Sharing hope with neighbors in need

Share the joy you’ve felt this Christmas with a gift to ELCA World Hunger. From Dec. 27 to Dec. 31, all gifts to ELCA World Hunger will be matched entirely – 100 percent – thanks to a group of generous ELCA members.

Recent statistics state that a record number of Americans, nearly one in two, have fallen into poverty or have earnings considered as “low income.” Your gift to ELCA World Hunger makes a difference. Gifts provide families with food, water, education and health care. Gifts also support people in almost 60 countries around the world, including the United States. Giving from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31 will help the church double its impact. All gifts, up to $100,000, will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

Donate online by visiting anytime before 12:00 a.m. (Central) on Dec. 31. Donations can be made over the phone at 800-638-3522 through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. (Central) to 5:00 p.m. Send a check made payable to “ELCA World Hunger” at P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, Ill. 60694-1764. Checks must be postmarked by Dec. 31 in order to be matched and tax deductible for 2011. Please write “matching challenge” in the memo line of your check.

Are you ready?

Meet a group of farm animals that are ready to change the world! Watch and learn how purchasing ELCA Good Gifts transform lives around the world.

A $50 gift can purchase a goat. Fresh milk from a goat can be used to make cheese, yogurt and other dairy products that sell at market, providing a steady source of income and nutritious food for a family.

A $175 gift can purchase an alpaca, giving a family in South America a long-lasting supply of fleece and income to help them escape poverty.

Together as the ELCA, we do more than we could ever do alone: grow our congregations, inspire new leaders and care for those around the world who live with hunger and poverty. ELCA Good Gifts are a creative way to do just that. Your gifts go beyond your regular congregational offering to support the ministries of the ELCA that mean the most to you and your loved ones.

So, are you ready to change the world? Let’s get started!

ELCA retired pastor still missing

James Schwartz, a retired ELCA pastor, has been missing since Oct. 19. He was last seen by his wife at their home in Village of Oak Creek (Sedona), Ariz. Schwartz’s son said that a neighbor saw James between the family’s home and the Kel Fox Trailhead that morning.

According to local news reports, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Forest Patrol Unit participated in search efforts with deputies deploying search dogs and Guardian Air initiating a helicopter flyover on Oct. 21.

Schwartz served as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Sedona, from 2001 to 2011.