SocialJustice

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • 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.