Regularly, I get the question, “what exactly does Family Heritage Alliance do?” It is then my task to try to encapsulate the identity and mission of this organization in a ten second burst of information. Why ten seconds? Glad you asked. My research has determined that ten seconds is about the length of time it takes for the inquirer to experience that overwhelmed, eyes glazed over, “sorry I asked” response. I can say we are a faith and family valued advocacy group, but that only gets a little sliver of what we do. I can say we are public policy think tank, but then again, that only covers a tiny portion of the FHA and FHA Action’s work, mission, and vision. I can say we are lobbyists, but that only covers a tiny corner of our wheelhouse. In defining FHA and FHA Action, it would be really cool if there was one event that, in a scaled down way, demonstrated everything that we are about. Fortunately, as it turns out, such an event does exist. Every year in February, as the South Dakota Legislative session is fully under way, FHA Action brings ministry leaders in from all over the state for a day at the Capitol in Pierre. They are there to be educated and encouraged. They are there to influence and encourage the legislators. They are there to make a simple statement: “We are Christians, and we aren’t about to bow out of the public square.” In a very real way, we intentionally collide two worlds that many assume cannot or should not coexist. We intentionally mix the two things most experienced hosts know you don’t talk about at a family gathering. Yes, yes we do intentionally mix politics and religion. But before you make a judgement on this, be advised of the following. We believe at our core that Jesus demands to be Lord of our life, not Lord of our life with the exception of certain areas which we or our society have deemed outside His domain. So, pretty sure, politics and our involvement therein fits neatly in the territory Jesus rules. If that makes folks uncomfortable, they will have to take it up with HIM!
The event, by the way, is called the S.D. Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit, and this year it happened on Monday, February 22, and was attended by over 150 ministry leaders, legislators, elected officials, and FHA Staff. Our keynote speaker this year was Pastor Mark Gonzales, executive director of the “Black Robe Regiment”. To say that he had the room on the edge of their seats is an understatement. We also heard from FHA’s legal counsel, Jennifer Utter; Don Matolyak who was representing Franklin Graham’s “Decision America Tour”; and others. As is often the case at FHA events, one brilliant show-stealer was the youngsters that were there. Most of the youth there were FHA interns, admirable and quality folks everyone. We are so thankful to Pastor Friez and his entire team at Community Bible Church in Pierre. They always do such a great job. LaVonne Fossness and Amy Willson worked on opposite ends of the state to bring this off flawlessly in the middle. Ed Randazzo did a great job of photography and security. Our lobbying team of Dale Bartscher and Norman Woods did a super job of guiding us through issues and protocol. In all, it was just about a perfect day. To all who came, our deepest appreciation.
I know it will take some time, but take a look at some of the video below. It will help give you a sense of what the Summit is all about. To see all the images of the event, take a look at our Facebook post by clicking here.
We are in the middle of a fund drive for FHA Action. Now is the time to give if there ever was one. We are fighting tooth and nail for the values you cherish. Please consider giving right now by clicking on this link.