim Mauney, Virginia Synod; Drew Genszler, Director for Advocacy; Bishop Robert Driesen, Upper Susquehanna Synod; Bishop David Zellmer, South Dakota Synod; Bishop Michael Burk, Southeastern Iowa Synod; Bishop Jon Anderson, Southwestern Minnesota Synod; Rev. Dan Rift, Director of ELCA World Hunger

By Rev. Dan Rift

As our nation faces a “fiscal cliff”,  five Bishops who have made themselves ready to speak with elected representatives on domestic issues, met Monday with staff from the White House, from Speaker Boehner’s staff, and with the Secretary of Agriculture.  Andrew Genzler (Director for Advocacy) and I accompanied them on this visit. 

The main topic of conversation was the impact that any budget compromise would have on those who are most vulnerable among us. We also discussed vision for continuing to strengthen rural community life, impending changes for dairy and other farming support, tax exempt deductions for charities, and protecting the future for our children. In each meeting, those with whom the Bishop’s met, encouraged folks in the church to personally form a working dialogue with their elected officials. They were especially heartened to hear about specific ways that the work of the government and the work of the church have together created opportunity for people to lift themselves out of poverty. Throughout the times, the Bishops prayed for and with those with whom we met, for our elected officials, for a way forward that might bring hope, and especially for those who struggle with hunger and poverty in this nation and around the world. For me it was a great Advent gift, remembering that God works to bring good news to the poor. We follow in that work. Merry Christmas. 

Dan Rift is the Director of ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal