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Topics - mj4

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Your Turn / LIRS World Refugee Day Worship Service
« on: June 21, 2020, 04:08:12 PM »
A reminder that even though the US has drastically reduced the number of refugees it accepts, there is still work to be done. So we celebrate World Refugee Day with worship.

Even if we don't worship you, the stones will worship you,
if we don't shout and make noise by praising, the stones
will shout and make noise by saying you deserve praise,
respect and glory forever and ever.

If you are of a generation that thinks that because the stock market is doing well the economy is flourishing, take a look at why younger generations may see things differently:

Your Turn / Migrants in detention deserve dignity, sanitary conditions
« on: April 27, 2020, 09:44:35 AM »
Let's not forget those held in detention centers during this pandemic.

An opinion piece from LIRS:

While anxious shoppers across the country stockpile toilet paper and hand sanitizer in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, immigrants at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, struggle to make their lone bar of soap last the week. Even more so now, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has confirmed at least 9 positive cases among detainees in the facility and 23 cases among personnel, according to the private prison contractor, CoreCivic, that operates the detention center.

If they want to wash their hands more frequently or with liquid soap per the CDC’s handwashing recommendations, they must use their commissary accounts – that is, if they have any money at all. Those fortunate enough can buy basic supplies like soap or toothpaste at more than double, or even five times the price they’d pay outside. Only some have the opportunity to earn money by working at their detention facilities, often for a salary of $1 per day. Migrants literally cannot afford the soap to keep themselves safe.

And this soap shortage is only the tip of the iceberg. Nearly every day since the pandemic began, leaders from former ICE acting director John Sandweng to medical experts for the Department of Homeland Security have been calling for the release of the nearly 32,000 migrants in ICE custody to help mitigate further outbreak. In late March, 3,000 medical professionals sent a letter to ICE urging them to reduce the detention population. It responded instead by increasing the number of detainees by 700 within that same week. Despite the agency’s announcement that they would limit enforcement and arrests during the pandemic, raids have continued — including in New York, the crisis’ U.S. epicenter.

Migrant detention centers are, as many have called them, tinderboxes. Close quarters, substandard hygiene supplies, and a failure to adhere to CDC recommendations means that the spread of the virus in these facilities is nearly inevitable. Just this past summer, a mumps outbreak quickly spread through 57 facilities across the U.S. — and already, 267 migrant detainees and 123 ICE personnel have tested positive for coronavirus nationwide.

And yet, efforts to release inmates from prison to stop the spread of COVID-19 have been far more effective than calls to release ICE detainees. Just shy of 32,000 domestic prisoners have been released or diverted from penitentiary facilities nationwide, according to the UCLA School of Law’s “COVID-19 Behind Bars” project. Meanwhile, no more than 700 migrants have been released from ICE detention across the country – with hundreds of men and women above the age of 60 still in custody. Why can we not show the same level-headed compassion to the tens of thousands of migrants with no criminal record?

Seeking a better life should not be a death sentence — and migrants are trying to raise the alarm, despite ICE’s attempts to silence them. Guards at three ICE detention facilities in Louisiana and Texas have used force to suppress protests over coronavirus concerns. We’ve also seen at least five hunger strikes by detainees to secure more hygiene supplies or their release from crowded facilities, where implementing social distancing is impossible.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is proud to stand with these migrants in the fight for their lives. The coronavirus pandemic is a time of unprecedented uncertainty for all of us, but it is a time, too, for us to acknowledge and embrace our shared humanity.

There are so many ways to help our brothers and sisters in detention: write letters, donate to a visitation program that places funds in migrants’ commissary accounts, urge your elected officials to support humane alternatives to detention, or simply spread the word about the inhumanity faced by those in ICE detention.

Empathy can’t be detained. Compassion can’t be kept in cages. Hope can’t be quarantined.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah is the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of the nation’s oldest and largest immigration nonprofits.
John Moeller is the President and CEO of Atlanta-based Inspiritus and a Board Member of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Your Turn / Bishop Munib Younan and the Sunhak Peace Prize
« on: February 09, 2020, 06:04:57 PM »
Clarification from the Lutheran World Federation regarding Bishop Munib Younan and the Sunhak Peace Prize
30 January 2020

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has been informed that Bishop Dr Munib Younan will be awarded the Sunhak peace prize on 5 February. The prize was instituted to continue the legacy of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church.

LWF has received expressions of concern from several of its member churches, given what the Unification Church stands for, and the fact that Bishop Younan served as president of the LWF from 2010-2017.

The LWF has brought these concerns and the implications of receiving the prize to the attention of Bishop Younan.

Bishop Younan has informed the LWF that he will accept this prize as a private person and not as a representative of the LWF.

The LWF and its member churches have no relationship with the Unification Church. The awarding and acceptance of the Sunhak Peace Prize by Bishop Younan does not involve or commit the LWF in any way.

What risks are evident in a prominent Lutheran clergy person receiving an award from a church or organization whose teachings are not compatible with Lutheran teaching. Have you ever been offered an award from such an organization, say a Masonic Lodge or a partisan political organization? What did you do? Is it possible to accept the award as an individual without it reflecting upon your own church?

While we lament the seemingly endless bad news of Lutheran decline, there are still signs of hope. The NALC and ACNA are holding a joint Discipleship conference in February. Orlando in February...hmm.

Your Turn / Joe Biden denied communion
« on: October 29, 2019, 07:11:49 PM »
Another related topic to clerical involvement in politics is how clergy should handle communing politicians whose public positions are contrary to church teaching. Take, for example, the recent case of Joe Biden who opposes abortion but doesn't believe he should impose his views on others.

(CNN) - Former Vice President Joe Biden was denied communion Sunday at a Catholic church in South Carolina over his support for abortion rights.

