Nearly 200 people from the three Iowa synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gathered on Monday, March 12, to meet with their local representatives and advocate for the needs of Iowans in their communities.  Lutheran Day on the Hill was a joint effort of Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI), the three Iowa synods of the ELCA, and the ELCA Hunger Appeal which provided a grant for the event.  This grant made it possible to provide transportation to the event in Des Moines from the out-lying areas of the state. Twenty-five people boarded vans which stopped in Iowa City and Newton.  They were joined in Des Moines by many others in the synod from Central Iowa.

Participants of Lutheran Day on the Hill gather on the Iowa State Capitol steps. In the very front row (left to right): Doug Johnson, CEO of Lutheran Services in Iowa; Bishop Michael Last, Western Iowa Synod; Bishop Michael Burk, Southeastern Iowa Synod; Governor Terry Branstad; Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds; and Bishop Steven Ullestad, Northeastern Iowa Synod.

The day began with all participants gathering at Elim Christian Fellowship (adjacent to the Capitol grounds).  Bishop Burk greeted the gathering and offered prayer.  Mikka McCracken from the ELCA Hunger Appeal spoke about the work of the hunger appeal using the acronym READ (relief, education, advocacy, and development) noting that one of the things which makes the work of the ELCA unique is involvement in all four of these areas.  She also spoke about the importance of the work of advocacy.  Clients from LSI spoke of the life-transforming services they have received and Doug Johnson, LSI President and CEO, reminded the gathering of the partnership LSI has with the State of Iowa to carry out this work and the need for adequate funding to be provided by the state for these services.  After a briefing regarding the logistics of contacting legislators, the group moved to the Capitol for a group picture following remarks from the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.  Participants then met individually or in small groups with their legislators urging them to not lose sight of the needs of vulnerable Iowans as budget decisions were made.

Thank you to all from our synod who helped may this Lutheran Day on the Hill one of the best ever!

For more pictures from Lutheran Day on the Hill visit the synod’s Facebook page or click here.


Written by Pr. Paul Ostrem, Assistant to the Bishop

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