“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?” —Jeremiah 8:22
Our hearts grieve for those who have been killed and our souls cry out against more lives lost to the hatred birthed by racism. As we mourn those lives lost as a result of the racially motivated killings in Buffalo, we ask God to ease the continued suffering and trauma of our Black siblings throughout the nation and in our church. We are one body in Christ, so when one part suffers, we all suffer.
We of the ELCA acknowledge our complicity in the ongoing cycle of violence that grows out of white supremacy. “Through colonization and slavery, the United States of America helped to create and embrace a system of valuing and devaluing people based on skin color and ethnic identity,” the National Council of Churches declared in 2020. “The name for this system is white supremacy.” As a predominantly white church, we benefit from this system, and we must double our efforts to dismantle it.
In 2019 the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted the social policy resolution “Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric.” Through this action we committed to pushing back and speaking out against racist ideas that divide God’s children and perpetuate white supremacy in our church and society. At the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518, Martin Luther reminded us that “a theology of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.” Calling a thing what it actually is can be a first step toward healing the wounds of God’s people, but not the last. We must take real and lasting action now—through education, relationship-building with Historic Black Churches, ongoing anti-racism education, advocacy, and self-reflection. Churches have a foundational role in eradicating racism and white supremacy in society.
The ELCA’s European Descent Lutheran Association for Racial Justice (a network of white leaders committed to anti-racism in our church) calls upon all ELCA members, especially white congregations and leaders, to join their communities and other congregations in prayer, study and actions utilizing many churchwide and ecumenical resources. The association will host a drop-in Zoom call on Tuesday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. Advance registration is required at bit.ly/DropInGathering.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.3 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
As Christians, we are called to seek justice, care for those experiencing hunger and poverty, and embrace our Creator’s vision of hope, love, and peace. We are called to embody it in public as we commit to live in solidarity with those who are made vulnerable by the inequities that drive hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
Letters are a strong witness of community concerns and personal testimonies. Over the years, letters and emails from congregations, campuses, and community groups have helped inspire our leaders in Washington, D.C., to pass legislative victories that reduce hunger in the U.S. and around the world.
This year, Bread for the World is asking for your help urging legislators to permanently expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Expanding the CTC permanently would do more to reduce hunger and poverty among our nation’s children than any single policy has in decades.
Excerpted from the May 2022 issue of the ELCA’s Ecumenical and Inter-Religious News
Greetings of peace and prayers for continued health.
A week ago, our Muslim neighbors ended the holy month of Ramadan with the joyous celebration of Eid al-Fitr. For much of April, Christians and Muslims journeyed through their respective periods of fasting, prayer, and reflection, as Lent and Ramadan coincided. During this holy time of confluence between Christians and Muslims, The ELCA Church Council unanimously adopted “A Declaration of the ELCA to the Muslim Community” affirming our friendship and solidarity with Muslims, nurtured over time through meaningful cooperation, dialogue, and common action.Continue reading ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious News
Advocate for Others: As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. God uses our hands, through our direct service work and our voices, through our advocacy efforts, to restore and reconcile our world. Through faithful advocacy, the ELCA lives out our Lutheran belief that governments can help advance the common good. Get involved by visiting the ELCA Advocacy Action Center.
Donate Additional Pantry Items: Current Top Needs: Canned beans, rice, tomatoes, toothbrushes, canned tuna, and can openers. Always Needed: peanut butter, pasta of all kinds, canned vegetables, pasta sauce, soups, macaroni and cheese, canned tomatoes, and canned fruit. Also needed, Personal Items: shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products. You can learn more about the Upper Valley Haven here. You may bring donations directly to the Haven or bring them to worship on Sunday and make sure they get there.
Sign up to Volunteer at Cover – Outdoor Projects Every Week! The COVER Home Repair program relies on the participation of community volunteers like you. By lending a hand with home improvement projects, you can help greatly improves the quality of life for local families, elderly, and mobility challenged. It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills. View volunteer opportunities and sign up here!
We have a number of people who have been worshipping with us who are interested in joining this community of faith on mission as we seek to live into God’s mercy, justice, and love. If you might be interested in learning more, please reach out to Pastor Kyle – he would love to talk with you. No high-pressure sales tactics, just holy conversation, we promise!