Program Director for Middle East and North Africa Policy
Washington-based hybrid, DC Service and Justice
Job Type


About the ELCA 

The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with 3 million members in more than 8,700 worshipping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). With a vision to live in a world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ makes for all people and creation, the ELCA strives to be a welcoming, thriving, and connected church that introduces people to Jesus so they can discover community, justice, and love.

The Lutheran Center (national office) is located in Chicago, Illinois. A staff of 400, under the leadership of the Presiding Bishop, serve as administrators, advisors, conveners, partners, and resource people for the ELCA and its ministries. Staff lead the work of national, domestic, and global ministries and programs including Lutheran Disaster Response, ELCA World Hunger, Service & Justice, Christian Community and Leadership, and Innovation.  We are also home to five of our separately incorporated ministries: The Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA, Women of the ELCA, Lutheran Men in Mission, the ELCA Foundation and the ELCA Federal Credit Union.

About the Position


Through the Service and Justice unit, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Organization shall foster and facilitate this church’s engagement in service with and among communities and promote efforts to call and act for justice. Its work includes engaging in mission, service, and justice in accompaniment with churches and organizations in other countries (serving as the means through which churches in other countries engage in mission to this church and society); engaging with communities, coalitions and networks, congregations, and regional ELCA synods in service and justice work within the territorial jurisdiction of this church; and providing guidance to members of the denomination on matters of social justice. 

Witness in Society (WiS) encompasses some of the work and ministry the ELCA does in the public sphere, advancing justice and shining a light on peace and dignity. Our advocacy activity is coordinated from the ELCA’s federal hub in Washington, D.C. alongside the Lutheran Office for World Community at the United Nations in New York City; Lutheran state public policy offices (SPPOs) in California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (as well as more than 15 additional affiliated state partners serving even more states; and through the ELCA Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. 


This is a full-time, regular, exempt, D.C.-based hybrid position. This position has responsibilities that will require- being in the office on a weekly basis. This could mean 2-3 days most weeks and possibly more days when meetings and other events are happening that this position supports. 

Candidates for this position must reside within the fifty United States or the District of Columbia and be authorized to work lawfully in the United States. In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire.


  1. Leads effective strategic advocacy on Middle East and North Africa political developments, issues and United States policy on behalf of the ELCA to the Federal government, both the Administration and the US Congress. These issue areas include, but are not limited to humanitarian assistance (with particular attention to processes that may affect funding to the health sector in Palestine); human dignity and rights for all people in the Holy Land and broader region; an end to Israeli settlement building and the occupation of Palestinian land; U.S. military aid in the region; and promotion of a negotiated, final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, including a “shared Jerusalem.” 
  2. Works in cooperation with the Director for Middle East and North Africa at the ELCA MENA Desk and the Witness in Society (WiS) team to establish strategic annual priorities for Middle East and North Africa policy advocacy based on the social teaching of the church. Brings to these colleagues attention political developments which may suggest modifications in ELCA policy. 
  3. Cultivates and maintains productive relationships with various congressional offices; Federal government agencies, especially the State Department and the White House; the United Nations and other relevant governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies and offices to advance policy priorities and strategy. 
  4. In support of (1), (2), & (3) above, establishes, grows, and maintains substantial knowledge of ELCA social teaching; the policy commitments of the ELCA; and the contributions of the Christian tradition to public life. Cultivates an informed appreciation for the value of ecumenical and inter-faith coalitions in shared commitments for social change.
  5. Works in partnership with and serves as an active team member within the Witness in Society (WiS) team; the broader Service and Justice home area, and the entire churchwide offices of the ELCA. Contributes to the development of coherent policy and advocacy engagement strategy across the Witness in Society team; actively supports colleagues’ success; and promotes effective and sustainable team culture and work processes. Actively collaborates with international partners (including the Lutheran World Federation, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the World Council of Churches) on the issues named in (1) & (2).
  6. Relates to and represents the policy positions of the ELCA to, and where appropriate partners with ecumenical, interfaith and secular coalitions that work on the issues named above in (1) & (2), including Churches for Middle East Peace and the Faith Forum, to create policy outcomes consistent with ELCA social teaching and policy positions.
  7. Works actively to maintain relationships between the churches’ public-policy advocacy offices and ELCA grassroots networks including the Peace Not Walls (PNW) advocacy network. Actively promotes the voices and experiences of ELCA members, communities, ministries, and global companions to government officials and public figures; engages ELCA members and leaders in advocacy work (such as through facilitating constituent engagement with members of Congress), both to support effective governmental advocacy and to promote the practice of advocacy as Christian discipleship.
  8. Designs and produces issue-focused resources, including action alerts, policy briefings and issue papers for networks, synods, congregations, and everyday ELCA members. Supports and informs ELCA leaders and members about key issues and opportunities for action, including through the Bishop’s Middle East Ready Bench. Serves as a resource to the Office of the Presiding Bishop. Provides timely and regular policy updates to all relevant stakeholders.
  9. Presents at ELCA, interfaith and other venues about Middle East policy priorities, partnerships and advocacy to deepen Lutherans’ understandings of advocacy as a faith practice.
  10. Supports the work of the Service and Justice home area of the ELCA and the churchwide organization by meeting deadlines, supporting procedures required for effective and efficient operations, timely response to stakeholders, and maintaining good working relations with churchwide, ELCA members, and other co-workers. 
  11. Performs other duties as required or assigned.
  1. Minimum of B.A. (political science, public policy or related degree preferred) supplemented by substantial of direct experience in Middle East policy, government and/or the federal policy making process, , such as work as legislative staff, or in public policy, advocacy, government relations or related area (5 years+ preferred). Work as a congressional staffer and direct personal experience of the situation on the ground in the Israel-Palestine area highly preferred.
  2. Extensive knowledge of the Federal government and its legislative, regulatory and budget processes; capacity for and experience with political judgment, critical thinking, and strategic decision-making.
  3. Knowledge of grassroots advocacy techniques and promotion.
  4. Values alignment with the social teaching and theology of the ELCA. Informed appreciation of the contributions of the Christian tradition to public life and the role of faith-based, ecumenical and inter-faith coalitions in shared commitments for social change. Commitment to building and maintaining substantial knowledge of the social teaching and policy commitments of the ELCA. 
  5. A high standard of professional effectiveness including organization, efficiency, and follow through; flexibility, skill in time management, and the ability to prioritize effectively between competing priorities; initiative, ownership, and the ability to lead in a demanding environment.
  6. Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to relate well to and communicate effectively with politically and demographically diverse groups of people; excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to address audiences of various sizes for motivation and coordination around common goals.
  7. Experience using Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Teams, Outlook, etc.).
  8. Appreciation for the mission, vision and values of the ELCA.
  9. Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.

Physical Effort:  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear, and use hands and fingers to operate a computer and telephone. This position requires sitting for long periods of time. Reasonable accommodation can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Travel Frequency: Some travel; Up to 10% - approximately 5 weeks. Position requires some overnight domestic and international travel by plane.

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience. Minimum: $66,206.40


The ELCA offers a competitive benefits package for eligible employees, including employer paid health premiums for employees, health and dependent care FSA’s, a health savings account (HSA) with an employer contribution, life insurance, and a substantial employer contribution to 403b retirement plan (no match required). We also offer a generous paid time-off policy including 16 paid holidays. All benefits commence on your start date..