My Inspiration From FHA Action’s Capitol Summit

Guest Writer: Pastor Joe Ganahl

Pastor Joe Ganahl

As a pastor, I am passionately involved in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world and I am not ashamed of it. I am also not ashamed of being an American and I passionately love our country and her Christian values. I preached on “politics” for several weeks surrounding the November election… not necessarily on a particular candidate… but on each parties political platform and encouraged our people to vote on the platforms, not necessarily candidates. One platform was unashamedly Christian, while the other platform was filled with opposition to biblical values. They were some of the most powerful… and most informative… messages I had ever preached. Praise God that SD… and the rest of our nation… elected a party and people who share those biblical values… back to positions of power.

On February 7th… I was able to attend the FHA Action’s SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit in Pierre. It was the first one I had ever attended. I’d love to say I had a great time and can’t wait to go back… but for me, as an introvert… it was a little uncomfortable. I didn’t know anyone except Dale Bartscher… and he was a little too busy to babysit me all day!! However, as I walked around the Capitol and witnessed numerous State Representatives, Senators, and Cabinet officials boldly proclaiming their faith… God spoke to me about how they needed our support and our prayers.

I came back with a big project in mind. Personal prayer cards for every Representative, every Senator, and every Cabinet official… regardless of political party… based on 1 Tim 2:1-3…
“First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for everyone… for kings and all those in authority… so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity… this is good and it pleases God our Savior.”

That’s a tall task. Hundreds of envelopes had to be addressed and stamped… and hundreds had to be taken by our congregation and personally written in. My administrative assistants, Darlis and Sarah, did an amazing job of getting that ready in a short week and then preparing them for our congregation. We made an announcement on a Sunday morning… telling people what we were doing… and asking them to take at least one card, but possibly more… and write something in there encouraging our elected officials. By the end of the day… ALL the cards had been taken. God was using us to do exactly what He had planned. To pray for those in authority… all those in authority… even those we might possibly disagree with. We hope we were able to be a blessing and encouragement to those folks during an extremely difficult time… and to let them know there were people that supported them and were praying for them. It was a great privilege for us to be involved in this way.

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 18

JC Church and Dale Bartscher

Tuesday, February 7, will be a day long remembered as the day #130 Pastors and Para-Church Ministry Leaders converged on the SD State Capitol in 2017.  It was on this day that the FHA Action celebrated our 7th annual SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit.

I, along with seven friends, gathered for dinner in Pierre the night before the Summit.  Norman Woods, Brennan Culverhouse (FHA Intern), Pastor Scott Craig (FHA Board Chair), Amy Wagner (SD National Day of Prayer), Amy Willson (SD ACT for America) and Gywn Write (Club For Growth).  Joining the seven of us was JC Church, the Family Research Council’s Midwest Representative and the Summit’s keynote speaker.  It has been said, “We can either fight, flight or freeze when a challenge comes!”  Well, the eight of us, gathered that night,are up for the challenge and we’re in this fight for our family values to WIN it.

One of the greatest blessings from the day is the time these Spiritual Leaders have to spend with their elected officials.  Pictured here is Matt Irwin of Rapid City in prayer with his Pastor and Representative Sean McPherson.  This scene was duplicated dozens of times throughout the morning.

Every year those gathered for the Summit meet on the Rotunda steps for a photo shoot and the opportunity to sing a few patriotic songs.  Once again we were joined this year by our SD Governor and Lt. Governor along with our Attorney General and numerous other elected officials.  The Summit’s afternoon’s luncheon and meeting was held at the Pierre Community Bible Church.  Pastor Harvey Friez and their Hospitality Team treated us with a flare of excellence.

We are ready to do it again next year.  Please continue to follow our work here at the Capitol by going to www.FHAaction.org and click on Legislative Radar.

2017 Capitol Summit

My Day at the Summit – Ed Randazzo

It’s Tuesday February 7th. There’s a light dusting of snow on my truck as I make my way to the Flying J Truck Stop on the eastern edge of Rapid City. I am going to meet the Stagecoach West bus that will take me to Pierre, South Dakota for the Family Heritage Alliance sponsored SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit.

I’m honored to be riding with some 38 pastors and ministry leaders and the cabin is abuzz with conversation. Tonya Torve, FHA’s Administrative Assistant is moving through the cabin offering refreshments and a warm smile. A few ask about what’s the latest in Pierre but many are just sharing experiences with other like-minded believers. In the sure and experienced hands of our driver, Ken Updike, the trip goes quickly and soon we arrive at our State Capitol.

