Our Redeemer's Blog

Social Justice Report – June 2021

by Elizabeth Dickinson

E-Cycling Event – Saturday, June 12th 

Collect those unwanted electronics! Grab that styrofoam! Drop them off in the Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church parking lot on Saturday, June 12, 10 AM – 2 PM. Perhaps coordinate your drop-off with other members and turn it into an outside fellowship event! View the poster for the event: https://rb.gy/oc0p3o. Thank you Living Green Technology, Styro Recycle, and Our Redeemer’s Social Justice Team! 

Together, We Remember the Emanuel Nine – Sunday, June 13

We invite you to join us in remembering the Mother Emanuel Nine, and in making a space to grieve and reflect on racism, during the June 13 worship service. We will draw from an ELCA-African Methodist Episcopal Church joint commemoration service, as well as some reflections by our church’s Racial Justice Advocates. 

June 17, 2021 will be the sixth anniversary of the murder of nine members of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina by a self-professed white supremacist. They were gathered for Bible study and prayer in the church, and had shown hospitality to the person who later killed them. Two of those who were killed – Pastors Pinckney and Simmons – were graduates of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. The shooter had grown up in an ELCA church. 

These are the names of those African-American members who were murdered:
Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Lee Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson. 

A resolution to commemorate June 17 as a day of repentance for the martyrdom of the Emanuel Nine was adopted by the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on August 8, 2019, and congregations of the ELCA are encouraged to mark this day by reaffirming their commitment to repent the sins of racism and white supremacy.

Help Needed With Ballard Sunday Dinners This Summer 

As we head into summer, please think about those times you will be in town and consider volunteering for one Ballard Sunday Dinner. There are opportunities to cook and serve, clean up, or take the lead in planning a meal in June, July, and August. I can share resources to help you, like a book of tried-and-true recipes, and veteran volunteers are willing to share their expertise. Sign up online at this LINK or email Elizabeth Dickinson, outreach@ourredeemers.net, if you want to help out. 

Your 3% at work! 

As you likely know, 3% of our congregation’s annual giving is dedicated to “Gifts for the World.” These are contributions to community organizations and activities that enhance compassion, justice, hope and the flourishing of all God’s creation. Your generosity enabled us to give abundantly. Since these are gifts from all of us, you might be interested in where they went.

Needs were amplified everywhere because of the COVID pandemic. 

This year, we gave $7,050 to provide shelter, transitional housing, counseling, sleeping bags and more for those currently without a stable home. We certainly see the misery all around us. The total number of people experiencing homelessness in Washington grew 6.2% from 2019 to 2020, and the number of homeless in families grew 20.3%. (US HUD 2020 Report)

Hunger is the second biggest focus area for our community contributions. At about $5,700, this giving supports the Ballard Sunday Dinner, the Ballard Food Bank, and St. Luke’s Edible Hope Meals Program. The latter provided Thanksgiving takeout meals this past year when we could not host our traditional sit-down dinner.

Last year brought a renewed awareness of pervasive racial inequity, particularly seen in COVID-19 deaths and police enforcement. $3,500 went to efforts to increase racial justice, including $500 to a new ELCA Northwest Synod program to redress financial disparities in income and health care for Black, Indigenous and other pastors and deacons of color serving our congregations. I learned this week that, following World War II, one of every six Lutherans in the world was a refugee or a displaced person (ELCA Social Message on Immigration, 1998). Lutherans resettled about 57,000 refugees in the US soon after the war. That commitment to welcome continues today for those fleeing violence, political strife and chronic poverty. The Social Justice Committee chose to give $3,250 to support and resettle refugees.

Other contributions include:

$2,000 for creating, loading and sending quilts and hygiene and school kits to help our neighbors in the US and around the world recover from disasters

$1,500 to interfaith understanding and peace

$1,000 for affirming and welcoming those identifying as LGBTQ+ as beloved children of God and members of our ELCA churches

$1,000 to Lutheran Community Services Northwest for COVID-19 relief

$700 to Cub Scout Pack 100

$500 to Earth Ministry, a locally-based national interfaith organization advocating for creation care, and

$500 to the Faith Action Network, which helps Washingtonians of multiple faiths advocate for policy changes that help create and preserve affordable housing, address hunger, strengthen voting and civil rights, and more.

Thank you so much for your gifts to this congregation and to the world! 

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