Ascension is a Jubilee congregation and the Southwest California Synod is now a Jubilee Synod. Our Jubilee USA Network Resolution explains this uniquely impactful effort to improve the lives of those made subject to onerous debts created by others all around the world:
WHEREAS, our Lord Jesus in his first sermon in Luke’s gospel (Luke 4:14-21), in reading Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor….”, proclaimed “the year of the Lord’s favor,” the year of Jubilee, described in Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 18, a year of freedom and debts being cancelled; AND
WHEREAS, the year 2017 is the 500th anniversary commemorating the Reformation with one of its key themes being Martin Luther’s teaching on freedom in Christ and service to neighbor, significantly to the needy (see his 1524 sermon “On Trading and Usury” LW 45:245-310); AND
WHEREAS, the 1999 ELCA social statement “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” includes a call for “scrutiny of how specific policies and practices affect people and nations that are the poorest, and changes to make policies of economic growth, trade, and investment more beneficial to those who are poor” (this includes a call for “reduction of overwhelming international debt burdens in ways that do not impose further deprivations on the poor, and cancellation of some or all debt where severe indebtedness immobilizes a country’s economy”); AND
WHEREAS, the Jubilee USA Network (www.jubileeusa.org) is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 650 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable; AND
WHEREAS, since the late 1990s the Jubilee USA Network with its global partners has seen the cancellation of over $130 billion of odious debts for the world’s poorest countries; AND
WHEREAS, our ELCA Advocacy office in Washington DC annually supports the Jubilee USA Network with a gift of approximately $10,000 and is present each year at the Jubilee USA Network Council meetings at the Jubilee offices, housed at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in DC; AND
WHEREAS, the Jubilee USA Network has active Jubilee chapters in San Diego, San Francisco, and in Ventura County; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Southwest California Synod become a Jubilee Synod, with its congregations, schools and members being encouraged to: pray for the world’s poorest countries; designate a contact person to be a liaison with Jubilee USA; study, and when possible, become Jubilee USA congregations; and take action such as letter-writing to Congress or the Administration calling for economic justice in each country and especially the world’s poorest countries.
Southwest California Lutherans passes Jubilee resolution
Glendale, California – June 12, 2017 – At the 2017 Southwest California Synod Assembly, held at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks on June 2 – 3, members voted overwhelmingly to become a Jubilee synod.
The book of Leviticus in the Old Testament calls for a “year of Jubilee” every 50 years, when slaves are freed and debts are cancelled. The Rev. Steve Herder, a pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks who has been involved with the Jubilee Network for 17 years, spearheaded the synod’s Jubilee Resolution. He quotes the Congressional Digest Capitol Hill as calling the Jubilee USA Network “the last standing bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill.”
“We won $100 million debt relief for Haiti,” states Herder. “$100 million for the three countries in West Africa fighting Ebola, and $1 billion for Chad. Now we are very involved with Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt. I love this work also because it’s interfaith work. It’s global work. It’s bipartisan work. It’s work that fulfills what Jesus proclaims in Luke 4. To be a Jubilee synod or a Jubilee congregation simply means that we are part of this amazing ministry of advocacy, and following our Lord Jesus, declaring and seeing Jubilee for the world’s poorest people.” FIND OUT MORE HERE.