Advocacy and Social Justice

Quick Links

Advocacy Events

Advocacy in Nevada

Advocacy Resources

ELCA Social Statements

Grand Canyon Synod Partnering with Statewide Hunger Advisory Council

Grant Funding

National Hunger Awareness


International Aging Resources, Prepared by Candidate Ms. Carol Schneider, July 2014
The world’s population is aging and by 2050 it is anticipated that over 20% of the world population will be over age 65 – as many as will be under the age of 15. These resources have been compiled by Ms. Carol Schneider, an ordained clergy candidate from the Grand Canyon Synod as one of her internship projects this year at the Lutheran Office for World Community and Saint Peter’s Church, New York City, New York. Attached as an addendum is a similar listing that was produced by UNDESA (UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs) in 2012.

AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Opportunities
The Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP) is recruiting for AmeriCorps VISTA members who wish to focus a year of their career efforts as an AmeriCorps VISTA member building programs and services for refugees in Arizona. The selected candidate would serve as a VISTA member from July 2014 through July 2015.  The assignment will be full-time (40 hr/wk) and most likely require attendance Monday through Friday from 8 – 5pm.  VISTA members receive a stipend of $11,352 per year. For more information click here. 

▼ What is IDEA SOUP? ▼

A grassroots, crowdsource dinner where participants learn about creative projects happening in Phoenix to support the refugee community and vote on a winner to fund through donations accepted at the door. IDEA SOUP brings together neighbors, fosters democracy, features local artists, and serves as an incubator to share ideas, pool resources, and empower collective action. Click here for more information.


Plea from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Every day, the UnitedStates detains 34,000 people for immigration purposes. This number isn't based on any specific law enforcement need--it's an arbitrary quota Congress requires every year when deciding how much money to set aside for federal enforcement of our immigration laws. This daily detention bed mandate has contributed to a skyrocketing number of people held by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement behind bars each year--from 167,000 in 2000 to 429,000 in 2011.

While the economic costs of detaining tens of thousands of non-citizens, including asylum seekers, long-term lawful permanent residents, and individuals who have overstayed visas, to reach an arbitrary quota are high--over $5 million a day--the human cost cannot be measured. Immigration detention separates families and communities. Asylum seekers, torture survivors, and others who have fled persecution may be re-traumatized by finding themselves in detention in the country where they sought safety and freedom.

LIRS has advocated against this arbitrary and inefficient bed mandate for years. Now, we have a significant opportunity to decrease the use of immigration detention. On June 5 the House of Representatives began voting on amendments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)Appropriations bill (H.R. 2217). Representatives Deutch (D-FL) and Foster (D-IL) plan to offer an amendment that would eliminate this daily detention bed mandate.

I urge you to call the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to be connected to your representative to voice your support for the Deutch/Foster amendment that strikes the bed mandate in the DHS appropriations bill. Follow up your call by sending a message at LIRS's
Action Center.Thank you for joining LIRS during this historic moment by raising your voice for compassion and welcome towards migrants and refugees and against arbitrary detention!

AMWA Adopt a Family
There are 80-100 refugee families in the local Phoenix area that are in true need of assistance with Ramadan needs. To adopt one of these families, all it takes is $100 and a few hours of your time. For more information click here.

ELCA State Public Policy Offices

ELCA Advocacy Website
ELCA advocacy ministry speaks for biblical values: peacemaking, hospitality to strangers, care for creation, and concern for people living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease. Click here to visit their website.

ELCA World Hunger

December 2014 GoandDoNews

January 2015 GoandDoNews

Ministry Opportunity
The anti-sex trafficking issue is continuing to pick up speed here in Arizona. Ascension Lutheran Church members, under the leadership of Kade Kadrie and in conjunction with a coalition of passionate and influential members in the community, are in the process of developing an educational program for hotel and resort management and staff to combat this growing nationwide problem. The goal is to provide guidance to all employees for the recognition and reporting of sex trafficking, to develop a code of conduct as it relates to sex trafficking in these venues and to offer a certificate of achievement after completion of the program. The coalition consists of Phoenix Vice; The Sandra Day O’Connor House, Homeland Security Investigations, Arizona State University and major corporate headquarters for hotel and resorts. All this activity requires funding and we continue to look for donations from all who wish to partner with us in any way they can. Please contact Jayne Baker, Diaconal Minister, Ascension Lutheran Church, Paradise Valley, AZ, for more information.

Pocket Pals at Ascension, Paradise Valley
The Pocket Pals at Ascension donate their Time, Talent and the Funding needed to purchase, create and sew quilts that have been designed with a large pocket attached so a child can store and carry their belongings when they are getting moved from one home to another. The group works directly with the Department of Economic Security (DES)/Child Protective Services (CPS), who pick up the quilts and distributes them to children who have been removed from their homes. Click here to learn how you can be involved with Pocket Pals and reach out to the children of Phoenix.

