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 email@example.com 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.
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
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
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.”