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Do Justice: December 5, 2019

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Welcome to Do Justice, a semi-monthly newsletter of the Virginia Synod, lifting up God’s call and command that we, God’s people, do justice. You will find helpful info about justice ministries in congregations, around Virginia, and through the ELCA. If you have stories of justice to share from your congregation, please share those with me at bayerderrick@vasynod.org so I can share them with others in the synod!

The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick
Assistant to the Bishop

Sunday, December 1, was World AIDS Day. Globally, 37.9 million people are living with HIV. About 8.1 million of these people do not know that they are living with HIV.
The World Council of Churches offered this prayer, adapted from The Right Reverend Brighton Vita Malasa, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire MALAWI:
Lord, you are our refuge and hope. We commit to welcome each and every community member, family member, relative, friend, and co-worker who is living with HIV and AIDS. We know your unfailing love to us all for you have created us in your own image. Lord have mercy upon us, and our cry should be heard by You Merciful Lord. The Name of Jesus the healer is greater than the name of any disease or disorder including HIV and AIDS.
Yes, Lord we know that you care for your children. Remind us all to share with them what you provide to us, that in sharing we may demonstrate your unfailing love. Raise in us abundant love to one another and hope in all the situations we are in and not lose our faith in you God, the almighty.
We make this prayer trusting in your Son Jesus Christ, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
(From: World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance)

Thanksgiving in the Virginia Synod

We invited congregations across the Virginia Synod to share the many ways they served their communities during the Thanksgiving season. These are just a few of the many ways our Synod gave back during this time of thankfulness.

Grace, Chesapeake

On Sunday, December 1st, the people of Grace, Chesapeake gathered for an Intergenerational Sunday School to kick off Advent, which included tying no-sew fleece blankets and scarves for families in crisis (through Samaritan House). They tied 4 blankets and 8 scarves.

Luther Memorial, Blacksburg

Luther Memorial in Blacksburg hosted a local program called To Our House during the last 2 weeks in November, offering hot food, safe shelter and friendship to 14 persons experiencing homelessness. The men and women we host sleep in the church’s Campus Ministry Center, and over 30 congregation volunteers including The Well students took turns as hosts, overnight chaperones, setup/cleanup, meal prep and serving, and provided transportation.

St. Andrew, Portsmouth

For the past three years, St. Andrew in Portsmouth has partnered with the Portsmouth Police Department in identifying community families that need a “boost”. St. Andrew adopts three families for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and delivers all the fixings for a full turkey dinner and then collects Christmas wish lists. It is a joy for us to be able to serve our community in this way.

St. Michael, Blacksburg

St. Michael in Blacksburg has had a community dinner for the last 26 years. It was started by 5 ladies who were members of the church to fill a need in the community. It has become truly a community effort. Twelve turkeys were provided by Kroger at cost (cooked) and paid for with a grant by Thrivent Insurance company. Volunteers come from all walks of life in the community. This year we had a lady who volunteered with Habitat for Humanity contact us to volunteer before she left the area to go else where. Members of other churches volunteer every year. The Boy Scouts help by going through the line to fill orders to be delivered. The members of the church provide sweet potato casseroles, jello salads, desserts (pies and cakes) Dozens of rolls are provided by one family. This year we served 120 people at the church and delivered 40 take out meals. If you would like any other information, I will be happy to provide it.

St. Philip, Roanoke

Feast at Philips is an annual event hosted by members of St. Philip, Roanoke to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the North Roanoke community the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, St. Philip partnered with FeedingAmerica of Southwest Virginia to serve meals at both St. Philip and a FeedingAmerica Center. Over 600 meals were served and delivered. Additionally, 350 snack packs were packed and delivered to local communities for children to enjoy over the Thanksgiving holiday. St. Philip looks forward to more community partnerships to love and serve their neighbors in the future.

ELCA Participating in Progress at COP25

By Ruth Ivory-Moore, Program Director for Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility
The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) gets underway in Madrid, Spain today, and an unprecedented number of people from the ELCA are present as part of an ELCA Advocacy delegation – including Lutheran state public policy office directors, young adult leaders, global companions and members of the Lutherans Restoring Creation network. Negotiators and civil society observers meet annually at conference of parties (COP) conferences to hammer out resolutions to remedy, mitigate and adapt to a warming climate. Despite being in a crisis situation, where severe weather patterns are intensified and disaster damage and loss of life are more frequent, we must and can turn this around.
Read the Full Article

A Veteran’s Struggle to Connect

Recently, Living Lutheran Navy featured an article by chaplain Aaron Fuller who shared a message about the importance of connecting with and caring for veterans. Chaplain Fuller lives and serves in the Virginia Synod.
I’m a Navy chaplain, a former submarine warfare officer and a military veteran of 18 years, but I have trouble finding the words to talk about my ministry to veterans and to give voice to the experience of military service. Despite my experience of multiple deployments and the fast pace of daily military life, I’ve never been on the front lines of combat, and I’m not dealing with the well-known effects of trauma that so many veterans struggle with today.
I’ve just returned from my most recent deployment and, while the “operational tempo” was high, this wasn’t my most difficult one, and Europe is hardly a dangerous environment. I did my job, and now that I’m finished and back in the United States, life can return to normal.
But life has felt anything but normal. The pace has been nonstop: deciding where to live, getting belongings moved, starting new employment, reestablishing connections with my synod, and responding to requests from family, friends and colleagues I haven’t seen in a year. There hasn’t been a lot of time to decompress and process my deployment—the physical, emotional and spiritual fatigue; the questions; the disappointment and sadness; the joy and success.
Read the full article
By | 2019-12-12T16:25:50-05:00 December 5th, 2019|Do Justice, News|Comments Off on Do Justice: December 5, 2019

About the Author:

Emily is the Director of Communications for the Virginia Synod. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington where she earned her BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in Digital Studies. If you have an announcement, upcoming event, or news story idea you would like to share, get in touch with Emily via email or by phone at (540) 389-1000