After Jim Antal’s book reading, several OSLC members have continued to meet and talk about how we as a church might want to respond to the current situation we find ourselves: the environmental and societal (economic/racial) injustice associated with global warming. How can we as individuals and a church body respond to this crisis? The group invites you to join the conversation. Contact the office for the link to the next Zoom discussion.
In the Creation Story of Genesis, after God called forth earth and sky, flora and fauna, God created humans and asked them to care for all forms of life. As God’s family, we are to be stewards of God’s creation. The future of Earth is in our hands.
As stewards of God’s creation, we have a responsibility to our neighbors. In Luke Chapter 10, we are asked: “Who is our neighbor?” In the context of the on-going climate crisis, our neighbors include not only our children and grandchildren, but also the entire global population, all future generations, all creatures, and vegetation. Our generation has a responsibility to take steps now that will have a positive effect far beyond the present moment.
The life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus the Christ, reconciles us to God, to one another, and to all of God’s Creation. We hold and live the hope that it is possible to have a new kind of world, a world infused with God’s life-giving Spirit, where creation is appreciated, respected, and protected, so that all life is nurtured. God entrusts us, people of Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry, to be God’s hands for protecting and restoring God’s Creation.
Grace and peace to you from the Triune God. It has been two months since the leadership team of this congregation made the difficult decision to move all of our ministries online and cease all in-person activities. This decision was done out of love and care for our community and our neighbors. Shortly after that decision was made, we witnessed our country and world be ravaged by COVID-19. Slews of emergency orders, federal legislation, school board decisions, summer camp closures, and public health recommendations have turned many of our lives upside down.
It is with this same commitment to loving and caring for our community and neighbors that your leadership team wishes to communicate that we will continue to worship online and virtually at least through the end of the summer, refraining from in-person gatherings.
As I write this letter to you, I can feel tears welling up from within me. I miss you. I miss our gathered community. I miss the laughter and silliness of our children. I miss the smiles exchanged after worship. I miss singing with you all and praising God. I lament the many ways that you are grieving and missing what your lives looked like just a few short months ago. We are called as Christians to make difficult decisions for the sake of the common good. As disciples of Christ, we will experience suffering. And yet, Christ suffers with us.
This decision was made in consultation with church officials, national church bodies, and public health experts. The realities are that what the church does together in worship are some of the most dangerous activities for viral spread: gathering many different households together in a common space for a length of time to speak, sing, and share a meal together. We have seen churches around the country that have reopened in the past few weeks and needed to close again due to their members becoming infected, leading to quick spread and death.
As a church, we are a people gathered around God’s Word and the sacraments. We have been faithful in centering ourselves around God’s Word these past two months, and will continue to do so. I would like to assure you that I am working diligently on a plan to celebrate and share Eucharist with you this summer, as soon as legal provisions allow.
Thank you, dear church. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your financial generosity. Thank you for your engagement. Thank you for your patience. I’d like to invite you to contact me with any questions you may have. I will also carve out some time during our Zoom coffee hour this Sunday (May 24) after worship to answer any questions you may have.
I would like to leave you with the words of Jesus to his disciples in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In the deep, abiding love of Christ,
We invite you to learn more about hunger and its impacts in the U.S. and globally at bread.org/write-congress, then please act by sending email messages to your elected officials. Sample messages are provided in the links below to help get you started. [Scroll down for the Temple Talk delivered by Paul Manganiello during our April 26, 2020 Virtual Worship Service.]
Text delivered by Paul Manganiello during virtual worship service on Sunday, April 26, 2020, the Third Sunday of Easter:
Good morning. Hope you are all doing well. My name is Paul Manganiello, a member of OSLC’s Social Ministry Committee. This is our 2020 “virtual” annual Bread for the World, Offering of Letters.
Bread will focus on childhood nutrition. In addition to continuing our advocacy work to improve global nutrition, we will also be paying attention to those experiencing hunger in the United States.
More than 820 million people in the world were food insecure in 2018, which causes many of the world’s children to suffer from malnutrition roughly 20 percent, or 150 million are not growing as they should, and malnutrition also threaten their very lives 7 percent—or roughly 50 million children under the age of 5.
The United Nation’s intervention strategy is aimed at the all-important 1,000 days, from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy through to her child’s second birthday. This time frame is critical for a child’s health and future well being. Malnutrition before the second birthday can be responsible for irreversible damage to their rapidly growing bodies and minds.
In the US, 1 in 7 children live in food-insecure homes. Children who suffer food insecurity have more headaches, stomachaches, anemia, ear infections, asthma, and colds than children from equally poor families who don’t experience food insecurity. Children with consistently nutritious diets are physically and emotionally healthier, and they do better in school and later in life overall.
As an example, in Shaw, Mississippi, Kendra Whitehead, drops her four daughters off at Delta Hands for Hope summer camp. The nonprofit, housed in a storefront across from a scenic park, is a summer meals site for children facing hunger. Summer is the hungriest time of the year for children living in food-insecure households because they do not have access to school meals. Of the roughly 22 million children who receive meals during the school year, only about 4 million benefit from nutritious summer programs—this leaves millions of children without adequate nutrition. Food programs—such as summer meals and the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), are available. They were piloted several years ago, and over time, the number of states participating and children served has increased. The program has proven effective and should be implemented nationwide.
By investing in domestic and international nutrition programs, we can help children get off to a good start and make the future better not only for them, but for all of us.
This year, we are asking that you not handwrite the letter to be mailed, but to do it electronically by going to the websites that will be provided and personalizing the sample letter given. It is extremely easy and effective. Click on the links provided.
We are also asking that you urge your legislators to increase funding for SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. More information, including the SNAP fact sheet and the online letter can be found at the link providered.
We ask you to educate yourselves about these issues with the Bread resources; pray about these issues; and act on these issues. Thank you for considering our request.
The Adult Book Group will begin discussing Climate Church, Climate World by the Rev. Jim Antal on Sunday February 9 at 9:30 a.m. in the Emmaus Room. Climate Church, Climate World argues that climate change is the greatest moral challenge humanity has ever faced. Hunger, refugees, poverty, inequality, deadly viruses, war—climate change multiplies all forms of global social injustice. Environmental leader Jim Antal presents a compelling case that it’s time for the church to meet this moral challenge, just as the church addressed previous moral challenges. He suggests ways people of faith can reorient what they prize through new approaches to worship, preaching, witnessing and other spiritual practices that honor creation and cultivate hope. Books are available by ordering on Amazon. If you order through the publisher, you may enter promo code RLFANDF30 at checkout for a 30% discount. You are welcome to join the discussion any Sunday!
View this brief video to learn how the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is addressing Creation Care. You will can find additional resources from the ELCA here.