The theme of the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, For the Healing of the World, compels us as faithful Christians to examine how we respond to the plight of our suffering neighbours. Poverty, hunger and injustice in the lives of the least of the human family, here in Canada and around the world, are wounds which we cannot ignore.
The Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) is a standing appeal of the ELCIC through which members are encouraged to respond with weekly stewardship to the needs of others both in Canada and in the world. Through GHDA, we are able to use what God has entrusted to us in the service of our most needy neighbours. Through support of GHDA, ELCIC members become partners for healing.
Partners for Healing… Through support of international development projects
The largest share of GHDA gifts is allocated to support the work of Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR). Funds received by CLWR are matched by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and are used to support projects implemented by Lutheran World Service and bilateral projects in such countries as Bolivia, Peru and India.
GHDA is grateful to CLWR for making funds available to projects identified by the ELCIC through the Partner Church Priority Project Fund. In 2003, local projects sponsored by our partner churches in El Salvador, Colombia and Jerusalem were recipients of support from this fund.
To enable supporters of GHDA and CLWR to be connected with the recipients of their gifts, a resource entitled Connect was launched in 2002. A joint effort by CLWR, GHDA and Lutheran Church–Canada, Connect appears in congregations three times yearly. Stories feature projects funded by your gifts and the people that have benefited from your generosity as a partner for healing.
GHDA is proud to be in partnership with CLWR and gratefully acknowledges the level of cooperation and support received from the agency in the past biennium. Please see the report of Canadian Lutheran World Relief Executive Director, Ruth Jensen at the end of this report.
Partners for Healing... Through advocacy and education
The Lutheran Office for Public Policy (LOPP) receives partial funding from GHDA (the balance is covered by regular offerings to the ELCIC). LOPP assists the ELCIC to respond to issues of public policy such as the international debt crisis, structural adjustment programs, child poverty, homelessness and human rights issues that adversely affect the poor.
As a small church with limited resources, the ELCIC witness to justice and peace is strengthened as we work with the other Canadian churches. KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives is an ecumenical partnership that brings together the work of the former coalitions such as the Inter-Church Committee for Refugees (ICCR), the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) and the Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice (ECEJ). KAIROS is dedicated to promoting human rights, justice and peace, viable human development and universal solidarity among the peoples of the earth. KAIROS is a decisive and faithful response to God’s call for respect for the Earth and justice for its people. The ELCIC support of the KAIROS work is funded by GHDA.
Synod GHDA committees receive annual grants equal to 9% of the synod’s GHDA gifts. These grants support local and congregational projects that address poverty. Projects supported have included food banks or pantries, out-of-the-cold emergency housing, community suppers, urban ministries to low-income people, preventive health care programs and literacy programs.
GHDA makes development education resources and action programs available to the ELCIC in cooperation with KAIROS. The materials for the 2004 campaign, Just Peace, Just Security, are available to be ordered by congregations from KAIROS by visiting http://www.kairoscanada.org.
In 2004, GHDA will host a synodical consultation in Winnipeg. The consultation will consider the re-mandating of GHDA scheduled for the National Convention in 2005, review the policies and criteria related to GHDA fund allocation and brainstorm some ideas for future themes. Participating in the consultation will be synodical GHDA representatives, CLWR communications staff, KAIROS representatives and the national GHDA staff.
ELCIC members are partners for healing whenever they respond to a special appeal for assistance in disaster situations. In 2003, GHDA issued a special appeal to assist victims of the earthquake in Bam, Iran. Any gift designated to a special appeal is forwarded in its entirety to help people in the affected area.
The GHDA staff team struggles with a dilemma related to special appeals. How can ELCIC members be encouraged to respond to an international disaster without undermining the undesignated giving that supports ongoing programming? How do we not disappoint those who rely on our ongoing support as we attempt to assist those who are thrown into sudden distress? GHDA encourages ELCIC members to adopt a 'second mile giving' approach to special appeals.
In 2003, GHDA realized a 1% increase of giving over the 2002 receipts. This trend is encouraging because it means that GHDA is more able to fund those programs that support our neighbours who most need help. Each time that there is an increase in undesignated giving, commitments that have been made can be met and new initiatives can be considered.
To that end, a challenge has been issued to each synod to increase their GHDA giving by 4% in 2004 over 2003 levels. This additional 4% would allow GHDA to increase support of synodical GHDA initiatives and to increase the allocation to CLWR. Please prayerfully consider weekly support to GHDA so that the programs that help to provide healing in the lives of our neighbours can thrive.
In supporting GHDA, ELCIC members are partners for healing. With each gift they exercise discipleship across the street and around the world. Thank you for your generous support of GHDA. You are making a difference for thousands of people.
In partnership with you,
"We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us." - Archbishop Oscar Romero
A small project supported by Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) in Chitechi, Mozambique, last fall enabled the community to dig its own well. Villagers dug the hole, poured the concrete well casing and formed a group to maintain their precious new water supply. CLWR and its partner, the Lutheran World Federation, helped with a construction expert, cement and the pump.
There are now 120 families in Chitechi who no longer have to spend long hours each day hauling water. People have safe water to drink and more time to spend on activities like education and food production, which will improve lives for generations to come.
It is awe-inspiring and energizing to remember that what we do today and plan for tomorrow are but a small fraction of an overall plan. CLWR is responsible to build wisely and well on the strong foundation laid 58 years ago by our Lutheran predecessors. Through God’s grace this work will continue and, like the well in Chitechi, improve lives for generations to come.
Following are some highlights from the past year:
- An awareness campaign supported by CLWR in eastern Zambia reached an estimated 71,000 people with its HIV/AIDS prevention message in 2003. Popular theatre, publications and advocacy are all used to spread awareness about the illness.
- CLWR shipped 34,207 kilos of blankets, quilts, medical supplies, soap and kits this past fiscal year. These commodities, valued at $318,000, were donated to CLWR by individuals as well as church and community groups. Two shipments were made to Liberia and one each to Tanzania and Angola.
- The number of community consignment sales for CLWR’s alternative trade program jumped 75 percent from the year before in the months leading up to the Christmas season. There were 70 sales from September to December 2003. This compares to 40 held during the same period the year before.
- Donations to CLWR remain stable and there are indications of a modest increase in giving in the fiscal year ending March 2004. CLWR is grateful for the faithful support it receives through the church’s Global Hunger and Development Appeal.
- During this past year, Lutheran churches and other community organizations helped sponsor 220 refugees to Canada through CLWR and the federal government’s Private Sponsorship Program. Most of the refugees sponsored are from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Again, thank you for your part in this ministry of the church. For more detailed information about the work of CLWR, please consult the organization’s website at http://www.clwr.org.
Ruth E. Jensen, D.D., Executive Director