Global Justice Issues as Daily Bread; North American Region Deliberates LWF Eleventh Assembly Focus

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) North America Pre-Assembly Consultation (NAPAC) kicked off on January 29 in Kitchener, Ontario, with speakers calling Lutherans to mutual responsibility and accountability for indigenous people’s rights, climate, food and economic justice, as well as to a critical and honest discernment of LWF’s mission to the world.

"What justice does God require of us now as North American Christians in this place and time?" was the question Jennifer Henry from the Canadian ecumenical justice network KAIROS asked the 50 participants attending the January 29-31 NAPAC at St Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kitchener. The pre-assembly gathering, hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), will prepare delegates for the LWF Eleventh Assembly to be held in Stuttgart, Germany, July 20-27 this year.

During the first day of the NAPAC , Henry, taking into account the Assembly theme "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread" suggested three issues – Indigenous rights, corporate accountability and climate justice – which are consistent with ecumenical discernment on global justice in the country.

Looking at the situation of indigenous people in North America, Henry pointed out "that suicide is now among the leading causes of death among First Nations youth in Canada between the ages of ten and 24," and was five to six times the rate of non-Aboriginal youth. "Applying a holistic mission, we know that access to services is only part of the solution. In the ecumenical community, we have focused on addressing land rights and self determination so that Aboriginal communities can protect and meaningfully benefit from their land and resources," she said.

An Act of Hope

"In a great act of hope, Aboriginal people in Canada linked with other indigenous people around the globe and won the UN’s adoption in 2007, of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People," she continued. Both the Canadian and United States’ governments had voted against this declaration, which recognizes the distinct identities and cultures and rights to lands and natural resources that are critical to indigenous way of life. It also addresses their needs for protection against genocide and discrimination.

"As citizens of countries isolated in still standing against the UN declaration, it also seems important to name the implementation of this declaration as a crucial step forward in renewed relationship and restored global community," stressed Henry.

On corporate accountability, the KAIROS representative pointed out that "almost 60 percent of the world’s exploration and mining companies are listed in Canada," and have interests in almost 100 countries. "It is increasingly the case that in the developing world, the face of Canada, is not peacekeepers or aid, but extractive industry," she observed.

"What is our responsibility to ensure that our companies do no harm?" Henry asked. She underlined the need for binding legislation that would hold Canadian companies accountable for action committed abroad. "It seems important to North American integrity to ask in a global forum like the [LWF] Assembly, ‘Can we do more to ensure that the co-operations we export with multinational corporation are regulated within a global economic system that works for all?’"

Turning to climate change, Henry said the North American Assembly participants would need to listen to their sisters and brothers in the South, "who tell us that solely market-based responses that do not disturb our economic system are inadequate, in fact might even be destructive." She mentioned vast amounts of land diverted for agro-fuels, referring to partners in the South who describe themselves as "’victims of the actual impact of climate change and victims of the solutions to climate change.’"

Envisioning the LWF

"My vision for the LWF is that it turn outward to the world to discern God’s call to our shared life together. This will require high levels of trust, transparency in processes and decision-making, coherence between structure and program, and most profoundly a willingness to allow ourselves to be pressed uncomfortably for Jesus’ sake," said Rev. Dr Rebecca Larson, executive director for Church in Society in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

In her presentation, Larson said she hoped discussions around the upcoming LWF Eleventh Assembly would focus on the question, "To what is the world calling the LWF at this time?" She said her dream was that the LWF gathering in Stuttgart would imagine together its calling in this world. She however expressed her fear "that we will not be nearly imaginative, creative, daring, passionate and compassionate enough; that our preoccupations with structure or even differences between us, will impede our imagination for mission."

Respectful Communication Guidelines

Prof. Stacy Kitahata, who teaches intercultural studies at Trinity Lutheran College at Everett, USA, prepared North American delegates and participants at the Eleventh LWF Assembly by introducing "Respectful Communication Guidelines." The seven principles are reflected in the acronym R-E-S-P-E-C-T and are an invitation to respectful and meaningful communication in an international and multicultural conference, she explained.

Kitahata encouraged participants to "R: Take responsibility for what you recognize (use I statements); E: Empathetic listening; S: Be sensitive to differences in communication styles; P: Ponder what you feel and hear before you speak; E: Examine your own assumptions and perspectives / perceptions; C: Confidentiality. Share constructively to uphold the well-being of the community; T: Trust ambiguity because we are not here to debate who is right and wrong."

