Do Justice: March 20, 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

On Tuesday, March 19, the church commemorated Joseph, Guardian of Jesus. Joseph is the patron saint of workers, fathers, and several countries. His care for Jesus reminds us to praise God for all adults who care for adopted children and stepchildren and to honor and pray for all men who provide fatherly care. (From More Days of Praise, 62-63)

Christchurch Mosque Shooting Messages

Following the recent Christchurch Mosque shootings, a pastoral message from presidingBishop Elizabeth Eaton, and statements from Kim Bobo and Pastor Rodney Hunter, Co-Directors Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) were released. You can read both of these messages by clicking on the buttons below.

Message from Bishop Eaton
Message from VICPP


By The Rev. Tim Crummitt, of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hampton

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26

I am angry. As I sit in my office writing this newsletter article, it is a Thursday morning and a short time ago, as I sat at the red light waiting to turn into the church, I watched a woman in the car behind me throw some trash out of her window. I honestly thought we had moved past this type of behavior as a society, but apparently, I was wrong. I put my car in park, got out, and held my arms up in surprise, but the woman did not seem to care.
The woman behavior reflects two different interpretations of the text from Genesis. One of those is wrong. There are some people who look at the creation story in Genesis and assume that to “have dominion” over the Earth means that they can do whatever they want, that they have a right to be as careless as they want because God has given them the power to do so.
What those people do not understand is that when we are given “dominion over” creation we are acting in much the same way as a steward would care for a ruler’s estate. The assumption is that we will care for and nourish what we have been given because it is on loan, not ours to possess. God has given us everything, our lives, this planet, everything that is good. God does this not so we can treat it like garbage, or take it for granted, but so that we flourish in what God has given us. I will admit that I am not perfect, I have set this article up in a “Them vs. Us” which is unfair. My point is that we can ALL do a better job of being stewards of this wonderful gift that God has supplied.

VICPP Legislative Review Meetings

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) is planning to hold Legislative Reviews around the state to share what happened during this year’s 2019 General Assembly session. Kim Bobo, Co-Executive Director of VICPP Amanda Silcox, Economic Justice Program Manager will present the program. This is a great way to get involved and learn more about advocacy work that has been happening in your area, as well as to hear more about the results of these efforts!

If you would like to arrange a recap for your community and you are not near one of the meeting locations, let the VICPP Office know and they will try and set one up.

Please register through the links below:

Warrenton- April 1st from 5-6: 30 pm at Saint James’ Episcopal Church

Fredericksburg- April 2 from 3-4pm at Fredericksburg Baptist Church

Newport News –  April 3rd  from 12-1:30 pm at St. John’s Church of God in Christ

Charlottesville –  April 4th  from 5:30-7pm at Charlottesville Friends Meeting

Fairfax –  April 7th  (4-6pm) and  April 8th  (8:30-10am) at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia

Harrisonburg –  April 24th  from 2-3:30 pm at Muhlenberg Lutheran Church

Churches in southern Africa respond to devastation of Cyclone Idai

LWF stands in solidarity and prayer with communities in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe struggling to cope with the severest storm in a decade

(LWI) – Churches in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe are calling for support and prayers in response to the crisis provoked by Cyclone Idai which has battered the southern African region over recent days.

Severe flooding first hit Malawi, causing over a hundred deaths, before the tropical storm made landfall in Mozambique’s eastern port city of Beira on Thursday, flattening buildings and cutting off all power and communications.

As aid workers arrived in the region, hundreds of people were confirmed dead or missing, with Mozambique’s president Filipe Nyusi saying the death toll could reach 1,000 in his country alone.

Mudslides have washed away houses and bridges

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has been monitoring the crisis in the worst affected area of Manicaland province on the border with Mozambique, reporting that mudslides have washed away houses and bridges in the town of Chimanimani.

A ZCC statement said the Salvation Army church in the town was destroyed, with the minister and members of the congregation being offered shelter by the local Roman Catholic church. Injured, traumatized and homeless people are being cared for in churches as there is no access to the local hospital.

The statement says emergency supplies of food, clothing, blankets, and tents, as well as medical assistance and clean water supplies, are urgently needed, with psycho-social support also required for those worst affected by the disaster.

Churches, mosques, and schools offer shelter

Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) are also calling for prayers and support for all those who have lost family and friends, houses and livelihoods in the flooding. They say local churches, mosques, and schools are opening their doors to provide shelter for the homeless, after hundreds of thousands of people were affected, mainly in the southern deaneries of Lowershire, Blantyre and Zomba.

Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika has declared a state of national disaster, with roads cut off by the flooding and many people needing to be rescued by helicopters. ELCM Bishop Dr. Joseph P. Bvumbwe said: “We have experienced and seen floods over the past years, but never before anything so destructive as the scale of what is being experienced now. Both life and property are being lost almost on a daily basis since the floods started.” He added: “We desperately need your urgent support and prayers.”

Solidarity and prayer

In a message of solidarity to the heads of all three churches in the region, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge said the communion was praying with them, asking God to give “strength and hope” to survivors, as well as “wisdom and compassion to those providing help and assistance.”

In the letter sent to Bishop Bvumbwe, Bishop Chemist Faindi of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe and Bishop Eduardo Sinalo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mozambique, Junge said: “With pain we have received the news of massive destruction, injuries and death caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai.” Offering the solidarity and accompaniment of the whole communion, he added: “Please be assured of our prayers surrounding you in these moments of pain and distress. We pray for the safety of those affected, for those who had to flee their homes, those faced with uncertainty, those who are injured and for those who grieve lost ones.”

By | 2019-03-29T11:19:14-04:00 March 20th, 2019|Do Justice, News|Comments Off on Do Justice: March 20, 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