Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska
A community of communions called by Christ to visible unity, sent forth in the Spirit of Peace to promote the healing of the world in service and advocacy.
Army Survivor Outreach Services Update

Survivor Outreach Services hosted a Survivor's Retreat for parents and siblings of our Military Fallen in May 2018. The retreat was facilitated by Dr. James Coyle with assistance from military Chaplain Kyle Ballard and COL Chad Stevens.

Survivor Outreach Services is just one of the organizations which IMN serves as fiscal intermediary. We assist them in obtaining grants for their activities (they are not funded directly by the Department of Defense). As fiscal intermediary Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska executes agreements on behalf of their activities and we receive their funds and pay their bills.

Below is a photo of the retreat participants this year.
Nebraska Violent Death Statistics Report (NeVDSR)

One of the organizations IMN works closely with is the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition. Through this partnership we have access to statistics regarding violent deaths in Nebraska, in particular death by completed suicide. The suicide rate is climbing among farm and ranch families which is of particular concern for another one of our partners, The Rural Response Council and the Rural Response Hotline.

Recent data indicates that in 2017 there were 178 completed suicides in Nebraska. As you can see from the graphic below Nebraska has far exceeded that number so far in 2018.

The faith community must be aware of this tragic trend and be prepared to respond to families who have been touched by a suicide death. Moreover, pastors need to be personally prepared to care for themselves and their own family members when they minister to these families. Providing pastoral care is always stressful and demanding, but even more so in the face of death by suicide.
NEBRASKA INTERFAITH POWER AND LIGHT ACTIVITIES


Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light is an interfaith, nonpartisan organization that provides faith messages about climate change and care for God’s creation.

We engage in education, outreach and policy advocacy.

Members of the Nebraska IPL board and staff are glad to speak to congregations about our work. So far this year Board President Rev. Penny Greer and Policy and Outreach Director Ken Winston have spoken to churches and church groups in Lincoln, Omaha, Syracuse and Columbus. Board members Anica Brown and Jon Leo have joined some of these presentations. Board member Rev. Kim Morrow made a presentation about reasons for hope in response to climate change at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln.

Nebraska IPL is also involved in policy advocacy. Ken Winston spoke to the Nebraska Public Power District board at their meeting in Kearney in July, encouraging them to make greater investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency in support of the Husker Power Plan. Rev. Penny Greer, Ken Winston and Board member Edison McDonald spoke to the Lincoln Electric System board meeting in July, encouraging them to set goals for greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy.

Nebraska IPL is providing leadership in planning two events for the fall related to climate change, care of creation and advocacy. Ken Winston is the coordinator for the third annual Nebraska Youth Climate Summit, to be held on October 1 st at the Nebraska Innovation Campus. The summit will bring together young people between the ages of 15 and 25 to learn about climate science, adaptation and mitigation efforts and advocacy tools. Board Member Carol Windrum is one of the people responsible for planning Elders for the Earth, to be held October 7-9 at Mahoney State Park. This event is focused on folks over the age of 50 and provides opportunities to learn about caring for the earth, network, relax and rejuvenate. These two events show Nebraska IPL’s commitment to connecting with people across the age spectrum in our efforts to help people understand the importance of caring for the earth.
Are Faith Communities allowed to advocate? 
The answer is YES!

Often, faith leaders and church members confuse advocacy with lobbying—then quickly shy away from any activities that might jeopardize their nonprofit status.

But the truth is there are lots of ways faith communities can advocate to improve policies, programs, and services in their communities and across the nation—without running afoul of any federal laws or jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

Advocacy vs. lobbying: What’s the difference?

Advocacy is the process of faith leaders and church members making their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the lives of others at the local, state, and national level. It also means helping policymakers find specific solutions to persistent problems. Most nonprofits can and do engage in as much advocacy as possible to achieve their goals.

Lobbying , on the other hand, involves activities that are in direct support of or opposition to a specific piece of introduced legislation. While nonprofits can engage in some lobbying, the IRS has strict rules about what portion of their budget can go toward these activities. There are also prohibitions on any use of federal funds for lobbying.