The sun is shining brightly as we make our way to the Rotunda where we are met by Executive Director Dale Bartscher, Norman Woods and more than a hundred others. While we were approaching from the west, Lavonne Fosness was leading another bus load of believers from Sioux Falls and a host of other vehicles were arriving from across the state. After some coffee, cookies and a yogurt parfait, Dale and Norman briefed us and then all are free to fan out through the beautiful Capitol Building to engage with lawmakers, constitutional officers or to sit in on committee meetings.

I visit Room 423 where the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee is conducting a hearing on SB 81, a bill to prohibit powdered alcohol in South Dakota that FHA Action is supporting. Dale Bartscher is testifying in support of this bill and the committee approves unanimously to send it to the floor for a vote. It’s fun to win one!!!

But it’s now almost 11:30 when we return to the Capitol Rotunda and fill the entire grand staircase for a group photo. We are joined there by many legislators, constitutional officers, Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels and Governor Dennis Daugaard and as a group we sing, filling the entire building with my favorite “God Bless America”.

It’s off then to enjoy lunch graciously provided and served by Community Bible Church. Once again we are honored to be joined by many legislators and constitutional officers.

But it’s not over yet!!! We then are inspired by a rousing message from Pastor J.C. Church from the Family Research Council who spoke of the need for all churches and believers to be bold and stand for our values and beliefs. Wow, if this man doesn’t motivate you to action, I don’t know who will.

Then it was back on the bus for the loud and fun ride back home. As I stood and watched from the back of the bus, I thought that the ride to and from alone was great. But everything else made it a truly memorable day.

God blessed us abundantly and I am especially grateful that I could be a part of it.

Pastors and Ministry Leaders mark your calendar today for next year’s Capitol Summit on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.  Can’t wait till next year.

 

2017 SD Ministry Leader’s Capitol Summit | Bus from Sioux Falls

East River Bus

There will be a 55-passenger ‘Grey Hound Bus’ traveling to Pierre from Sioux Falls at ‘no cost’ to the passengers. The bus will leave from the Northwest Walmart parking lot, the southeast corner of the lot, (5200 W 60th Street N, Sioux Falls) @ 5:15 a.m. (CST) and will return by 6:00 p.m.

print-postcard-capitol-summit-front

Pastors, Priests and Para-Church Ministry Leaders are encouraged to come.  The event begins with refreshments in the Capitol Rotunda.  Our keynote speaker will be Pastor JC Church, Family Research Council’s Representative .  Lunch will be served at Noon at Community Bible Church.

2017 SD Ministry Leader’s Capitol Summit | Bus from Rapid

West River Bus

There will be a 56-passenger ‘Grey Hound Bus’ traveling to Pierre from Rapid City at no cost to the passengers. The bus will leave from the Flying J Truck Stop’s East Parking Lot (I-90 & Elk Vale Road) @ 5:15 a.m. (MST) and will return by 5:00 p.m.

print-postcard-capitol-summit-front

Pastors, Priests and Para-Church Ministry Leaders are encouraged to come.  The event begins with refreshments in the Capitol Rotunda.  Our keynote speaker will be Pastor JC Church, Family Research Council’s Representative .  Lunch will be served at Noon at Community Bible Church.

2017 Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit

summit2017

This event, which pulls together ministry leaders from across the state of South Dakota, provides networking, unity, fellowship, vital information about the government of our state, and an awesome touch point between ministry leaders and legislators. The Summit springs from the core of who we are as an organization, from our “DNA” if you please, and it is certainly one of the most important events of our calendar year. So, if you lead a ministry, mark your calendar for February 7, and make plans now to join us in Pierre on that day.

As in the past, we are providing bus transportation to Pierre for those who would like to go green. You can fellowship, read, or sleep and leave the driving to us. As last year, we are providing two buses. Each bus will leave from their respective locations promptly at 5:15 AM on the 7th (did we mention you can sleep on the bus?).

Family Research Council’s Pastor JC Church will be our keynote speaker.

West River Bus

There will be a 56-passenger ‘Grey Hound Bus’ traveling to Pierre from Rapid City at no cost to the passengers. The bus will leave from the Flying J Truck Stop’s East Parking Lot (I-90 & Elk Vale Road) @ 5:15 a.m. (MST) and will return by 5:00 p.m.

East River Bus

There will be a 55-passenger ‘Grey Hound Bus’ traveling to Pierre from Sioux Falls at ‘no cost’ to the passengers. The bus will leave from the Northwest Walmart parking lot, the southeast corner of the lot, (5200 W 60th Street N, Sioux Falls) @ 5:15 a.m. (CST) and will return by 6:00 p.m.

Registration

As always, you can register online or you can call our office at 605.718.5433.  Registration deadline is Wednesday, February 1!  We need you to register for one (and only one) of three options:

Click here if you would like to register for the Summit and the bus ride from Rapid City

Click here if you would like to register for the Summit and the bus ride from Sioux Falls

Click here if you would like to register for the Summit and you have your own transportation

What FHA is All About

DSC_0478compressedRegularly, 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.

