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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 182,077 baptized members in 624 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.

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A NEWS RELEASE
From Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA)

LUTHERAN CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS ISSUE
MIDDLE EAST APPEAL

Winnipeg, May 24, 2002, (ELCIC) -- Canadian Lutheran church organizations are appealing for funds to help relieve the suffering of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Canadian Lutheran World Relief and the Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are urging ELCIC members to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis caused by the destruction of Palestinian communities.

"This is about alleviating human suffering-helping the poorest of the poor in the region," said Ruth Jensen, executive director of Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR).

Donations will go to support the humanitarian aid efforts of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in the West Bank and Gaza. The LWF department of World Service has deep roots in the region and is responding to the current crisis with medical and other humanitarian aid.

To date, LWF-Jerusalem has participated in four convoys delivering goods to Bethlehem, Tulkaram, Jenin and Nablus. LWF-Jerusalem is also responding to emergency requests, particularly as they relate to medical shortages. Dialysis supplies were sent to a hospital in Gaza, clinics on the West Bank and to hospitals in Nablus and Bethlehem.

"Much of this work is being implemented with the help of local church organizations and Palestinian Christians, many of who were themselves directly affected by the recent violence," said Ms. Jensen.

Augusta Victoria Hospital, located on the Mount of Olives and run by the LWF, is working with a group of East Jerusalem hospitals doing their best to provide medicine and supplies to hospitals in the West Bank. The LWF role has been to support them through material aid (blankets, quilts, school kits, health kits and layettes), much-needed medicine and medical supplies.

Augusta Victoria Hospital has also experienced a 129 percent increase in workload for its renal dialysis unit. Many patients are unable to access the dialysis service in their home communities because of the disruptions caused by the Israeli military incursion.

Donations will be used to treat and care for dialysis patients who cannot be treated elsewhere, to purchase medical supplies, medicine, food and other relief supplies and to provide basic health care in isolated communities.

Members of ELCIC congregations can make contributions to the Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada through their congregations. Contributions should be marked "Middle East Crisis."


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