Vote Faithfully: ELCAVotes
For many of us, voting on Election Day is both a tradition and an important civic duty. Others this year may be voting for the first time or returning to the polls after a few years. As a public church committed to empowering every voice in our communities, civic participation through the ballot box is one way in which we can live out our faith.
As you prepare to vote in this election today, check out some of these helpful tips!
1. Know your ballot and where to vote: Research the candidates and any ballot measures that you will be asked to vote on. Also, go prepared with a full understanding of your state’s voter ID requirements. You can go to elections.virginia.gov to check your registration status, view what’s on your ballot, find your local polling place, and learn more relating to this year’s election.
2. Share your Experience: Mention your civic engagement experience on social media. Show that you voted by adding an ELCAvotes frame to your profile picture on platforms like Facebook, or share a story of why you went out to the polls using #ELCAvotes on Twitter.
3. Pray with your community: Join people of faith across the country and around the world by praying for our local, state, and national governments.
Beyond Election Day, the decisions made at the national, state, and local levels, will have significant impacts on policies that affect hunger, poverty, good stewardship and more. Together as people of faith and as engaged citizens, we will continue to steward our common life by serving God through loving our neighbor.
Dr. Denis Mukwege
Pastor Joel Neubauer, Pastor at St. Mark, Yorktown, attended the LWF Assembly last year and had the opportunity to meet Dr. Denis Mukwege, whose work was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize. Below he shares background about Dr. Mukwege, and his impact.
Along with Nadia Murad, the Nobel Peace Prize was most recently awarded to Denis Mukwege – a doctor from Congo whose Christian witness has led him to the forefront of pursuing justice, especially for women and all who are attacked with sexual violence.
Denis Mukwege was a keynote speaker and a powerful voice in the Twelfth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (May 2017: Windhoek, Namibia), which marked the global commemoration of the 500th anniversary of our particular Reformation. Mukwege addressed the church from his calling to serve Christ by caring for the bodies of God’s people, recounting: “As a pastor’s son, I used to go with my father on his visits to the sick and one day I asked him, ‘Papa, you pray with the sick, but why don’t you give them medicines?’ My father replied, ‘Because I am not a doctor.’ That day my vocation was born.”
Mukwege’s vocation was confirmed and focused by the trauma he witnessed from the use of rape as a weapon of war. Mukwege identified that the destructive power of rape is so strong that, as attacks against women were left unanswered, sexual warfare extended against all members of society: the rape of whole villages, tribal chiefs and church leaders, elderly people and babies. Mukwege’s call was to heal the bodies of attacked people, but also to answer and to combat the misogyny that bolsters rape as a weapon of war: by speaking out against rape, by seeking economic power for women, by seeking legal justice against sexual attackers.
Mukwege called our Lutheran witness to answer misogyny with the gospel we claim as our heritage: “When the Lutheran church honors committed women in the priesthood, then it once again also honors Luther. Today, his fight for women’s rights still meets immense resistance to the prime place of women in the church and the brutal expression of men’s inhumanity towards women.
“When he said, ‘We are all priests, as many Christians as we are,’ Luther was fighting for women to be heard. And yet the oppression of women and the still-existing inequality between men and women is a disgrace to the whole of humankind. How can we be silent in face of this disfigurement of the face of Eve, the mother of humankind?
“Lutheran theology, especially as regards women’s place in society, is a message of hope for all the women in the world who are victims of violence, whether moral, physical or sexual. It is incumbent on us, the heirs of Martin Luther, by the Word of God to exorcise all the misogynist demons holding the world in their thrall, so that these victims of male barbarity may experience the kingdom of God in their lives.”
Responding to Dr Mukwege’s faithful witness, we are called again to Do Justice because “The privilege of being ‘liberated by God’s grace’ compels us to fight for those in the world who are less free.”
For the full text of Denis Mukwege’s keynote address to the LWF, click here.
Tidewater Conference: Living Truth: A Transgender Virginian’s Story
Living Truth: A Transgender Virginian’s Story is an event hosted by Equality Virginia andGrace Lutheran Church in Chesapeake. The event will be on Wednesday, November 14th at Grace Lutheran Church 521 Providence Rd Chesapeake, VA. All are welcome to a potluck dinner at 6:30 PM.
Then at 7 PM you are invited to join fellow Lutheran leaders and congregants for an evening of fellowship and learning as a transgender community member shares their story, followed by plenty of time for dialogue and questions.