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November 17, 2016

ELCIC members, congregations sponsor over 500 refugees

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) members and congregations have come together to sponsor over 500 refugees!

For over a year, ELCIC members have been engaged in the ELCIC Reformation Challenge as one of the ways to mark the 2015-17 emphasis the church has been lifting up around the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The announcement that the goal to sponsor 500 refugees has been achieved was met with great excitement.

I am delighted we have met the first of our Reformation Challenge goals, said ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson.

Bishop Johnson noted that when the challenge was first adopted by the ELCIC's National Church Council the goals were considered to be 'stretch goals.' Council members thought we would be better off to try to reach more challenging goals and come short, than to set our goals too low and stop before we reached our full potential, said Bishop Johnson. To be just over one year into the challenge and to have reached the goal of sponsoring 500 refugees is inspiring. This truly is a sign of our church growing In Mission for Others. I'm humbled, joyful and proud of our church!

As Lutherans around the world prepare to commemorate the Reformation anniversary in 2017, the ELCIC is lifting up themes from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF): Liberated by God's Grace, Creation - Not for Sale, Human Beings - Not for Sale, Salvation - Not for Sale. The ELCIC Reformation Challenge draws from the themes and provides a way for ELCIC members and congregations to bring Reformation activities close to home and make it possible for congregations and synods of any size to participate.

Through the ELCIC Reformation Challenge, members and congregations are invited to help sponsor 500 refugees, support 500 scholarships for students in schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), plant 500,000 trees in Canada, Palestine and Ethiopia, and contribute $500,000 to the LWF Endowment Fund.

To date, ELCIC members have sponsored 504 refugees, provided 49 scholarships for ELCJHL schools, planted 44,981 trees and raised $125,931 for the LWF Endowment Fund.

ELCIC members and congregations are encouraged to consider how they might be able to get involved in the Reformation Challenge.

They are many creative and innovative ways to engage in one or more areas of the initiative. A Sunday School class in Winnipeg recently shared how they have connected with the goal to provide scholarships to students in ELCJHL schools. Over the past year, 20 children from the congregation have been involved in the challenge and are currently working towards raising funds for their second scholarship (http://www.elcic.ca/news.cfm?article=450).

Further information on the ELCIC Reformation Challenge is available online: elcic.ca/ReformationChallenge

ELCIC members are asked to share how they and their congregations are engaged in the challenge by completing the brief form which is also available at elcic.ca/ReformationChallenge.
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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 114,592 baptized members in 525 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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