Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Sunday, April 10 was “Lazarus Sunday”, which I spent a significant amount of energy in promoting nationwide with the ONE Campaign.  Our event at Temple Lutheran Church went very well and several members of the congregation added their names to the ONE Campaign’s effort to effectively treat HIV/AIDS through distribution of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

Below is video of my “Lazarus Sunday” sermon on May 10, 2011 at Temple Lutheran Church. Lazarus Sunday was a nationwide effort to raise awareness and advocacy surrounding the life-saving effectiveness of providing antiretroviral treatments (ARVs) to persons living with HIV/AIDS by highlighting the dramatic change that can happen in as little as 40 days when a person receives ARVs, which can be provided for only 40 cents per day.

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As excitement is building toward “Lazarus Sunday” on April 10, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a CNN.com feature story about the event.  Here’s some excerpts:

On Sunday, hundreds of churches around the country will be screening clips from Bangs’ Lazarus documentary to raise awareness of a medical miracle their congregants can take part in.

The movement is called Lazarus Sunday and is spearheaded by ONE, an advocacy and campaigning group co-founded by Bono that fights against extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Over 1,500 churches have signed up to participate in the movement this year and show part of the film.

“For a smaller congregation, it’s really nice to be a part of something bigger,” said Matt Staniz, the pastor of Temple Lutheran Church in Havertown, Pennsylvania.  “We’re not a huge group of people but by coming together with people locally and joining up with the ONE campaign…it gives us a sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Read the CNN.com Article

My guest column in the Delaware County Daily Times ran today.  I wrote about the impact of cuts to life-saving programs such as PEPFAR and The Global Fund.  I shared about the wonderful ministry partnership that the SEPA Synod shares with our partner synod in Tanzania (particularly the success of SeKUCo):

My church in Havertown, along with other congregations across the Delaware Valley, has successfully worked alongside people in Africa to establish a college that now provides the kind of education that helps create freedom from extreme poverty and preventable diseases. In December, the first class of graduates was sent out to make a difference in the world. The incredible challenges they face will become terribly worse if the U.S. commitment to Africa is not kept in the same way the commitments by the graduates, churches and individuals have all been kept.

See the entire article at the Daily Times site

ONE members have been very busy meeting with their senators’ district staffs. The timing of these meetings could not be more critical. The House of Representatives recently voted to make huge cuts in this year’s budget. Poverty-fighting, cost-effective programs — which make up less than 1 percent of the US budget — were sharply cut.  The Global Fund was cut by more than 40 percent. Other programs that promote long-term economic growth like education, access to clean water, maternal health and vaccines for babies and were chopped up to 30 percent. We know Congress faces tough choices on the budget, but these cuts are not good choices. They will do little to help the US economy, yet the axe is going to fall hardest on the people who can least afford them.

Kathie Afflerbach, Marissa Harris Krey, Susan Best, James Fitzpatrick (Toomey SEPA Director), Pastor Matt Staniz

I was excited to pull together a group of ONE volunteers (who also turned out to all be ELCA Lutherans, too) to meet with Senator Pat Toomey’s Philadelphia staff to discus the value of life-saving programs.  We discussed the economic challenges that our church body is facing while remaining committed to our promises to respond to the crisis of extreme poverty and preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.  The newly elected senator’s staff was eager to listen and thoroughly discuss effective responses to needs both globally and in the United States.  We met for nearly and hour and left encouraged that Senator Toomey will work to be a part of a compassionate, smart and effective response to global poverty.

Lazarus Sunday National Launch

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Advocacy

This week I was invited to be a panelist for the ONE Campaign‘s national launch of “Lazarus Sunday”, an effort to engage Christian congregations in advocacy on April 10, 2011.  I spoke as a faith leader and contributer of resources for congregational use.  The other speaker was Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.  Mr. Gerson is also a ONE fellow.  The launch was moderated by ONE Faith Relations Manager, Rev. Adam Phillips.

Listen to the launch at ONE.org