Eblast 9/6

Eblast 9/6

Online Worship & Holy Communion

While Montgomery County COVID-19 indicators remain on a Level 3 alert at the recommendation of Governor DeWine and Bishop Dillahunt, Good Shepherd will continue to worship as a community online. We offer Holy Communion twice a month on the second and fourth Sundays from Noon – 1:00 pm.  Please join us for worship and communion.

Online Worship Information

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will continue doing a video of our church service. Online worship will be available on Sunday at 10:30 am. Come and enjoy GSLC’s service online. 

Please use the following links below to connect to the Sunday Church Service:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodshepherdkettering/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFjr6taytoTncrtHVY9TGQw

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will be doing a Streaming Devotional with Pr. Jamie Vannoy every Wednesday at Noon. We will also be including Read Aloud Stories with Don Bennett every weekday, Monday – Friday, at 2:30 pm.  Please come, connect, and enjoy.

Please use the following links below to connect:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodshepherdkettering/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFjr6taytoTncrtHVY9TGQw

Offerings for last week:  


Electronic Giving

Don’t forget to send in your weekly tithe/offering to the church at 901 East Stroop Rd, Kettering, OH 45429 or go to our online Electronic Giving:

Electronic Giving Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is now offering the option of electronic giving for regular offerings and special offerings.  Giving is done using the company Tithe.ly which is the only one endorsed by the ELCA.  There are three ways to give: 
1.     Via smartphone using the Tithe.ly app (download via the App Store or Google Play)
2.     Online at https://tithe.ly/give?c=329631  
3.     Via the GSLC Website which has a link to the Tithe.ly website to give directly to GSLC

The process to create an account and give is simple because it is tied to a debit or credit card.  There is also a processing fee of less than 3% that you can choose to cover if desired.   Benefits of Electronic Giving:  
1.     Ability to give from anywhere including other countries – you only need an internet connection via smartphone or computer.
2.     Ability to give 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
3.     Ability to choose from a variety of options where your gift goes.
4.     Can give more than one gift at a time with the “Add Gift” option.

Questions:  Contact Martin Pierce (937) 287-4021 or Denise Wilson (513) 913-0133.  

This Week’s Article

This week’s article is by William Willimon @ Ministry Matters.

My colleague Ellen Davis has said that one of the functions of Israel’s Passover narrative is to guard against any sentimentalizing of God’s deliverance of God’s people. The slaves whom God has chosen to be a great people will be delivered, but the deliverance that is worked for the slaves is costly. The bonds of evil and oppression are not so easily broken.

It’s difficult to fully comprehend this Sunday’s First Lesson without contextualization. Chapters 11 and 13 in Exodus are necessary background for interpretation of Exodus 12.

The Exodus is history in the perfect tense, remembered for the purpose of recognizing that the history continues in Israel’s story today. Chapters 11-13 move from narration of dramatic past events to contemporary instructions for the celebration of an annual ritual observance, from commentary on the ritual to reference back to past events. Right in the middle of the dramatic actions in Exodus, the narrator pauses and gives instructions for the observance of Passover in Exodus 12:1-13, followed by instructions for the feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:14-20). By this movement from past to present and from present to past, Israel passed on its identity from generation to generation (Exodus 12:26) and to those who had immigrated into Israel (Exodus 12:48).

During the Passover meal, children asked their parents questions about the meaning of the meal and its different foods. Every aspect of the meal has meaning and a relationship to the biblical story of the tenth plague and Israel’s deliverance. Yearly repetition of the ritual indoctrinated people into the ancient story and kept Israel as Israel. Who is Israel? Israel is composed of those who eat a meal and tell a story and thereby become and remain participants in the story of God’s deliverance of the slaves.

“Once we were in bondage, then God….” Little Israel’s deliverance from the grip of the empire becomes the guiding narrative for Israel and then for the church. Likewise, the deliverance wrought by Christ was, from the first, seen by his followers as a continuing living out of the Passover narrative. In each succeeding generation, Jews and Christians have laid the paradigm of the Exodus over their collective experience and see new instances of God’s promised deliverance. In the rites of Passover, deliverance from the enslavement of contemporary Pharaohs was seen in present day circumstances as Israel practiced “remembrance…throughout your generations” (Exodus 12:14 NRSV).

