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Report on the July ELCA Triennial Gathering

The speakers at July’s 2017 Wom­en of the ELCA Triennial Gath­ering in Minnesota all spoke to JUSTICE. The theme was ALL ANEW, and Leymah Gbowee, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Liberia, stated that Anew is not an event, it is a process. The word All means you can’t act in a silo. All Anew means linking together and putting all that fire together to change the world. Jesus renews all of us on a daily basis. But all of us need to bring that renewal together, to be the troublemakers of the world, to be the firebomb of the world, to change the things that need changing.

Kelly Fryer was the writer of our summer Bible Study in Gather mag­azine. She spoke a bit about being “good” rather than “nice” when confronting some justice issues. Standing with those who have been sidelined, who are poor, who are part of marginalized communities – that’s standing right there side by side with Jesus. That’s where Jesus is. That’s where God is and you can’t open a page of Scripture without seeing that. She said: “We have never need­ed you more. Don’t tell me, ‘I am too old.’ Don’t tell me, ‘I’m tired.’ Don’t tell me, ‘It’s somebody else’s turn.’ You’re it.” Kelly said, “You are the daughters of a troublemaker.”

Our final keynote speaker was our very own Pastor Alexia Salvatierra from our SWCA Synod. She talked about making the journey from mercy to justice. She quoted a favorite Bi­ble passage, Micah 6:8 and said, “it tells believers to do justice and love mercy…Lutherans and particularly Lutheran women can celebrate that we are pretty good at acts of mer­cy.” Even though the world typically separates mercy and justice, she said, “biblically, mercy and justice kiss.” She said that seeing injustice in the world is the first step to taking action to cor­rect it. She shared actual stories of what has happened to youths in El Salvador who are trying to escape gang and mafia violence by coming to our country. She said moving from mercy to justice requires compassion and vision. Her talk was very moving and a great addition to the Triennial Gathering.

-Sharon Heck