The theme of the Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, For the Healing of the World, compels us as faithful Christians to examine how we respond to the plight of our suffering neighbours. Poverty, hunger and injustice in the lives of the least of the human family, here in Canada and around the world, are wounds which we cannot ignore.
The Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) is a standing appeal of the ELCIC through which members are encouraged to respond with weekly stewardship to the needs of others both in Canada and in the world. Through GHDA, we are able to use what God has entrusted to us in the service of our most needy neighbours. Through support of GHDA, ELCIC members become partners for healing.
Seventy-five percent of all undesignated GHDA giving is allocated to support international development projects. An annual grant of $50,000 to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) provides important infrastructure for international relief and response to disasters. Through the LWF Departments for World Service, and Mission and Development, projects that support and nurture the world’s most disadvantaged persons are implemented.
Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), our closest partner in international projects, receives the largest share of the GHDA funds allocated for international development. Funds received by CLWR are matched by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and are used to support projects implemented by Lutheran World Service and bilateral projects in such countries as Bolivia, Peru and India.
GHDA is grateful to CLWR for making funds available to projects that we identify through the Partner Church Priority Project Fund. In 2001 and 2002, local projects sponsored by our partner churches in Argentina, Peru, Papau New Guinea, El Salvador, Colombia and Palestine received support from this fund.
To enable supporters of GHDA and CLWR to be connected with the recipients of their gifts, a new resource entitled Connect was launched in 2002. A joint effort by CLWR, GHDA and Lutheran Church–Canada, Connect appears in congregations three times yearly. Stories feature projects funded by your gifts and the people that have benefited from your generosity as a partner for healing.
GHDA is proud to be in partnership with CLWR and gratefully acknowledges the high level of cooperation and support received from the agency in the past biennium. Please see the report of Canadian Lutheran World Relief Executive Director, Ruth Jensen at the end of this report.
The Lutheran Office for Public Policy (LOPP) receives partial funding from GHDA (the balance is covered by regular offerings to the ELCIC). LOPP assists the ELCIC to respond to issues of public policy such as the international debt crisis, structural adjustment programs, child poverty, homelessness and human rights issues that adversely affect the poor.
As a small church with limited resources, the ELCIC witness to justice and peace is strengthened as we work with the other Canadian churches. KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives is an ecumenical partnership that brings together the work of the former coalitions such as the Inter-Church Committee for Refugees (ICCR), the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) and the Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice (ECEJ). Supported in part by GHDA, KAIROS is dedicated to promoting human rights, justice and peace, viable human development and universal solidarity among the peoples of the earth. KAIROS is a decisive and faithful response to God’s call for respect for the Earth and justice for its people.
Synod GHDA committees receive annual grants equal to 9% of the synod’s GHDA gifts. These grants support local and congregational projects that address poverty. Projects supported have included food banks or pantries, out-of-the-cold emergency housing, community suppers, urban ministries to low-income people, preventive health care programs and literacy programs.
GHDA provides development education resources and action programs to the ELCIC in cooperation with KAIROS. In 2002, GHDA distributed resource materials for the Turning the Tables campaign. Turning the Tables examines the way in which the world’s wealthiest nations are indebted to the South, to Aboriginal peoples, to the Earth and to future generations. In 2003, watch for the resources related to Living Hope: Building Movements for Global Justice, the latest KAIROS education and action campaign.
ELCIC members are partners for healing whenever they respond to a special appeal for assistance in disaster situations. In 2002 and 2003, GHDA issued special appeals to help refugees in war torn Afghanistan, victims of famine in Ethiopia and Southern Africa and the victims of the war in Iraq. Any gift designated to a special appeal is forwarded in its entirety to help people in the affected area.
The GHDA staff team struggles with a dilemma related to special appeals. How do we encourage ELCIC members to respond to an international disaster without undermining the undesignated giving that supports ongoing programming? How do we not disappoint those who rely on our ongoing support as we attempt to assist those who are thrown into sudden distress? GHDA encourages ELCIC members to adopt a "second mile giving" approach to special appeals.
Both 2001 and 2002 saw decreases in undesignated GHDA offerings:
|Undesignated GHDA Offerings
|Special Appeal Offerings
This trend is particularly disturbing because it means that GHDA is less able to fund those programs that support our neighbours who most need our help. Each time that there is a reduction in undesignated giving, it means that commitments that have been made cannot be met. Those who rely on our assistance are disadvantaged once more. Please prayerfully consider your weekly support to GHDA so that the programs that help to provide healing in the lives of our neighbours are not jeopardized.
In supporting GHDA, ELCIC members are partners for healing. With each gift they exercise discipleship across the street and around the world. Thank you for your generous support of GHDA. You are making a difference for thousands of people.
In partnership with you,