From the bishop’s desk: Fortunate combination
I would like you to look forward to April 27. I know it isn’t even Ash Wednesday yet. I know we still need to make our Lenten pilgrimage, journey with the Lord through Holy Week and celebrate Easter. But just for a minute look toward a very fortunate combination of events.
The whole ELCA will observe World Malaria Sunday on April 27. There will be an out-pouring of prayer and of offerings all over the country as we lift up the ELCA Malaria Campaign. I hope you have already participated in this campaign, which is providing financial resources for our partner churches in Sub-Saharan Africa in their own efforts to treat and eradicate this disease. Our synod goal remains to have every congregation’s participation in this ministry of human development and of grace.
And then, too, on April 27 our synod’s Creation Care Team will be calling on all of us to celebrate Creation Care Sunday. The emphasis here will be on practical ways that we can care for the creation that sustains us. There will be the call for us to take action as congregations, as families and as individuals. We want our whole synod to have a chance to pray about God’s world and about what we do to help nurture and protect it.
It is a blessing that these two occasions fall on the same Sunday this year. Together they point to an alarming development. A major reason that malaria is such a problem now is that global climate change is allowing the disease to spread. In our Companion Synods in El Salvador and in Namibia, malaria mosquitos have extended their range as the countryside has gotten warmer. In fact, Namibia was recently added to the list of countries receiving ELCA Malaria Campaign aid because malaria is an increasing concern there.
April 27 will be here soon. Consider information about World Malaria Sunday and about Creation Care Sunday, and begin to think about the ways you can connect personal care for creation with the health and happiness of others all over the world.
The Rev. Richard H. Graham
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
* The original version of this message was distributed to rostered leaders of the synod on 2/26/14