Peace Welcomes Afghan Allies with LSSNCA

Afghan Allies have begun arriving at Fort Lee, Virginia, and our partner ministry, LSSNCA, is grateful to play a leading role in welcoming them to our community. As evacuation of our allies is critical to ensure their safety, LSSNCA is mobilizing its community supporters to be a part of this historic welcome of 2,500 individuals in less than six weeks! Learn more about the evolving situation.

Join Homework Club in welcoming these families to our community. Here’s how you can help:

  • Find a needs list for new apartments here. Coordinate with Nadia to drop items off on a Sunday morning or during the week.
  • Offer space in your home as temporary housing for a family. Size of family and details vary.
  • Volunteer with Lutheran Social Services to provide transportation for families from the airport or Fort Lee and/or help with an apartment set up for a newly arriving family.
  • Volunteer with Homework Club starting in September. Programming details are still being worked out but so far we anticipate a return to gathering twice monthly in person, as well as some virtual engagement.

To learn more about aiding arriving refugees or the opportunities above, please contact Nadia at Nadia@SharingPeace.org or visit LSSNCA’s website to take action.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW

 


Peace Rejoins Interfaith Communities Dialogue

Peace is becoming more involved in advocacy with three social justice issues recently identified when the Outreach and Advocacy Team surveyed the congregation — dismantling racism, caring for God’s creation, and addressing local, national, and global food insufficiency. We now have opportunities to join with other houses of worship and organizations to learn about the root causes of these issues, meet the immediate needs of our neighbors, and raise a unified voice to advocate for policy change.

Interfaith Communities for Dialogue (ICD) was founded in 2004 by Peace Lutheran’s pastor, Mark Olsen, and other religious leaders in Fairfax County to bring about a greater understanding of other faith traditions and stand together against hate and discrimination. This year, Peace applied to rejoin ICD’s coalition of ten other houses of worship. Peace’s application was approved by ICD in April. ICD works with member organizations to share resources and expertise and raise a unified voice against social injustice. To learn more about ICD and what they do, follow this link. Linda Delk-Hoveskeland serves as one Peace representative to ICD. If you think you might be interested in becoming Peace’s second representative, contact Linda at linda.delk@gmail.com for more information.

 

LEARN MORE

 


June 20: World Refugee Day

There is so much to lament about the refugee and migration crises in the world, yet there are also many individuals, communities, and organizations to celebrate for their resilience, gifts, commitments, and efforts. Still, there is much listening, compassion, and action that needs to happen. Closely connected to Peace’s work with the Homework Club community is this Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s letter calling on President Biden to act with urgency to evacuate Afghan allies who have supported the U.S. government (troops, diplomats, etc.) in Afghanistan. There are many men and women who worked as translators, liaisons, drivers, and in many other roles, whose lives are increasingly in danger for working with Americans. Some who have come to the States already as SIV-holders (Special Immigrant Visas) are now part of our Homework Club community. Yet many remain in Afghanistan, waiting for paperwork and the opportunity to leave. Please sign and share the letter!

 

Here are some local events and organizations highlighting the voices and experiences of (former) refugees:
  • The One Journey Festival: 6/17-6/21 at the Kennedy Center (FREE)
  • Lutheran Social Services: a local resettlement agency and community partner. Check out their work in accompanying families as they transition to life in the U.S.
  • Immigrant Food: an innovative fusion restaurant and advocacy hub (in DC)
  • Laces: Sports-based support and Mentorship for former refugee youth (based in Takoma, MD)
  • Book Recommendation: Read The Displaced by Viet Thanh Nguyen

 


Gauging interest for a tentative Building Puentes Puerto Rico Trip August 2021:

Organizers are gauging interest for a week-long service learning trip to Puerto Rico for either the week of 8/1-8/7 or 8/8-8/16? Cost is $700 pp, a deposit would be due by June 1. The Building Puentes (Building Bridges) initiative is a collaborative effort of the Metro DC, Delaware Maryland, and Caribbean synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; work will be guided by a Lutheran Disaster Response team. Participants must be 16+ and vaccinated. Please let Nadia know if you are interested in more details and updates!


Our Community Ministries

Based on the top social justice interests noted in the Outreach and Advocacy survey last month, here are links for more information on organizations we are connected to so that you can find out more about them and the kind of work they’re doing. Stay tuned for upcoming details on next steps from the Outreach and Advocacy team…thanks for your support!
  • VICPP (Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy) – State-level advocacy
  • FACS (Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions) – Fairfax County focused
  • VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) – Grassroots community organizing in Northern Virginia
  • Bread for the World – National-level advocacy against food insecurity and hunger

  • If you see someone you think might be suffering from hypothermia, call this number ASAP: 703-691-2131. 

Find out more about homelessness and hypothermia season here:

Hypothermia Prevention Program | Homelessness, Office to Prevent and End (fairfaxcounty.gov)

Read more on the history of homelessness in the United States here: Appendix B The History of Homelessness in the United States | Permanent Supportive Housing: Evaluating the Evidence for Improving Health Outcomes Among People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness | The National Academies Press (nap.edu)

  • Learnings from a Zoom conversation with staff at Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter:

– Steps for everyday people: There is a tendency for people to shut down in the face of a crisis as big as that of homelessness. We can all do something! Start small – we can start in our own mind and in our own home, and that can lead us to the next level of action.

