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Do Prophets Get to Choose?
Abstract: ELCA Bishops go to Washington to talk about immigration reform.
"Our theology and practice call us to be a public church and to speak boldly and confidently in the public arena," said the Rev. Edward R. Benoway, bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
Bishop Benoway was one of several ELCA bishops who went to Washington, D.C. on March 22 to urge their members of Congress and key congressional staff to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
"The Lutheran bishops are united in their resolve not only to 'welcome the stranger' but to embrace the worlds, cultures, issues and gifts they bring with them," said the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod.
The Washington visit was the first meeting of a group of bishops who identified immigration issues as a critical priority both in their own communities and on a national level. The bishops plan to request a meeting with President George W. Bush to discuss comprehensive immigration reform in the coming months.
Similar groups of ELCA bishops have self-selected to work on other advocacy issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hunger and poverty, and the environment. These groups will be available to testify before Congress, speak to the media, write editorials, and encourage the people in their synods and other bishops to take grassroots action on these issues.
In addition to Bishops Benoway and Bouman, the group included: The Rev. Paul J. Blom, bishop of the ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Houston, The Rev. Gerald L. Mansholt, bishop of the ELCA Central States Synod, Kansas City, Mo., The Rev. Theodore F. Schneider, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod, The Rev. Paul W. Stumme-Diers, bishop of the ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod.