As an advocacy ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota (LA-MN) derives its purpose from the Constitution of the ELCA.
The purpose of LA-MN is to advocate for justice in the areas of hunger, poverty, and care of God’s creation by speaking with and for those who have little or no political power. LA-MN will work with congregations, ELCA Lutherans, and others to create and use networks for advocacy on these issues.
The Holy Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, the Ecumenical Creeds, the ELCA Constitution, ELCA Social Statements, ELCA Messages, social policy actions adopted by the ELCA, the social statements of the predecessor church bodies of the ELCA, and the actions of the assemblies of the six Minnesota ELCA Synods provide LA-MN the basis on which to choose issues, to develop statements, and to advocate positions. The counsel of the ELCA Domestic Mission Unit, and the boards and committees of the six synods relating to issues of hunger and justice are also used in discerning LA-MN direction on issues.
LA-MN is a partnership advocacy ministry of the six synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Minnesota and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This ministry is an instrument for coordinated Lutheran impact on public policy on hunger, poverty, and the care of God’s creation in Minnesota.
LA-MN speaks on behalf of the official positions of the ELCA applied to the specific context of these public policy issues in Minnesota. Careful research and study is used in developing LA-MN’s positions based on official church body statements. Objectives of LA-MN include the following:
- To identify priority advocacy issues and articulate the position of the ELCA on these issues;
- To develop support for and disseminate information about these issues in order to educate and empower members of ELCA congregations;
- To monitor the progress of bills in the legislature and to advocate for justice on issues of hunger, poverty, and care of God’s creation;
- To interpret the work of LA-MN and help to connect the six synods on issues of justice and advocacy; and
- To cooperate ecumenically and with other community groups and organizations to influence policy change for the public good.
LA-MN recognizes the plurality of individual opinions held by ELCA members in Minnesota. Each member has access to the decision-making of the ELCA through a democratic process. Individuals and groups who have specific interests and expertise are encouraged to participate in this process. LA-MN acknowledges that its advocacy positions need careful interpretation to the Lutheran constituency. No individual member is personally bound by the positions taken by LA-MN.
The ELCA is responsible for the care of congregations and ordained ministers. This includes nurturing ordained ministers and congregations in awareness and involvement in matters relating to social justice action. LA-MN is an instrument for coordinated involvement of members of the ELCA in Minnesota.
Local congregations are encouraged to work in cooperation with LA-MN to develop communication, information, resource, and action networks. All members of ELCA churches in Minnesota are potentially active participants in the advocacy efforts of LA-MN.
LA-MN recognizes, celebrates, and affirms that ELCA social policy is interpreted by all members as they live out their baptismal calling.
Ecumenical and Inter-faith Relationships:
Because the six Minnesota ELCA synods are constituent members of the Minnesota Council of Churches, LA-MN collaborates wherever possible with the Minnesota Council of Churches and its relevant component groups. LA-MN also collaborates with other ecumenical and inter-faith bodies where appropriate.
Association with Other Advocacy Groups:
LA-MN participates in coalitions which will enhance its advocacy on issues of hunger, poverty, and care of God’s creation. Participation does not imply agreement with any policy or position which is in conflict with ELCA policies or positions. The LA-MN mailing list will not be made available to other organizations without consent of the Policy Council and the six synods.
Governance – Policy Council
LA-MN is governed by the six ELCA synods of Minnesota through a Policy Council. The goals, objectives, and activities of LA-MN are administered by the Director and the Policy Council.
- Role: The Policy Council is responsible for the policy decisions of LA-MN and in an advisory relationship to the Director for setting advocacy priorities; establishing with the Director its goals and objectives; interpreting the work of LA-MN advising in budget development and management; securing funds to support the program; and providing support, advice, and counsel to the Director.
- Membership: The Policy Council is comprised of up to twenty-two members. Each of the six Minnesota ELCA synods appoints or elects three representatives, including one lay member, one pastor, and a program staff person from the Synod Office (preferred) or a representative of the bishop. The Policy Council may appoint no more than four at-large members, taking into consideration diverse representation The Policy Council may appoint other advisors representing particular concerns and areas of expertise.
Financial responsibility for the operation of LA-MN is shared between the six Minnesota ELCA synods, the ELCA, and fundraising efforts by LA-MN.