LWF Executive Committee member Rev. Dr Barbara Rossing led discussion on the biblical framework for the regional pre-assembly. Her Bible study focused on the Gospel of Luke, as "the Jesus of Luke is a Jesus who loves to eat."

Rossing, who teaches New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, USA, highlighted three points about the Gospel of Luke in relation to the LWF Assembly theme: "Meals open our eyes to recognize the kingdom of God." In Luke "food is a justice issue teaching us an economy of abundance and sustainability for all." And, thirdly, "food is boundary-crossing within the church. Jesus ate with Pharisees; he also ate with sinners and tax-collectors."

"What are the ways our LWF Assembly can model boundary-crossing within our communion?" she asked.

The NAPAC delegates are drawn from the three LWF member churches in the region – Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad, the ELCA and ELCIC – comprising around 4.9 million members.

Pre-assembly gatherings – five at regional and two at international level – precede the Assembly, the LWF’s highest decision-making body, meeting normally every six years. The July 2003 Assembly was held in Winnipeg, Canada. (1,092 words)

Follow news and other deliberations from the pre-assembly on the LWF Assembly Web site at: http://www.lwf-assembly.org and from the NAPAC blog at: http://lwf2010napac.wordpress.com

Photo highlights are available on the ELCIC Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/ydz222b

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The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world, with a total membership of 68.9 million. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

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Lutheran Youth Appreciate Participation but Yearn for Alternative Ways of Being Church; LWF Urged to Integrate Crucial Contribution of Minority Groups

The realities of how youth participate in church is changing but North American youth still want to be involved. They believe that dialogue and participating in the conversation is just one of the many gifts they bring to the church.
 
"The paradigms are changing," said Matt Guess, a youth delegate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), presenting the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) North America youth message to delegates and advisors at the region’s Pre-Assembly Consultation (NAPAC), talking place 29-31 January in Kitchener, Ontario.
 
Twelve individuals in a variety of roles participated in the youth and women’s meetings, held one day prior to the start of NAPAC. Guess shared highlights from the youth meeting on behalf of the young adult participants and encouraged the region’s delegates to consider the many gifts the young people bring to the table.
 
"The culture that we [youth] embody today allows us to be able to live out this communion in a new way," said Guess, who spoke about the intrinsic social justice component inherent in youth today.
 
Within hours of hearing of the recent tragedy in Haiti, Guess noted that youth were responding with their donations, "via text messages," to assist with relief efforts in the affected region.
 
New media enables youth to reach higher levels of connectivity and information. These gifts, which the youth bring to the church, lend themselves to finding new ways of being ecumenical, global, plural and post-modern.
 
"Our voice is valid and we have many gifts. I hope you will give us a place to grow," said Guess. "The church of today yearns for new forms of growth, which youth can offer. They come naturally to us."
 
As a result, new models of church are appearing. Guess spoke of "Beer and Theology-type events," which are becoming increasingly popular in emergent church initiatives across North America. Meeting groups that blend pop-culture and faith are attractive and non-threatening to individuals who may not otherwise have had an association to formalized religion.
 
Expressing appreciation for being included in the LWF and NAPAC activities, Guess referred to the LWF Assembly theme, "Give Us Today our Daily Bread."
 
"As I think about daily bread," he said, "I think about the table and it’s important to have family around the table."
 
Guess urged delegates to "not view the youth or any group as a token," indicating that minority groups should not be a figure or quota to be filled. "Our voice is valid and we have many gifts. I hope you will give us the place to grow."
 
Reflecting again on the Assembly’s gathering theme, Guess noted, "youth in the LWF have gifts and knowledge that God has given them to help the LWF determine what today’s daily bread is. Youth are the yeast, they are a necessary ingredient in activating the bread."(498 words)
 
Follow news and other deliberations from the pre-assembly on the LWF Assembly Web site at: http://www.lwf-assembly.org and from the NAPAC blog at: http://lwf2010napac.wordpress.com
 
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The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world, with a total membership of 68.9 million. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

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First LWF Relief Convoy Arrives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; DWS Focuses on Assistance for Internally Displaced Persons and Long-term Development Work

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for World Service (DWS) plans to scale up operations and strengthen logistics capacity in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic following the arrival of the first DWS convoy with urgently needed relief supplies on January 20 in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. DWS Program Coordinator Rudelmar Bueno de Faria underlined the need to expand LWF/DWS response in order to address quickly and effectively the needs of the stricken population.

