Dear Lutheran Church of Hope,
I don't know if you know about the ELCA Advocacy division of the ECLA but I get emails from them all of the time -- I first learned about them on Twitter. I am forwarding to you, Darcy, Kolette, Pastor Jeremy and Pastor Mike, a copy of the email that ECLA Advocacy just sent out this morning after President Trump's address because these are the same issues happening in the world that I am very concerned about, too, and pay attention to daily through my Twitter newsfeed which is invaluable source of information about Christian organizations such as the ECLA and many others that provide newsfeeds about their work fighting injustices throughout the world. In fact, my Twitter newsfeed is pretty much my only source of information -- it is a very Godly, Righteous, Holy newsfeed that provides these organizations with free publicity. I don't know why there is not an ECLA Advocacy office in Iowa but there definitely needs to be one because I feel a very strong affiliation with the organization and the social justice causes they fight for in the world. I really wish that Hope would support the ECLA Advocacy center in Chicago and Washington, DC because your affiliation with them would make Hope a much stronger social justice church and I see so many ways that you could better present social justice issues to your congregation through your sermons and outreach efforts -- I have a lot of discernment on these issues from many, many years of teaching social justice issues in universities and I really have a lot more advice to give Lutheran Church of Hope on these issues, if you would just listen to me and respect me more. I even have issues with your website design and have some very beneficial ideas about how you could reach more people for Jesus through how you design your website -- I have a background in design and website design, too -- I know, all these many things that you did not know about me when I first approached your church/Hope yet are very, very true -- your website needs desperately to be redesigned right now -- it need a cross on the front page, it needs far better photos, it needs to have your mission stated plainly and boldly on the front page, you need to raise JESUS' name high on that front page in full glory and honor, and it need to have the ECLA logo (God's Work, Our Hands) on the front page, too, these issues all need to be raised with your website designers as soon as possible because they have been bothering me for a long time and they bother other people, too, and it really is a pressing issue and I would be glad, very glad, to consult with you further on your website design because it is so important how you present Our Lord and Savior Jesus to the world through that website. You're not doing it very well right now -- to be very forthright and honest with you and it has needed redesigned for a long time. Even your recent redesign of the site is not enough. So, I would hope that you would take all my messages to you very seriously because they are very serious and are only offered to you as my church family and with care and concern. I would hope that you would be just as caring and concerned about my financial situation right now and honor my requests for financial assistance because I am part of your team to and you are required by Lord Jesus to provide for me, too, when I approach your church with my ministry needs. Yes, that is very, very true. I have been offering you invaluable advice on www.lutheranchurchofhope.info -- advice inspired entirely by the Holy Spirit, Lord Jesus and God Our Almighty Heavenly Father, so you really need to listen closely to the things that I am saying to you. I have many, many years experience as a university teacher of cultural studies, composition studies, web design & art issues and so forth that your church could really benefit from if you would just listen to me. Lots and lots of years of experience that play into everything I write on www.lutheranchurchofhope.info. You may or may not have seen all of this when I was working with Darcy, however, you should know that that Crisis Sheet that you gave me was very unrighteous, unholy and ungodly and caused me a lot of harm and was sexist andI keep being treated in sexist ways by your receptionists whenever I can Hope -- that really needs to stop right now because that is extremely disrespectful of me as an educated, strong woman of faith and it has just got to stop right away. Tell your receptionists to treat me with respect when call and also take responsibility for responding to my phone calls in a timely manner. I am offering you a lot of discernment and wisdom and I am also do compassionate ministerial work just like you do, especially online, so you need to treat me as family and as on your team and sharing the same mission. Respect, respect, respect is what this is all about -- treating me with respect each time I walk into that church -- that is an imperative right now and from this day onwards. Treating me with respect each time I call. Not only myself, but each and every strong woman of faith in Jesus like myself who is a member of Hope. You have many, many gender and sexist issues to be dealing with in that church right now and sexism is a sin and you have sinned against Jesus is the ways that your church has been treating me and other members, including your female staff such Darcy and Kolette and many other females on staff. You promoted Pastor Ben over Darcy when Darcy would make just as wonderful of a pastor as Ben -- a very kind and caring and compassionate pastor that has a far better understanding of what Jesus is about (yes, Darcy Howell) then many of your better-paid preachers and her economic situation and Kolette's economic situation is extremely unjust and unfair and is also sexist and a huge sin in Jesus' eyes. All of these issues in your church/Hope need to be address immediately -- in the next week -- because this ongoing sexism at Hope is a huge sin and weakens the church and causes brokenness in the church/Hope and has NO place in the church. Promote Darcy to pastoral level because she would make an excellent Pastor. Pay Darcy and Kolette and other care ministry staff the same salaries as Pastors/Preachers because they are doing the true work of Lord Jesus in the church right now. I have much more to say on these issues but all of these issues need to be addressed as soon as possible for the well-being and sanctity and holiness of the church -- Lutheran Church of Hope.
