A post a week late. Sunday through Tuesday March 17-19 was our annual Lutheran Legislative advocacy days. This year we gathered with our Episcopal colleagues as well.
These days are times of education. We partner with Texas Impact, an ecumenical advocacy movement, that helps us be more effective in educating our legislators on issues the ELCA has made social statements about. Our faith is active and connected to the world. We care deeply about stewarding creation, inclusivity for all people, and valuing public education.
We had a good learning time and then visits with legislators. I was honored to spend time with State Rep Tan Parker who represents the area on which our Briarwood Retreat Center exists. I was so grateful to hear he is aware of Briarwood and the work we are doing there.
Any visit to Austin, my hometown, wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to the “old Gethsemane” at 16th and Congress. My home parish, Gethsemane, Austin, founded in 1868 and formally established in 1875 was the first Swedish (Augustana Synod) congregation in Texas.
In the 1880s the state capitol building burned. The state decided to build a granite building and left the bricks of the old capitol to salvage. The enterprising immigrant Swedes took those bricks and transported them over the hill and built their second church building. They moved north in the 1960s as Austin grew. But this decision to build with those bricks saved that building from demolition in the 1980s when it was declared a state and national landmark through the work of women of the church who wanted to maintain that legacy in our city and state.
Born and raised in Texas I take great pride in our state. We have lots of challenges. Much to repent from including the evils of slavery, white supremacy, and overt institutional racism. Yet the entrepreneurial spirit of this state inspires me and I have deep hope we can continue to be a place of welcome and opportunity. To value all and invite them into community. To be about the common good. Our Lutheran heritage encourages this work.
As I left town I also got to do the job of a pastor. One of my former parishioners, now under the pastoral care of my spouse and her colleague, is in a care facility in Austin. I was grateful to be able to connect with him and clarify where he was so that we could ask friends in Austin to look in on him and provide pastoral care. We do this work of community together. #NTNL #ELCAdvocacy #InMissionTogether