Do Justice
The LORD has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6.8)

Welcome to the first edition of 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
African Descent Lutheran Association
National President Rev.  Lamont Wells (Director for Evangelical Mission for Metropolitan New York Synod ) offers a reflection on African Descent Lutheran legacy: "Although many still consider people of African descent as outsiders or newcomers to this tradition, history records that we are not. Dating way back to 1669, African Americans who were enslaved and/or free, became members of the Lutheran congregations in New York and New Jersey. In fact, African-American Lutherans have been in this country for more than 350 years, much longer than many Lutheran European immigrants.

I believe that African Descent History Month is important for all Americans. The month-long celebration engages the history of people of African heritage and cultivates awareness and understanding. We are all tied together by the circumstance of history.

In spite of the effects of slavery, negative stereotypes in the media, internalized oppression, covert racism even in a "post-racial" society, the framework of Lutheran theology helps many African descendants discern God’s directions and activities in their lives and in the communities in which they live." 
Peace Lutheran Church, Charlottesville
MLK Day Celebration
"One of our activities on MLK Day was to read the book It’s Okay to be Different. Kids were then invited to decorate a puzzle piece, in celebration of what makes them different. The puzzle came with 150 pieces, so we are still using it with our middle school and high school groups to have a finished puzzle that would display the diversity of the community. Some of the pieces have words, some don’t. We also began work on a community peace pole. Kids painted symbols of peace on one side and artists worked to do the lettering."

-Vicar Melissa Woeppel
International Women's Day is March 8. You are encouraged to include prayers for justice for women and girls in the Prayers of the People on Sunday, March 11. The ELCA International Women's Day booklet has more info. You are also encouraged to host a discussion of the ELCA Draft Social Statement on Women and Justice . For more info, please contact Pastor Kelly Bayer Derrick at bayerderrick@vasynod.org .
"God's Good Creation" is ELCA World Hunger’s new vacation Bible school study that helps children learn about hunger, hope and the work to which God calls us in the world.

The five-day program highlights the work of ELCA World Hunger and includes a schedule, educational activities, skits, snack and craft ideas. This program celebrates the gifts that God has created - gifts that can help build a world where all are fed.

Also available for download are a “God’s Good Creation” promotional poster and a certificate to celebrate participation.
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