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
On November 17, the church commemorates Princess Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231), who refused to live the lifestyle common of a monarch and instead dedicated her life to service. She is known for her care of the sick and her generosity to the poor. As we remember Elizabeth, let us pray for all those who care for others, especially hospitals and caregivers.
Global Farm Challenge
Thanks to your incredible generosity, ELCA World Hunger has met its matching goal of $515,000 for the Global Farm Challenge! Together, we’ve raised more than $1 million for the agricultural work of ELCA World Hunger. But the need continues. Learn more and participate through the end of the year at ELCA.org/globalfarmchallenge and watch a new video about the impact your gifts are making.
Lutheran Family Services of Virginia
It’s a familiar image this time of year. Family gathered around, sharing food, laughter, and fellowship. The warmth and joy in the room a result of the time spent together and the memories being made. This image may evoke thoughts of the holiday gatherings ahead, but it is an image you help us provide year-round for the individuals we serve.

Residents in our group homes spend quality time together enjoying potluck meals and going out for Sunday worship. Our day support individuals engage in their community during activities. Students at our Minnick Schools receive the school supplies they need to learn and grow together. Our foster families gather to be honored and supported for opening their homes to youth in need. Individuals have their dreams come true through Julie’s Abundance project.

It wouldn’t be possible without you — and for that, we are thankful.

This Thanksgiving, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your commitment to helping LFSVA provide the very best for the individuals we serve. It is with your help that we can provide an abundance of opportunity. Thank you.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Ray Ratke, CEO
Statement on policies preventing asylum-seekers from accessing protection
Recently, the Administration  took steps  to prevent asylum seekers entering the U.S. between ports of entry from protection in the U.S., thus undermining national and international laws. Asylum laws in the U.S. were formalized after World War II, which had shown the world the consequences of turning back people who were seeking safety. 

Through our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities ( AMMPARO ) strategy and our global ministries, the church connects to churches and organizations in the countries from which people are fleeing. We know that children and families who have faced trauma must be evaluated for protection by professionals. 

"As a church, we cannot remain silent as our asylum laws are unilaterally changed and our nation’s door is shut to people fleeing dire humanitarian situations. From our companion churches in Central America, our church knows many people leave to escape grinding poverty, violence or persecution and to seek a better life for their children,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA. "As Lutherans, we have long advocated for reliable and consistent implementation of laws governing asylum-seekers and urge the Administration to continue to ensure broad protection for all who need it and due process at the border."

As a Christian church familiar with immigrant origins, the ELCA firmly stands against policies that hinder immigrants' legal right to claim asylum. As we pray that the Lord keeps them safe on their journey, we call on people of faith to look with compassion on members of the human family fleeing violence and persecution. 

Take action today: 

  1. Sign the pledge to support people seeking asylum in the U.S. The #CaravanPledge is a commitment bringing together people of many faiths and backgrounds who are committed to standing up for the rights of migrants and refugees and creating welcoming communities wherever they are. Opportunities to learn more about accompanying activities stem from signing the pledge, including Border Servant Corps, a ministry of Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, NM
  2. Follow the ELCA Advocacy Network.
  3. Follow our ELCA AMMPARO network and become a welcoming congregation.
Living Truth: A Transgender Virginian's Story
Living Truth: A Transgender Virginian's Story is an event hosted by  Equality Virginia and St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Portsmouth. The event will be on Thursday, November 29th at St. Andrew Lutheran Church 4811 High St. West Portsmouth, VA.

You are invited to join fellow Lutheran leaders and congregants for an evening of fellowship and learning as a transgender community member shares their story, followed by plenty of time for dialogue and questions.
Connect with the Virginia Synod