Reports from DWS country program staff in Haiti indicate that Wednesday’s large aftershock of magnitude 6.1 had caused further destruction. Buildings that had already been damaged collapsed completely and more people have been injured. It is still unknown, however, whether the death toll has increased as aresult of the aftershock.

An ACT Alliance rapid support team has already arrived in the region and is providing assistance to partner organizations locally in assessing the extent of the damage and the support required. ACT Alliance is the world’s largest alliance of churches and related humanitarian and development agencies. The support team is led by Elsa Moreno, LWF/DWS staff member in Geneva from 2006 to mid-2009.

In an interview just before leaving Denmark for Haiti, Moreno told Lutheran World Information (LWI) that in the days to come the ACT Alliance would focus on delivering as much assistance as possible to the population in Port-au-Prince, as well as around the city and in other areas devastated by the earthquake. Some of the towns include those closest to the epicenter, Leogane and Petit Goave. According to the United Nations, 80 to 90 percent of buildings in Leogane, 19km west of Port-au-Prince, were destroyed. Petit Goave, to the west of Leogane, was also badly hit.

Moreno and DWS collaborators in Haiti said that many people had fled Port-au-Prince and returned to their places of origin, putting a great deal of pressure on local communities to host them.

"The ACT Alliance will continuously try to assess the number of people going to those areas which are away from response of other agencies. The main work will focus on water, shelter and care for children," Moreno stated.

Moreno told LWI that two important components now needed to be put together-emergency response and long-term development. "Our response is not only focused on the immediate needs, but also to help people recover in the long-term and start the process for development," said Moreno, a native of Colombia.

A key task of the DWS country program in Haiti now will be bringing relief to people who have lost everything. DWS would aim to engage and focus attention on internally displaced persons (IDPs) given the department’s expertise in camp management, indicated Bueno de Faria. International relief organizations currently estimate the number of IDPs to be as many as 600,000.

The program’s main operational areas before the earthquake were in the Macaya zone in Grande Anse and Forêt des Pins, Bueno de Faria noted. "Our target population has always been small-scale farmers, disaster-affected communities and migrants. The LWF will continue focusing on sustainable livelihoods and environment, and food security and advocacy. We are working to continue supporting these communities."

Meanwhile, the LWF/DWS office in Geneva has sent two collaborators to Haiti to reinforce its team there. Mr Bobby Waddell, consultant for resource mobilization, has been sent as LWF/DWS emergency senior advisor for three weeks; Ms Sophia Gebreyes, program officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, will go to Haiti for a week to assess the situation and identify models for optimal coordination between Geneva and Haiti.

For Waddell, a major challenge lies especially in dealing with the reality of logistics and coordination on the ground. Gebreyes wants to "contribute to the emergency response in the crisis phase as well as help plan the early and long term recovery phases with our frontline staff." Next week another, larger LWF/DWS convoy will be sent to Haiti with more relief supplies.

In collaboration with other members of the ACT Alliance, DWS plans to set up comprehensive, long-term psychosocial counseling structures for frontline staff as quickly as possible. These collaborators are under tremendous emotional stress and are stretched to their psychological limit, Bueno de Faria noted. It is therefore crucial, he said, to offer them respite and professional accompaniment in dealing with their experiences and trauma.

DWS Director Eberhard Hitzler said he was "overwhelmed" by the solidarity of Lutheran churches all around the world. "Their prayers and financial contribution are a great support for our work in Haiti," he noted.

The fact that World Service staff members in Sudan donated to the relief effort is "another fantastic symbol of this solidarity," Hitzler commented. "This is the LWF at its best."

Follow Communio in Action on the LWF Web site at: http://www.lutheranworld.org/Haiti_Quake.html

Further information about LWF/DWS Caribbean/Haiti is available at: http://www.lutheranworld.org/What_We_Do/DWS/Country_Programs/DWS-Caribbean-Haiti.html

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), through its partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), is appealing to its members for financial support for relief operations underway to assist the people of Haiti. Contributions to the Haiti appeal may be made in the following ways:

1. Online at www.clwr.org/donate. In the process of completing the form, you will come across a pull-down menu that allows you to designate a specific project. Choose Haiti Earthquake.
2. By calling CLWR’s toll-free number: 1.800.661.2597. If you do not need to use a toll-free line or are calling locally from the Winnipeg area, you can reach CLWR at 204.694.5602.
3. By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR to: CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6. Please indicate in your correspondence that you wish to contribute to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.
4. Through ELCIC congregations by giving an offering designated to the Haiti Earthquake appeal.

