Friday, February 12, 2016

Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces Receives Advocacy Award

Picture (left to right): Rev. Ron Brooker (retired pastor, member of Peace Lutheran Church, and member of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-NM policy committee), the Rev. Jared Carson (pastor of Peace Lutheran Church), Ellen Young (writer, member of Peace, and an advocate active in LAM-NM and Bread for the World). 

Display at Peace Lutheran
Judy Messal, chair of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico's policy committee (standing at the far right in the picture), offered these remarks at the ceremony where members of Peace Lutheran Church were honored for their advocacy work.  The award presentation was part of LAM-NM's annual bishop's luncheon in Santa Fe on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016.  (Peace Lutheran Church as been participating in Bread for the World's Offering of Letters.

(In 2016, members of the church wrote 87 letters to Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Rep. Steve Pearce urging for the Child Nutrition Act to be reauthorized).

It is my great pleasure to speak about Peace Lutheran Church of Las Cruces: this year's recipient of the Chris and John Haaland Advocacy Award. The award was created to honor the Haalands, whose  passion for justice was instrumental in establishing our Lutheran Advocacy Ministry here in New Mexico.

Past recipients of the award have been the following:
Ivan Westergaard, supporter of Lutheran advocacy, leader in Albuquerque Interfaith
• And Carlos Navarro, New Mexico Coordinator for Bread for the World.

Now, Peace Lutheran Church, we recognize the steadfast advocacy work you have done. Since the first year of Lutheran advocacy in New Mexico 1984, you have been involved—both your clergy and the people of your congregation have supported us.  

Members of Peace had been leaders in our statewide ministry. Throughout our 32 years, there has always been a member of Peace on our Policy Committee.  But you didn’t stop there. You have an active, even a model, Bread for the World ministry advocating just policies to alleviate hunger in the United States and abroad.

Your members also have been active advocates in your community on matters affecting homeless children, immigrants, and others.

I also want to mention the Border Service Corps, a program your congregation-- relatively small at the time--had the courage to establish in the 1990s. The program provides opportunities for young people of various faith backgrounds-- from the U.S. and even abroad--to serve people on the U.S./Mexico border. Living simply together, earning only small stipends, they work in daycare programs for homeless children, in health clinics and ACLU offices, in Catholic Charities legal services, in food pantries, in Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and more.

And finally, as advocates, they work toward systemic change.

In all these ways, Peace Lutheran Church, your faithful advocacy inspires us.

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