For Such A Time As This
JULY 21, PRAY. FAST. ACT.: On Saturday, July 21, we join with The Episcopal Church in our monthly commitment to #PrayFastAct in support of programs that provide for necessary care for all people. The United States has a strong tradition of communities working together to care for the less fortunate. Our faith calls us to work for the well-being and livelihood of all people, regardless of health, ability, or employment status, so we must continue to support programs that provide much-needed medical care and income to those who most need it.
This month, our focus is on protecting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security for the future. These programs are the core of our nation’s medical and income safety net for the elderly, unemployed, underemployed, and disabled. In recent decades, investments in programs that spur the economic potential of individuals have declined, which has led to an increase in the number of people needing the support of these programs. Together, these programs and other safety net measures represent a significant amount of annual federal spending.
Recently, proposals have been made to change the programs by manipulating eligibility or coverage to reduce spending. Difficult, but responsible, changes require Congress and the nation to invest in programs that reduce the long-term need for these programs and minimize the individual impact of the economic cycle so that these programs can cost less because they are needed less.
PRAY for all those who rely on our nation’s social safety net programs to receive medical care or retirement income.
FAST in solidarity with those who are unable to access these programs and the many who would be hungry and hurting if they were to lose the support these programs provide.
ACT by urging our elected leaders to support strong policy solutions that address the long-term sustainability of these programs not by block granting funding or manipulating eligibility, but by investing in our fellow citizens so that in the long-term fewer people need a helping hand.
Here’s how to equip yourself and your congregation to #PrayFastAct on July 21:
- Read the July Advocacy Resource for more information on these programs.
- Visit ELCA.org/PrayFastAct to watch a message from The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA.
- Learn about these programs.
- Look out for the #PrayFastAct action alert on Thursday, July 21, and join us as we pray, fast, and advocate together.
Dear Partners in Ministry,
Earlier this year, Portico Benefit Services held a discussion with the bishops around the challenges facing the ELCA Medicare-Primary health benefits and the church’s decision to help subsidize the cost of medical care for our retired plan members.
After much prayer and thoughtful work, we are prepared to announce two major changes:
1. Portico has selected Humana to insure hospital and medical benefits as a group Medicare Advantage plan. This new benefit will replace today’s Medicare supplement administered by Mercer.
2. The ELCA Church Council approved changing the calculation of the health subsidy. With this change, the subsidy will become a fixed dollar amount that is expected to increase 3% annually, as approved by the council.
These two actions are expected to actually reduce the amount most members will pay in monthly contributions, or premiums, for their coverage in 2019, while allowing the church to continue its commitment to care for those who have served so faithfully.
Portico began sending out materials last week to members. To help reduce confusion and ensure a smooth transition, we will be looking for opportunities to connect with groups of retired plan members this fall to help you understand what these changes mean.
Thank you for your partnership. This process involved plenty of discernment and collaboration between Portico and the ELCA. We are proud of our joint efforts and remain committed to serving all of our members with grace and excellence.
Request from Mosaic in San Angelo
Hand Bell Choir Leader Needed. Mosaic in San Angelo, Texas, a non-profit ministry of the ELCA, works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization has a small existing hand bell choir, made up of about 10 people with varying abilities, all of whom love to perform!
They are looking for a volunteer to help with the choir and potentially grow it to include more people served by Mosaic. Practices vary according to season. Currently, they practice for about 30-45 minutes once a week in the fall, leading up to several Christmas performances in the community, and about once a month the rest of the year, just to keep skills up. Rehearsal times and dates can change, based on the leader’s availability.
Although it is a volunteer position, there are many rewards to be reaped by working with people with disabilities. Hugs and smiles abound!
Please contact Ami Mizell-Flint at (325) 651-3333 x206 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to help. Background check required, paid for by Mosaic.
Featured Resource for July
“RESPONDING TO FAMILY VIOLENCE”
NEW TOOLKIT FOR FAITH COMMUNITIES
According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, 1 in 3 Texans will experience domestic violence in their life.
Faith communities can be key resources for victims of family violence. It is vital for church leadership to know how to respond when a congregant approaches them about their concerns…and it’s important for congregations to make family violence awareness part of their culture.
Texas Impact’s toolkit for congregations, Responding to Family Violence, is a great place to start. It includes information that faith communities need to be proactive:
- basic legal information like definitions
- websites and phone numbers for professional responders
- religious resources like sermon starters and prayers
- printable signs for restrooms and other public areas
- guidance from Texas religious and policy experts
The toolkit is also available in print for $20 (including postage). The print publication comes bound and 3-hole punched. To order printed copies, email email@example.com.
Save the Date
For Congregations, Clergy, & Care Givers
Addiction in every form, including the current opioid problem, is ravaging our world.
How will we, as people of faith, respond?
Open to anyone interested in exploring the devastation of addiction and the remarkable healing process of faith. Together, we’ll enhance our knowledge about addiction recovery, share stories of learning and hope, and celebrate our faith in God’s abiding grace.
Where in the world is?
- Jul. 19: Parish Lay Ministry Academy (PLMA) Board meeting
- Jul. 11-31: Hip replacement and recovery
- Jul. 17: Meetings at Advent, Arlington
- Jul. 21: Meeting with Bosque County leaders at St. Olaf, Cranfils Gap
- Jul. 22: Emanuel, Dallas
- Jul. 19-20: Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM) Regional Conference, Richland Hills, TX
- Jul. 19-20: Join the ALCM for Worship, Richland Hills, TX
- Aug. 11: WELCA Annual Women’s & Girl’s Retreat, Location TBA
- Aug. 28-30: “Undoing Racism” Training, Arlington, TX
- Sep. 1: Bishop Installation for the Southwestern Texas Synod, San Antonio, TX
- Sep. 7: The Bolder Board Training, North Texas
- Sep. 9: “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday
- Sep. 15: PLMA Fall 2018, Course 1, Briarwood
- Sep. 20-22: Synod Council meetings, Briarwood
- Sep. 22: MEF Board meeting, Briarwood
- Sep. 28-30: Addiction & Faith Conference, Bloomington, MN
- Sep. 29: Panhandle Fall Conference: An introduction to The Generosity Project, Wilson, TX
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to the Synod office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming NT-NL News.