Sex Worker Outreach: Heather Veitch (pictured) is a former stripper who now lives her life for Jesus Christ. Without the benefit of ordination, she has taken on a new mission in life: helping to bring Christ into the lives of women in the sex industry. She does this the old-fashioned way, by building personal relationships with the women to whom she ministers and by helping them find churches where they can learn more about God.
Her ministry, founded in 2005, is called, JCs Girls. The ministry organizes teams of women to encounter women working in adult entertainment:
Some of our methods include attending and participating in porn conventions, in addition to visiting women in strip clubs. We will go wherever the Lord calls us. When we visit strip clubs, we often purchase time from the dancers, which is normally set aside for lap dances. We use this time to speak with and pray for the women, while offering resources and assistance in transitioning out of the sex industry.
Ms. Veitch's ministry to strippers and porn stars challenges conventional notions of evangelism, and has become the subject of YouTube Videos and an award-wining, feature-length documentary title Pussycat Preacher.
We wonder how this ministry looks through the lens of the ELCA Draft Social Statement on Sexuality.
Erma and Emily: The ELCA's draft social statement on sexuality has been out for a week now, and frankly, the most interesting development in that week is the discovery that Emily Eastwood Executive Director of Lutherans Concerned / North America (LCNA) and Pr. Erma Wolf Vice-Chair of the Lutheran Core steering committee appear to have a synoptic view of the draft: Extravagance (Luxuria): Who says Lutherans don't know about Luxury? When you want to indulge yourself, nothing else says extravagance as boldly as the Official LutheranConfessions.com BASEBALL CAP! Be the Life of the Party:
Emily Eastwood: Frankly, the draft is not what we had hoped for, but it does make incremental, if glacial, progress beyond the social statements of the predecessor bodies to the ELCA. The old ALC statement put "homosexuals" in the same category with murderers. The LCA statement on "Sex, Marriage and Family" said that homosexuals were sinners only as were all others. In contrast, the first draft of this ELCA statement admits candidly that the church does not have consensus on how to treat same-gender couples and families. This is most certainly true. The truth the document fails to mention, however, is that our church no longer has consensus on the definition of marriage. Still in only two sentences does the document actually define marriage as between a man and a woman. Rather, in the rest of the document the qualities and requirements for committed relationships for heterosexual and same-gender couples are virtually identical. As such, the draft seems an uneasy and inconsistent compromise between the opposing views on same-gender relationships delineated by the document itself.
Pr. Erma Wolf: I think Emily Eastwood's assessment of the draft statement is spot-on. The word that keeps coming to my mind ever since first reading the draft, and on each re-reading as I study it? Laodicea.
Pr. Wolf's reference to Laodicea is an appeal to the message of judgment and call to repentance addressed to the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14ff:
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.(v. 15-16)
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Extravagance (Luxuria): Who says Lutherans don't know about Luxury? When you want to indulge yourself, nothing else says extravagance as boldly as the Official LutheranConfessions.com BASEBALL CAP!
Be the Life of the Party:
Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:
Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.
Bishop Biz: If you were wondering what happened (besides the preview of the Draft Social Statement on Sexuality) at the ELCA Conference of Bishops meeting in San Mateo, CA, here' are some highlights as reported by ELCA News:
The Bishops were briefed about the Christian Zionism Movement by the Rev. Robert O. Smith, director, Europe/Middle East Continental Desk, ELCA Global Mission.
ELCA treasurer Christina Jackson-Skelton, reported positive financial results for 2007. Operating revenue increased $300,000 to $83.3 million. Expenses were also up $1.2 million to $80.8 million. Mission support funds increased $500,000 to $66.1 million,. Total operating income was up for the fourth consecutive year, and contributions to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal for 2007 were $21.3 million, a new high.
Presiding Bishop. Mark Hanson, expressed the hope that the ELCA would make use of its statements on immigration in public discussions of immigration policies. He also noted that the ELCA's expression of regret for statements about Anabaptists has had a positive effect on relations between the ELCA and the Mennonites.
Kristi S. Bangert, executive director, ELCA Communication Services reported that a new ELCA Web site will be launched April 28. The current ELCA Web site logs about 36,000 individual visits per day and 192,000 page views per day.
Regional conferences are planned to discuss care for military personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, said the Rev. Darrell D. Morton, assistant to the ELCA presiding bishop for federal chaplaincy ministries.
Beth A. Lewis, president and CEO of the ELCA's publishing ministry Augsburg Fortress reported a $2.5 million profit for 2007. A significant factor is sales of Evangelical Lutheran Worship which has sold about 960,000 copies.
Testing will begin soon for an ELCA Mobility Database Project, said the Rev. Stanley J. Meyer. The online database will be a tool and resource for synods in their call-process work. Forms and a Web site are expected to be approved and functional by November 2008.
Out of the Closet?: "Conversations about money are out of the closet," said Ed Kruse, director for stewardship, ELCA Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission (EOCM). "People are really interested in hearing about money and finances, and money management."
The ELCA has launched a new resource intended to engage people in conversation and self-assessment concerning their feelings, knowledge, experiences and practices related to money.
Money Leadership for Thriving Congregations is a biblically based stewardship education resource that addresses people's eagerness to learn about and discuss financial topics, such as giving, saving, spending, debt reduction, financial life planning, personal financial profiles, and developing personal and congregational action plans
"Money Leadership" is intended for use by congregations in small-group settings. Group leaders can teach the program in six two-hour workshops or schedule an overnight retreat for participants. Available materials include a participant book, a leader guide and daily devotions. The resource was written by EOCM's stewardship team, and is available through Augsburg Fortress, the publishing ministry of the ELCA. Workshops are now available in all 65 synods to introduce the resource.
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