Please pray for family and friends, and many Northern Illinois worshippers, who benefited from the craftsmanship of organ builder and technician, Don Diestelmeier of the Freeport Organ Company who died November 2.Read more
It’s on your calendar if you’re a church worker or a ministry chair, staring you down weeks ahead of schedule: “Write newsletter article.” Newsletters have long been the vehicle of … continue
Many have written about the ways in which social media can be a “bubble”: We only put part of our lives online, so we usually only see the best of people’s lives. The way the algorithms … continue
Mandy France joined Grace Lutheran Church in Dawson, Minn., as an intern about two months before the 2016 presidential election. She overheard people repeating and agreeing with negative … continue
Improving access to healthcare is one of the advocacy priorities of our Church. Lutheran ministries both here at home and abroad continue to provide health services—including child and maternal health, to those in need of it. Through its various programmatic interventions, the U.S. government has been instrumental in improving mother and child survival rates around the world.
Since 1990, mortality rates of mothers and children under the age of five have been cut by more than half. This is one of the greatest success stories in international development in the last 25 years. Progress has largely been achieved using simple solutions and proven, inexpensive interventions to address leading causes of death, including diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition, and complications during pregnancy and birth. Despite this remarkable progress, over 5 million children and 300,000 women die each year from preventable causes, 99 percent of which occur in developing countries.
As a people whose faith calls us to seek the well-being of our neighbor, we have an opportunity to encourage our government officials to enhance existing programs so that more mothers and children can survive.
A bipartisan group of senators and representatives recently introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act to help end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths globally. This bill would accelerate the reduction of preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths worldwide by enacting key reforms that increase the effectiveness and impact of our government’s existing maternal and child survival programs.
Please urge Congress to take necessary steps to prevent maternal and newborn deaths by supporting the Reach Every Mother and Child Act now! Visit the ELCA Advocacy Action Center now to contact your elected leaders.Read more
26th Annual Festival of Homiletics
Preaching and Politics
Registration for the 2018 Festival of Homiletics is now open! This year's theme is Preaching and Politics. It promises to be a nurturing, prophetic and renewing experience.
The Festival of Homiletics is a weeklong conference that brings together a wide variety of outstanding preachers and professors of homiletics to inspire a discourse about preaching, worship and culture. Preachers are invited to experience various styles and methods of preaching to renew their faith and refresh their spirits through engaging worship, lectures and workshops. Throughout the week, you will be inspired in your role of proclaiming the gospel.
Register by Feb. 16 for an early bird discount!
One participant from last year shares that the most valuable aspect was...
"The variety of high-quality and exceptional speakers. It was like a 'greatest hits' album, and I loved being able to sample and engage with so many different preachers. This may very well have been the best conference I have ever attended. Thank you!"Read more
In late October, a small delegation from the ELCA traveled to Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. They walked together in prayerful solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Caribbean Synod and the Lutheran Social Services of Virgin Islands. Here, Johanna Olson, Manager for Relationships for the Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa in the ELCA Global Mission Unit, shares a reflection of her time as part of the delegation.
From October 16th to the 25th, I traveled in a Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) delegation to meet w/ the Caribbean Synod, its pastors in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Island and met with congregation leaders and was fortunate to worship in congregations, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. We also met with Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands and with FEMA and other voluntary organizations active in disaster.
We were also hosted by the Caribbean Synod, in Puerto Rico and LSS of the US VI, in the Virgin Islands. Colleagues, who were also hit by the hurricanes, found us housing, picked us up and drove us to various meetings. They drove us through horrible traffic without traffic lights, because of downed electric poles and downed electricity. Staff also welcomed us into their homes, dear reader, without electricity or running on expensive generators to feed us and for us to just talk and eat good food and relax. For some of us, this was a time to re-connect with old colleagues, and for some of us, a time to meet colleagues we’ve been talking to over the phone for the last several weeks, hearing updates from the disaster and the church response. Receiving robust hospitality, in such a challenged setting, is a humbling gift from God.
This togetherness that we explored and lived with our island colleagues, in our conversations, meetings and car rides set in the destruction from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the United Virgin Islands has a name to it: accompaniment. In Global Mission, in ELCA synods and congregations across this country, with our companion churches throughout the world, we talk and endeavor to live this, this quality of walking together in a solidarity that practices interdependence and mutuality.
This is hard work. How does my nine-day visit afford interdependence and mutuality with our Puerto Rican and Virgin Island brothers and sisters? They don’t leave the disaster site. The electricity doesn’t suddenly turn on for them, the jobs they’ve lost suddenly do not return, the friends and family they have that have moved to the continental United States suddenly don’t re-appear. The life they once knew doesn’t immediately come back. It won’t come back. The things I am describing to you are mourning, this is compounded grief.
The ministry of Lutheran Disaster Response is about the long-term recovery, commitment to serve people impacted by the disaster years after the event. LDR is a wonderful ministry of accompaniment.
We stay in close communication, amid cell phone communication challenges, to promote awareness of things going on and the things that change, it seems, daily, and to support them in their steps into recovery, for their parishioners, their congregations and of course, the broader community. And we pray into new ways of being together, of listening to God direct our minds and actions.
I imagine if you’re reading this you’ve contributed funding to Lutheran Disaster Response. If you haven’t, please consider making a gift today. If you are interested in volunteering, the response is not set up yet to receive volunteers for rebuilding. Please be patient. LDR is here for the long-term, so come back to this site again for further information.
Johanna Olson served as Lutheran Disaster Response – U.S. staff from 1998 to 2005. She currently serves as Manager for Relationships for the Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa in the ELCA Global Mission Unit.
Be a part of the response:
Join us in prayer and partnership, and to help spread the word in your congregation. You can find additional resources for worship here.
We invite you to stand by all the communities impacted by the recent hurricanes. Your gifts to Hurricane Relief ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those affected by this disaster for years to come.
Additional Ways to Give
Checks or money orders can be sent to:
Lutheran Disaster Response
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield, VA 22116-8009
Write “Hurricane Response” on your check memo line.
Give by phone at 800-638-3522
To learn more and Stay connected to the latest events and our response to this and other disasters:
Be a part of the response:
Continue to pray for all those impacted by conflict and forced migration.
Thanks to generous, undesignated donations, Lutheran Disaster Response is able to respond quickly and effectively to disasters around the globe, including the Rohingya refugee crisis. Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response will be used where there is the greatest need.
To learn more about global migration and what Lutheran Disaster Response is doing: