Youth Gathering FINAL Deadline
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Welcome Congress Back with a Phone Call on the Farm Bill
From the ELCA Advocacy Update:
FARM BILL TEXT RELEASED: The House Agriculture Committee marked up the first version of the 2018 farm bill in mid-April, sending it to the floor of the House of Representatives. The proposed bill, which would make significant changes to nutrition and anti-hunger programs such as SNAP, was cleared on a strict 26-20 party-line vote.
The farm bill covers a wide-encompassing set of policies, including rural development, international aid, conservation programs and more. Policies that curb hunger and malnutrition, support vibrant agricultural economies in rural communities, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources are critical values to the faith community. Interested advocates can learn more by reading the ELCA Farm Bill 101 fact sheet on the Advocacy Resource Page.
Numerous food banks, faith groups and service providers voiced concern over newly added work requirements and changes to SNAP eligibility in the bill, which could displace over a million people currently eligible for hunger assistance. ELCA Advocacy shared an action alert for advocates to take action on the Farm Bill shortly after the draft legislative text was released. Advocates are strongly encouraged to take action this month as Congress advances the bill.
From our partners at Texas Impact:
As people of faith, we must raise our voices and defend nutrition programs as an important lifeline for our most vulnerable neighbors.
Our elected officials should support policies that strengthen these programs and put us on a path to eliminating hunger in the United States and around the world. We call on Congress to oppose the House Farm Bill and Protect SNAP. See the United Methodist Action Alert opposing the House Farm Bill.
The “Farm Bill” is an enormous piece of legislation that determines a broad range of U.S. food and agriculture policies–from supports for farmers and funding for rural development to efforts surrounding food insecurity and nutrition.
The Farm Bill is renewed every 5 years to make sure it stays up-to-date and can change according to developing technology and changing economic conditions. The Farm Bill impacts everyone in the United States and usually is a bipartisan effort.
That’s why advocates for the poor are outraged that congressional Republican leaders have built harsh new barriers to food assistance into the bill. Faith communities across the country oppose the version of the Farm Bill that passed out of the House Agriculture Committee, chaired by Texas Congressman Mike Conway.
Texas Impact has posted links to a number of denominational resources, along with our podcast featuring the Central Texas Food Bank’s Kathy Green and our podcast featuring Bishop Michael Rinehart. Read all the information here, and then call your member of Congress!
Pray. Fast. Act.
On Monday, May 21, we join with the Episcopal Church in our monthly commitment to #PrayFastAct. This month, we center to focus on assistance to veterans and their family members. New investments and policies in recent years have helped to expand veteran access to education, labor opportunities, healthcare, and housing. Yet too many veterans, active service members, and their families still struggle with complex challenges, ranging from barriers to benefits and increased mental health risks, to the impacts of the opioid crisis and more. Each returning service member has unique needs—and this month’s action supports effective public policies to meet those needs.
Many ELCA rostered leaders have long served as chaplains in medical centers and on bases across the world. In addition to advocating with and for veterans, congregations can play very important roles in direct engagement. Hosting local events, such as 12-step recovery groups, are often an essential and much-needed service in communities. Training videos and resources for clergy and churches interested in engagement can be found on the Veterans Affairs webpage, and ELCA-specific resources for ministers and chaplains can be found at elca.org/Resources/Federal-Chaplains.
2018 Synod Assembly Summary
If you missed the summary of our 2018 Synod Assembly, including the results of our elections, you can access that information in our NT-NL News for Monday, April 30.
Featured Resources for May
Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month (also called Mental Health Month) has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, started by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health), reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings.
“The Body of Christ and Mental Illness” seeks to raise awareness of the challenges of mental illness, offer reflection and direction, and inspire action. This social message notes how mental illness makes the most basic aspects of everyday life daunting and sketches some of the challenges. These include the challenges to human dignity and difficulties in gaining access to treatment, problems that worsen existing social inequalities and lapses in the U.S. health care system.
The message puts to rest the notions that mental illness is an indicator of special sin in the family or the person suffering from it. It emphasizes the church’s role in encouraging companionship and healing, via restoration of relationships — heeding Galatians 6:2. What people with mental illness most need is time to pursue and engage in treatment, and to maintain or create relationships where they can exercise their abilities. Throughout the many forms of ministry the church provides, the church is called to confront practices that do not uphold human dignity and to offer hope and companionship, and attend to its own practices around health, its public voice, and the sensitive and thoughtful preparation of church leaders.
You can read or download the full social message on “The Body of Christ and Mental Illness.” This social message was adopted in 2012 by the Church Council of the ELCA.
You can also access A Leader’s Guide for Congregational Study: ELCA Message on Mental Illness.
Choose a theme below that resonates with you and your community and click on the bolded text for more resources:
Each year in mid-March, Mental Health America releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, Mental Health America, its affiliates, and other organizations host a number of activities, which are based on a different theme each year. The theme for 2018 is Fitness #4Mind4Body.
Bring Change 2 Mind, in partnership with Brandon Marshall’s Project 375, launched #StrongerThanStigma to raise awareness around the unique challenges that men face when discussing mental health, to encourage open dialogue, and to promote help seeking behavior.
#StrongerThanStigma features four inspirational male figures from professional sports leagues, television, and the music industry who have each made mental health advocacy a part of their platform. These headliners are Brandon Marshall, NFL All-Pro wide receiver for the New York Jets; Ben Scrivens, NHL goalie for the Montreal Canadiens; Michael Angelakos, lead singer of indietronica band Passion Pit; and Wayne Brady, comedian and actor. Each man either lives with a mental health diagnosis or has chosen to serve as an empathetic advocate, and shares his story and encourages men to start the conversation and end the stigma.
In 2018, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) will promote the theme of “CureStigma” throughout all awareness events, including Mental Health Month. One in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it. There is good news. Stigma is 100% curable. Compassion, empathy, and understanding are the antidote. Your voice can spread the cure. Together we can #CureStigma.
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/james-avery-and-augustana-heritage/ – published May 10)
Where in the world is?
- May 18 – Candidacy Committee meeting, Briarwood
- May 19 – Mission Endowment Fund board meeting, Our Redeemer, Grand Prairie
- May 19 – The Vigil of Pentecost, St. John’s, Dallas
- May 20 – Shepherd of Life, Arlington
- May 10-15 – Vacation
- May 18-19 – Candidacy Committee meetings, Briarwood
- May 20 – Mt. Olive, Dallas
- May 17 – Meeting with SAWL Angel Villalobos, Irving
- May 19 – Teaching at PLMA, Briarwood
- May 14: Dr. Michael W. Waters to discuss Stakes Is High: Race, Faith, and Hope for America, Dallas, TX
- May 15: Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber: “Stop saying the church is dying!”, Fort Worth, TX
- May 19: MEF Board meeting, Grand Prairie, TX
- May 19: PLMA Spring 2018, Course 3, Briarwood
- May 19: NT-NL Eastern Conference W-ELCA 2018 Spring Gathering, Shreveport, LA
- May 19: The Vigil of Pentecost, Dallas, TX
- May 20: 2018 Lutheran Campus Ministry (Denton) Golf Outing, Frisco, TX
- May 27-Jun. 1: Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry Intensive, Austin, TX
- Jun. 1-2: Building an Inclusive Church (BIC) Training, Haltom City, TX
- Jun. 10-15: Building Congregational Capacity for Hispanic Ministry, Austin, TX
- 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: ELCA Youth Gathering, Houston, 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.