And what a story is remembered! The story of the Passover is one of deliverance, yes, but it is deliverance that is worked through death: the death of all Egypt’s firstborn, both animal and human (Exodus 12:29). How can a good God be said to be involved in this dreadful, violent event? Why should the innocents die for Israel’s deliverance?

These are troubling questions and we preachers must not explain them away with simple answers. Here are some ways we might think about the Passover before we preach this text: First, it ought to be noted that even though, as we noted when we looked at the call of Moses, God has used human agents like Moses and Aaron in the previous plagues, when it comes to the taking of human life, God and God alone carries out the slaying of the Egyptian firstborn (11:4; 12:23). This dark, violent tenth plague is not in any way an example for humans to emulate. This final, extreme act of deliverance through death is God’s work, not ours.

This tenth plague occurs only after repeated efforts to negotiate with Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the previous nine plagues (Exodus 7–10). The tenth plague seems almost an act of desperation by God after having given the Egyptians every opportunity to avoid a tragic confrontation between the Pharaoh and God. The Pharaoh who did not know Joseph (Exodus 1:8) stubbornly refused the demands of Moses and Aaron to “let my people go.” When leaders doggedly pursue evil and injustice, holding people down and enslaving them, there are consequences, often very tragic consequences. Pharaoh was the one who began by taking God’s firstborn, Israel, then by killing all the Jewish boy babies. Now God responds by taking Pharaoh’s and Egypt’s firstborn sons (4:22-23).

If the God of Israel is the true regent (19:5-6), the Lord and giver of all life, then all the firstborn belong to God (13:2, 13). When life is taken by God, God is taking what God has given, as God does with Egypt in the tenth plague.

Though Exodus repeatedly asserts that which Israel had affirmed throughout its Scriptures, that God is always “gracious and merciful” and “forgiving” (Exodus 34:6-7), God also is capable of “visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children” (Exodus 34:7). There are consequences when human beings in arrogance (personified in the Pharaoh) try to act like God, oppress God’s people, and resist God’s plans for the world. Sometimes those consequences must be suffered by future generations.

Egypt has oppressed the Israelite slaves for many centuries (Genesis 15:13; Exodus 12:40). Pharaoh has steadfastly refused to respond to God’s many warnings through the many plagues. At the end, God has taken back the firstborn in Egypt that God gave in a terrible blow that will at last force the hand of Pharaoh who at last obeys God’s will and lets the Hebrews go. Deliverance occurs, but it is a costly deliverance that ought to be a lesson to all those powerful who think they can go against the judgments of God.

Stewardship Snippets – September 6, 2020

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:10Striving to keep the twin commandments to love God with all our being and love our neighbors as ourselves, we naturally care for the common good. We learn that what affects one really affects us all.

Annual Meeting

As we all know this has been a strange year. Our Annual Meeting will be different this year also. GSLC is making the voting members list right now and then we will do the following:

  • Mail out the 2020-2021 proposed Ministry Plan and the ballots to all voting members.
  • Have a Zoom Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 pm. Different people will be presenting and someone will be there to field questions that need a response. 
  • For those who could not attend the meeting we will send it out in an eblast the following day on Friday, September 18.  If you have any follow-up questions you can call the Church Office (937) 298-0136.
  • On Monday, September 28 all the ballots are due. You can mail them in, drop them off, put them in the mailbox if the office isn’t open, or bring them to our drive thru communion (if we aren’t meeting in person).

City Barbecue 

Our Youth Fundraiser is back the first Monday of each month!  Please come on out and show your support for Good Shepherd’s ongoing youth fundraiser with City Barbecue on Monday, September 7 from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm.  The location is at 5 E. Franklin Street, Centerville, OH 45459. GSLC will get 25% of the sales back!  If you order online or by phone, just tell them you’re with the fundraiser. Please let any of your friends and family know about this wonderful fundraiser, so they too can give back to our youth! GSLC wants to especially thank you for continuing to support us even when business is slow.

Jeremiah’s Letter on September 20

The mission of Jeremiah’s Letter is to bring congregations together from the greater Dayton community so that together they can enhance the daily lives of individuals and families of the inner-city who find themselves in need. To help support the works of Jeremiah’s Letter, Good Shepherd will be collecting bath and bedroom linens, personal hygiene products, canned foods and cleaning/laundry supplies. Thank you to all who generously support this ministry!