2016 Legislative Session Day 27

Well TODAY is the 27th day of the South Dakota Legislative Session’s 38 days.

handsraisedMany of you have been following, and rightly so, the process whereby we hope and pray that House Bill 1008, a bill that is designed to protect the privacy of ALL of our public school children – becomes law.  HB 1008 has now been delivered to our Governor Daugaard’s Desk.  It is our understanding that by midnight on Tuesday, March 1, he must sign this bill into law, veto this bill, or simply allow it to become law without his signature.

This bill, which was passed with the support of 75% of our Legislators, will require every elementary and secondary public school in the state to protect the privacy of boys and girls by ensuring that boys and girls do not use the same restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms together.

We, the people of South Dakota, are legitimately concerned about safety and privacy, especially when it comes to children, but we are also concerned about treating everyone fairly, including people dealing with gender dysphoria. Our South Dakota legislators have struck a balance that respects all concerned and shines a clear path out of a tricky issue.

We certainly anticipate HB 1008 will come off of the Governor’s Desk with his Signature because it’s South Dakota Common Sense.  Please, take a moment, CALL Governor Daugaard (605-773-3212) and respectfully ask him to SIGN HB 1008 into law.

Senate Bill 129 now being called “Jason’s Law” has passed off of the Senate Floor with a unanimous vote.  This bill would require that Teachers be given a one-hour suicide prevention training as a part of their teacher re-certification process.

Senate Bill 159 also flew out of the Senate and we are grateful.  This bill empowers lower income families who choose to provide a private school education to their children, to be able to afford it. Sixteen other states have adopted this method successfully to provide more parental choice in the education of their children.

We were pleased recently to give testimony for and see passed on the Senate floor two bills, which will directly protect our children in a greater way.  They are:

Senate Bill 168, which seeks to protect juveniles from being victimized by the criminal activity of Human Trafficking.  In this bill a person, usually called the John, who pimps a child into this DARK lifestyle will now be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

And then there is SB 169 a bill, which seeks to revise our child pornography laws.  Although this is a ‘baby step’ of a bill….it is a step in the right direction as it moves the selling of child pornography from a Class 2 charge to a more serious….Class 4 charge.
summit2As I close I’d like to share that our SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit held on Monday, Feb. 22 here in Pierre at the State Capitol was a terrific success.   Our keynote speaker, Mark Gonzales (Black Robed Regiment) blessed the 120 Pastors and Ministry Leaders who converged on the Capitol for a day of prayer, information, inspiration and influence.  I am so grateful to an FHA Staff that goes above and beyond the call of duty to help execute an event such as this.  Yes, it was “all hands on deck” and all our hard work paid off as all were blessed!

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!

summit1

2016 Legislative Session Day 10

2016day10aOnce again it’s an early morning at the Capitol and all is well…for the time being 🙂  As promised yesterday I’d like to introduce to you this week’s FHA Action Intern.  His name is Joseph Shivley and he’s an 18 year old young man with the heart of a Patriot.  He lives in Hot Springs, SD, and is currently a Home Schooled Senior in High School.  Joseph is also a member of the coveted TeenPact of South Dakota.  We thank this young man for his willingness to learn more about the Legislative process and also serve FHA Action during this week of his life.

2016day10bToday we were surprised by the appearance of Pastor Michael Boyle.   Pastor Boyle serves the Memorial Baptist Church in Parkston, SD.  He is a friend of the Family Heritage Alliance and a Patriot Pastor.  Today he drove over 3 hours just to come to the Capitol, lead the Senate in their opening prayer and spend time with his Legislators and more.  He totally lives the words of the late, great Chuck Colson who, when speaking to Pastors said and I quote, “As leaders in the local church it is our responsibility to bring a moral dimension to public life.”  Pastor Boyle SHOWS UP at FHA events and is already registered to attend our SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22.  Pastors and Ministry leaders why not come join Pastor Boyle and I here at the Capitol on Feb. 22 🙂

It was great spending time with FHA Board Chair Roger Gallimore at the Capitol today.  Roger, also serves as the Director of Rapid City YMCA and was here representing the YMCA’s of South Dakota.

2016day10cLastly, and most importantly, House Bill 1107, which is now called GNDA – is the Government Non Discrimination Act and will soon be heard in the House State Affairs Committee.    In essence GNDA says that states should not be in the business of forcing individuals and entities to affirm same-sex marriage or other sexual conduct against their beliefs.  Pictured here, holding a copy of the Jacketed Bill, is the Bill’s Prime Sponsor Representative Scott Craig and myself.   Senator Brock Greenfield will sponsor HB1107 in the Senate.  So stay turned as we’ll need your help in the passage of HB1107.

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!