#ELCADayofService Included Advocacy In PA

Putting their voices as well as their hands to God’s work, some congregations added advocacy to their day of service on September 7. In Gettysburg, Lutherans picked up litter, cleaned a soup kitchen, worked at a homeless shelter, served dinner at a migrant work camp, gleaned apples for the area Community Action Program and hosted an ice cream social at the Lutheran Retirement Village. To underscore their commitment to their neighbors, they wrote letters to lawmakers on issues of hunger, housing, clean air and immigration and refugees.

“Adding our Voices to the ELCA’s God’s Work, Our Hands day of service challenged us to take seriously our role as advocates for justice within and beyond our community,” said the Rev. Stephen Herr, dean of the Gettysburg conference. “With our hands we helped those in need in the Gettysburg area.  With our voices of advocacy we extended that service to a wider world in need of God’s Good News and justice.”

York County congregations, working with Habitat for Humanity, helped build a home in Windsor for a mother and her daughter. The future homeowners and their soon-to-be-neighbors joined Habitat staff and Lutheran volunteers in worship at the site, then wrote letters to lawmakers on copies of the blueprints for the home, urging passage of bills to expand the State Housing Trust Fund.

In the Harrisburg area, members of several congregations, including an emerging worship community, spruced up buildings and grounds at Diakon’s Wilderness Center and wrote letters in support of legislation to protect and care for immigrants and unaccompanied minors. “September 7th, ‘God’s Work. Our Hands’ Sunday was our very first gathering as a faith community,” said Jennifer Crist, Gettysburg Seminary intern. “We are rooted in service and deep relationships, choosing to intentionally include advocacy in all we do.  We had an advocacy component within our meal and thanksgiving, as a way participants could contribute to the offering.”

Along with offerings of work, food, music, and leadership, participants offered their signatures in support of congressional action on behalf of immigrants and refugees.
It’s not too late to follow their example. You can extend your service with advocacy with LAMPa resources.  It’s never too early to start planning for ways in which LAMPa can equip your congregation for next year!

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