Father Robert Morey, the pastor at Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, told the Florence Morning News that he had denied Biden communion because "any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching."

"Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that," Morey said in an email to the newspaper. He said that "as a priest, it is my responsibility to minister to those souls entrusted to my care, and I must do so even in the most difficult situations. I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers."

Morey did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment on Tuesday. Biden declined to address the matter Tuesday on MSNBC.

"I am not going to discuss that. That is just my personal life," he said.

Biden has said he would seek to codify Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that established women's abortion rights nationwide -- a move that could protect that right from mounting legal challenges from Republican-led states.

He has also said he would seek to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, the federal law that bars federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions, except in the cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. Biden previously supported the Hyde Amendment but reversed his position earlier this year amid criticism from his 2020 Democratic presidential rivals.

Biden, in the 2012 vice presidential debate, said he personally opposes abortion.

Do you agree with Biden who makes the distinction between a personal position and public policy position? Or do you think his view of the issue is inconsistent and unworkable? Have you ever denied communion to a public figure for the same or a similar issue?

Julie Hirschfeld Davis; Shear, Michael D. New York Times (Online), New York: New York Times Company. Sep 6, 2019.

WASHINGTON — The White House is considering a plan that would effectively bar refugees from most parts of the world from resettling in the United States by cutting back the decades-old program that admits tens of thousands of people each year who are fleeing war, persecution and famine, according to current and former administration officials.

In meetings over the past several weeks, one top administration official has proposed zeroing out the program altogether, while leaving the president with the ability to admit refugees in an emergency. Another option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for refugees from a few handpicked countries or groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad....

...Advocates of the nearly 50-year refugee program inside and outside the administration fear that approach would effectively starve the program, making it impossible to resettle even those narrow populations.

Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting.

Your Turn / EFCA Now Considers Premillennialism a Non-Essential
« on: August 23, 2019, 04:42:04 PM »
In a good move, our Pietistic Free Church cousins drop Premillennialism from their Statement of Faith.

I mention this because this church body descends from Scandinavian Lutherans. They have been heavily influenced by American Revivalism, of course, but it’s nice to see that they have the capacity to walk back that influence even a little. It raises the question of what capacity various churches have for backing off from a peculiar doctrine that would set it apart from the larger tradition of which it might once have been a part.

Your Turn / ACNA offers the Book of Common Prayer 2019
« on: July 05, 2019, 04:08:09 PM »
The ACNA has published a new BCP. I find two points particularly interesting. First, I understand that it may lean a bit more on the Protestant side of Anglicanism. Perhaps some of you have an opinion about that. Secondly, I understand that the Psalter is an updated version of the Coverdale Psalter. Apparently the CoE commissioned C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot to do the update, but their work never made it into a CoE prayer book. This new book employs that version. So, probably different from the ELW version.

Your Turn / A defining moment for the Evangelical Covenant Church
« on: June 20, 2019, 01:38:46 PM »
At their Annual Meeting in Omaha, June 27-29, our Pietist cousins in the Evangelical Covenant Church will face a familiar controversy. At issue is the possible involuntary dismissal of First Covenant Church, Minneapolis. Charges have been brought against the church which revolve around issues of human sexuality and the degree of freedom local churches have in determining their own course. 

From First Covenant:

From John Wenrich, President, The Evangelical Covenant Church:

Your Turn / The North American Lutheran Seminary Presidential Search
« on: February 26, 2019, 04:24:40 PM »
No one from NALC posted this, so I thought I would. Who would you like to see as president of The North American Lutheran Seminary?

The North American Lutheran Seminary Presidential Search
The Board of Regents of the North American Lutheran Seminary and the Presidential Search Committee invite applications for the position of president of the North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS) in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. The NALS presidency offers the exciting opportunity to lead an ambitious theological school well-positioned to achieve its next level of success through a continued commitment to academic rigor, student-centered success, the Great Commission and strong articulation of the Core Values of the North American Lutheran Church. The NALS is the sole seminary of the North American Lutheran Church and is yoked with Trinity School for Ministry. Applications are entirely confidential, reviewed by the Presidential Search Committee only, and should be submitted no later than March 29, 2019.  The next president will assume office on or around July 1, 2019. Refer questions about the position to Dr. Roy Schwarz, Chair NALS Board of Regents, at 540-678-8748.

Your Turn / LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« on: February 13, 2019, 12:51:08 PM »
Prayers and best wishes for LIRS and their new president and CEO.

Baltimore—LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is excited to announce the appointment of Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, former Policy Director to First Lady Michelle Obama, as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective February 13, 2019.

Your Turn / United Lutheran Seminary
« on: October 15, 2018, 07:20:21 PM »
United has issued a Draft Welcome and Equity Statement. Lot's of affirming going on.

"As a community of the saved and forgiven people of God, United Lutheran Seminary is called to minister to and affirm all people, knowing that the world is often a place of alienation and brokenness. Indeed, the church and even this institution have participated in and perpetuated harm to many marginalized persons. However, we firmly believe that Christ calls us to repentance, reconciliation, and wholeness. We are challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing within our society."

Your Turn / ELCA Rostered Ministers Gathering, August 7-10, 2017
« on: August 08, 2017, 03:10:31 PM »
So is anybody attending the ELCA Rostered Ministers Gathering? If so, what can you tell us?

Here's the story:

I found particularly interesting a sentence that reminds me of the ELCA decisions of 2009,

"This decision ends a history of conflict between supporters and opponents of Church wedding for same-sex couples."

So it's really a global phenomena that once a church reaches a certain tipping point and the advocates of change pass their innovation, the matter is settled. No more conflict.

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