Earlier this month, Lutherans from all three Iowa Synods gathered to meet with state legislators at the Capitol in Des Moines for the tenth year for “Lutheran Day on the Hill.”
The day began early for Northeastern Iowa participants who get on the bus early in the morning at either LSI Bremwood Campus in Waverly or Nazareth Lutheran in Waterloo. There is an introduction at a nearby church, which serves to orient participants to the process, share information on the issues as well as the work of Lutheran Services in Iowa and as a general pep talk.
This year we heard from Representative Lisa Heddens, and from Pastor Dan Rift, Director of the ELCA Hunger appeal. This event is partially funded by an ELCA Hunger grant.
Usually the bishops from the three Iowa Synods attend but this year the day was scheduled on top of the meeting of the Conference of Bishops so they came to the hill a week later.
“We particularly focused on funding for refugee resettlement, FIP (Family Investment Program) which has not had an increase in funding in decades and funding for contracts for Children Welfare Providers, like Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI),” commented Bishop Steven Ullestad.
“I am grateful for those legislators who made time for our conversations and to LSI for arranging our meetings.”
We do this because “Advocacy allows the voice of children to be heard by legislative leaders,” notes Bishop Steven Ullestad. “Families who are hungry, in need of educational opportunities or living in unsafe environments count on LSI to speak on their behalf.”
Both our state and national capitols are full of lobbyist speaking on behalf of the powerful and for self-interest. This is not a bad thing in and of itself. Our legislators are accountable to those who elected them and they need to hear from us. But the poor, the refugee, those on the margins of society have no one to speak on their behalf.
If you missed this day, you can still speak out on behalf of those whose voices are often not heard. You can write to your representatives.
These links lead to more information about the issues we focused on with our legislators:
- Family Investment Program (FIP)
- Investing in Refugee Families
- Iowa Child Welfare Providers
And remember to pray for your legislators. Most of them got into this work to make a difference. We can remind them of how they can do that.