Are you finding yourself afraid to say the wrong thing, or not wanting to take "sides," so you don't say much or anything at all? Does it feel like it's not the right time to speak out as we begin Advent and try to remain hopeful about robust attendance and generous year-end giving... er, um, we mean, the coming of the Christ child? Or maybe you're struggling to balance that famous Lutheran both-and with everything everywhere all at once? Well, have no fear! Coaching is here.
Coaching holds space for naming the elephant in any room. Coaching encourages us to listen well and ask thoughful questions, especially when we feel afraid or overwhelmed. Coaching invites us into curiosity as a powerful tool to stay out of judgment. Coaching opens us to possibility, especially when solutions seem impossible.
We heard from Raed AbuJries, Program Manager for the ELCA's AMMPARO US Network, and Dennis Frado, Consultant for Witnessing in Society with the ELCA's Service and Justice Unit. We invite you to show up with prayerful and open hearts as we seek to humanize what have become mostly just a bunch of divisive talking points and sound bytes. And we hope you will leave with at least one resource that is relevant to you in your context, as well as at least one tangible and faithful next step in your journey.
Raed AbuJries is the Program Manager for AMMPARO’s US Network (education and communication). He was born and raised in Beit Jala (Bethlehem) in the West Bank (Palestine). After high school, Raed immigrated to the US and studied communication at the University of Nebraska. After 10 years of living in the US, he returned to Palestine. He worked with a few Christian non-profits in the Middle East in the field of communication and advocacy. Raed worked with the East Jerusalem YMCA as Media & Communications Coordinator for the rehabilitation program (2012 – 2014), then joined World Vision as an Advocacy & Communications Officer (until 2016). He then joined Care4you to advocate for the persecuted church as a social media officer until April of this year. Raed joined the AMMPARO team while living in Bethlehem, then moved back to the US in September and is currently living with his wife and two children in Texas.
Dennis Frado served as Director of the Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC), an office of the Service and Justice Home Area (unit) of the ELCA from 1991-2022. He was responsible for the public policy advocacy of the church to international organizations on issues such as human rights, world order, and economic justice. As LOWC Director he also served as Main Representative of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) at United Nations Headquarters and has assisted the LWF at most of its annual meetings and assemblies since 1984. Dennis served in Geneva, Switzerland, with the LWF’s Department of World Service for nine years between 1980 and 1989. He also served twice on the staff of the Washington DC Office of ELCA, most recently from 1989-91. He has also been representing the ELCA on the board of the Washington-based Churches for Middle East Peace and the steering committee of the Faith Forum on the Middle East. He is currently a consultant on Middle East matters to the Witness in Society section of the ELCA Service and Justice unit. Dennis also represented the ELCA on the Board of Directors of Church World Service and the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. for several terms in the first two decades of the 2000s. He has also been representing the ELCA on the board of the Washington-based Churches for Middle East Peace and the steering committee of the Faith Forum on the Middle East.