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 so I can share them with others in the synod!

The Rev. Kelly Bayer Derrick
Assistant to the Bishop
O God of all, with wonderful diversity of languages and cultures you created all people in your image. Free us from prejudice and fear, that we may see your face in the faces of people around the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (From ELW prayers)
Germanna Conference : Charlottesville to Jamestown
For more information and to register, visit
Saturday, Oct. 6 - “Raising the Humanity of the Enslaved at Monticello”
10:00 am to 4:30 pm - Registration cost: $5 per person. (Limit: 200 participants)
Walk from the Jefferson School to Monticello, where we will gather at the African American burial ground for prayer and song before going up to Mulberry Row where we will hear stories about the lives of the enslaved from two descendants of the Hemings and Jefferson families. We will receive and read the names of almost 360 people who were enslaved at Monticello.
Monday, Oct. 8 - Stone, Bone, and Clay: Virginia Indians’ History of 18,000 Years
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm - Lane Auditorium, Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Rd.
This event, in partnership with the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights, features Dr. Karenne Wood, a member of the Monacan Indian Nation and an anthropologist. Dr. Wood will examine the deep history of American Indian presence in what we now call Virginia. Following Dr. Wood’s presentation, we will experience Monacan Tribal Dancers.
Thursday, Oct. 11 - “The Heresy of Christian Empire and the Trauma of the Doctrine of Discovery”
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm - Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, 105 Lankford Ave.
Mark Charles, a Navajo Christian who is a Washington DC correspondent and regular columnist for Native News Online, will give a presentation that traces the history of Christianity and the United States that contributed to the oppression of native peoples and the enslavement of Africans in north America.
Friday, Oct. 12 - Pilgrimage to Richmond Trail of the Enslaved
8:15 am to 4:30 pm - Registration cost: $20 per person. (Limit: 40 participants) We will carpool to Richmond and embark on a facilitated Slave Trail Walk to learn about the economic, political and religious justifications for slavery as we follow a route that brought Africans to Virginia, and later sent Africans to other locations in the Americas. After lunch, there will be group reflection and discussion.
Saturday, Oct. 13 - Pilgrimage to Jamestown and Ft. Monroe
6:45 am to 6:00 pm - Registration cost: $25 per person. (Limit: 50 participants)
We will take a bus to Historic Jamestowne National Park ($14 entrance fee to the park must be purchased separately) to take the First Africans tour. Afterwards, we will go to Ft. Monroe where we will learn an accurate history of the site of the landing of the first ship carrying enslaved people from Africa. There at the beach, we will hold a service repeating names of enslaved at Monticello as a symbolic way to connect Charlottesville to Jamestown.
ELCA Conference of Bishops statement on East Jerusalem hospitals
In early September, members of the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) were saddened and dismayed to hear reports that the U.S. government was planning to discontinue financial assistance to Augusta Victoria Hospital and five other East Jerusalem hospitals.

We appreciate and strongly affirm ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s Sept. 6 letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, calling for the “release of $25 million of U.S. FY 2017 funding that will help to ensure that there is no interruption in the treatment of Palestinians at the East Jerusalem hospitals, especially the most vulnerable cancer and kidney patients referred to Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) from Gaza and the West Bank.”

She noted that, as an institution owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), “Augusta Victoria Hospital is able to operate because of the support of LWF member churches, like the ELCA, 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 over many years tens of millions of dollars in aid to help cover the costs of the cancer patients and others referred to AVH and the other East Jerusalem hospitals.”

Eaton stressed the urgency of U.S. government action, saying: “The delay in the disbursement of the 2017 funding for the East Jerusalem hospitals is contributing to an acute and severe cash- flow crisis for AVH and the other hospitals,” and that immediate release of the funds is necessary “so that AVH can make payments to pharmaceutical suppliers of cancer medications, pay staff and avoid any interruption in the treatment of patients.”

In the past several weeks, neither the LWF nor the ELCA have received any official announcement about the status of this funding and, therefore, we appeal to President Donald Trump to instruct the U.S. Department of State to release this vital funding so these patients will receive the treatment and care they need.
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