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February 28, 2008

Teresita Valeriano Named LWF Regional Officer for North America

width=The Rev. Teresita Tita C. Valeriano was appointed regional officer for the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in North America, effective March 1. Valeriano, 42, Lutheran campus pastor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, since 2004, is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

I believe that we are in an exciting but also challenging time in our life together as a communion as we address poverty, war, human rights, theology and mission. I am looking forward to
serving the North American member churches (of the LWF) with joy, humility, creativity and audacity, Valeriano said.

I love to meet people from different cultures, and I try to maintain my international network of friends while building a community wherever I live, she said.

The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947, the LWF has 140 member churches in 78 countries representing 66.7 million of the more than 70 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF, based in Geneva, maintains its North America regional office at the ELCA churchwide office. The North America regional office serves all the member churches in the region, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

From 2000 to 2004 Valeriano served in Geneva as executive secretary for youth (18-30 years old) with the LWF Church and Society Desk.

Teresita has a background that makes her very well prepared for this position, said the Rev. Kjell Nordstokke, director, LWF Department for Mission and Development. This has given her a broad and solid knowledge of the Lutheran communion in its variety of contexts and traditions all around the world. As youth secretary one of her main tasks was the inclusion of young people in the life and the mission of the church. Her later experience as campus chaplain in California has certainly affirmed her capacity of opening space for youth and young adults in the church, he said.

Valeriano brings with her real gifts, including in-depth knowledge of the LWF through her years on staff in Geneva, and a solid commitment to life together within the North America Region, said the Rev. Paul Johnson, ELCIC's Assistant to the Bishop for Ecumenical Relations.

Born in Malabon, Philippines, Valeriano holds two bachelor's degrees -- a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of the East, Manila, Philippines (1985) and a bachelor's degree in church music from the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, Quezon, Philippines (1994).

Valeriano earned a master of divinity degree at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, Calif., one of eight ELCA seminaries. Ordained in 1998, she was pastor of First Lutheran Church, Tulare, Calif., before joining the LWF staff in Geneva. She has served in multicultural and international settings.

In her new role, Valeriano will serve as a member of the LWF Department for Mission and Development staff. She will be responsible for coordinating work among member churches in North America, facilitating LWF activities in the region, and sharing information among the ELCIC, the ELCA and the LWF.

Valeriano succeeds Kathy J. Magnus, who retired in December 2007 after serving as LWF North America Regional Officer since 2001.

Information about the LWF Regional Office for North America is at http://www.elca.org/lwf/.

- with files from ELCA News

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 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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