As a part of the on-going training of the LUM Board of Directors, each quarter their meeting features a program called “Pizza & Perspectives.” At last week’s board meeting, the Pizza & Perspectives program featured remarks from the Rev. Rodney Lynch, pastor & director of the Baptist Student Foundation at Purdue University.
The evening began with a wonderful meal at Jane’s Gourmet Catering followed by the Rev. Lynch who shared his Theological Reflections on the Urban Ministry. His presentation was lively, informative and inspiring. The Rev. Lynch gave an overview of the importance of “urban ministries” incorporating Bible verses as well as personal stories to highlight his message. The event was well attended, and the participants were engaged and appreciative of the timely information.
The Rev. Rodney Lynch earned a BA in Social Science from The College of New Rochelle, as well as a Master of Divinity & Master of Sacred Theology from Drew University (Madison, New Jersey). He is married to Felicia M. (Myles) Lynch, and they have three children: Jeremiah, David & Michael. A special thank you to the Rev. Rodney Lynch for taking the time to share his thoughts and expertise with the friends, board members and staff of Lafayette Urban Ministry.
To view more PHOTOS from the LUM Pizza & Perspectives program, click HERE.
LUM has focused a lot in recent weeks on issues of food distribution to those in our community who don’t have enough good, nutritious food for themselves or their children. During this process I have paid special attention to the miracle story Jesus Feeds the 5,000. Found in all four Gospels, it remains one of scripture’s most powerful teachings of faith, compassion and service. And it is a teaching that touches, in real and practical ways, virtually everything that goes on at LUM.
As the disciples gathered to figure out what to do about the hungry crowd, they could only pool 200 denari. A young boy had five loaves and two fish. It wasn’t enough, but Jesus was filled with compassion and miraculously, faithfully, moved quickly forward. The story is a lesson to us about beginnings. But it is also a powerful lesson about endings. Because miraculously, faithfully, there was more left over than Jesus started with — 12 baskets full of broken pieces! I love this story, because during my time at LUM, I have always found there to be more left over than when we start something.
There are more children doing better in school now than we ever imagined when LUM first started the After School and 5th Quarter Summer Learning Programs. There are more neighbors receiving paralegal help and support through the LUM Immigration Clinic. There are more chronically homeless individuals who have turned to addiction getting help because LUM found creative ways to offer information and support.
Service fosters deeper relationships with others. If you volunteer at LUM, you can’t help but develop a keener knowledge of poverty and income inequality. When you see the faces of those we serve, learn their names and hear their stories, you can’t help but grow in understanding. Your friendships are strengthened. Your perceptions are broadened. Your heart is expanded.
I believe so very firmly that our faith is enriched through service at a place like LUM. We are challenged to be more loving. We become more generous with our time and treasure. We respond more fully to the prophet’s call to justice. Thank you for joining with us; for your prayers of support; for the service you render; for the dollars you donate; for performing miracles at LUM each and every day!
Last week, LUM hosted the regular meeting of the University Religious Leaders of Purdue. URL is a consortium of religious leaders who serve Purdue students in West Lafayette. LUM provided the space, the LUM Ray Ewry Youth Center, and a simple lunch.
Joe Micon, LUM executive director, attended and welcomed the group, and the Rev. Susan Brouillette, the LUM Immigration Clinic director, was their featured speaker after lunch (pictured above). She presented an overview of the types of services that the LUM Immigration Clinic offers for legal immigrants as well as updates on immigration policy, statistics and common issues in our community.
LUM has enjoyed a good partnership with the URL — and this was a great opportunity to strengthen that relationship.
The 2019 Session of the Indiana General Assembly may be nearing its conclusion, but the need to let your representatives know where you stand should not end with it. Today’s technology has made the process of reaching out easier than ever. It offers us a chance to contact those who represent us, whether locally or on the national stage, with just a few mouse clicks or text messages. Here are a few ways to utilize the internet to get involved in the legislative process:
Indiana General Assembly Website
This page on the Indiana General Assembly website makes it easy to find who represents you in both the Indiana State House as well as in the United States Congress. Simply entering your home address will provide phone numbers, email addresses and web pages to allow you to contact your elected officials with relative ease.
ResistBot is an automated system which not only provides contact information for legislators that represent you, but allows you to generate and send correspondence directly to your representatives with a few simple text messages, tweets, or Facebook messages. Simply text the word “resist” to 50409, tweet it @resistbot, or send it in a message to ResistBot on Facebook and follow the system’s prompts to generate and send a formally-formatted letter to the representative of your choice. You can also use ResistBot to make your opinion known to relevant legislators based on particular topics and issues as well.
Capitol Call is an app for Android and iPhone which will locate your legislators for you and get you in touch with their office via phone with just one tap of a button. It also provides alternate contact information and easily links you to other ways to get in touch if you don’t prefer making a call. The app also maintains an Action Center to keep you up to date on current issues, and how to best direct your opinion to make a difference where you want to see it the most.
Focused primarily on the U.S. Congress, Countable is another website and app for Android and iPhone which not only offers opportunities and assistance for contacting your legislators, but also stays up to date with summaries and progress updates for all legislation moving through Congress. Simply visit the website or download the app and follow the prompts to begin your bill tracking or contact efforts.
by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern
It is a sad day for all of us at Campaign for Hoosier Families. Senate Bill 104, which capped interest rates on payday loans, was defeated in the third reading with a vote of 22 yeas and 27 nays and will not continue any further this session. Consequently, the bill which we all had high hopes for is now dead. Originally authored by Senator Greg Walker and Senator John Ruckelshaus, this bill seemed to have the support needed at the State Capitol in order to pass both houses and become law. At the time of third reading, SB-104 had eight co-authors.Senate Bill 84 and House Bill 1098 which also addressed small loan finance charges did not make it passed the first reading.
