Lutheran Day 2023 Garners Record Turnout for Study and Practice of Civic Life and Faith
Lutherans turned out in record numbers for LAMPa’s annual day of advocacy, gathering in person after four years to wrestle with what it means for us to be disciples in this democracy in this time and to speak as church together for neighbors struggling with hunger or lack of a safe place to call home.
“It was so important for us to be together again,” said the Rev. Karl Runser, a LAMPa Policy Council member, ELCA World Hunger leader and pastor serving in Upper Susquehanna Synod. “We can do advocacy work on our own. We can call our legislators’ offices from home. But there is no substitute for the energy and focus that comes from gathering with other advocates. That’s why this Lutheran Day at the Capitol was so important and so special.”
For longtime advocates, the four-year pandemic-induced hiatus underscored the importance of the day as a crucial part of LAMPa’s role in facilitating our presence as church together in Pennsylvania for the sake of the world God loves. First-timers, of whom there were many, ended the day vowing to share the experience and to return on May 9, 2024, with others from their congregations to mark LAMPa’s 45th anniversary.
“It was a joy to experience Lutheran Day at the Capitol for the first time with LAMPa,” said the Rev. J.J. Lynn, who serves in Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod. The day of learning, fellowship, visit to the Capitol, and worship was refreshment for the spirit to continue the work of advocacy for our neighbors as God directed. I especially appreciated hearing the stories of those
accompanying others; advocating in a variety of manners for the good of all God’s people.”
Lynn was one of the advocates recognized from each synod to share stories of how their discipleship led them to advocacy. Read more about those stories here. See more photos from the day.
The day’s theme: Discipleship in a Democracy: What Does God Require of Us, took Micah 6:8 as a starting point, focusing on how we as Lutheran Christians understand our call to live together as God’s faithful people and to strive for justice and peace in the context of today’s debates over the role of faith in public life. The Rev. Dr. Roger Willer, director of theological ethics in the Office of the Presiding Bishop, offered the keynote and a workshop on the study materials available to support the ongoing work on an ELCA social statement on civic life and faith. All are encouraged to explore the study guide and submit comments for the work of the task force by Oct. 15.
“It has been a blessing to watch the church at work in this way,” said LAMPa Director Tracey DePasquale, a consultant to the task force. “The response we received for this year’s day of advocacy illustrates the deep desire to learn how to overcome division and yet to be a faithful voice for justice in the public square.”
The day’s worship used resources found in the guide. Watch here.
In the afternoon, advocates headed to the Capitol to meet with lawmakers and staff about hunger and housing needs in their communities. Learn more below, including how to contact your lawmakers.