The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'There really is hope'

In this country and beyond the church toils to terminate hunger

Once a year, Owdenburg Mdegella visits the rural Lutheran church in the Iringa Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania , where he is bishop. On one visit, Mdegella and parishioners sat down after worship for their annual conversation about mission.

Mdegella asked them: “To what villages are you sending out evangelists? … How are you addressing the needs of those who go to bed hungry every night? … Are you accessing and drilling new wells? … Are you diversifying crops to better sustain the community? … Have you planted new trees to counteract the loss of trees used for heating food?”

Lisa Wenzlick leads members of St.
Lisa Wenzlick leads members of St. Luke Lutheran Church, Portland, Ore., and concerned community folks to take an active role against poverty and hunger.
Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop and president of the Lutheran World Federation, accompanied Mdegella on this visit. “As I travel around the world and the U.S., [I see that] confronting and ending hunger as a response of our Christian faith is part of a holistic understanding of ministry and mission,” he said. “The local people felt supported by Bishop Mdegella, but they also felt accountable to him, to each other and to the church beyond for interrelating hunger with such issues as the economy, health, education and environment.

“You could repeat that story all over the world. All of that flows from the community first centering its life in word and sacrament—the core of where we are nurtured and nourished for our faith,” Hanson said.

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