Immigration Laws and Family Separation
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The policy will most likely result in an increase in family separations. Read the letter here: ELCA presiding bishop, faith leaders issue statement on family separation.
Bishop Gronberg concurs with Bishop Eaton and encourages people of faith to be aware of these issues, and if moved, to contact your elected officials. Read Bishop Gronberg’s recent blog post here: LIRS and Serving Our Neighbors.
June 21 – Pray. Fast. Act.
On Thursday, June 21, we join with The Episcopal Church in our monthly commitment to #PrayFastAct. This month, our focus is on disaster preparedness. The United States and its territories are facing extreme weather patterns more frequently. In the past year, fires, floods, and hurricanes have displaced millions of people, destroyed homes and other structures, and led to deaths. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands continue to face many challenges in the wake of Hurricane Maria, including infrastructure damage, a plummeting economy, loss of jobs, closure of schools, cuts in peoples’ pensions, and other factors that have contributed to a mental health crisis.
ELCA congregations and organizations are among many groups that work tirelessly to help Americans when disaster strikes, but their efforts are often hampered by bureaucracy, which delays getting valuable assistance to those who most need it. The federal government must work to streamline the process for getting aid to those who need it and invest in disaster preparedness to minimize the effects of emergencies and major disasters.
PRAY for all those affected by disasters. Remember those who have lost everything and all those who are working to respond.
FAST to remember the damages wrought, lives lost and the illnesses plaguing so many around the world as a result of disasters.
ACT by urging our elected leaders to support strong policy solutions that address the increasingly urgent preparation and reconstruction needs of communities threatened by extreme and unpredictable weather that result in disasters that alter lives forever.
The impacts of disasters come with ancillary consequences such as health effects and changing the livelihood of survivors. For example, according to Lutheran Social Services of Puerto Rico, the “state of mental health in Puerto Rico is alarming. The hurricane combined with the plummeting of the local economy eroded the mental health of Puerto Rico’s people. The elimination of many good paying jobs, the closure of schools, cuts in people’s pensions, and other factors faced by the island aggravate the anxiety and stress of the people accelerating the deterioration of their mental health to a point of crisis with a rise in suicide attempts.” There is hope. Churches and civic organizations are ready and eager to help but can be hampered by governmental bureaucracy. With better access to federal resources these organizations can better address the aftermath of disasters.
Here’s how to equip yourself and your congregation to #PrayFastAct on June 21:
- Read the June Advocacy Resource for more information on disaster preparedness and specific disaster preparedness government programs and policies supported by the ELCA.
- Visit ELCA.org/PrayFastAct to watch a message from The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA.
- Check out the Congregational Disaster Preparedness Guidebook and Lutheran Disaster Response this week to learn more about the ELCA’s work to prepare for and respond to disasters.
- Learn about ways that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing support for disaster-stricken areas, and future directions for the Agency.
- Look out for the #PrayFastAct action alert on Thursday, June 21, and join us as we pray, fast, and advocate together.
“We lift up those affected by death by suicide, and we pray that those who feel desperate can find peace and answers by talking and receiving care. May we be open to hear their cries for help.”
With some prominent people committing suicide recently, we want to make sure people know there are resources available to help anyone through tough times. Asking for help is a sign of strength.
Faith communities can change the world by speaking up about suicide prevention and mental illness in this new century.
Consider using this TED Talk for a training / discussion in your congregation / community:
Dixon Chibanda is one of 12 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe — for a population of more than 16 million. Realizing that his country would never be able to scale traditional methods of treating those with mental health issues, Chibanda helped to develop a beautiful solution powered by a limitless resource: grandmothers. In this extraordinary, inspirational talk, learn more about the friendship bench program, which trains grandmothers in evidence-based talk therapy and brings care, and hope, to those in need.
Featured Resources for June
Juneteenth and our Shared Humanity
The second-most famous Juneteenth celebration came in 1968, just months after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and during the disintegration of the remnants of what could properly be called the Civil-Rights Movement. The holiday exists as a national rather than a local Texan phenomenon today partly because of the decision by King’s associate Ralph Abernathy and widow Coretta Scott King to cut short the posthumous Poor People’s March on June 19 and commemorate it with Juneteenth celebrations. The holiday dispersed through the post-Great Migration black American diaspora as a sort of homegoing for King and the other lives lost to insurgent white supremacist violence. And like many black homegoings, it found a way to fuse sorrow and jubilation. What Abernathy and Coretta Scott King knew was that fusion was the only way to continue the work without breaking.
