Equality

  • “Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7).

    In the presence of the human suffering, anxiety and tragedy in the AIDS crisis, we commit ourselves anew to the ministry of caring. The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recognizes with gratitude the service of those who care for people with AIDS and their loved ones. It urges church members to support this ministry and to serve those who are suffering with respect and compassion. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), often with an intensity greater than many diseases, calls us to remember our common humanity. The suffering of persons with AIDS demonstrates anew that life for all is vulnerable, limited, and broken, yet also graced with courage, hope and reconciliation. As a disease that affects women, men and children around the world, it shows how closely we are bound together in relationships of mutual trust, need and responsibility.

  • My sisters and brothers in Christ, as I write to you now for a third week, inviting us to a time of prayer leading to action as a congregation, action rising up against racial injustice; as I write to you I find myself thinking about how we may need to recognize our weakness in order to let the strength and clarity of God be our guide.

    The apostle Paul wrote that in answer to his prayers for help in his own struggles, he heard God say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) These words of encouragement, to find strength through acknowledging vulnerability; these words deserve to ring still in our hearts today.

  • A Movement Led by the Metropolitan New York Synod

    MILWALKEE, August 7, 2019 — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), today at the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly declared itself a Sanctuary Denomination, dedicated to serving and supporting the protection of migrants in communities nationwide. The ELCA is the first mainstream church body in America to declare itself a sanctuary denomination. The movement was spearheaded by the Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS), one of the 65 synods of the ELCA.

    “Christians have offered sanctuary for two thousand years, continuing an ancient biblical practice in which cities and houses of worship provided refuge and asylum for people fleeing injustice,” stated Christopher Vergara, who serves as chairperson of MNYS’s AMMPARO/Sanctuary Ministry. “Beginning in the 1980s, the Sanctuary Movement was a faith-based initiative to protect Central American refugees fleeing civil war and seeking safety in the United States. Today, the New Sanctuary Movement is a revived effort to protect undocumented migrants from needless jailing procedures and deportation, and to address the dire situation within the Department of Health and Human Services that has resulted in the stripping of services to refugees and unaccompanied children.”

  • The risen Christ needs our hands and hearts, for we are living in crazy and sad times.

    Jesus stands on the Lakeshore in today’s gospel and tells Peter to “feed my sheep” in a three-fold pattern that echoes Peter’s denial of Jesus before the rooster crowed on that fateful morning when Jesus was taken captive, when Jesus was taken to be crucified.

  • There are many phrases from today’s gospel lesson that might echo in our hearts and souls after hearing them. I want to invite us to consider two of them. One, a question, “Who is my neighbor?” and the other, an imperative invitation, “Go and do likewise.”

    The first of these phrases, the question “Who is my neighbor?” is asked by a lawyer within the context of having a conversation with Jesus. After asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, the lawyer, prompted by Jesus, gives his own answer by quoting first Deuteronomy 6:5 and then Leviticus 19:8,

    "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)

    Jesus tells the lawyer that he has answered correctly and then, perhaps bolstered by Jesus affirming his own right answers, the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?” Upon hearing that question, Jesus launches into the parable of the Good Samaritan to try and explain heaven’s wonders in earthly terms.

  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to walk in solidarity with our brown and black sisters and brothers in the work of Undoing Racism. To this end, as many of you have now heard, we are asked to pray on the way to action as a congregation. On June 28th we will gather after worship for a Community Meeting to discuss our initial feelings and thoughts. If the Spirit so leads, we may even make some decisions on the 28th about some short term steps we might take as a community to make a difference: further study and discussion, linking arms with a local organization or organizations, placing a Black Lives Matter sign on the front lawn of the church, or other ideas you bring.

    One thing is certain: we cannot stay silent as a Church, even though some or many of us may feel ill-equipped to know what to do or how to do it.

  • We must stay on course. Racism is real. White privilege is real. Rising up as people of faith to be part of Christ’s resurrection work to enact long term change is a holy calling that many of us may only just be waking up to.

    We will probably need to keep repeating these phrases. We will probably need to keep reminding ourselves and each other that this is present day work building for a long haul, long term effort. Especially as we move out of week 5 and then with God’s help month 5 and then with God’s help year 5. Especially as surface layers of racial equity get addressed and other major national and global issues present themselves and we get tempted to get distracted or lulled back into complacency.

  • What do Pentecost and Marching in the Hudson Valley Pride Parade have in common? Certainly both were joyful. Certainly both were colorful. Certainly both were a chance for folks to get involved. But most of all, both of these recent celebrations represent the work of the Holy Spirit through Redeemer active for the world. 

  • To the Point: At the end of this note you will find several resources for growing our understanding of what we can do to show up for Racial Justice. On Sunday, June 28th after worship we will hold a Community Meeting to talk and pray more together. In the meantime, I invite us examine these and other resources, join the ELCA commemoration (https://www.elca.org/emanuelnine) happening on June 17th, and commit ourselves to prayer, action, and more prayer. In the face of many, many resources being circulated, and many organizations and ways to help being shared, we might unintentionally shut down and not do anything. I charge us not to fall into this trap! Pick one thing today or this week; one resource listed below or another you have found. Dive deep, pray hard, and then bring your ideas and thoughts to our gathering on June 28th so that together we may grow stronger for the sake of Christ’s redeeming work in Undoing Racism.

  • Answering the call to take care of the stranger among us, the Metropolitan New York Synod declared itself a sanctuary synod and a welcoming synod in the ELCA´'s AMMPARO Network. The word “amparo,” in Spanish, means the protection of a living creature from suffering or damage.

    The ELCA’s strategy to Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO) was envisioned after witnessing the plight of children who were, and continue to be forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement and lack of opportunities in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. At its March meeting, the synod council once again answered a call to care for migrant minors in our synod, by establishing our synod’s Sanctuary/AMMPARO Ministry.

  • Telling people that God loves them is good theology.
    Showing people that [God] loves them is what transforms the world.
    —Jim Palmer

    God be with us as we seek to live out our discipleship in the world.

    Last week I attended my first ever Churchwide Assembly, held this year in Milwaukee. It was a first-hand experience of the Church at work. We did a lot of work, some of it difficult, some of it a bit tedious but all of it important.

    I could not be more proud of the Metro NY Synod delegation! Among the sixteen of us, there was consistent, outspoken witness for the sake of the poor, the marginalized, the hurting, and the victimized in our society and in our world. Again and again, members of our synod approached the microphone to advocate for justice, rooted in the gospel and our understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Not only did we speak of God’s love, but we sought to show it, and to encourage the entire Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to show it, in order to transform the world.

  • Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

    I imagine that you are horrified - as am I - by all of the racist acts taking place around our country. These fly in the face of our understanding of how God has created all of humanity in God’s image, therefore making all lives equal and precious. I sent an invitation to our Council last week, and am now inviting us all - the people of Redeemer, as a community of faith for the world - to enter a time of prayer and action so that we might be "useful in Christ's Hands" in the work of Undoing Racism. This invitation starts now, and will likely stretch forever forward, for as long as the scourge of racism and other “isms” exist on this side of heaven, we will need Christ to equip us with the courage to rise up for the sake of Christ’s justice and love.