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
Nothing But Nets Fundraiser
On Friday March 16th, 15 participants from Bethel Lutheran Church in Winchester raised money for malaria nets by making 1000 free throws in one hour.

Together they raised $700 to purchase 140 total malaria nets
Adult Study on Church in Society Social Statement
An adult study was recently completed at Peace Lutheran Church in Charlottesville on the ELCA Social Statement on The Church in Society.

Over the first five Sundays in Lent, the group gathered to review the statement and together discussed portions of the statement that were particularly meaningful to them. One particular way the group engaged with the statement was to share their personal involvement in environmental justice issues, as well as how Peace as a congregation supports organizations, and mission works. The presenters all were happy to have an opportunity to talk about their passions and how they personally connect to this statement.
March for Our Lives
On  Saturday March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives took to the streets to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today.

Christ Lutheran Church in Richmond was open from 8:00 AM until noon on March 24th in support of the March for our Lives. The sanctuary was available for personal prayer and contemplation – folks were welcome to come and go.

We did this in support of our neighbors at George H. Moody Middle School. Our church has had a long-term relationship with Moody Middle. We provide overflow parking for each other. We have held events in each other’s buildings. Christ Lutheran is the site that the students evacuate to in case of an emergency.
Christ Lutheran provided an alternative activity for that morning. We knew that sometimes marching is not an option. Our alternative event was promoted at a community Lenten dinner, on the Christ Lutheran Facebook page and other places on Facebook. Those places included other churches in Lakeside and the March for our lives RVA Facebook page.

Our event turned out small. Over the four-hour period, seven people stopped by and
prayed. Hopefully for those people it was a meaningful experience. We plan to
continue to support Moody Middle School with prayer.

-Patty Franz
Act Now: Unite to End Racism
Brothers and Sisters,
 
I invite you to join me and others from the Virginia Synod and ELCA in responding to Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s call to gather for the National Council of Churches’ rally in Washington DC  at the National Mall  on April 4 from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PMACT NOW: Unite to End Racism

Honestly facing our own prejudices, confessing our sinfulness and complicity in perpetuating injustice against so many throughout history is an urgent and ongoing need. We must ACT NOW to build bridges to a more just and inclusive future. One way we can continue this quest is to gather in Washington D.C. with thousands of others.

Below are some specifics shared by Bishop Eaton that may assist you in your planning. Attached you will find the rally Vision Statement and recent Event Details memo from the National Council of Churches' (NCC) planning team.

I hope to see you on April 4th. 
Peace!
Bishop Bob Humphrey
Register
Please register for the rally at   www.rally2endracism.org   The process is very quick and you can sign up to receive regular updates. New details are regularly added to the website.

Housing
If you plan to stay overnight, you will need to make your own arrangements. The National Council of Churches has  posted a list of reduced-rate lodging options  , most of which are in Virginia with easy access to the Metro. More options will soon be posted.           

ELCA Presence  
The Lutheran Church of the Reformation  on Capitol Hill will be open from 7-10 AM as a place for people to rest. Please note that the church is on the opposite end of the National Mall as the rally. 
 
We are asking all ELCA folks to wear their “God’s Work. Our Hands” (or bright yellow) t-shirts, and to bring along synod and congregational banners and other ways of highlighting our presence at the rally.
 
Meeting up as ELCA, except as we are able to find each other, will be challenging given the anticipated numbers of people, and the early start to the rally at 7 AM. As more information becomes available we will continue to assess the options.
 
Food & Rest Facilities
There will be food trucks lining the rally site on the national mall, as well as café options in the Smithsonian Museums. Portable toilet facilities will also be available. Additionally, Lutheran Church of the Reformation will be available as an open rest space for participants – though please note that this is at the opposite end of the mall as the rally site.
 
Other Events
On Tuesday evening there will be a service of worship in the Orthodox Tradition at  St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral   at 6:30 PM.
 
On Thursday, the NCC is organizing a day of action in the Nation’s Capital. Details have yet to be released; updates will be posted to the event website as they are available.  
 
Partners
Check the website   www.rally2endracism.org   for the full list of partners, which is regularly updated. Partners include: The National Council of Churches, the National African American Clergy Network, the Conference of National Black Churches, the Franciscan Action Network, Sojourners, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Churches Uniting in Christ, the Mennonite Central Committee, and most recently, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Poor Peoples’ Campaign. Conversations with additional partners are ongoing.
 
Other Ways to Participate
Here are a few ideas for other ways to participate in the rally for those who cannot make it to Washington DC. Feel free to adapt and share these ideas as you see fit, and to share your ideas. 
 
Pray   as individuals, congregations, and with ecumenical and inter-religious partners.

In Times Like These…A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement  , an ecumenical collection developed by Bread for the World on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Poor People’s Campaign.    www.bread.org/blog/times-these-call-unity-and-freedom
Engage as ELCA and with ecumenical and inter-religious partners in ongoing acts of truth-telling and racial justice.
Connect with the Virginia Synod