A statement on family separation from the ELCA’s presiding bishop and other faith leaders

6/7/2018 12:30:00 PM

CHICAGO (June 7, 2018) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The policy will most likely result in an increase in family separations.

The letter follows:

Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news.

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.

His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
Diocesan Legate and Director of the Ecumenical Office
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America

Mr. Azhar Azeez President
Islamic Society of North America

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton, PA
Chair, Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.
Presiding Prelate, Piedmont Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Bishop H. Kenneth Carter, Jr.
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop Episcopal Church (United States)

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
General Minister & President
United Church of Christ

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. David Guthrie
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Moravian Church Southern Province

Mr. Glen Guyton
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

The Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Union for Reform Judaism

Mr. Anwar Khan
Islamic Relief USA

The Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller
President, Provincial Elders’ Conference
Moravian Church Northern Province

The Rev. Dr.  J. Herbert Nelson II
Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

The Rev. Don Poest
Interim General Secretary
The Rev. Eddy Alemán
Candidate for General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick III
Presiding Bishop, The Eighth Episcopal District
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Phil Tom
Executive Director
International Council of Community Churches

Mr. Jim Winkler
General Secretary & President
National Council of Churches USA

Senior Bishop McKinley Young
Presiding Prelate, Third Episcopal District
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Reclaiming Jesus

These are polarizing times in America.  As followers of Jesus, we need not deepen the polarization, but testify to the freedom of the Gospel.  Instead of contributing toward the nationalism and xenophobia that grip our nation, we are called to embrace ever more the command to love.  As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”

Please look at this statement online, released last month by several Christian leaders, calling us to abandon fear and strive toward the higher ground of love.


Pastor’s Page

Soli Deo Gloria!

It is not you that sings, it is the church that is singing, and you, as a member may share in its song.  Thus all singing together that is right must serve to widen our spiritual horizon, make us see our little company as a member of the great Christian church on earth, and help us willingly and gladly to join our singing, be it feeble or good, to the song of the church.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

I can honestly say that, in my more than thirty years of pastoral ministry, working with Valerie Shields has been one of the highlights.  Never have I worked with such a fine liturgical musician.  In leading the assembly in song, accompanying choirs, and mentoring persons both young and old, Valerie has brought heart and soul to her vocation.

Liturgical musicians are called not to entertain, but to lead the song of the assembly in worshiping God.  It’s a challenging task and it is a challenge Valerie has met.  It has never been about her. She is dedicated to the song of the assembly and helping the assembly sing.

Singing together in worship is a great gift.  Through liturgy and song, the diverse textures of life and faith are given expression and the mystery of God is celebrated not in one word or image or note but through many notes, chords, rhythms, and modes of speech.  We are blessed with a rich and full repertoire of hymnody and music, and with musical leadership dedicated to giving God glory.

It is such a privilege and honor to work with the talented musicians at Phinney.  Valerie has made her mark in helping us pray and praise.   Please join me this month in celebrating and giving thanks for her ministry among us.

Pastor Hansen

Update from Minister of Outreach Patrick Meagher

Exciting Food bank Changes

We enjoyed a great turnout at our April adult forum on proposed changes to our foodbank program. If you weren’t able to attend, the proposal in a nutshell suggested we eliminate our appointment system, modify the food bank space to facilitate a “cafeteria style” client experience, and switch to a digital database for tracking client visits. These changes developed in response to a clear decline in visitors, and to research the Foodbank Mission Team gathered by visiting area foodbanks. We aim to remove as many barriers as possible that clients might face in accessing our services.

The response from the forum was very favorable to these changes, along with good suggestions for how to get the word out better to clients. With this feedback, the Mission Team met in May and developed a timeline for implementation. We’ll begin work on the physical changes July 5th, working from Thursday through Sunday so we won’t need to miss a distribution time. Volunteers are welcome to help! Watch your Sunday bulletins in June for more info.

In August, we’ll begin recruiting new volunteers ahead of a September training date for all foodbank volunteers. Once everyone feels familiar and confident with our new procedures, we’ll switch over completely. We’ll continue to take appointments through the summer until we’re ready to change over. Preparing the digital database will occur simultaneously to the physical changes and may come online sooner.

This year, the foodbank ministry at PRLC is 50 years old, and we’re excited to be improving our program so we’re ready to care for the vulnerable in our community for decades to come. Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Phinney Houses Yard Work Party

Did you know you own two houses on N 76th St. and run them in partnership with Community Psychiatric Clinic as group homes for individuals with mental health issues? You do! The church has kept this ministry thriving thanks to the work of the Phinney Houses Mission Team, and with occasional help from volunteers to keep the houses looking great. Our next Yard Work Party will be the morning of Saturday, June 9th, from 9-11:30am. Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, hand tools such as loppers, hedge sheers, hand clippers, and anything else that could be helpful. Please let me know if you can help (my contact info is on page 2), and you’ll be contacted with more information.

The Art Walk and Car Show Bring Joy to our Neighborhood

Our participation in this year’s Phinneywood Art Walk was a great success. We welcomed hundreds of visitors with gorgeous weather, and enjoyed the festive atmosphere this event always produces. We’ll enjoy another and much larger event on Saturday, June 30th, during the Greenwood Car Show. This event—part car show, part street fair—brings thousands of visitors right to our door. We offer free coffee, cookies, and popcorn all day long as our front lawn comes alive with music to entertain passers by. We always need volunteers to help out! Please let me know if you are interested, or mark your Count Me In form in June.

Missionary Friends Zach and Rachel

In May, we relished a visit from the Rev. Rachel Eskesen and PRLC member Zachary Courter. This married missionary couple organize the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) Program in Central Europe, as well as help lead an English Language Lutheran Church in Budapest, Hungary. Zach shared about their adventures during an adult forum, and both were on hand to discuss baptism and vocation with our confirmation classes. You can follow their work more closely by visiting their blog at zachandrachel.wordpress.com.

PRLC has agreed to support Zach and Rachel through the ELCA’s “Covenant Sponsorship” program. We’ve pledged to contribute $4000 in 2018 to sustain their work, and all of this comes from individual contributions. Contact me if interested in joining this effort, or simply send a check to the office made out to PRLC, with “Zach and Rachel” in the memo line .