Ambassador Role Models
Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod: Kathie Afflerbach
Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
This passage from scripture is one of the keys to why I became a LAMPa Ambassador. A few years ago, I attended a workshop where I learned about the critical need for advocates for marginalized and disenfranchised folks, not only living in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania but also throughout the United States. Through an exercise at that workshop, (see Hunger 101) I learned about the difficulties and frustrations people face navigating through the public assistance programs that were supposedly set up to help them. I was shocked to learn about critical hunger issues for children and their families, health care issues, and environmental issues. Most importantly I learned there is a great need for us to stand up for those who don’t have the ability to do so for themselves, what scripture names as “the least of these.” At that workshop I was invited to become a LAMPa Ambassador. It didn’t take a lot of convincing…just a willing heart to do what I am called to do as a Christian.
Being a LAMPa Ambassador is not a difficult responsibility for me to undertake, but it is a responsibility that I take very seriously. There are times I don’t know if my phone calls, e-mails, or letters will have any kind of impact, but I have found that they generally do elicit a response from my Senator or Representative and that responses give me a base from which to stay informed. Being an Ambassador is a way for me to exercise my responsibility as both a Christian and a citizen to speak out on very important issues that should concern all of us.
When the alerts come in from LAMPa, the ease at which I can contact those persons who are acting on particular bills and/or pieces of legislation is amazing! LAMPa gives its ambassadors all the tools and information we need. Many times it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and speaking to my representative or senator’s office. I have found that the more often I call or e-mail them, the more comfortable and confident I am in conveying our message to those who represent the people of this state.
Another event that has given me the confidence to be a LAMPa Ambassador, is participating at the Annual Day at the Capitol each year. This event has opened my eyes to the workings of the politicians in Harrisburg. It forced me to pay particular attention to how they are voting, the legislation and bills that are coming up, and that we as an organization, have voice. Meeting our legislatures and being able to convey our views to them as LAMPa Ambassadors gives me the confidence that we are being heard and that we can have a part in affecting change in a positive way.
Now, more than ever, with the changing of the guard in Harrisburg, new relationships will need to be formed, new legislation will need to be monitored and acted upon, and our voices as LAMPa Ambassadors will need to be heard. It will be an exciting time for us and I look forward to working with LAMPa in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Kathleen (Kathie) Afflerbach, LTSP, MAR ‘09 (email@example.com)
Kathie is a member of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Perkasie, PA.
Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod: Rev. Paul Lubold
At one time, I thought that ‘getting out to vote’ was the extent of doing my civic duty. Then I became aware of the importance for all people to be more ‘civically engaged,’ and LAMPa offered a very accessible way to do this. I participate as a LAMPa Ambassador because it helps me hold myself accountable to my civic responsibilities.
I believe it is often easy to see where well financed, often corporate lobbying has an impact on the actions of our legislators. I have grown to see how passionate advocacy (‘speaking on behalf of the powerless’), even by individuals, can also impact what our legislators do. Take, for example, the “Clean Indoor Air Act,” or ban on smoking in public places. The tobacco and restaurant industries were against such a ban. LAMPa was instrumental in helping individuals to contact our elected officials, and voice our concern. I am grateful that our voices seem to have been more effective than the well financed lobbying that took place concerning the smoking ban. The need to counteract special interests is why I take my role as a LAMPa Ambassador so seriously.
Rev. Lubold is pastor of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Allison Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org