I have been following the reporting on the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti. Like many, if not most of you, I have been praying for those who are caught in this terrible situation, as well as for those who are scrambling to bring aid and relief to the hundreds of thousands of survivors. And like many, I am proud of the reputation of Lutheran relief agencies in responding to this kind of disaster. We have "boots on the ground," through the Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran World Relief, and the companion synod relationships of the ELCA with the Lutheran Church in Haiti. I am also learning about countless other ways in which members of the ELCA have been involved in mission work in Haiti, and will continue to be involved far into the future.
Lutherans are generous people, not as a work of the law but as a response to the generosity God has shown to us in his Gospel. We have been given much, and we give much, especially when the need is so great. Already the ELCA News is reporting that over a million dollars has been given by Lutherans for the earthquake response in Haiti. And that is why I am going to make a suggestion, request, perhaps plea is the best word for it, now.
Send an offering to the ELCA Vision for Mission Fund.
Why? Because the main reason the ELCA International Disaster Relief Fund can dedicate such a high percentage of the offerings it receives to those who are most in need is because the ELCA Churchwide budget covers the cost of offices, lights, office machines, and staffing expenses. That is part of the mission work of this denomination. The Disaster Relief folks don't have to pay for that stuff, so their money can go to places like Haiti. (And the flood victims in Iowa, and the hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast, and the tornado victims in Oklahoma, and you name the places where the ELCA has been in the past 10 years.)
I am going to go out on a limb and say that right now it is not about the current church disagreement, as important as that is to me and I know to you. Right now it is about supporting the work of those who know how to help, first and best and immediately and long-term. And the ELCA is a vital member of that response and that work. If the Churchwide office is weakened, then our response is weakened.
If you disagree with me, I do understand. This isn't meant to guilt anyone into contributing to the ELCA Churchwide level. But think about it. Pray about it. And please give to help Haiti, whether it is to the ELCA Disaster Relief folks or to Lutheran World Relief or to the Lutheran World Federation.
But if you want to send a message to Chicago, then send a check, by mail, and include a note that because of the emergency in Haiti, you want the ELCA to be able to support the work of those responding in mercy to the least of these. Here's the address:
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Vision for Mission Fund
P. O. Box 71764
Chicago, IL 60694-1764
And tell them Lutheran CORE sent you.
Pastor Erma Wolf
Lutheran CORE steering committee (but acting on my own)
An ELCA pastor serving in the Great Plains, trying to find my way as a confessional Lutheran through the maze of issues roiling my denomination. I subscribe to the rule of the Society of the Holy Trinity. I struggle with how broad the church can be without losing any true sense of fidelity to the faith of the apostles which has been handed down to us.