Written by Bishop Michael L Burk
In a culture that frequently reflects deep political divisions, I recently returned from a decidedly non-partisan mission to Washington, D.C.
As a member of a small group of ELCA bishops, (we call it a “Ready Bench”),* who work together on issues related to hunger and poverty, I met with a number of legislators and administration officials during the week immediately after Thanksgiving. With my colleagues, I was intent on communicating that as a church, the ELCA has no position on how big or how small government should be. But we long for, and care deeply about a government that is effective when it comes to addressing the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
At a time when significant budget cuts are both necessary and inevitable, it is critical to protect those programs that meet the essential hunger needs of “the least of these.” I was gratified to be received graciously by people with different political perspectives who share that conviction.
I encourage you to look (perhaps again) at “The Circle of Protection,” www.circleofprotection.us, to see how leaders and faith-based organizations from across the political and theological spectrum have come together in advocating on behalf of our neighbors who live in poverty and lack food sufficiency, especially children.
And please join me in praying for those who serve in government, with thanksgiving for their service and for God’s guidance in their work.
*The ELCA Conference of Bishops has five Ready Benches, groups of bishops who are “ready” to speak publicly on specific sets of issues.