When giving to “mission” or “hunger” or “disaster,” sometimes it is not clear where your designated gift is going. Here is a list of the most common such benevolences and what they are for.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
For more than seven decades, LIRS has been a champion for migrants and refugees from around the globe. The organization’s legacy of courageous and compassionate service has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have sought safety and hope in America’s communities. Our history reflects American Lutherans’ deep immigrant roots and passionate commitment to welcoming newcomers.
For a detailed look at LIRS’s decades of service, we recommend Open Doors: The Story of Lutherans Resettling Refugees by Richard W. Solberg, published in 1992 by Concordia Publishing House.
ELCA World Hunger
This is a comprehensive and sustainable program that uses multiple strategies:
relief, development, education, and advocacy – to address the root causes of hunger and poverty. ELCA World Hunger responds to neighbors around the corner and around the world. (This is our special benevolence in the month of March.)
ELCA Global Mission
ELCA Global Mission’s overall goal is to increase the capacity of both the ELCA and its companions in other countries to participate in God’s reconciling mission through proclamation and service. On behalf of the ELCA, the Global Mission unit:
Conducts church-to-church relations with national Lutheran church bodies called “companion churches”;
Calls and prepares missionaries for service in response to requests from companion churches;
Supports evangelism and other ministries through program grants to companion Lutheran church bodies;
Provides scholarships for international post-graduate study to global church leaders;
Works to alleviate poverty and meets human needs by funding long-term sustainable development projects using ELCA World Hunger Appeal funds;
Responds to international disasters through and with international church organizations and relief agencies on the ground using ELCA Disaster Response funds;
Connects ELCA members in North America to the global church through relationships and events.
ELCA Disaster Response
ELCA Disaster Response helps to bring God’s comfort, healing and renewal to those affected by disasters, both here in the United States and around the world. And when the dust settles and the headlines change, we stay to provide ongoing assistance to those in need. People usually give gifts to this ministry based on a particular crisis, near or far. So any gift that relates to helping those suffering from a hurricane, flood, tornado, etc., would go to this ministry. We have articles in our newsletter as needs arise. People may respond directly to the ELCA or through our congregation.
Lutheran World Relief (LWR)
Much of our ELCA hunger and disaster money goes to the work of LWR that we do with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and partners around the world. Lutheran World Relief works to fight poverty and promote a more just and peaceful world by helping people help themselves. Your support provides the foundation for LWR’s work. With 100 local partners, LWR works to improve harvests, health and education in some 35 countries each year. LWR partners train local women and men to produce local foods, dig low-cost wells and protect and restore their local environments. Some partners are small village groups on the edge of the Sahara. Others are nationwide programs that may reach across the Andes.
Over the course of 60 years, LWR has learned a lot about walking with people who set out to better their lives and communities. We have learned that the future in health, agriculture and education often lies with the hearts and hands of women. We have learned that disaster can sometimes be prevented or withstood by effective development programs and that, when disasters do occur, LWR partners may be on the spot well before the world notices and still needed long after the crisis no longer commands front-page headlines.
In a survey on the eve of LWR’s 50th anniversary, a sample of U.S. Lutherans told LWR that they saw the agency as a reliable and efficient way to put their Christian faith into action. They said they trust LWR overseas to express their Christian love for neighbors and that its way of working through those neighbors instills confidence in the organization.
Throughout its history, LWR has worked on behalf of U.S. Lutherans.
Bread for the World
Two other ministries that our ELCA is part of as a larger network include Bread for the World, education and advocacy for the poor and hungry in our country and throughout the world, and the Jubilee Movement (see separate page) to cancel the debt of the world’s poorest countries.
Every other year Ascension participates in a mission trip to Peru with the theme “Listen, Learn, Love.” See separate page.