The LOWC is a shared ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Lutheran World Federation. Click here to read news, events and resources for LOWC partners, including international information.

Help our Veterans by Donating
MANA House, a transitional living center for veterans, houses 51 veterans who are working towards independence and self-sufficiency. MANA (Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force) House, located at 755 East Willetta Street in Phoenix, provides a quality, stable environment for veterans, with services to assist with benefits, education, employment, and permanent housing. They currently house veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflicts. MANA House can use all the usual donations: monetary, detergent, toilet paper, clothing, etc. For a current "Wish List" of MANA House click here. To read the MANA House article in the Aug. 13, 2012, Arizona Republic click here.


One in seven people go hungry in the world every day. That is 925 million people.

Does your congregation host a meal before Lenten services? Why not gather for a meal and help fight hunger at the same time? Enjoy global cuisine while learning about the world and how our church is making a difference. Instead of charging for the meal, collect donations to support ELCA World Hunger. Visit for complete instructions on 12 different global meals - complete with recipes, table prayers, printable place mats, table tents, dramas, discussion starters and more.



DES - Grand Canyon Synod Partnering with Statewide Hunger Advisory Council
It is a pleasure for the Grand Canyon Synod Advocacy office to participate in an ongoing partnership with the Department of Economic Security Statewide Hunger Advisory Council. This group is comprised of a myriad of stakeholders whose professional roles serve to dedicate them to the eradication of hunger in every location in Arizona. Please note the ongoing meeting minutes provided from each monthly meeting of this group. Meetings are held monthly at the East Jefferson location of the Department of Economic Security in Phoenix. Follow-up on any agenda item that is listed or discussion recorded in the meeting minutes may be accomplished through contacting the meeting chair Linda Hamman,
Hunger Relief Program Manager, Department of Economic Security.

Arizona Food Policy Task Force Contacts


Health Care Reform/Debate Issues

Click here to view the website of St. Luke's Health Initiatives and sign up for the online publication "Thinking Out Loud", their monthly newsletter discussing AZ health care and policy landscape.

“Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work”  

An in-depth look at how organizations of all types, acting in diverse settings, are implementing a collective impact approach to solve large-scale social problems. Written by Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania, & Mark Kramer. Provided courtesy of AZ Faith Based & Community Initiatives.

Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Phoenix, AZ

Click here to view new food pantry and thrift store hours of operation.

AZ Faith Based & Community Initiatives

The purpose of this initiative is to develop leaders and advocates to foster collective community efficacy so that every child, adult and family in the state of Arizona will be safe and economically secure. To encourage and foster dialogue between faith-based and community organizations, and existing systems of care.

2014 Agendas & Minutes

Arizona Council on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Contact Sheet. For more information or sign-up to receive their monthly e-newsletter visit the AZ Faith Based & Community Initiatives website.

Department of Economic Security moves to a 'Person-Centric' Model

This year the Department of Economic Security will begin its transformation into a “Person-Centric” integrated engine for human well-being; one that focuses its energies on not only delivering services that meet the unique needs of individual customers, but intentionally working to grow that consumer beyond their system. DES is launching a blog that is intended to be a multi-channel conversation, an effort to create a direct and open line of communication with everyone who cares about and has a stake in Arizona neighbors who need an added hand from their community to make their lives work. To read the blog or obtain more information click here.

The Society for Nonprofit Organizations is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with members throughout the world. Since 1983, the Society has been providing nonprofit staff members, volunteers, and board members with affordable resources and information to work more effectively and efficiently towards accomplishing their mission. To find possible grant funding click here.

AZ 2-1-1 Update

Community Information & Referral (CIR), an Arizona 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has recently been designated as lead entity and the provider of 2-1-1 services in Arizona.  Persons in need will be able to call this easy-to-remember number, 2-1-1, to access information on  shelter and food emergencies, and all health and human service resources. To read more about this important resource click here. To download the 2-1-1 brochure click here.


AZ Coalition for Military Families - Guidelines for Care Project

The concept behind this cross‐sector effort is to bring together key stakeholders from the military, government and community to establish guidelines for the care and support of the military and veteran population. As far as is known, this is the first such effort to undertake this type of process. The end result will be that service members, veterans and families will be connected to the right program, resource and/or benefit at the right time. For more information on how you can help click here.

AZ Roster of Human Services Program Contacts

Click here for the current roster of Human Services Program contacts with the Arizona Department of Economic Security. These individuals and programs may be of specific help to your congregation in its current and future outreach work and to individuals who approach your congregation for specific assistance. The AZ DES team has identified individuals in their service units who are readily available to answer questions and to help connect Arizona citizens to services that may be critical for their ongoing health and well being.  Please do not hesitate to use these resources as you deem appropriate.