The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world, with a total membership of 68.9 million. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

—————————————————————–

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

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North American Lutherans Prepare for Regional LWF Pre-Assembly; Event Provides Opportunity for Contextualized Response to Local and Global Challenges

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) Eastern Synod will host the North American region’s preparatory meeting for the July 2010 Eleventh Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The assembly will take place in Stuttgart, Germany, under the theme "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread."

The North America Pre-Assembly Consultation (NAPAC) to be held from January 29 to 31 in Kitchener, Ontario, will bring together around 40 delegates, youth stewards and advisers from the three LWF member churches in the region as well as staff.

"The LWF Eleventh Assembly theme ‘Give Us Today Our Daily Bread,’ is an important opportunity for a contextualized reflection and envisioning of new ways to respond as members of a global communion to challenges such as world hunger, eradication of poverty and other related global issues amid the current financial crisis and high unemployment rate, while also responding to great calamities and disasters," says Rev. Teresita Valeriano, the LWF Regional Officer for North America. "It is also important to be prepared as a region to engage in other global communion matters such as the election of new leaders, ecumenical relations and diakonia."

Welcoming the NAPAC to Kitchener, ELCIC Eastern Synod Bishop Michael J. Pryse says the LWF event coincides with significant preparations in the church. "I am delighted that our synod has been granted the opportunity to host this important event in the life of the global Lutheran communion, particularly as we prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of our predecessor body, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Canada in 2011."

"I trust that the delegates to the pre-assembly gathering will experience many blessings during their time in our midst and be further strengthened and prepared for their important work at the Stuttgart Assembly later this year," he added.

The three LWF member churches in North America – Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and ELCIC – comprise an estimated 4.9 million members.

In preparation for the LWF Eleventh Assembly, the NAPAC will discuss issues related to the "Proposed Guidelines and Processes for Respectful Dialogue on Marriage, Family and Human Sexuality," presented to the 2007 LWF Council meeting in Lund, Sweden. It will also prepare a regional response on economic and climate justice titled "Witness to Hope Amidst Today’s Crises," focus on communication-related issues and study the LWF Report "From Winnipeg to Stuttgart," which gives an account of the organization’s work since the July 2003 Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada.

LWF President Bishop Mark S. Hanson, who is the ELCA presiding bishop, and LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko will address the NAPAC participants.

"’Give us today our daily bread’ connects us to all of humanity and to all of God’s creation," observed Hanson. "It causes us to ask, ‘Who are those who are hungry in our community?’ And, ‘Why is there still hunger in a world of such abundance?’"

Women and youth events will precede the NAPAC meeting.

Read more about the Pre-Assemblies under the "Journey" section of the LWF Assembly Web site at: www.lwf-assembly.org

The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world, with a total membership of 68.9 million. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

Haiti: Earthquake Wreaks Unimaginable Suffering and Devastation "So Far No Real Help Is in Sight"

"It looks like a war zone." This was how Eric Celiz, finance officer of the Caribbean/Haiti program of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for World Service (DWS) described the situation in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck on 12 January.
 
It is said to be the most powerful quake to hit the region in 200 years, causing unimaginable suffering in this Caribbean country which is already one of the poorest in the world.
 
"So far no real help is in sight," Celiz reported. He said streets were crowded with people fleeing their homes for fear of aftershocks that continued to rattle the earth, or whose homes have been destroyed. The magnitude of the catastrophe has left a shocked feeling of helplessness. People linger stunned before mounds of rubble with no genuine means of intervening. Others remain buried under the rubble and cry out for help, but the necessary equipment is lacking. "It is an enormous moral dilemma for everyone, including our staff," he said.
 
Ms Sylvia Raulo, director of the DWS Caribbean/Haiti program said between 60 and 80 percent of the buildings in the capital city have been destroyed or are uninhabitable. The Haitian Red Cross Society reports that as many as 50,000 people have died and up to 3 million are injured or homeless.
 
Raulo says the immediate priority is to assess the extent of damage and assistance required. One of the DWS program’s other major tasks will be to set up temporary shelters for people who have lost everything. For the moment it appears that no country program staff have been injured although one staff member has not been accounted for, she said.
 
Meanwhile, ACT Alliance, the largest global alliance of churches and related humanitarian and development agencies, has begun providing extensive emergency assistance. A first rapid support team in which the LWF is participating has already been dispatched to Haiti and will assist local organizations in assessing the damage and the help that is needed.
 
