With Africa: A Campaign of Hope"
Some of you know
that last summer (while I was on my honeymoon!) I was elected at the Synod
Assembly in May to serve on the Synod council for our Southwest California
Synod. While the idea of spending a whole Saturday in a meeting every
three months doesn't thrill me, I have learned so much in the past nine
months about our Synod's role in the larger church.
One of the suggestions
that was presented to the Synod Council and approved was that we make "Stand
With Africa" an emphasis in our congregations during the season of Lent.
You have heard a lot about this three-year campaign to support African
churches from our Stewardship Board (Flo Arnold, Trudy Wadman and Roberta
Ritch). You have been asked to help these churches and communities
they serve as they battle AIDS, eliminate hunger and create peace.
Together with Lutheran World Relief, the ELCA World Hunger Program and
LCMS World relief, we are doing our part in this "Campaign of Hope."
Why is this important
now, you may be wondering, with all the other threatening situations going
on around the world? I asked myself that several times in the past
few weeks. As I write this article the United States is on the verge
of war and by the time this is published the United States may be at war.
But did you know that last year AIDS claimed 5,500 African lives EVERY
DAY?! And that orphans of parents with AIDS make up 94% of the
AIDS orphans worldwide! This is a very real and serious problem in a part
of the world where resources and help are very limited.
One of the criticisms
I have heard of the people of the United States is that we have often absented
ourselves from the realities of war and poverty, disease and abuse because
so many of us live in very good circumstances. But since September
11, 2001, we have learned that we are not invincible to the forces of evil
in our world. Now some time has passed since the World Trade Center
was leveled and most of us have settled back into our very good lives.
"Stand With Africa" raises our awareness level with some very tangible
ways in which we can assist our African brothers and sisters in an area
of the world that desperately needs our help.
I hesitated to
write this kind of article because I don't want it to sound like a marketing
campaign, a guilt-trip or a play on our emotions. Many of us will
never go to Africa in our lifetimes and experience first-hand the poverty
and disease. I have never been and have no plans to go. But
all of us have the ability to share our wealth with our African brothers
and sisters and make a difference in the lives of God's creation.
I am encouraging you and your family to pray about this campaign.
I am encouraging you to consider how much support you are willing to give
(all of us are more than able). I am encouraging you not because
this campaign is any better than any other assistance organized by any
other church. I am encouraging you to get involved with this campaign
to raise our awareness level beyond our own community, our own state, and
our own country.
For more information
and resources, look in the Sunday bulletins, chat with the Stewardship
Board members and visit
May God bless
your Lenten journey by turning your eyes to the cross and filling your
hearts with wisdom.