Meeting April 11-13 in Chicago, the ELCA Church Council affirmed the church’s work on a proposed pan-Lutheran initiative on malaria. The Lutheran Malaria Initiative—a $75 million five-year fundraising effort—would involve the ELCA, Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
The goal is to mobilize 8 million Lutherans to combat the spread of the disease. The Lutheran work would be part of a larger effort in which partners include the U.N. Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Methodist Church.
The council approved the receipt of funds sent through LWR from the U.N. Foundation to be used for “the purposes of preparation for a potential Lutheran malaria initiative education and fundraising campaign.” The council said the initiative would include an emphasis on HIV/AIDS to be integrated with the ELCA churchwide’s existing strategy on the issue.
The initiative must next be approved by the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
In other action, the council:
• Adopted a resolution seeking God’s forgiveness “for our complicity in perpetuating individual, cultural and institutional racism,” reaffirmed the ELCA’s commitment to become an antiracist institution and asked churchwide staff to work with the Office of the Presiding Bishop to develop discussion materials ELCA members can use in conversations about race and racism.
• Appointed a “communal discernment task force” to help the ELCA “engage emotional and divisive issues, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and make difficult decisions as a church body.”
• Shared affirmations and concerns about the draft social statement on human sexuality.
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