Open Positions 

Are you thinking about opportunities to help with Good Shepherd’s mission? The Church Council is looking to fill 2 positions.  They are 3 year terms beginning October 1. Here is a chance to participate in planning and administering Good Shepherd’s ministries and operations. If you have any questions you can contact Dave Seltzer 937-643-9679, Cindy Grove 937-371-5905, Martin Pierce 937-287-4021, or Pastor Jamie 937-248-9996.

QUILTS & KITS “InGathering” OCTOBER 2-3

Good Shepherd is the InGathering location for Southwest/Central Ohio, parts of Northern Kentucky and Indiana. We are the drop-off point for hundreds of boxes filled with Quilts & Kits collected over the past year by churches, groups, and businesses. Our InGathering is a big event that utilizes many hands and good hard work. Volunteer to help, and join us Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3 as we work together to fill a semi with gifts that will touch the lives of people around the world. Please contact the church office at (937) 298-0136 if you are willing to volunteer for this wonderful ministry.   There will be social distancing guidelines sent to us by LWR that GSLC will use for both days in October.

Live Streaming

When we put in the sound system a few years ago, we had mentioned the possibility of expanding the system to be able to record videos with it as well. This pandemic has let us know how much people appreciate our worship services online. So with that feedback and the potential of live streaming funerals, weddings, confirmations, and other services that loved ones might not be able to attend in person throughout the year the Council put the AV Team on the task of coming up with a way to live stream events in the sanctuary. So we are looking to invest $6,500 in cameras and software to allow us to live stream events, and we will be upgrading our internet speed to allow us to live stream also but that will be reflected in the Ministry Plan presented at the Annual Meeting. The Memorial Committee has already committed $2,800 toward the project, and we are asking you to consider contributing to this project. We are going to initially pay for this project from the Heritage Fund, and then reimburse the Heritage Fund from your contributions and the Memorial Committee. If you would like to contribute to this project feel free to put a check or cash in an envelope and mark the envelope “Live Streaming Fund” so we will track it. We are hopeful to have this project up and running by Christmas, what a beautiful time of year to help people feel closer to their church than that special time of year.

First Lutheran Breakfast Donations 

For many years, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (GSLC) has provided a hot breakfast meal to the needy in Downtown Dayton, twice monthly at First Lutheran Church. I am extremely grateful for the support our church members have had of this important ministry. Covid-19 has required our church to alter the way we provide meals to First Lutheran guests.

As a result of Covid-19, the meals have changed to “grab and go ” format, which requires several items (for example, hard-boiled eggs, sausage links and bagels/rolls), to be individually placed in ziplock sandwich bags. Currently, GSLC provides 70 pre-packaged meals at each breakfast; therefore, we are using 200+ ziplock sandwich bags with each meal!  The cost to prepare these meals is approximately $250 each month.

How can you help? I kindly ask for sandwich- size ziplock bag donations. Please drop off, anytime at church or contact me directly. I will be happy to come to your home and pick up. Monetary donations are also welcomed anytime and are sent directly to church.


GSLC continues to offer an active GriefShare support community. If you or someone you know is interested, please be in touch with Pastor Jamie or call Pam Bauser (937-602-8385) or Kathy Seim (936-901-0532). We are glad to discuss the benefits of GriefShare. GriefShare is a faith based ministry that combines group discussion, video input from experts and others who know the grief journey, and individual study in the resource book. This ministry is available to all who have experienced the loss of a loved one at any time. Further information and registration is available at https://www.griefshare.org or by calling the GSLC office (937-298-0136). 

Saturday, October 24, 2020
10:00 am – Noon
Currently we plan to gather in person for this special Surviving the Holidays session. Located in the Fellowship Hall (to allow easier social distancing).

GriefShare – MOURNING to JOY (13 weeks)
Sunday, September 13 – Sunday, December 6 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

GriefShare will be ONLINE in September. At this time plans for in person sessions as the fall progresses are still pending for the safety and welfare of all participants. This fall we will watch the video sessions together and continue our support and discussions via the Zoom link. Participants will be able to view the videos as a group. We have resource books available for $15.00 that we will deliver to each registrant. The resource book is an essential part of the GriefShare experience. Contact Pastor Jamie, Kathy Seim, or Pam Bauser for more information.  

