Racial Justice Conversations

On February 5, 2017 – after a year of discussions and revisions, our congregation voted and adopted our racial justice statement:

“Racial injustice continues to thrive in our country and communities. Our Christian response is to walk in solidarity with people of color, because standing silent sanctions continued violence. We recognize that those who are white are intertwined in a network of unearned privilege. We, as a congregation, are compelled to advocate for racial justice. We invite other congregations to join together in expressing their commitments to live out our shared faith – active in love- in the struggle for equity and justice.”

These words call each of us to enter into a deeper commitment towards racial justice. This work involves action and advocacy, but it also requires introspection, reflection, and processing issues in messy conversations that may not have resolution. These conversations help us clarify our own ideas, seek different ideas from others, and then build bridges towards greater understanding of one another.

The third Sunday of most months is the DO JUSTICE COFFEE CONVERSATION, which focuses specifically on questions or topics of racial justice. This is a way for us to live out our commitment together as a congregation with intentionality.

The Racial Justice Committee’s call to each one of you is be brave! Live out our shared commitment by sitting at one of the many tables - because one or two tables just isn’t enough. Trust in God’s grace and presence. Listen deeply between the differing life experiences and opinions for commonality – for that is where we will discover ways to build bridges and further our work toward racial justice.

There will be a few questions on the tables this Sunday the 19th between services to facilitate the discussions as well as the RESPECT guidelines. I hope to see the courage and grace and commitment of all of you in conversation together Sunday.

-Kirsten Horstman, Racial Justice Committee.

Green Worship at ECLC

On Sunday, November 12th we will be joining together for our first “Green” worship service. We plan to use this setting four times per year - once per calendar season. 

Our faith community engages in caring for the earth is a variety of ways at ECLC.  This Sunday, our commitment to caring for God’s creation will permeate every aspect of our worship service.  Local musician and friend of the congregation, Bret Hesla has written a series of songs, readings, and prayers which we will use to focus on the pressing issue of climate change and our responsibility as Christians to be actively engaged in sustainability.  

ECLC has been on the forefront of many social justice issues over the years.  Climate change should be no different.  ECLC's EcoFaith Team works closely with the synod team to help us understand ways in which we can make a difference.  It’s easy to overlook that climate change is interconnected with all the other issues we care so deeply about at ECLC.  In the words of David W. Orr from his book Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World: 

"In an ecological perspective, in other words, there are few accidents or anomalies, only outcomes based on system structure and dynamics. Climate change and glittering malls, Calcuttan poverty and sybaritic wealth, biotic impoverishment and economic growth, militarism and terrorism, global domination and utter vulnerability are not different things but manifestations of a single system.”

We are in the midst of a new reformation on many fronts.  This new Reformation is a reformation of the mind, spirit, and heart.  If we are serious about it we will need to examine many of our preconceptions, just as we have at ECLC with racial justice and white privilege.  Again, from Dr. David Orr:

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.
And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.” 

On Sunday we will:

·    Lift up the earth as our source of life and acknowledge our responsibility to tend and sustain rather than dominate.

·    Find practical tips and strategies from our EcoFaith Team in the bulletin. 

·    See hanging posters with information and action steps.

·    Sing the songs by Bret Hesla that we’ve been learning since the beginning of September.

·    See a beautiful fabric banner by Robbyn S. made specifically for the Green service.

Come and be a part of our beloved community this Sunday as we honor God’s green earth.

 ~Paul Andress, Music Leader

Connecting at ECLC

As our church family continues to grow, we want to be intentional about providing varied fun and interesting opportunities for members to connect and get to know each other. You may remember that in our recent congregational survey, ‘connecting with others’ was the top priority/wish of a very large percent of our members.

To that end, our ‘connectivity team’ (Karen, Jane, Carol, Judy, and Ammie, led by Lauren) meet and brainstorm ideas for member connection opportunities. Some have included the ‘breaking bread’ dinners around shared interests or stages of life, and another is the white board ‘question of the week’ in the front hallway on Sunday mornings. We are always looking for new ideas.

We encourage you to participate in these opportunities when you can, AND to offer up any and all ideas for connection activities. The connectivity team would love to welcome a couple new members as well (“especially younger members!”...a direct quote from the committee elders!). If you’re interested in joining the committee, please let Lauren know.

Over the next month, several breaking bread dinners will bring people together for a meal and conversation on a common interest or stage of life.  We hope you'll join the table for one or more. RSVP to Lauren for any of these meals:

  • Recently Retired: November 6 at Noon. Discussion around the transition from work to retirement. A potluck. Led by Carol B.
  • Working parents: November 12 at Noon.  Discussion around the balance of work and parenting. $10 for a catered meal. Led by April S & Darren L.
  • Self-Care in a Time of Division:  November 15 at 6:30pm. Discussion around preventing burnout when advocating and seeking justice in our country. A potluck Led by Paul A.
  • Caregivers: December 6 at 6:00pm. Discussion around support, ideas, and resources for those caregiving for loved ones. Led by Karen B. $10 for catered meal.

Let’s connect, awesome ECLC folks!  -Carol