As you know raising the minimum wage is a priority for Campaign for Hoosier Families. While the minimum wage bills introduced in this current session did not move through the Indiana General Assembly this year, we encourage you during the off session to let your State Representative and State Senator know that you support raising the Indiana minimum wage as well overall income equality so that they may be persuaded to address it next year.
A biased crimes bill (IN Senate Bill 12) authored by Senators Ron Alting and Mike Bohacek and sponsored in the House by Representatives Gregory Steuerwald and Anthony Cook, has now moved through the Senate and is currently awaiting hearing in the House of Representatives. In its current form the the bill’s language allows a court to consider bias as an aggravating factor when imposing a criminal sentence. Prior to final passage in the Senate, the bill was amended regarding victim characteristics and replaced with the words “including bias.” Supporters of the bill in its amended form site that it would allow judges to more freely determine whether bias was an aggravating circumstance when a crime is committed without being constrained by specific language. While some legislators are pleased with the bill in its current form, a number of individuals in the House and Senate are pushing for the bill’s original language. Many legislators are displeased with the lack of specificity. Foremost among them are the bill’s original authors, Senators Alting and Bohacek. Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb also supports reinserting victim characteristics in the bill. The Governor has indicated that any so called hate crime bill that did not include victim characteristics would signal that Indiana is reticent on hate crimes in general and would not have the intended effect of portraying the State in a favorable light. The business community in Indiana is pushing for the passing of this bill along with a list of specific victim characteristics, as many believe that having legislation regarding bias crimes would improve Indiana and its reputation, especially for business owners. It is noteworthy that Indiana is one of five states that do not currently have their own law regarding bias crimes.
As we enter the 4th Quarter of the 2019 Indiana General Assembly, I just wanted to let you know that we have a new C4HF Advisory Board, Haley Compston. Haley is a Junior at Purdue and is majoring in Communication. An interesting fact about Haley when she was 16 she was chosen to represent the City of Indianapolis at the Sister Cities Youth Leadership Summit. Haley has always been interested in government, politics, and writing. She joined the C4HF Advisory Board thinking it would be a great way to be more informed and to do her part for the community while gaining professional experience at the same time.
I also wanted to share with you that we will be losing our student leader, Angela Weaver. Angela will be graduating from Purdue in May and following graduation will be spending the summer in DC and then relocating to Indianapolis in August. When asked about her experience as the Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy Intern, Angela shared “I enjoyed getting to learn about the legislative process and different efforts the Indiana General Assembly is doing to provide for low-income families.” We are grateful to Angela for recruiting new ambassadors as well as advisory board members as well as adding additional content and interest to the newsletter. Under her leadership the quality of the content as well as the reach of the C4HF newsletter has improved. We wish Angela much success in her future career.
We are always looking for volunteer C4HF Advisory Board Members. C4HF volunteers have the opportunity to contribute newsletter articles, engage legislators, build the C4HF listserv, and assist with grassroots mobilization and community outreach activities. As Haley pointed out “it’s great way to be more informed and to make a difference in your community while at the same time gaining professional experience.” I am grateful to all of you for your interest and support of issues impacting low income families and individuals. Please continue to make your voice heard. Godspeed,
The Rev. Susan Brouillette, Director Campaign for Hoosier Families
It comes with great pleasure to introduce our next highlighted legislator, Senator Greg Taylor. Senator Taylor was first elected in 2011, where he has proudly represented District 33. This district includes Northwest Indianapolis which includes the area around the Indianapolis Museum of Art and The Children’s Museum. Senator Taylor is married to Danielle and they have three children together: Jackson, Savannah, and Estella. He went to Law School at Indiana University. Senator Taylor is also a member of the Great Light Church, the Indiana State Bar Association, and the National Association of Bond Lawyers.
Like Senator Ron Alting who we featured in the last issue, Senator Taylor is very passionate about bias-motivated crimes prompting him to author Senate Bill 469. Although this bill did not make it any farther than the First Reading, this bill protected individuals who have suffered from personal injury because of a biased crime. During the 2018 Session, Senator Taylor also authored Senate Resolution 60 which called for an interim study committee to make recommendations on legislation in this year’s session. When asked why he authored the resolution, Senator Taylor told the Indiana Senate Democrats, “This is a huge step forward for all those in Indiana who has ever been wrongly harmed or had their property vandalized due to the color of their skin, their religious affiliation or their sexual orientation”. We are very lucky to have a Senator who is so passionate about resolving the issue of bias-motivated crimes. On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Senator Taylor for all the hard work he has done.
We are pleased to highlight, Greater Lafayette’s own, Ron Alting. Senator Alting is a Lafayette native and graduated from Lafayette Jefferson High School and Purdue University. He represents District 22 which consists of the Greater Lafayette area. Sen. Alting was originally elected to the Senate in 1998 and currently serves as the Majority Floor Leader Emeritus and chairs the Public Policy committee.
In the current session, Senator Alting authored Senate Bill 12 which would help victims of bias crimes. This bill would send the message that the State of Indiana will not tolerate hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, or social group and add an additional count and penalty for any crime that is motivated by hate.
In a recent interview Campaign for Hoosier Families conducted with Senator Alting, we had the opportunity to ask him about Senate Bill 12. One question we asked prompted an insightful answer as to why Hoosiers need to support the bill; “the number one reason why we need to pass this bill is because it’s the right thing to do. It’s being on the right side of history and it’s just the right thing to do. We all are created equal. We all should be treated equally. There should never be winners or losers in civil rights.”
We are also grateful to him for partnering with LUM and adding his name to the Kilinker-Alting Family Family Advocacy Internship which is now in its 3rd year. On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Senator Alting for all he has done in the past and for all the work he will continue to do.
by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern