Recently we welcomed Rich Duncan as the Director of Mission Funding for the ELCA. We invited him to introduce himself on a guest blog post. Welcome Rich!
“Welcome to Chicago!” was the emphatic greeting I was welcomed with just a few weeks ago when I arrived from western North Carolina. As the new Director of Mission Funding for the ELCA, I was overwhelmed by people excited to share their passion for the ministries of our church. I have never been around a more committed and motivated team of people drawn together, united in their mission to make a difference in the world.
I wish every Lutheran could walk in my shoes at the churchwide offices for one week to see all the outreach both domestically and globally: to see the immediate and compassionate response to victims of tornadoes in the Midwest, to see the impact in the lives of volunteers that went to Africa, to see our work combating malaria and hunger in multiple countries, to hear the excitement and exuberance in the voice of a pastor of a new start congregation, to see pictures and hear the stories of a young adult in global mission sharing Christ’s story and serving others in urban and remote areas of the world, to write a letter to a seminarian congratulating them on being awarded full tuition scholarship….
If every Lutheran could see and experience the incredible scope of what their church does for others, these humble Lutherans would boldly shout from the rooftops, “THIS IS MY CHURCH!” with the same pride experienced as a parent for his or her child.
One amazing thing our church does is help feed the hungry, while also addressing socio-economic issues connected to hunger. So many of us are blessed with abundance (enough money to buy what we eat; enough variety of food to make healthy choices), so it is hard to imagine being hungry for days on end. It is hard for us to imagine how much it costs for others around the world to feed themselves. When I saw this photo essay on the ELCA Wellness Facebook page, it emphasized for me our blessings and abundance compared to others. So it is after viewing this that I ask you to share your abundance, share your faith, share your love for your church, remembering that the ELCA not only works to feed the hungry, but also works to end the systemic reasons why people go hungry.