by Charlotte Haberaecker, President & CEO, LSA
The Washington, D.C. area has been preparing for the arrival next week of Pope Francis, leader of the global Roman Catholic Church. During this historic visit, the Pope will be welcomed by the President at the White House, will hold a special mass at Catholic University and will address a joint meeting of Congress, in addition to visiting local congregations and volunteers and a stop at an organization affiliated with Catholic Charities USA that feeds the poor and homeless in the city.
The ELCA Advocacy Convening will also take place in D.C. during the same time. This annual gathering convenes ELCA and Episcopal Bishops, ELCA churchwide leadership and grassroots advocates from around the country to meet with members of the Administration and Congress and share information about the latest advocacy and public policy issues affecting our communities. ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will attend, along with the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
The flurry of activity provides an opportunity for LSA to represent our social ministry members, and I am pleased to take part in the ELCA Advocacy Convening gathering, and humbled to have been invited to attend the arrival ceremony at the White House with the President and First Lady. There is also a luncheon hosted by USAID to honor the Pope's visit, bringing together a cross-section of government officials, religious leaders and representatives from faith-based, development and humanitarian relief organizations to recognize our common work in advancing peace, prosperity and development.
I will also represent LSA at an interfaith dinner, the Interfaith Religious Leaders Summit, hosted by Bread for the World that brings together local religious and ministry leaders with an emphasis on the fight to end hunger in the United States. More than 100 leaders will attend representing a diverse group of our nation's faith-based leaders.
The Pope's visit to the East Coast highlights the interfaith relationships that we have both locally and nationally. As the voice of our members, LSA's mission is to champion Lutheran social ministry by building valuable connections, amplifying our voices and empowering our members in their mission to answer God's all to love and serve our neighbor. We are blessed to have many valued partners in our work as advocates for Lutheran social ministry.
If you would like to learn more about the work we are doing on behalf of your organization on Capitol Hill and with the Administration, please visit our website's Advocacy section for resources, upcoming webinars, contact information for our advocacy staff and statements on current issues – you can also sign up to receive the LSA Washington newsletter that provides analysis and updates on hot legislative topics and how they affect your organization, and learn more about how to get involved with the LSA Disability Network (LSA-DN) that focuses on public policy issues affecting services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.