Examples of advocacy vs. lobbying

Advocacy

  • Telling your member of Congress how a federal grant your organization received has helped your constituents.
  • Educating a member of Congress about the effects of a policy on your constituency.
  • Inviting a member of Congress to visit your organization so that he/she may see firsthand how federal funding or a policy affects day-to-day operations and the difference it makes.

Lobbying
  • Asking your member of Congress to vote for or against, or amend, introduced legislation.
  • Emailing a “call to action” to your members urging them to contact their member of Congress in support of action on introduced legislation or pending regulations.
  • Preparing materials or organizing events in support of lobbying activities.

How can you be an advocate?
You can be an advocate by educating policymakers about the needs of your organization and the people you serve, and developing a relationship where you act as trusted voice on policy issues and a helpful resource with Congressional casework. You also can organize supporters on issues of importance and educate a wider audience on your accomplishments. Some examples include:
  • Emailing or calling your elected officials.

  • Organizing meetings or site visits with your legislators and their staff.

  • Making your views known to policymakers and your community through traditional and social media.

Keep in mind that these activities cross the line into lobbying if they call for action on introduced legislation or a pending regulation.

Mental Health Resources for Congregations and Faith Communities
The Interfaith Network for Mental Health is an important resources churches should be aware of: Interfaith Network for Mental Health

Our mission is to increase awareness and understanding of mental illness among clergy, staff, lay leaders and members of faith communities and help them more effectively develop and nurture supportive environments for persons dealing with mental illnesses and their families and friends.

INMI envisions a future in which people freely seek the mental health services they need without fear of embarrassment or stigma. Faith communities are leading a cultural shift that permeates our society with compassion for people with mental illnesses and their families.

There are resources for clergy (Clergy Resources) , congregations, videos and other resources faith communities can access for a rich mental health awareness and ministry in your congregation.
Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP)

Medicare fraud is on the increase across the nation, even in Nebraska. But there is something the faith community can do to arm our seniors against loss from Medicare fraud. The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP) provides freed information to seniors and those who are entering retirement. SHIP is NOT an insurance provider, and they have NO connection to the insurance industry. So, their information is unbiased and reliable.

One of the more popular activities of SHIP in congregations is Medicare Bingo. It is a fun way for a congregation to learn about Medicare options and potential fraudulent contacts. Local congregations have been using this program and our communions have been invited to join with SHIP in presenting this informational activity.

We have attached a link the SHIP Face Book Page below:





For more information about SHIP contact:

Jonathan Burlison
TRAINING SPECIALIST
 
Nebraska Department of Insurance
Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
1135 M Street, Suite 300
PO Box 82089
Lincoln, NE 68501-2089
 
DIRECT : 402-471-2599 / HOTLINE: 1-800-234-7119

The 2018 Inspire Awards are approaching!

Save the date: Pinnacle Bank Arena September 12, 2018 @ 12:00pm - 1:30pm
What is it?
The Inspire Awards celebrate women who have truly excelled, not only in their professional lives, but as leaders and role models. While many of these women come from different industries and walks of life, they share several traits — a strong sense of self, a success-driven work ethic and the extraordinary accomplishments to show for it. Their commitment, vision and talents make them true leaders in their chosen fields.

This year's speaker
Preeta Bansal
Preeta Bansal is a Lincoln native who spent the last 35 years at the highest levels of government and business – as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the White House, Solicitor General of the State of New York, a US diplomat and Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, global general counsel of the world’s largest bank, partner at a major NYC law firm, and law clerk to the US Supreme Court. A graduate of Lincoln East High as well as Harvard College and Harvard Law, she is now a lecturer at MIT – focusing on the intersection of modern technology and ancient wisdom – and recently returned home to Lincoln.
Member Communions:
Christian Church (DOC); Church of the Brethren, Western Plains District; Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Nebraska Synod; Evangelical Covenant Church, Midwest Conference; Nebraska Exarchate Ukarianian Orthodox; Mennonite Conference, Central Plains; Presbyterian Church (USA), Presbytery of Central Nebraska, Homestead Presbytery, Presbytery of the Missouri River Valley; United Church of Christ, Nebraska Conference; United Methodist Church, Great Plains Conference.
[Jerry D. Albright, Executive Director]
[Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska]
[215 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, NE 68508]