– We must change the way we talk and think about homelessness, including the language we choose to use. People are people, not a status, and homelessness is rarely a choice; therefore, avoid referring to “the homeless.”

– A tip for responding to unhoused neighbors with compassion: recognize the humanity in all people. This can mean looking people in the eye, acknowledging their presence, and recognizing all individuals as people with dignity.

Thank you for attending the conversation, and for all of your food support for neighbors in the hypothermia shelter program!


January 19, 2021 – Bailey’s update and THANK YOU!

This is no longer a request for food contributions – this is a heartfelt and warm THANK YOU to everyone who gave time, money, love, prayers, and support of the 10 days of meals in December and January for our neighbors at the Bailey’s Hypothermia shelter hosted at the Lincolnia Senior Center. Thanks to your contributions, food was home cooked, store bought, and catered. As you may know, we did something new this year by supporting two restaurants and a nonprofit through funds given specifically for the purpose of feeding neighbors at the shelter while also supporting the local economy in a hard time for small businesses/nonprofits. Those included El Pike Bolivian RestaurantHaifa Grill, and the nonprofit culinary training program serving immigrant communities, La Cocina VA. Thank you, people of Peace, for being living (and cooking) witnesses to the Gospel in our community.

 


Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA)

Peace is a founding member of this 36-member ecumenical organization that helps with emergency cash, food, furniture, and other services to families living in our community.

Find out ways to help and donate at accacares.org.

Food pantry needs – please consider dropping off food to the ACCA food pantry on Columbia Pike on an upcoming Saturday. See food needs and dates here [link: Food Pantry (accacares.org)]

 

To donate by mail, send your check payable to ACCA to 7200 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003. Please note “COVID Challenge Campaign” in the memo line. You can donate with credit or debit card online via the Catalogue for Philanthropy or PayPal. See details on the ACCA website.


 

Searching for an alternative gift idea for a loved one? Please consider giving a Gift of Hope in their name to support nonprofits and community organizations doing good work. Visit www.giftsofhopedc.org for more information.


In September 2020, the Outreach and Advocacy Team invited Peace people to conversations where we will shared our work and learning over the past few months. 

  • Session 1: A video of the first session from September 20th is below. It focused on what direct service and faith-based advocacy are and the role of the church in advocacy efforts.
  • Session 2: The second session on Sunday September 27 will delve more specifically into organizations doing service and advocacy work, and offer ways of getting involved as an expression of our faith.
Contact nadia@sharingpeace.org with any questions.

 


Peace partners with LSS to provide Homework Clubs to youth and families who are new to the U.S. There is now an emergency relief fund set up to help clients, including Homework Club families. Click here to donate to the fund. Link: https://lssnca.org/get_involved/make_donation/donate.html


Food for Others: Peace partners with this organization by providing space for fresh produce to be grown. Donate time or money to this organization that helps families in our area by clicking here and signing up.


Donate blood:There is a need for life-saving blood donations right now. High schoolers may also donate (depending on age, parental consent may be required). Find an appointment time here.


Advocacy News

*From ELCA Advocacy Action Center, actions you can take at the federal level:

Take Action on the Next Coronavirus Supplemental Bill

Congress is considering a new supplemental package to address the economic impacts of COVID-19. Send a letter to your representative in Congress by clicking on the blue link above.

Take action to prevent an eviction crisis

Compounding circumstances are shaping a potential near-future eviction crisis in our communities that must be prevented. Send a letter to your Congressional representative by clicking on the blue link above.

*From Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, action you can take at the state level:

Economic Justice in Virginia – Paid Sick Days and Living Wages (virginiainterfaithcenter.org)

Now, VICPP is launching their paid sick days campaign for the 2020 Virginia General Assembly Session, while continuing their work to stop and deter wage theft. Sign VICPP’s petition. Urge Governor Northam to protect Virginia’s essential workers!


Dear church, it is widely reported and known that the Covid19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting black and brown communities across the United States. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated racially-driven inequities that exist in business, healthcare, education, law enforcement, and public policy. Advocacy is a way to address these inequities: “We’re involved in advocacy because it’s part of our baptism…the God who justifies then sets us free to do justice and turns us away from ourselves and towards our neighbor.”

Watch more about ELCA advocacy and please stay tuned for more details on how you can be involved in efforts to love and support our neighbors facing especially difficult times right now.


Resource Links:

ELCA Advocacy  https://www.elca.org/advocacy

Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions https://faithforclimate.org

Alliance for Justice https://mffh.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AFJ_what-is-advocacy.pdf

Bread for the World https://bread.org/get-involved

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy https://www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/get-involved/

Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE)  https://www.voice-iaf.org/

Lutheran Social Services/National Capital Area https://lssnca.org/

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)  https://www.lirs.org/take-action/