Sincerely and in Christ's Love,
Diane K. Olson
On Tuesday, Jan. 30, President Trump addressed our nation and introduced this administration’s major priorities for 2018. The annual State of the Union speech provides an opportunity for Americans to learn about the policies our elected leaders hope to focus on in the upcoming legislative year.
In this important moment, ELCA Advocacy presents our public policy priorities for 2018. This policy action agenda focuses the work of the Washington, D.C., advocacy office on current issues central to God's vision of a just world where all are fed. ELCA Advocacy invites you to live out your baptismal identity through participation in opportunities to learn and act with and on behalf of your neighbor with the ELCA Advocacy network. Visit the ELCA Advocacy blog to learn more about how the ELCA determines these priorities and how to connect with policy staff.
2018 ELCA ADVOCACY PRIORITIES
From rural America to developing countries, many of our nation’s food and farm policies, as embodied in the farm bill, impact our communities. Programs and policies that curb hunger and malnutrition, support vibrant agricultural economies in rural communities, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources must be prioritized.
Thousands of children and families from Central America continue to flee their communities due to violence, lacking protections in their home country, hunger and poverty, and environmental degradation. As a church, we envision a world in which children and families are never forced leave their homes to live a safe and a sufficient life. To do this, we advocate for policies that address the root causes of migration. At the same time, we call for the immediate protection of displaced people, including those who have been members of our communities for years but lack legal status.
CARE FOR CREATION:
Environmental degradation disproportionately impacts the marginalized and the vulnerable, exacerbating issues of poverty and hunger. These issues manifest themselves in social areas such as gender, racial, economic and environmental injustices. ELCA Advocacy will raise awareness of the impact of environmental degradation, support environmental and energy literacy, and help congregations and church leadership understand what can be done to steward God’s creation.
JUST TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY:
The transition away from fossil fuels will mean changes in the economic livelihood of individuals, families and communities directly and indirectly dependent upon this industry. This transition must include comprehensive planning that incorporates methodologies on how we get from where we are today to where we need to be.
Homelessness and the lack of affordable housing continue to be systemic issues that affect many people in our communities. Investments in affordable housing and rental assistance provide stability that can help families overcome serious barriers, such as affording better health care and education, reducing food insecurity, and recovering after natural disasters.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM:
The United States has the largest prison population in the world. Many incarcerated men and women who commit non-violent drug offenses are sentenced to harsh and unjustly long prison terms. These policies result in considerably high prison populations and disparities in sentencing for drug offenses, disproportionately affecting communities of color. Legislation that reforms sentencing and provides resources for returning citizens will directly reduce recidivism rates and prison populations.
MEDICAID, MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY:
Congress and the administration may embark on efforts to dismantle three critical safety-net programs that have existed for over 50 years. Medicaid is the largest health insurance program in the U.S. that serves the poorest families and individuals. Medicare was created in 1965 to provide health care coverage for individuals aged 65 and older. Social Security provides monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members and to the family members of deceased spouses or parents.
CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAMS:
In 2016, the law that makes possible many child nutrition programs like the School Breakfast, National School Lunch, Summer Food Service, and the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) expired. While these programs continue to receive annual funding, the opportunity to expand and innovate these hunger programs awaits congressional action.
U.S. foreign assistance plays a critical role in the fight against extreme poverty. Due to federal budget constraints and internal program realignments within our government, international development and humanitarian programs are increasingly in danger of being defunded or eliminated. For many families around the world, such steps would leave them without the support they desperately need. We must continue to raise our voices to ensure that all God’s children are cared for.
Every year, 1 in 3 women experiences gender-based violence globally. The U.S. government can play a leading role in addressing this issue, given its footprint in many parts of the world.
Many countries continue to experience civil conflicts, and prevention of mass atrocities remains a big challenge around the world. The U.S. government can play an important role in peace processes, conflict prevention and the promotion of human rights. The ELCA’s new social message on human rights gives us new ways of speaking about these issues and will help us promote equal rights of all people through advocacy and other ministries.
How does the ELCA identify advocacy priorities? Find out by visiting the ELCA Advocacy blog!