Depolarization and Church Advocacy: An Introduction
Everywhere we turn, we hear yearning in the honest question: How do we talk to people who believe (fill in the blank)? In this workshop, Silas Kulkarni, ELCA Director of Strategy and Advocacy, will give an introduction to the who, why, and how of depolarization work, particularly in the context of faith-based advocacy. As Christians, Jesus calls to love our enemies and to do the work of justice. Sometimes these two calls can seem like they are in tension, if not outright opposition. Focusing on the use of tools and trainings from the depolarization organization, Braver Angels (www.braverangels.org), Silas will introduce a model for loving engagement across ideological and cultural divides, that neither precludes passionate advocacy, nor requires taking a “middle of the road” position. He will also point to opportunities and resources for learning more and continuing beyond this introductory session.
God’s Gift of Temporal Government: An Introduction to the ELCA study Curriculum
The ELCA is developing a social statement on government, civic engagement, the relationship of church and state, and other related matters, as called for by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. In January the task force published a study curriculum as a guide into the issues at stake and as an invitation for participant feedback. This workshop, led by the Rev. Dr. Roger Willer, Director of Theological Ethics in the Office of Presiding Bishop, will give participants: a) a taste of the study, b) an introduction to a couple of the themes, and c) tips on how to make use of it. Click here for a look at the study itself.
Until All Are Fed: Advocating for a Hunger-Free Pennsylvania
Almost every ELCA congregation in Pennsylvania is engaged in some form of hunger ministry, and LAMPa partners with ELCA World Hunger in working for a just world, where all are fed. In this workshop, you will learn about priorities for advancing that goal in Pennsylvania and be prepared for effective advocacy on the state budget and beyond. Bring your faith to the table, along with stories from our hunger ministries to share with policymakers.
A growing number of our congregations in every part of the state — rural, urban, and in-between — are serving neighbors facing homelessness or housing insecurity — from opening as extreme weather shelters to living as the church “without walls.” We know firsthand that Pennsylvania is not exempt from the national housing crisis. In this workshop, Aaron Zappia, senior government relations manager with the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, will outline housing policy priorities in 2023 and what to expect from legislators and staff during meetings. He will discuss the budget process and how each party views the Commonwealth’s current financial position. He will also offer simple techniques and methods to help persuade lawmakers and make the issues facing our communities relevant to them.
Climate and Clean Energy Advocacy
As a major energy producer and a serious source of greenhouse gas emissions, Pennsylvania is a big contributor to climate change. That means what we do as Pennsylvanians has an incredible impact on all who share our common home — now and for generations to come. Our youth and young adults consistently name climate change as a call for the church to act with urgency. In this workshop, led by Flora Cardoni, Field Director at PennEnvironment, you will learn about the climate and clean energy bills being introduced in Harrisburg this year, as well as strategies for how we can help to move them forward together. What do you want your policymakers to do now about our duty to steward creation? What do our future children want us to say today?
Clean Water Advocacy
Water is an element of the sacrament of baptism and an essential element of life. The water that flows through our state serves as drinking water to tens of millions of Americans, and much of it feeds the nation’s largest estuary. The Pennsylvania General Assembly has a crucial role in protecting the state’s vital water resources. They achieve this through funding the agencies responsible for protecting these resources, and through the creation and enhancement of laws that help steward them. As Pennsylvanians, it’s our responsibility to advocate for policies that will safeguard our constitutional right to pure water. This presentation, led by Michael Mehrazar, PennFuture’s Campaign Manager for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, will examine the significant opportunities and threats facing Pennsylvania’s waterways in 2023 and beyond. Identify the watershed where you live and remember the water that connects us.
The 2023 Scoop on LGBTQ+ Rights in PA
As Christians we believe every human being is created in God’s image, and we must honor and celebrate God’s creation. The teaching of our church supports legislation and policies to protect every person’s human dignity and civil rights. (Human Sexuality, p. 19) Drew Medvid, Regional Organizing Lead for the Human Rights Campaign PA, will review the emerging threats to LGBTQ+ rights in Pennsylvania and the opportunities to advance protections for the community at the state and local level.