Topic: GriefShare
Time: SUNDAY 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Join Zoom Meeting

Once again, anyone who registers with an email address will have an access link to all of the video sessions throughout the 13 weeks. This can be helpful to view the materials in the comfort of your home, to watch with family or friends, or to prepare to participate in the weekly discussions. For more information, give Kathy or Pam a call. 

Lifelong Learning   

Our ADULT Lifelong Learning Classes are ONLINE! Everyone is welcome! Please contact the church office for the links below to join in the conversations. This is a great time to “zoom” in and discover the quality adult education we have at GSLC. Our Bible studies and Sunday morning studies are open to ALL online. If you haven’t checked any of these out, please consider joining the conversations. 

Our YOUTH classes will resume on September 13th. The WHIRL curriculum is based on the weekly lectionary for the church year that allows the students to connect what they learn in class with what they hear in worship. If you have any questions, please call the church office or contact Pam. Karin Linch and Sandy Rosholt are the teachers for our youth classes. 

Questions?? – Please contact Pam Bauser at 937-299-5186.


Topic: Lectionary for Sunday worship 
Facilitator: Roger Bauser
Time:  9:00 am – 10:00 am
Place:  comfort of your home – connect online!
Join Zoom Meeting Saturdays at 9:00 a.m.
The Saturday Morning Breakfast Bible Study begins again ONLINE on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Bring your own coffee and breakfast along with your BIBLE.  The focus is on the Lectionary Lessons for the upcoming Sunday. Come join the discussion facilitated by Roger Bauser. Use the Zoom meeting link to join the conversation. If you experience any difficulty, please contact Roger at rebauser@me.com or call 937-299-5186.

Topic: We Are CALLED to be GOD’S CHURCH in the World! 
Facilitator: Roger Bauser
Time: 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Place: Comfort of your home – connect online!
Bring your coffee. Have your Bible handy. We have heard GOD’S CALL! Now we will explore putting our CALL into ACTION! Our topic is based on Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s Bible study available on the ELCA website. This wraps up exploring our call to be CHURCH, our call to be LUTHERAN, our call to be TOGETHER, and our call for the SAKE OF THE WORLD! This is the FINAL session on this important topic! Don’t miss the chance to share our call to be Lutheran Together for the Sake of the World! Sundays at 9:00 am on Zoom.

COMING NEXT: a Biblical study on The Book of ACTS! 
Need a boost as the pandemic wears on – COME BE RENEWED by the power of the Holy Spirit! COME LISTEN to God speak to each of us through the Book of ACTS. This incredible book invites us into the story moving forward from the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Come delve into the power of the Holy Spirit to change the world and ignite the flames of faith in the early church. If you are a reader who enjoys intrigue, adventure, and unexpected twists in the plot, this is the narrative for you. We will continue to meet ONLINE. The Zoom link, meeting ID and password remain the same. Roger Bauser will serve as the facilitator. ALL are welcome any Sunday you are available. 

Topic: Lectionary for Sunday worship 
Facilitator: Roger Bauser
Time:  9:00 am – 10:00 am
Place:  comfort of your home – connect online!
The Men’s breakfast Bible Study continues ONLINE on Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Bring your own coffee and breakfast along with your BIBLE. 
The focus is on the Lectionary Lessons for the upcoming Sunday. Come join the discussion facilitated by Roger Bauser. Use the following link to join the conversation. If you experience any difficulty, please contact Roger at rebauser@me.com or call 937-299-5186.

Come explore ideas on Wednesday evenings
Topic:  Does racism exist in the Church?
Facilitator: Becky Cook
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Wednesdays –  September 9 ONE MORE WEEK! 
Place: Comfort of your own home.
Read the Southern Ohio Synod Statement on Racism: Synod Council Statement On RacialJustice 2020
Read online, print this out or call the church office if you would like a copy sent to your home.  What are your thoughts? What does this statement mean for us? How do we respond to the sin of white supremacy? Our country has been engaged and enraged by the death of George Floyd and the events that have followed. How does our faith speak to the hurt and anger expressed? Come listen, learn, and discuss our faith and our place speaking God’s love in a broken world.  Join Zoom Discussion on Racism on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Food Pantry Donations

Thank you to all who continue to support the Greenmont-Oak Park-Ascension “Neighbor-to-Neighbor” food pantry with your monthly donations.

This week is Food Pantry Sunday (September 6).

