Rev. Dr Karin Achtelstetter, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) executive director, addressed convention delegates on Friday afternoon, sharing an update on CLWR’s ongoing work throughout the COVID pandemic and the recent war in Europe.
Achtelstetter began with a heartfelt thank-you and message of support to National Bishop Susan Johnson, the ELCIC and its continued partnership through the difficult past number of months.
“We are so grateful for the ELCIC, and for the privilege of partnering in mission with you,” Achetlstetter said. “Your faith has been a light for so many, including us, in these last years, and we at CLWR are proud to be your partners. As you make decisions this week that will shape your ministry in years to come, we are praying that you would be filled with wisdom, faith and courage.”
Touching on the war-torn nation of Ukraine, poverty in Palestine, food insecurity and famine in Burundi and weather disasters in Ethiopia and El Salvador, Achtelstetter shared stories of resilience and creativity, as well as that of greening – connecting to the convention theme: Let There be Greening.
“We’ve seen the world come together in some inspiring ways, and we’ve seen a world feel incredibly divided and fragmented—including within our own country,” she said. “But I’m here today, in part, to offer thanks, because of your steadfast support over these last years.
Through all the challenges of COVID-19, the support of the ELCIC for our work has only grown. This is an incredible testimony to your faith and your commitment to justice and compassion.”
2021 marked an historic year for the long-serving organization. It was supposed to be a year of celebration, that of a 75-year anniversary of operation.
“As COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have occupied headlines, meanwhile, after years of progress, we’ve seen global hunger spike to record levels, with millions facing the very real threat of famine,” Achtelstetter added. “When COVID-19 began its spread, we were planning for CLWR’s 75th anniversary. There was great uncertainty about what the pandemic would mean for our work, but you quickly showed us that whatever happened, you would not forget those we serve around the world. Faced with a world in crisis, you responded. Just like Lutherans in Canada did 76 years ago.”
Achtelstetter elaborated that the funds donated through the ELCIC and its membership have since gone towards technical and vocational training programs, innovative crop insurance, short-term emergency relief, medical supplies, warzone shelters and countless other initiatives.
“It’s because of that generosity that I am now able to offer a report of hope to tell you that your partnership has truly made a difference. Because of your kindness, there are so many good news stories happening in our world,” she said.
“There is much that’s uncertain about the years ahead, but the last couple of years have convinced me that whatever is to come, there will be stories of greening, and that this movement of the people of God will be there.”