The Association of Arizona Food Banks has released the Arizona Highlights of the 2010 Hunger in America Report. This report is the largest, most comprehensive study of domestic emergency food assistance ever conducted and provides data on the emergency response to hunger and the people served by food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in the Feeding America network. The report is a valuable tool for our congregations in understanding the "least of these" in our midst we are called to minister to. For information on food banks in Arizona please visit the Association of Arizona Food Banks' website.

AZ WIC Information

The federally funded Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) teaches Arizona families about nutrition. To learn more about this program click here.

The Grand Canyon Synod of the ELCA is very proud to support the social statements of our faith denomination through specific Advocacy work.  We encourage you to view the Churchwide website at ELCA for easy reference to these materials on our denomination’s Social Statements and to frequently visit this website for updates on specific activities in the Advocacy arena.  In addition, we ask you to consider the following questions in terms of your own personal commitment to advocacy beyond the pew as well as in the daily work of your own Lutheran congregation.

Are you an ‘advocating congregation’?  This means your congregation is:

  • One that, amid our diversity of opinions, uses our voices to communicate to elected officials regarding the critical social issues of the day.
  • One that believes that striving for justice and peace is part of our baptismal vocation.
  • One that makes the connection between acts of charity and acts of justice.

Has your congregation committed to at least three of the following activities?

  • Inviting Synod advocacy staff to preach and teach on the issues of the day.
  • Convening and advocacy Bible study.
  • Hosting a forum with elected officials.
  • Holding an offering of letters.
  • Sending members to Faith Advocacy Day at the Capitol.
  • Attending rallies and other public events that support our policy beliefs as outlined in our denomination’s Social Statements.
  • Making public policy work a line item in your church’s annual budget.
  • Collecting a special offering for designated Advocacy work.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you in partnership on behalf of our local neighborhoods and communities on the task of advocacy in today’s ever changing world.  Please contact Teri Traaen for further information as to how you may become involved in this critical work.



Pr. Mike Patterson is the Assistant to the Bishop for Advocacy in Nevada. You may contact him at

Lutheran Social Services of Nevada

Check out this site and mission here or watch an introductory video for LAMN. There is a new feature on the Nevada State Legislative website that makes it incredibly easy to stay informed on issues and even have a say in the debate.

The ELCA Social Statements urge Lutherans to participate in public dialog and to hold elected officials accountable to Christian values. Lutherans in Nevada are in a wonderful place to do just that with this new internet tool.   

A Wall Mentality
As a border state, Immigration issues are always in our Arizona news. Recently a Grand Canyon Synod Lutheran Pastor walked along the fence being built on the border which we share with our neighbor, Mexico. Please read about his experience.

Ecumenical Study Guide on Global Poverty
Follow this link for a great new resource that will inspire you to take action to end global poverty.

Immigration and the DREAM Act
An ongoing commitment for the Grand Canyon Synod is to be a ‘public voice’ for issues affecting the marginalized and underserved in our individual, local and national communities. As a result of this commitment, members of the Synod staff are regularly involved with issues at the Arizona and Nevada legislatures. In addition and recently, we partnered with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services office for visits with key elected officials on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. We also were included in a briefing with senior policy officials working in the White House administration. Below you will find links to documents that reflect not only the LIRS talking points concerning the ongoing debate on the DREAM Act, but also feedback bulletins from the vote on December 8, 2010, in the House of Representatives as well as a counter point document on some of the issues of concern being expressed by members who did not vote for this version of the DREAM Act. This counter point document reflects some of the dissenting voices in the United States Senate.  We encourage all of our churches and individual members to become informed on this and all other issues affecting our communities throughout the U.S. As Lutherans, we have a responsibility to voice our support and our concerns on all matters affecting the well being of individuals and communities. Continue to watch the Synod website for more real time links on various crucial issues.

National Hunger Awareness
Here are some practical ways that you can help end hunger in your state:

  • Make sure you know about the available assistance - and how to get it.
  • Talk to your kids about the importance of good nutrition and a healthy breakfast.
  • Talk to your school officials about nutrition programs and advocate for greater public and charter school efforts to expand universal school breakfast participation.
  • Students volunteer to host a food drive.

  • Participate in food & fund-raising activities like Share our Strength’s annual Great American Bake Sale, Great American Dine Out, and local food drives.
  • Host a neighborhood awareness raising party.
  • Donate backyard produce/citrus to your local food pantry.
  • Write or call your City Council, state legislators, and board of Education to let them know you support policies to end childhood hunger.

Contact your local hunger assistance organizations to find out how you can help by sharing your time & talents.

Got more ideas? Tell us about them! We would like to share the things that you & your congregation are doing to help. For questions regarding the content of this page, please contact Teri Traaen or 602.957.3223.