At its Nov. 15-17 meeting in Chicago, the ELCA Church Council heard that giving to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal through September 2002 was nearly $1 million below the $16.5 million budget. Giving was $400,000 behind the previous year at this point.
"I am deeply dismayed," said Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson. "This church has great capacity, great wealth ... the resources are there. It's just the will that is lacking. I invite you, your congregations and your synods to join in supporting the [appeal]."
In an Oct. 18 letter to synod hunger advocates, Lita Brusick Johnson, the appeal's director, wrote: "Should the current $1 million shortfall not be overcome in the coming months, we will either have to cut year-end grants substantially or make very deep cuts in grants to our partners.
"It would compound tragedy upon tragedy for our [Lutheran World Federation] African partners to be called upon to intensify their work to avert starvation at the same time the ELCA cuts back its support."
The Church Council asked the ELCA to advocate for an urgent response to the drought and famine in Africa by the U.S. government, and to work toward reaching the appeal's goal of $25 million by 2005, which was set by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly. For ideas on how to give to the appeal, visit www.elca.org/hunger.
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