Speaking to Lutheran World Information (LWI), LWF/DWS director Rev. Eberhard Hitzler said the top priority was coordinating the collaborating members and their relief operations. "When such a disaster strikes, everyone wants to help. As good as that may be, we must avoid a situation in which a multitude of organizations work in an uncoordinated manner," he said. DWS was fortunate in that the Haiti program office was intact and most staff are well, he noted. Before the quake, DWS had been coordinating its activities within the ACT Alliance framework. As the LWF currently chairs the ACT Forum in Haiti, it is responsible for coordinating the massive relief assistance being offered by churches and related agencies to ensure that it reaches people quickly and effectively. "We can only thank God that we have such experienced people whom we can rely on," said Hitzler.
 
It is also important that efforts be coordinated locally with the Red Cross, United Nations agencies and other partners, emphasized the DWS director. "Unfortunately, we do not have the equipment to rescue trapped victims," noted Hitzler, "but we are able to participate in relief work such as water and food distribution."
 
Another short-term measure would be the setting up of temporary shelters for those who lost everything they had, including the roof over their heads. Hitzler pointed out  that DWS has broad international experience in this sector – assisting refugees and internally displaced persons – and collaborates closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
 
Hitzler also noted another crucial coordination problem in view of international aid. As DWS has extremely limited food and fuel reserves for its own staff that would last for only a short time, it has requested all relief volunteers to bring their own food, gear such as sleeping bags and sufficient cash with them to Haiti.
 
Further information about the LWF/DWS Caribbean/Haiti program is available at: http://www.lutheranworld.org/What_We_Do/DWS/Country_Programs/DWS-Caribbean-Haiti.html
 
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), through its partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), is appealing to its members for financial support for relief operations underway to assist the people of Haiti. Contributions to the Haiti appeal may be made in the following ways:((

   1. Online at www.clwr.org/donate. In the process of completing the form, you will come across a pull-down menu that allows you to designate a specific project. Choose Haiti Earthquake.((
   2. By calling CLWR’s toll-free number: 1.800.661.2597. If you do not need to use a toll-free line or are calling locally from the Winnipeg area, you can reach CLWR at 204.694.5602.((
   3. By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR to: CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6. Please indicate in your correspondence that you wish to contribute to(the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.((
   4. Through ELCIC congregations by giving an offering designated to the Haiti Earthquake appeal.

The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 79 countries all over the world, with a total membership of 68.9 million. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

(Files from Lutheran World Information – LWI)

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

Lutherans Respond to Haiti Devastation with Compassion

Within 24 hours of issuing an emergency appeal for funds to assist with humanitarian aid to assist the people of Haiti, supporters of Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), including the members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), have graciously donated close to $33,000.

Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti, was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12. Over 100,000 people are estimated to have perished and tens of thousands of people have lost their homes. The city is without electricity and the telephone network is down.

In a statement released yesterday, ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson asked members of the church to pray for all who are affected by the devastation and to assist with emergency efforts through their financial support of the CLWR appeal.

"I am grateful that the members of our church have responded with such compassion," says Bishop Johnson. "The need in the region is great and ongoing. I urge the members of our church to not only consider assisting with immediate relief efforts but also to consider how their financial contributions will assist with the long-term rebuilding efforts that will be so greatly needed following this tragedy."

This morning, the Canadian government announced that $50 million will be set aside to match donations made by individual Canadians to humanitarian agencies. The government has indicated that agencies may apply for matching funds but has not offered guarantees that all applications will be approved. To be eligible for matching funds, donations must be received by February 12, 2010.

The Government of Manitoba has allocated $100,000 to a matching fund program for members of the Manitoba Centre for International Cooperation (MCIC). CLWR is a member of MCIC.

CLWR is applying for matching funds to both the federal and Manitoba government programs.

Contributions to the Haiti appeal may be made in the following ways:

1. Online at www.clwr.org/donate. In the process of completing the form, you will come across a pull-down menu that allows you to designate a specific project. Choose Haiti Earthquake.

2. By calling CLWR’s toll-free number: 1.800.661.2597. If you do not need to use a toll-free line or are calling locally from the Winnipeg area, you can reach CLWR at 204.694.5602.

