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New ELCA World Hunger Director!


Join us in welcoming Haemin Lee, the new director of ELCA World Hunger, who will lead the amazing team working with ELCA World Hunger’s domestic and international grants! Welcome, Haemin!

A Greeting from Haemin Lee

Hi, my name is Haemin Lee, and I’m super excited to serve alongside you as Director of World Hunger! I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. When I was little (probably around three), I came across a pictorial biography of the famous missionary Dr. Albert Schweitzer. His story somehow challenged me so much, and since then, I have always wanted to participate in God’s mission by sharing the love of Jesus Christ in both word and deed.

I completed my B.A. at Yonsei University, which was founded by Horace Underwood, an American Presbyterian missionary. During my college years, I had an opportunity to serve in England and Belgium through a global mission organization. Amid reaching out to Muslim neighbors with Christian friends from all over the world, I felt a strong call to serve God on a global scale. I came to the U.S. in 2002 with a dream to be better prepared to serve – without really knowing anyone in the U.S. and with my entire family back home in South Korea. It was a lonely journey at first, but by the grace of God I met some incredible friends along the way. I earned advanced degrees from Harvard (M.Div.) and Emory (Th.M; Ph.D) with a special focus on Christian Mission, Intercultural Studies and International Development. I was ordained in 2007 as a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) and have served in various ministry areas, including congregational ministry, hospital chaplaincy and homeless ministry. During this time, God gave me a deep desire to serve the most vulnerable people around the world. This desire ultimately led me to engage in international evangelism and development mission through World Relief, Food for the Hungry International Korea, Presbyterian Mission Agency and Frontier Fellowship. Through these ministries, I traveled to more than 100 different countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America and had the privilege of overseeing numerous mission partnership programs and teaching at Kumi University in Uganda.

I met my amazing wife Nicole in South Africa at a mission conference when she was serving in Tanzania. We got married in her home state of Florida back in 2014 and welcomed a baby daughter, Katie Hayoung (meaning Glory to God in Korea!) in 2019. I like traveling (backpacking adventures!), languages, hiking, playing music and most of all, making new friends while learning about different cultures.

I am very excited to make a collective impact for God’s Mission in our community and the world by collaborating with inspiring colleagues, churches, and community organizations through ELCA! 😊

Blessings, Haemin


Welcome (Back) New Staff!


Join ELCA World Hunger in welcoming (back) former intern and current coordinator for network engagement, Petra Rickertsen!

Grateful for your warm ‘welcome back’ to the ELCA World Hunger team, I am elated to announce my graduation from 2018 intern to Coordinator, Network Engagement! My passion for working with the ELCA World Hunger began in high school at an ELCA National Youth Gathering, grew through creating educational opportunities at California Lutheran University, and blossomed through hands-on experiences spreading the news of our work as a Hunger Leader on my Synod’s Hunger Team. Along the way, I also worked with Lutheran Retreats, Camps, and Conferences for five summers (after many seasons as a camper), and Fit 4 The Cause throughout college, drawing camp and fitness close to my heart. Serving through each nonprofit fortified my joy for working with people diverse in their walks of faith and life.

Learning about God’s astounding creation from people to plants also piques my interest. It’s part of the reason why I eat vegetarian and feel so blessed to travel! Two great adventures included studying abroad one semester in Paris, then another semester at Oxford University (Balliol and Saïd Colleges) which included additional travel through Greece, Italy, and Israel. I find the most intriguing part of traveling to be learning about the relationships people create with their food and the communities that flourish around food’s journey from seed to body.

Though traveling abroad is brilliant, I’m just as excited for the adventures happening in my own backyard! As a people-person, everything is more fun with a buddy, whether that is skateboarding, camping, or simply staying in for homemade pizza and movie night. I’ll miss the mountains (and burritos).  However, I am curious about what it will be like to trade warm sandy beaches and palm trees on Christmas for dashing through the snow in Chicago. But, I am elated for the growth this change in scenery will bring! Most of all, I’m grateful to be here, supporting the incredible work you and our shared network is achieving through ELCA World Hunger ministries. I am inspired to be back working with you and this team until all are fed.

