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, Advocates for Racial Equity (ARE), Cherish All Children Ministry Team, and Care of Creation. If you are interested in forming a public witness work group, contact Bishop Lull at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-224-4313.
Advocates for Racial Equity (ARE)
The Saint Paul Area Synod's anti-racism work is led by the Advocates for Racial Equity (ARE) work group. Their mission is to embolden our public witness by empowering God’s beloved to confront privilege and racism in and through the Saint Paul Area Synod. Their primary areas of activity are Education, Advocacy, and Direct Actions designed to build relationships and seek public accountability. Click here to learn more about the group, their activities, or review recommended resources.
Care of Creation
The Care of Creation work group believes that we are called to care for God's creation as a central part of our Christian faith and identity. The group was established in 2018 to:
- explore life-giving ideas
- share best practices within our synod, the larger church and the community
- become part of the public and teaching voice of the church
The Care of Creation team works closely with the EcoFaith Network of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod to encourage creation care awareness and action among ELCA congregations. This collaboration includes the EoFaith Network website, which contains a variety of resources, as well as a monthly Green Blades Rising newsletter. Visit https://www.ecofaithnetwork.org/. For more information contact Don Schuld at email@example.com or 651-491-2078.
Cherish All Children Ministry Team
The vision of Cherish All Children is to raise healthy generations free from sexual exploitation. The Cherish All Children Ministry Team works to educate and engage congregations in action to prevent child sexual exploitation. They offer presentations and training to adult groups, youth groups, and Confirmation class-Parent groups to educate about the issue of child sexual exploitation, online safety and healthy relationships. And they offer tools to engage your congregation in prayer, education, and action to keep all children and youth safe.
The mission of ENGAGE is to meditate on, educate about, and advocate for gun violence prevention in the nonviolent Spirit of Jesus Christ. In 2018, gun deaths in Minnesota totaled 465, of which nearly 80% were by suicide. Nationally, nearly 40,000 people died by gun in 2018, of which over 60% were by suicide. 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. You are invited to join the ENGAGE Action Team to stay informed of actions you can take if your conscience so calls -- email firstname.lastname@example.org. The team is equipped to lead conversations about gun violence prevention 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 email@example.com or 763-291-4003.
The ENGAGE website includes theological and practical resources and weekly blog posts. Go to: www.engageelca.org. Also, ENGAGE has a Facebook presence to which your comments are welcome: www.facebook.com/groups/engageelca/.