The designated Food Pantry Sunday is the first Sunday of each month, but you can drop items off any time during the month. The food collection box is just inside the fellowship hall entry doors and you can drop off food any time during regular church office hours. Just ring the bell for access to the building and place your donations of non-perishable food items in the box. If you are not shopping regularly in the grocery and would like to make a monetary donation, just mail or deliver a check (“Payable to Good Shepherd”) to the church office.


In 2018, we received $15.95 in donations from AmazonSmile. In 2019 we received $19.64. Would you like to help go over those amounts for 2020? It’s easy to do. Go to our web site, goodshepherdkettering.com, and on the front page on the right side you will see a little graphic labeled amazonsmile.  Click on that and follow the directions. Once you’ve done that, instead of going to amazon.com to make an online purchase, go to smile.amazon.com and for every purchase you make, we will get 0.5% of that price donated to us. It’s still Amazon, with all the features of the normal site, we just get a small cut. Over time those 0.5% donations add up. Please consider supporting us in this way. The proceeds go to help with youth events. If you have any questions, please contact Don Bennett.

Counseling Assistance

Good Shepherd is a member of the Covenant Society for Pastoral Counseling of Miami Valley Hospital. Trained and certified counselors are available to congregational members at any time, whether for a crisis or for ongoing help. This service is confidential, and anonymous if you choose. You do not have to go through the pastor or church to access this service. If you have a need simply call  (937) 438-3486, tell the staff you are a member of Good Shepherd, our church is part of the Covenant Society for Pastoral Counseling through Premier. Because Good Shepherd is a member the cost to you is one-half of any non-reimbursed portion (for example, through insurance coverage) of the normal charge. For further information on this service you can call the above numbers, or talk to Pastor Jamie.

GSLC Lutheran Youth Corps (LYC)

Gift Card Program Did you know there is a way that you can financially support Good Shepherd at no cost to you?  Through the LYC, you can order gift cards from a variety of merchants and restaurants at face value and a portion of each purchase is donated to the church to support youth programs and the First Lutheran Breakfasts. Although the percentage donated to the church may seem small, a few percent of our collective purchases can add up to a significant donation to Good Shepherd over time. Order forms are available in the Narthex.  Orders placed on the weekend are normally available for pick up the following week, with the exception of some holiday periods and weeks where we do not reach the minimum threshold for placing an order.  Please contact Don Bennett if you have any questions.  What a great way to be faithful stewards of our resources!


ELCA Disability Ministry God’s work. Our hands. Click here.
Lutheran World Relief Sustainable Development. Click here.
NEW ELCA Global Links  Click here.

Season of Creation Devotions Offered by Four Heads of Communion

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and leaders from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have prepared a series of devotions to observe the Season of Creation 2020, September 1 – October 4.

The season, which begins with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, is a time to join with the global Christian community in renewing, repairing and restoring commitments to God, to one another and to all of creation. For the four churches, it is also a time for strengthening relationships with one another. Through Scripture, hymns, advocacy and action, the weekly devotions, which begin Sept. 6, invite people to live out their vocation as stewards of creation.

In addition to Eaton, the devotions were contributed by the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate, The Episcopal Church; the Rev. Susan C. Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; and the Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Season of Creation devotions are available here.


Hunger in the Time of COVID-19:

Life for Today and Hope for Tomorrow. An online benefit for ELCA World Hunger.
Rick Steves, guidebook author and travel TV host; the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); and the Rev. Shelley Bryan Wee, bishop of the ELCA Northwest Washington Synod, invite you to an online benefit — the first of its kind — for ELCA World Hunger. Together, we hope to raise $250,000 to confront hunger in the time of COVID-19 at this event.

When: Thursday, September 24, 7:00 pm. Central time.
Where: Zoom virtual event.
Register: Here
We are in a historic moment, facing a once-in-a-century pandemic and a global change in hunger unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. Domestically and internationally, hunger is increasing at alarming rates. At this event, you will learn about the unique ways ELCA World Hunger is responding. Our hosts will also discuss the ongoing root causes of hunger and poverty addressed in Rick Steves’ recent special Hunger and Hope: Lessons From Ethiopia and Guatemala. And you will hear from ELCA World Hunger partners on the front lines of the current hunger crisis, who will tell you firsthand how your gifts make a difference.  We are called by God to share hope in this time of challenge. Join us to face this global hunger crisis head-on and to continue moving toward a just world where all are fed.

