Pastor Davis attends Ecumenical Advocacy Days in D.C.

Pastor Michael Davis of Elgin recently returned home from a weekend in Washington, D.C. where he attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD). The three-day event was planned and attended by representatives from many denominations under the banner “For Global Peace with Justice.” Over 850 persons attended this year’s 15th annual event, which was titled “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community – Challenging Racism, Materialism and Militarism.”
This theme was inspired by a book and speech written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 50 years ago. His book was titled “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” and his speech of April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City addressed “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism” as the principle challenges of the time.
“Hearing nationally known speakers and enjoying the enthusiasm of over 800 committed Christians was a thrilling opportunity,” Pastor Davis said. “I also enjoyed participating in a walk to the Pentagon for a prayer vigil in which nearly 300 persons prayed and sang for peace not war,” he said.
Following the prayer vigil, Pastor Michael took time to visit The National 9-11 Pentagon Memorial to pay tribute to 184 persons including Elgin native CAPT Lawrence D. Getzfred, USN, who perished when American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked by five men affiliated with al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001, as part of the attacks on that day.
The 1.93-acre (7,800 m2) park contains a bench for each of the victims, arranged according to their year of birth and ranging from 1930 to 1998.  Davis commented, “I have visited the nation’s capital several times in the past, but never have I visited the Pentagon Memorial. It was a very emotional experience to stand there on the west side of the Pentagon Building and remember that so many died on that day in 2001.”
The keynote speaker of the opening session of Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) was Tamika Mallory, who was identified and pictured in the recent Time magazine issue (May 1 / May 8, 2017) which gave their annual list of “The 100 Most Influential People.”
The Conference concluded on Monday with participants visiting the Capitol Hill offices of their respective Senators and Representatives in Congress. Pastor Davis and other Nebraskans visited Senator Deb Fischer and the offices of Sen. Sasse and Rep. Smith. Reps. Bacon and Fortenberry also received visits from EAD attendees from Nebraska.
The group asked that programs helping people out of poverty not be reduced in the federal budget, such as free and reduced school lunch programs, SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), and Medicaid. Most of the conversations also pointed out that the U.S. military budget is not only the largest in the world, but is larger than the next nine nations combined. The EAD participants asked their congressional representatives that it not be further increased.
While in Washington, D.C. Pastor Davis also visited the National Museum of the American Indian, and spend one night in the home of a retired Nebraska United Methodist pastor. Dates for Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2018 have been set for April 20-23. Pastor Michael is hoping that he and his spouse will be able to attend.