Tuesday, October 05, 2010

ELCA drops out of Lutheran Malaria Initiative; Lutheran World Relief and LCMS to continue joint effort to combat malaria

ELCA leaders announced Sept. 30 that the ELCA has ended its involvement in the Lutheran Malaria Initiative that had been approved by the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. They blamed budget shortfalls for the decision.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative was to be a shared effort by the ELCA, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Lutheran World Relief, and the United Nations Foundation, in a program that seeks to eliminate malaria in south-Saharan Africa by 2015. In 2009, the ELCA reported the fund-raising goal of the combined effort as $75 million.

The Rev. John Nunes, president of Lutheran World Relief, expressed disappointment in the ELCA’s withdrawal from the Lutheran Malaria Initiative Oct. 1 on LWR’s blog.

“Yesterday, our friends and colleagues at the ELCA announced their withdrawal from LMI. We’re disappointed by this news, and while we regret that ELCA will no longer be part of LMI, we affirm that they remain a valued and valuable partner of LWR,” Nunes wrote.

“While the ELCA leadership has decided not to make LMI a churchwide campaign, individual ELCA congregations continue to play an important role in the movement,” he added.

“LWR’s Board of Directors continues to affirm LMI as an important priority, and the LCMS voted overwhelmingly in favor of it at their convention this summer. Malaria is preventable and treatable, and Lutherans are doing something about it,” Nunes said.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative was approved in a 989-11 vote by the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. This July, the LCMS national Convention also voted 1,047-19 to be a part of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative.

According to an online report from The Lutheran magazine, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson announced the decision in a Sept. 30 e-mail to churchwide staff.

“In recent months, mission support [benevolence funds that congregations pass on to synods, a percentage of which synods share with the churchwide organization] to the ELCA and support of ELCA World Hunger have declined significantly, and many synods and congregations are also struggling to deal with hard financial realities,” Hanson wrote.

“In the light of this difficult economic situation, ELCA leadership has determined that a $30 million campaign around malaria, which was to be tested in the current biennium, is not feasible at this time. Therefore, the decision has been made to withdraw the ELCA’s grant proposal to the United Nations Foundation and to end the partnership that was entitled ‘Lutheran Malaria Initiative.’”

Instead of participating in the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, the ELCA will have its own malaria fund-raising effort.

“The new ELCA initiative, will carry forward much of the work that the ELCA had been doing under the rubric of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative,” Hanson wrote. “The ELCA Malaria Campaign, as it will now be known, will direct all of its funds to our companion churches in Africa (90 percent) and to our fund-raising efforts (10 percent).”

Many have wondered how the decision to withdraw from the Lutheran Malaria Initiative was made, given that the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, “the chief legislative authority of the ELCA,” approved the ELCA’s participation in the effort.

The ELCA News Service reported that Hanson would bring a proposal for the revised malaria effort to the ELCA Church Council.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative is also partnering with “Nothing But Nets” to bring Lutherans an exciting way to get involved in the fight against malaria!

“Nothing But Nets” is a global, grass-roots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Founding campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares effort, the United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated magazine.

You can learn more about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative and give online at www.lutheranmalaria.org or www.lwr.org.

1 comment:

Recovering Lutheran said...

Of course. Nothing is as important to the ELCA than its obsessive involvement in secular politics.

What do you think the ELCA cares more about? Children in Africa dying of a curable disease? Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Or preening for the TV cameras while denouncing opponents of immigration "reform" as racist?