A Labor Day Message from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Our calling from God begins in the waters of Baptism and is lived out in a wide array of settings and relationships. Freed through the Gospel, we are to serve others through arenas of responsibility such as family, work, and community life. Although we continue to be ensnared in the ambiguities and sin of this world, our vocation is to seek what is good for people and the rest of creation in ways that glorify God and anticipate God’s promised future.  ~ ELCA social statement Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All, page 7.

The origins of Labor Day, established as a federal holiday in 1894, lie in the labor movement’s persistent organizing for the rights and recognition of American workers. This year’s impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the heroics and faithfulness of the many we now know to be essential workers. 

While all workers are essential, especially during this pandemic, we give special thanks on this Labor Day for those workers who, despite challenges and dangers to their health, plant and harvest and deliver our food, keep store shelves stocked with essentials, nurture and teach our children, and care for the sick. In honor of their contributions to our country’s well-being, they deserve our support and accompaniment so they can do their jobs safely with dignity and respect.

Our church’s social teaching reminds us that work is a way we serve God and our neighbor. The ELCA social statement Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All states: “In Genesis, work is to be a means through which basic needs might be met, as human beings ‘till and keep’ the garden in which God has placed them (Genesis 2:15). Work is seen not as an end in itself, but as a means for sustaining humans and the rest of creation” (page 8).

Labor Day, like many holidays, marks the passage of time, the change of weather, the return to school, the end of the growing season. It also marks our eighth month of collectively facing the challenges of this time together. Dear church, we need to also acknowledge the extra labors these last months have required in what is turning out to be a marathon with a long way to go. The multiple hardships of this year have touched every one of us.

We know this crisis has been disruptive and destructive — as it has been elsewhere in the world — with so many suffering and facing uncertainty through a staggering loss of millions of jobs and no end in sight. The coronavirus also has exposed the inadequacy of an economic system for workers who live paycheck to paycheck, many of whom are disproportionately people of color. It has pulled back the veil of long-held racial disparities in income and opportunity and within the health care system. Communities of color have borne the brunt of death and illness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Racial and economic injustices deprive people of the fruits of their work (Proverbs 13:23), which benefits our economy more than the workers’ sustainable livelihoods.

Furthermore, gender discrimination has placed women of color in low wage, front-line positions at heightened risk. Many vulnerable women of color work as personal care aides, nursing assistants, cashiers and retail salespeople. In addition to their vulnerability, these front-line workers are disproportionately underpaid for their work. The average woman earns 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. Black women, Native American women and Latinas earn 62 cents, 57 cents and 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by white men, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

These systemic issues continuously challenge and obstruct the well-being of many and deny God’s desire for us to execute justice for the oppressed (Psalm 146:7). As church together, God calls us to accompany our neighbors who have lost livelihoods or income, supporting our siblings through prayer, service and advocacy. Our nation’s leaders must not forget that responding to the needs of those who have lost jobs or income is now critical. Our accompaniment also must take shape as we prayerfully heed God’s call to build economies that enable life in all its fullness; dismantle disparities in health, income, racial equality and privilege that trouble human community; and act together toward a more just society where all can live out their vocations and sustain their families with dignity.

This Labor Day remember that God is at work in our economic life, which “is intended to be a means through which God’s purposes for humankind and creation are to be served” (Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All, page 3). Throughout this pandemic, we have risen to many challenges. We have reimagined almost everything in our lives and churches, including worship, workplace, education, child care, vacations, communication, service, advocacy, faith formation and much more. God’s sustaining love for all of us is even more abundant than our imaginations and is providing us with the creativity and grit to try, try again so that Christ is proclaimed and our communities are served. Together, we can solve what seems unsolvable. Together, we can strive for each person’s dignity to be recognized and treasured, remove disparities in health care, achieve racial equity, defeat poverty and work together with all people to overcome this virus. 

As you take time to observe this year’s Labor Day, may you find time to rest and renew yourselves for the work ahead. As is stated in this church’s economic life social statement: “Our vocation is to seek what is good for people and the rest of creation in ways that glorify God and anticipate God’s promised future” (page 7). Below you will find information and resources to advocate for our neighbors and communities to build a just economy for all:

A prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship:
God of justice, we remember before you those who suffer want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide the people of this land so to use our wealth and resources that all people may find suitable and fulfilling employment and receive just payment for their labor; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In peace,
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America