By Tom Holmes
I was sent the emessage pasted below called Global Links and thought it was a good example of what one denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is doing to promote and nurture moral substance in its members in terms of social justice. All other mainline or "liberal" congregations I know of have similar programs.
New Orleans: 100 Wells Challenge at ELCA Youth Gathering in July
Just $2500 could build a well that provides clean water for up to 500 families. The 100 Wells Challenge allows youth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) across the country to make a difference by raising $250,000 to build 100 wells or support water projects where they are needed most. See www.elca.org/ELCA/Youth-Gathering/Planning-for-the-Gathering/Gathering-Offerings/100-Wells.aspx.
Observe World Malaria Day on April 29
The ELCA has committed to raise $15 million to join hands with 11 African companion churches in the global effort to prevent, treat and contain malaria by 2015. World Malaria Day is Wednesday, April 25, so consider observing it in your congregation on Sunday, April 29, with a special offering. Order offering envelopes, brochures and more by visiting www.elca.org/resources and click the ELCA Malaria Campaign tab on the left.
South Sudan: Coordinating a response in the midst of disaster
Michael Mading reported back to work at the office of The Lutheran World Federation in Juba on Jan. 4 after spending Christmas with his family. A wave of cattle raids in Jonglei State had left hundreds of people dead and thousands more homeless. The Lutheran World Federation’s response to those affected by the violence is in full swing. See http://blogs.elca.org/disasterresponse/intl-region-africa/south-sudan/south-sudan-coordinating-a-response-in-the-midst-of-disaster-27.
ELCA, Israeli government representatives meet
Representatives of the ELCA and Israeli officials met in Chicago Feb. 29 to discuss the "Arab Spring" developments, especially concerns for minority religious groups in the Middle East such as Lutheran Christians. Read more at www.elca.org/news (click on News Releases in the left-hand column).
Malaysia: New Lutheran study center opens
Sabah Theological Seminary in Malaysia opened the Lutheran Study Centre on March 9. Established at the initiative of the five Lutheran churches in Malaysia and Singapore, this center will enhance Lutheran identity within these churches and across southeast Asia, leading to enhanced evangelism efforts throughout the region. The ELCA is supporting this effort, and will place a missionary professor there this fall. Learn more at www.elca.org/malaysia.
Asia: Growing leaders to love the land
Looking for specialty coffee? Try some fair trade organic coffee from an Indonesian cooperative organized by the first female superintendent (bishop) in the Protestant Christian Batak Church. A self-confessed "city girl," she learned her agricultural skills at the Asian Rural Institute in Japan. Read more at www.thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=10550.
Wells, Bible camps, and sister parishes
Learn about these and other components of companion synod relationships through the online profiles updated recently by the New Jersey, Northwest Washington, and Southern Ohio Synods of the ELCA. See www.elca.org/companionsynodprofiles.
Immediate need for medical personnel in Cameroon
Short-term, volunteer medical personnel, especially a general surgeon, are requested for the Ngaoundere Protestant Hospital in Cameroon. For more information, see www.elca.org/globalserve/search and enter keyword Cameroon.
Two new hunger toolkits for your congregation
Looking for educational material, activities and games to teach about hunger and related issues like climate change, disease and food? Check out two brand-new toolkits: “Gender and Hunger Connections” and “Water and Hunger Connections.” See hunger education toolkits.
Malaria grants given – and still available!
Three ELCA colleges and two ELCA campus ministries have received grants to be used as seed money for ELCA Malaria Campaign educational activities and related fundraising among their students. Funding is still available until the new deadline of May 1, 2012. See http://blogs.elca.org/malaria/post/congratulations-to-our-grant-recipients-02.
"Suffering and Salvation in Ciudad Juárez"
Since 1993 more than 600 girls and women have been brutally slain in Ciudad Juárez in internationally condemned violence for which no one has been arrested. This new volume from Fortress Press offers a powerful reflection on this destructive violence and the yearning for release, justice and healing. See http://store.fortresspress.com/store/product/4824/Suffering-and-Salvation-in-Ciudad-Ju-rez.
Glocal Mission Gathering in Minneapolis, Minn., May 18–19
Equip yourself for God's work in today's global and local realities. Find more information and registration at www.elca.org/glocal.
Global Village Camp, June 30–July 3, 2012, Pine Lake Camp, Waupaca, Wis.
Join us for an international, inter-generational, multicultural gathering of God’s people of all ages. Fun for the whole family! Discover the meaning of “accompaniment” as a way of life in which we become more aware and attentive of all relationships. See www.elca.org/localevents.
International Ecumenical Seminar, July 4–11, 2012, Strasbourg, France
Under the spell of this enchanting Renaissance city, outstanding lectures and spirited discussion combine with the job of meeting Christians from different countries and confessions to ask the question: "What to Do about 2017? The Ecumenical Challenge of an Anniversary." See www.elca.org/ecumenical.
In our prayers
Pray that all people around the world have easy access to clean water. (This prayer for March 31 is available along with daily prayers from around the globe at www.elca.org/prayerventures.)
Global Links shares highlights from ELCA.org, LivingLutheran.com and other churchwide websites of ELCA ministry and connections in other countries.