Public Witness in the ELCA
In their social statement on Church in Society, the ELCA sets forth the precedent that, “Faithful participation in society is integral and vital to the mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” The ELCA is made up of many committees working boldly and providing public witness in some of the most challenging aspects of community, including advocacy, corporate social responsibility, racial justice, science and ethics, peacemaking, justice for women, social issues, and community organizing. Learn more about the ELCA as a publicly engaged church at www.elca.org.
Public Witness in Our Synod
The Bishop’s Committee for Public Witness consists of work groups with a mission to provide witness to the synod's Statement of Purpose. The work groups receive support of synod staff as they take on issues specific to their mission. Currently, these work groups include: ENGAGE; Anti-Racism and Multiculturalism Work Group; Cherish All Children Ministry Team; and Weaving Together an End to Hunger Work Group. If you are interested in forming a public witness work group, contact the bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.224.4313.
Connecting Congregations with Jail and Prison Ministry
The Connecting Congregations with Jail and Prison Ministry work group seeks to develop a comprehensive resource for congregations to use to engage in jail and prison ministry. Offering Biblical and theological preparation, the resource will prepare the congregation to understand the need for this type of ministry, as well as its own gifts it offers, examining options for the congregation, training for those who commit to this ministry, and evaluation of the ministry as it unfolds.
The working group will identify and work with a pilot congregation using a template or model for conducting a simple start-up ministry. Later, using lessons-learned and best practices, the working group will offer more complex follow-on opportunities and a second pilot.
The Connecting Congregations with Jail and Prison Ministry work group has to mission to demonstrate expanded connectivity between members of congregations and those who are incarcerated in Minnesota's jails and prisons. It will show approved, safe ways to live out the love that Christ describes in Matthew 25 to prisoners. For more information, contact Deacon Jerry Dufeck at email@example.com or 651.315.3976.
The mission of ENGAGE is to meditate on, educate about, and advocate for gun violence prevention in the nonviolent Spirit of Jesus Christ. In Minnesota, there are about 90 homicides and 350 gun suicides each year. Nationally, there are about 12,000 gun homicides and 20,000 gun suicides annually. The United States has the highest rate of gun deaths among all Western nations. Sadly, two shooters, Dylan Klebold at Columbine in Colorado, and Dylann Roof at Mother Immanuel Church in Charleston, were ELCA youth. The ELCA “has skin in this gun violence game.”
ENGAGE seeks to lessen gun violence in our homes, schools, places of work and worship. The team will provide for conversation on Sunday mornings, weekday evenings, or at other times. The content is Biblical, musical, factual, and action oriented. If interested or have questions, contact the Rev. Ron Letnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-291-4003.
Anti-Racism & Multiculturalism Work Group
The Anti-Racism & Multiculturalism Work Group continues the work on Becoming a Multicultural Church as outlined in resolution 2010-1 and 2012-5, affirming the commitment to address anti-racism with intentional strategies by people of faith, whereas the Church cannot become multicultural without also becoming anti-racist.
The work group exists to curate tools for raising awareness of racial injustice, convene a cohort of congregational leaders ready to confront racism and dig deeper on the issues, and to encourage Saint Paul Area Synod congregations to move beyond awareness into advocacy and activism. For more information, contact Lynnette Zika at email@example.com.
Cherish All Children Ministry Team
Cherish All Children Ministry Team works to educate and engage congregations in action to prevent child sexual exploitation. They will be connecting with each Saint Paul Area Synod congregation in 2017 to provide information about the issue of child sexual exploitation and how they may engage your congregation in prayer, education, and action. Adult forums, internet safety training, and other educational opportunities are available.
More about Cherish All Children can be found at www.cherishallchildren.org. Contact Mike Banks of St. Paul Reformation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.644.5974 to learn more about engaging with Cherish All Children.