Being Stewards of Our 25th Anniversary and the ELCA Malaria Campaign … Together

Yes 2013 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Allegheny Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The Synod Assembly Committee is planning to use our annual synod gathering, June 6-8, as a time to observe this milestone in our life together.

It was more than a month ago that the chairperson of our Assembly Committee, Ms. Deanne Armagost, and I were discussing the upcoming assembly when she said (something to the effect), “I have been thinking about this anniversary and how we might incorporate it into the assembly.  I believe we should use the number 25 in some way as we observe our 25th anniversary.  We have spoken about doing something with the ELCA Malaria Campaign (one element of which is the purchase of $10 nets to protect persons at night from malaria carrying mosquitos).  Maybe we could get all of the synod congregations to contribute twenty-five hundred dollars?

My mind began calculating … $2,500 dollars divided by 118 congregations … why that is only $21-22 per congregation!  “What about $25,000?”, I countered.  Of course, I would like to propose $250,000, but we only have several months until the assembly.

What spurred this vision even more was my visit later on January 27 to St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mundy’s Corner for the ecumenical service.  They had just begun a campaign to raise $1,200 for 120 nets … and in two weeks had already received enough money for 74 ($740).  [See the article elsewhere in The Lutheran Letter highlighting their effort.]  But St. Paul’s is not the only congregation who has been collecting money for this ministry.  In fact, $25,095 has been received at the ELCA office as of January 31, 2013 from Allegheny Synod congregations.  Thank you for your gifts to this point!  But this ongoing ELCA campaign has a goal of fifteen million dollars and we are just a little over one-third toward that goal … so $25,000 it is!  Let’s double our synod effort by June 6-8!

What I am proposing is that Allegheny Synod congregations have an ingathering of gifts for the Malaria Campaign during Synod Assembly 2013.  There are a variety of ideas you might use to enlist and encourage participation of the people of your congregation in this ongoing emphasis.  See St. Paul’s, Mundy’s Corner plans here in this Letter.  Also visit  www.elca.org.  Go to the bottom of the page to “Resources”.  Select “ELCA Malaria Campaign” to discover other suggestions.

My vision would include each congregation bringing a check to the assembly toward that $25,000 goal for nets for the Malaria Campaign.  Of course, if your congregation has just completed a Malaria emphasis in the past several months and already sent a check to the ELCA, just place that figure on a piece of paper with your congregation’s name and make that note a part of the synod’s ingathering.  On the other hand, you may wish to do something in addition to your earlier undertaking – because I would love to double our synod effort to this point.

 Twenty-five years of ministry together as the Allegheny Synod is worthy of observance.  I would hope we would make it something more than just a time of remembering the past.  Discipleship in the name of Jesus calls for our focus to also be on the present.  Being stewards of all things in life, then, I believe we have yet another opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by joining with sisters and brothers in this synod and in sixty four other synods.  Twenty-five thousand dollars will purchase twenty-five hundred malaria nets which will protect twenty-five hundred different people; and we are making that happen on our twenty-fifth anniversary.  And if we go over $25,000 dollars … there is no better way to say thanks to the God who daily provides for the life and vitality of our Allegheny Synod congregations than to be generous givers!

Now don’t delay in discussing this opportunity in your congregations and be generous as you offer your gift.  We do not have much time, but we can accomplish the goal … together.  Thank you for being stewards of the challenge!

                                                                                                 +Bishop Gregory