Do Justice
Welcome to Do Justice, a bi-monthly newsletter of the Virginia Synod, lifting up God’s call and command that we, God’s people, do justice. You will find helpful info about justice ministries in congregations, around Virginia, and through the ELCA. If you have stories of justice to share from your congregation, please share those with me at bayerderrick@vasynod.org so I can share them with others in the synod!

The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick
Assistant to the Bishop
We lift in prayer all of those devastated by storms: those in the Carolinas and Virginia ravaged by Hurricane Florence; those in the Philippines and China ravaged by Typhoon Mangkhut; those in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean still struggling to recover from last year's Hurricane Maria. We lift up  Lutheran Disaster Response  as a way for us to help financially with recovery efforts. I invite you to join me in prayer, from  This is My Song  (ELW #887):

This is my song, O God of all the nations, 
a song of peace for lands afar and mine. 
This is my home, the country where my heart is; 
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine; 
but other hearts in other lands are beating 
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine. 
Amen.
Germanna Conference : Walk to Monticello
In response to the events of August 11 and 12, 2017, this pilgrimage, sponsored by the  Charlottesville Clergy Collective , will provide a constructive opportunity for us to take the next step in addressing racism in America and its attending systemic injustices. On our journey we will hear stories and untold histories, we will build relationships and we will identify common concerns that need to be transformed in order to bring about racial equity.

Our journey will kick off Saturday, October 6 from central Charlottesville. Our first leg will take us past Emancipation Park (Market Street Park) and the proposed site for a marker to remember the July 12, 1898 lynching of John Henry James -- an African American man from Charlottesville -- as we make our way to  Monticello  for an education and reflection experience at Mulberry Row and the African American Burial Grounds.

The "Walk to Monticello" portion of our  "Cville2Jtown" pilgrimage  is now  open for registration
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea: Mv. Ialibu
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” - Mark 4:39-41

Lutheran Shipping (LS) is the oldest shipping company in Papua New Guinea (PNG).  It served mostly the people along the coastal borders of Morobe and Madang. In 2012 Lutheran Shipping had 8 vessels.  One was in dry dock, 3 were leased to other shipping companies.  It was at this time that the National Maritime Safety Authority declared the 4 ships in service for LS not seaworthy.  The service these ships provided to major coastal cities was seriously impacted.

The launching of this newly constructed ship, built in the Philipines, named “MV Lalibu” is a long-time coming renewed commitment that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG (ELC-PNG) has made to all of PNG.  Its name “MV Lalibu” is symbolic as it acknowledges the spreading of the gospel from Simbang, Finchhafen in Morobe Province, a coastal area where the Lutheran Church was founded to Laliba in the mountains of Southern Highlands Province. The commissioning of this ship is the ELC-PNG’s faithful witness to the people of PNG. Once again LS will provide passenger service and transport of goods to primarily the coastal areas of PNG. 

"The MV Ialibu is the product of the workmanship of God here in the Philippines. She is commissioned today and her birth is celebrated together with the Lutheran Church in the Philippines. You all are creating a new piece of history and adding new value to our mission. The vessel is a product of your efforts and will sail as witness of our faith in God and our service to God’s people in the world." said Bishop Jack Urame, Head Bishop of the ELC-PNG.

To view a video on the MV Ialibu, click here.
ELCA Advocacy: Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem needs your help!
Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, needs your urgent help.  Owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) ,  it is the main cancer and kidney center serving Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. 

AVH and five other East Jerusalem hospitals rely on funding each year from the United States and the European Union to cover approximately half the costs of patients referred to these hospitals. Currently, the AVH is owed over $38 million of a total of $80 million to the six East Jerusalem hospitals. However, several media reported on Sept. 7 that $25 million in 2017 U.S. government funding that was designated for AVH and the other East Jerusalem hospitals would not be released. Approximately half of the $25 million would be for AVH. The large amount owed to AVH is due to the high cost of cancer medications. It is especially urgent that this action be challenged in order to ensure ongoing treatment and to avoid putting cancer patients in jeopardy.

Augusta Victoria Hospital is able to operate because of the support of LWF member churches, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and long-standing partnerships with countries like the United States. In the last decade, the U.S. government, through USAID, has invested nearly $10 million in AVH to bolster its capacity as a cancer center. In addition, the U.S. government has provided tens of millions of dollars in aid over several years to help cover the costs of the cancer patients and others referred to AVH and the other East Jerusalem hospitals.

AVH was internationally accredited for quality assurance and patient safety as a hospital and health care facility in 2013 and reaccredited in 2016. AVH is also regularly inspected and licensed by the Israeli Ministry of Health.
 
For additional background information, see  Briefing Paper on AVH .
 
The delay in the disbursement of the 2017 funding is contributing to an acute and severe cash flow crisis for AVH and the other hospitals. It is the intention of the LWF to continue to provide lifesaving treatment to patients from the West Bank and Gaza, but AVH needs the U.S. government to release the 2017 funding as soon as possible so the hospital can make payments to pharmaceutical suppliers of cancer medications, pay salaries and avoid a major interruption in the treatment of patients. 

It is extremely urgent that you  contact your elected officials today

Actions requested:
  1. Call the White House hotline (202-456-1111) and use the White House comments page to urge the president to order the release of the $25 million for AVH and the other East Jerusalem hospitals.
  2. Use the sample letter found in the ELCA Action Center to urge your senators and representatives to contact the White House as well.  `
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