Category: Faith in action

November 8, 2017

Council Supports Synods Affected by Disasters

The Synod Council authorized distribution of $11,000 in aid to synods that felt the impact of recent hurricanes and wildfires. The confluence of natural disasters had significant impacts in eight of the ELCA’s 65 synods at the same time. “Saint Paul encourages the church in his letter to the Romans to ”rejoice with those who...

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October 11, 2017

New Creation Reaches Out to Puerto Rico

One congregation that is active in response and support of Puerto Rico is Iglesia Lutheran Nueva Creación (New Creation Lutheran Church) in North Philadelphia. While keeping in touch with her own family in Puerto Rico, Pastor Lyzette Rios of New Creation has been finding ways to care for other members of her congregation and community...

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August 1, 2017

Row House Offers Women Serenity

Key: Fearless. Image by Daryn Bartlett on By the time it was to close for the spring, The Well — a microshelter for women experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia — was down to just a handful of residents. Since opening in November, about 20 women had been sheltered evenings at The Well, and “most had found permanent housing,” said the Rev. Violet Little,...

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July 10, 2017

State Budget Has Wins for Children

The 2017-2018 spending plan adopted by Pennsylvania lawmakers by the June 30 deadline includes some good news for Pennsylvania children, including increases in basic education, special education and early childhood funding, plus $2 million to incentivize improvements in school breakfast delivery, for which Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) advocated. Read more at

June 12, 2017

The Well Helps Women Find Housing

The Well Philadelphia’s large-scale homeless shelters are not always a good fit for single women. This past winter, The Welcome Church and a number of partners opened “The Well,” a new-concept micro-shelter, to provide a warm and safe place for a dozen women. The concept worked better than expected, with The Well able to serve a total...

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June 7, 2017

Give the Gift of Family

Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services There are Central American children and youth in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, specifically in Roslyn, PA that are in great need of either short or long term family foster care. You can help through “Give the Gift of Family,” a joint initiative of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and the ELCA AMMPARO program. LIRS is one of just...

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May 30, 2017

SEPA Pastor Preaches at LWF Assembly

Posselt LWF Assembly “Guided by the Spirit, we are marching exactly where we are needed, straight into a world that is suffering and in pain,” the Rev. Lydia Posselt, pastor of Family of God Lutheran Church, Buckingham, said in the sermon at the closing worship of the Twelfth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Windhoek, Namibia May...

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May 5, 2017

Openness, Humility Needed to Address Racial Justice

For Such a Time As This In her address to the 2017 Assembly, Bishop Claire Burkat broke open possibilities to embody racial reconciliation in the work of congregations and the synod at large. Drawing from themes introduced in her sermon, the bishop encouraged those gathered to be “more open to engage, to explore, to repent, to be humbled, to align ourselves...

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May 5, 2017

Bishop: We are Called to Racial Reconciliation

For Such a Time As This In her sermon opening the 2017 Assembly, Bishop Claire Burkat expressed her confidence that members and congregations of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod are ready for conversation around racism and to do the work of racial reconciliation. Recalling the recent powerful reconciliation work with the Mennonites, inspired by the anticipated 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the...

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April 4, 2017

Inspiration for a Brave New Church

Brave New Church logo Our synod has launched a new website,, with inspiration and resources to help your congregation be church in our brave new world. The site includes a blog written by innovative thinkers from our synod and beyond, and a podcast with episodes exploring scripture, theology, and the practices of being church today. There is also...

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March 22, 2017

200+ Explore Cross-Generational Ministry

Pastor Brad Burke, assistant to the bishop for youth, young adult and faith formation, shares about the Cross+Gen Ministry event with Rich Melheim and David Lose held in our Synod March 10-11″ What an amazing day at LTSP! About 200 wonderful lay and clergy leaders from across the region all learning from Rich Melheim, David...

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February 28, 2017

Video: Interfaith Leaders Respond to Jewish Cemetery Desecration

Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders spoke in solidarity Monday against the desecration of graves at Mt. Carmel Jewish Cemetery in Wissanoming. Bishop Burkat facilitated a press conference in which dozens of faith leaders from across Greater Philadelphia stood together in support of the Jewish community and others — including immigrants, refugees, Muslims and the LGBTQ...

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January 20, 2017

An Inauguration Prayer

God of love, we give you thanks this day for our nation and the peaceful transfer of power between administrations. We give thanks for the service of President Obama, and ask that you grant courage, wisdom, humility and compassion to President Trump as he takes office. Guide all leaders who make, enforce and interpret our...

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November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving: Blessings In Weakness

During this week when we are reminded to give thanks, I thank God for my weak bladder. You see, if I didn’t have a weak bladder combined with a neuromuscular disorder preventing me from driving, I might never have spent so much time in Philadelphia’s public restrooms; and if I didn’t have to use the train...

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November 22, 2016

Marking an African-American Lutheran Pioneer

Lutherans gathered on Quince Street Nov. 19 to dedicate a new state historical marker honoring the Rev. Jehu Jones Jr., who was ordained the first African-American Lutheran pastor in 1832 and founded the first African-American Lutheran congregation two years later. “Today we gather to celebrate a pioneer of both radical racial and ecumenical partnership…who persevered...

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October 31, 2016

Catholics and Lutherans Commemorate Reformation

Pope Francis and the General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation Rev. Dr Martin Junge jointly preached on the gospel of the true vine (John 15:1-5) during the Common Prayer of the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation in Lund, Sweden, today (Oct. 31, 2016). They spoke about the unity in Christ that Lutherans and...

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September 23, 2016

SEPA Standing with SEKOMU After Attack

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod is standing in prayer and financial support with Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University in Tanzania after armed gunmen attacked the university on September 1. Pastor Brad Burke and other members of our synod were in the North Eastern Diocese at the time and shared pastoral care and the prayers of our synod. The...

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August 2, 2016

Proclaiming God’s Love in Tanzania

Church in Tanzania ELCA Did you know that Tanzania, home to our companion North Eastern Diocese, has many more Lutherans than the ELCA has members. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania has 6.5 million members compared to the ELCA’s 3.7 million. As the ELCA looks to its future, what can it learn from the global Lutheran church? Read more...

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June 13, 2016

Bishop’s Prayer for Orlando

rainbow candles On Sunday night, June 12, Bishop Burkat shared this prayer following the nation’s largest mass shooting early that morning in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida: This is my prayer tonight… God of peace, mercy and justice. The suffering on this day is inconsolable, the tears overflowing, and the fear palpable. The slaying of your...

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June 9, 2016

I’m a Lutheran: Lenny Duncan

“I found my faith in the forgotten places, where hope seems like an intruder—homeless, mired in alcoholism and seemingly alone. The truth is it found me at the end of my rope,” says Lenny Duncan, a candidate for ordained ministry and member of Temple, Havertown, in Living Lutheran magazine. “I’m a Lutheran because my life...

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