In the spirit of that 1968 observance, it is clear that now more than ever Juneteenth is a necessary cornerstone of the American tradition, and a worthy public holiday today. It is worthy because of the dizzying contradiction at its core—and all American holidays have at least a touch of contradiction. It is both a second Independence Day and a reminder of ongoing oppression and continuing forms of stricture. It is a memorial to the dead and a remonstrance to those who killed them. It is a clear articulation of the fact that America can never be free until her people are free, and a celebration of the people who have worked to make it so. Juneteenth is the purest distillation of the evils that still plague America, and a celebration of the good people who fought those evils. It is tragedy and comedy, hope and setbacks.
As a national holiday, Juneteenth, immersed as it is both in the canon of old history and in the ongoing struggle for civil rights, would be the only one that celebrates liberty in America as it actually is: delayed.
To learn more of our shared history, please read this History.com article, What Is Juneteenth?, and this PBS.org article from their African American History Blog, What Is Juneteenth? You can also learn more from this SmithsonianMag.com article, Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day.
Living Lutheran tapped The Rev. Dr. Martin Otto Zimmann to write a series of articles to help us understand and begin to shift our world toward real and authentic love for our neighbor. He is adjunct professor of church and society at United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg campus, and holds a Ph.D. in American culture studies. Please take the time to read and pray on these important lessons for us all.
Perspective: The strange fruit of Good Friday (part 4 of 6)
Perspective: Yearning for reconciliation is not enough (part 5 of 6)
Perspective: The neighbor we’ve ignored for too long (part 6 of 6)
While God has called and continues to call women of color as leaders in this church, their ministry experiences have often been met with challenges. This Living Lutheran cover story, Called and chosen, shares eight excerpts from “God’s Faithfulness on the Journey,” the ELCA rostered women of color project. The project presents contributors’ stories in their own voices, helping break the silence and celebrate women of color in this church.
We are called to be a publicly engaged church. Download sign templates used at the April rally against racism in D.C. with the National Council of Churches.
Save the Date
This training is being hosted by our partners at United Way of Tarrant County.
This is not your average board training.
The Bolder Board Training helps nonprofit boards awaken, articulate, and pursue their most magnificent dreams. It teaches boards how to work with their leaders to create audacious possibilities for impact. It is the first board training designed specifically to offer boards a pragmatic and conscientious alternative to the culture of financial deprivation and constriction that they often find themselves upholding. It is not a traditional training on governance and finance. It is an immersion in possibility and aspiration that positively and radically disrupts traditional ways of thinking. The Training takes place over the course of approximately seven hours. It is part lecture, part workshop. It is designed specifically for boards. Organizations are encouraged to bring as many of their board members as possible. The Training can also serve as a powerful first day to a board retreat.
The training liberates natural leadership instincts from the constraints of our cultural mindset about charity. It helps boards become conscious of persistent, limiting assumptions. It is based on the idea that we are at our best, most fully alive, and most impactful when we are challenging assumptions of impossibility – often that we didn’t even know we had.
The training is led by Dan Pallotta.
Dan invented the multi-day charitable event industry with the AIDSRides, Breast Cancer 3-Days, and Out of the Darkness suicide prevention events, which raised over half a billion dollars in nine years and were the subject of one of the first Harvard Business School case studies on social enterprise. His 2013 TED talk on philanthropy has been viewed more than 4.3 million times and is one of the 100 most-viewed TED talks of all time. His book, “Uncharitable,” is the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press. The Stanford Social Innovation Review said that it “deserves to become the nonprofit sector’s new manifesto.” He is a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review online. He is widely credited with changing the national conversation about impact and overhead in charity in America.
Recent Blog Post
(https://www.ntnl.org/lirs-and-serving-our-neighbors/ – published Jun. 16)
Where in the world is?
- Jun. 16-22 – Family vacation
- Jun. 24 – Messiah, Weatherford
- Jun. 17-20 – Vacation (attending 100th anniversary celebration at home congregation in Wisconsin)
- Jun. 24 – Preaching at Bethany, Dallas
- Jun. 21 – NT-NL Stewardship Team meeting, Briarwood
- Jun. 24-27: the tAble: an ELCA gathering of youth with disabilities, Houston, TX
- Jun. 24-27: The ELCA Multicultural Youth Leadership Event, Houston, TX
- Jun. 27-Jul. 1: 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering, Houston, TX
- Jul. 19-20: Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM) Regional Conference, Richland Hills, 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.