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ELCA Members Remain Hopeful in Minot Flood Disaster

The buildings of some Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations in Minot, N.D., have been flooded, as have the homes of many members. Yet ELCA leaders and members remain resilient and express hope as they wait for record floodwaters to recede before they can assess the effects of the disaster.

The 2011 Minot flood exceeded the previous record flood on the Souris River by four feet. More than 4,000 homes are flooded, some reportedly with ten feet of water or more in them.

ELCA Disaster Response has committed to providing two staff positions to Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota to aid in the community’s recovery. ELCA Disaster Response previously provided emergency grants totaling $25,000 to Lutheran Social Services and to the ELCA Western North Dakota Synod, Bismarck.

Gifts to U.S. flooding can be contributed at www.ELCA.org/disaster (click on U.S. Floods), by phone at 800-638-3522, or mail at ELCA Disaster Response, 39330 Treasury Center, Chicago, IL 60694-9300. Please write “U.S. Floods” on your check’s memo line.

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ELCA Generosity Eases East Africa Drought Crisis; More Help Needed

A severe drought in East Africa – the worst in 60 years – has reached crisis levels, putting 10 million people at risk. Funds provided by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) late last year are already at work in the region, but a larger global commitment is needed to stave off a significant famine in the region.

Two years of sporadic rain, and the driest year since 1951, have resulted in severely reduced access to drinking water combined with significant crop and livestock losses. The result is skyrocketing food prices and food shortages. Thousands upon thousands are leaving their homes to meet basic needs for water and food and are heading to refugee centers. Some have traveled two months on foot to reach the centers.

The ELCA is working through its partners in the region to provide assistance. ELCA dollars are helping The Lutheran World Federation provide water and fill a gap in food distribution.

Gifts for the East Africa drought may be contributed at www.ELCA.org/disaster (click on Horn of Africa Drought), phone at 800-638-3522, or mail at ELCA Disaster Response, 39330 Treasury Center, Chicago, IL 60694-9300. Please write “Horn of Africa Drought” on your check’s memo line.

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ELCA, LCMS Continue Conversation About Cooperation in Shared Ministries

Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) continued their talks regarding shared ministries during a meeting May 25-26.

The top leaders of the two largest Lutheran church bodies met as the Committee on Lutheran Cooperation. Among the topics they discussed were relationships with inter-Lutheran agencies, updates on the church bodies and ecumenical relations. Also on the agenda were reorganization and restructuring issues, as both denominations are dealing with tight finances.

The committee began with a discussion of shared ministries, especially inter-Lutheran agencies such as Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Services in America, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. The leaders discussed the potential effect of a LCMS Convention resolution that called for shared ministries with the ELCA to continue with “theological integrity” and asked for a report.

Both the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, and Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, president of the LCMS, affirmed that the church bodies should, wherever possible, cooperate “on the ground” following disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti.

Harrison said that the LCMS “is not going to take a step that pulls us away from the inter-Lutheran agencies,” but said he anticipated that some provisions of current agreements will end.

“We will have to anticipate what that means for us,” said Hanson, in response to Harrison’s comments.

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