3. By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR to: CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6. Please indicate in your correspondence that you wish to contribute to
the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

4. Through ELCIC congregations by giving an offering designated to the Haiti Earthquake appeal.

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

ELCIC Responds to Haiti Disaster

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), through its partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), is appealing to its members for financial support for relief operations underway to assist the people of Haiti following an earthquake on Tuesday, January 12. CLWR is working in partnership with other members of Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance to address people’s basic needs in the affected region and support rehabilitation efforts.

Initial reports received from ACT indicate that the 7.0 magnitude quake has buried alive hundreds, maybe thousands, of people in Port au Prince, Haiti’s capital city. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes. The city is without electricity and the telephone network is down.

"As the terrible news of the situation in Haiti continues to unfold, I ask that you pray for all those in the affected region," says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. "And, I call on members of our church to assist through their financial support of the CLWR appeal to aid our brothers and sisters in the coming days."

Contributions for this emergency response can be made in the following ways:

1. Online at www.clwr.org/donate. In the process of completing the form, you will come across a pull-down menu that allows you to designate a specific project. Choose Haiti Earthquake.

2. By calling CLWR’s toll-free number: 1.800.661.2597. If you do not need to use a toll-free line or are calling locally from the Winnipeg area, you can reach CLWR at 204.694.5602.

3. By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR to CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6. Please indicate in your correspondence that you wish to contribute to
the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

CLWR will be forwarding immediately to ACT an initial contribution of $10,000 to support the first phase of the emergency operations.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

January E-Communique

The January issue of E-Communique is now available online.

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A ‘Full-Communion’ Christmas Greeting

Once again this year, National Bishop Susan C. Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, come together to offer a reflection on the Christmas season and greetings to all Canadian Lutherans and Anglicans.

In this year’s message, both church leaders reflect on Christmas in the context of recent trips to the Holy Land.

View the Christmas video greeting here: https://elcic.ca/From-the-Bishop/default.cfm

The two church leaders are in frequent communication with each other and strive to give life to the special relationship that has existed between Anglicans and Lutherans since the Waterloo Declaration on full communion was signed in 2001.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more

Canadian government cuts to ELCIC’s partner KAIROS will result in a devastating impact on human rights work overseas; ELCIC members urged to contact members of parliament and express support for KAIRO

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) learned today that the Canadian government has cut funding to KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives; a decision which will have a devastating impact on KAIROS’ overseas partners and the thousands of marginalized people in local communities they support.

KAIROS, a church based non-governmental organization that represents seven of Canada’s largest denominations including the ELCIC, works on a range of social justice issues, including human rights in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

An official from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) called KAIROS executive director Mary Corkery on Monday afternoon, November 30, to inform her that CIDA would no longer fund KAIROS. Corkery was told that KAIROS no longer fits CIDA priorities. No other explanation or information was provided.

KAIROS’ current contract with CIDA expired in September, but it had received an extension until November 30, the day it was informed of the cuts.

In a message to Bev Oda, Minister for International Cooperation, requesting an explanation, Corkery writes, “I know of no precedent for the Canadian International Development Agency ending a decades-long funding relationship with a major Canadian organization without notice in writing, with no reason and no transition plan”.

“We are disheartened that this longstanding relationship and decades of support by the Canadian government has been ended,” says Corkery. “KAIROS and the millions of Canadians we represent through our member churches and organizations do not understand why these cuts have been made.”

“KAIROS is one of our most effective partnerships,” says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. “By working ecumenically in the area of compassionate justice we have been able to maximize our ministry in this area. The denial of CIDA funding will be a huge loss in our collective ability to be In Mission for Others.”

Bishop Johnson urges members of the ELCIC to visit their members of parliament to express their support for KAIROS and to ask for a reversal of this decision. “I further ask that they write Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, and Margaret Biggs, President of CIDA, expressing their disappointment and the critical need for funding to be restored,” she says.

The CIDA-funded overseas program received matching financial support from KAIROS’ member churches, church related organizations and other donors. Since 1973, KAIROS, and the church coalitions from which it was formed eight years ago, had received funding from CIDA to support partners working in regions experiencing some of the world’s most egregious human rights violations.

KAIROS work is highly regarded in Canada and overseas. As the November 30 deadline approached, KAIROS member churches, its partners and other organizations had been writing Minister Oda to request that she approve the KAIROS contract which had been sitting on her desk since July awaiting her signature.

Further information on how to help is avialable at: https://www.elcic.ca/kairos/ (please copy and paste this url into your browser).

(with files from KAIROS)

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.

Read more