I’m excited to work with the ELCA World Hunger network in our shared mission to end hunger, from assisting to plan, manage and answer your questions regarding events like the ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering, to sharing on social media the astounding work you’re achieving in your communities, and our companions and partners are working on across the world.


Welcome Summer Interns!



This summer ELCA World Hunger welcomes two interns to the team. We are excited to have them share their gifts and talents with us. Learn more about them below!


Aml Mohamed, ELCA World Hunger Education Summer Intern

My name is Aml Mohamed, and I will be working as the ELCA World Hunger Education Summer Intern. ‘Aml’ means ‘hope’ in Arabic, which is the first language that I speak in my home country of Egypt. I am a student at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and I am designing an individual major which is titled International Youth Development. The major captures my passion to return home and pursue a career in youth development.

Before going to college, I completed a two-year pre-university program at the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa, whose mission is to prepare the next generation of African leaders. My experience at ALA motivated me to develop an educational initiative in my home city, Luxor, Egypt, called the “Step by Step Initiative.” The initiative aims to increase young people’s self-efficacy through providing them with life skills such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork and presentation skills. We were able to reach eighty students during the summer of 2018 and hope to continue in the future.

This is my first time in Chicago. While I am here, I hope to explore and learn about the history and the culture of the city. I will use some of my free time to pack my reflective thoughts and luggage, before I go on a St. Olaf College faculty-led study abroad program. The program is called Global Semester, and its theme is Education in a Global Context. During the program, we will visit six countries: France, Egypt, Tanzania, India, China and Argentina.

I am excited for the projects that we will be working on as the ELCA World Hunger Education team, and thankful for the learning opportunities that will come with it.


Joshua Meribole, Community Granting and Community Engagement Summer Intern

The building is tall. The work is important. The learning is endless.

Hello, my name is Joshua Meribole, and I am a Summer Intern at the ELCA in Chicago. I will be working as the Community Granting and Community Engagement Intern with ELCA World Hunger. I am from Nigeria and came to the U.S. to study community development and journalism at Dordt University in Iowa. I will officially finish college at the end of the summer.

In college, I studied the different community development practices that organizations around the world have done to help impoverished communities. I am looking forward to learning how the ELCA works alongside its partners to help communities tackle the multiple and interconnected layers of world hunger.

My work for this summer ranges from organizing events to writing blogs and articles to reviewing documents. With each of the tasks that I will be doing, I am excited to learn and to gain new experiences and skills that will add to my dream and vision to work with community members in the countries I grew up in.

In my free time, I like to read, watch TV shows and video tutorials, and talk to people. However, living in Chicago for the first time, I have had to put visiting iconic landmarks and going to festivals to my list of hobbies. So far, I have enjoyed meeting new people, expanding my taste buds and walking around the city.

After talking to people within the ELCA and hearing about their experiences and projects, I am looking forward to being part of the family.



Welcome New Staff!


The ELCA World Hunger team welcomed three new colleagues to the team in the last few months!

Jenny Ackerman, Coordinator for Network Engagement

Hello! My name is Jenny Ackerman, and I am excited to be joining the ELCA World Hunger Team as Coordinator for Network Engagement. I was most recently Volunteer and Outreach Manager at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley in Elgin, Ill., coordinating a variety of volunteers to participate in construction activities and beyond. My favorite construction activity is anything involving a circular saw!

Though I am a lifelong Lutheran, I also spent a few years at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago working in both the communications and development departments. I have lived in the Chicago area for the majority of my life and studied Organizational Communications at Elmhurst College here in the Chicago Suburbs.

I am looking forward to addressing the issue of hunger with a comprehensive approach. I love working with people who are passionate about making a difference, and I already know I am surrounded by some great thinkers and problem solvers – both on staff and within the network.

When I am not at the office, you might find me reading a book, playing my clarinet in a community band or cheering on the Chicago Cubs. I am always looking for my next travel adventure; there is a lot of the world to see, but Guatemala holds a special place in my heart. I am looking forward to being in partnership with all those working to a world where all are fed.

Juliana Glassco, Manager for Community Engagement and Granting

Hi! I’m Juliana Glassco, and I am thrilled to join the ELCA World Hunger team as Manager for Community Engagement and Granting. I come to the team straight from the ELCA’s Fund for Leaders, which is a scholarship program that supports students attending ELCA seminaries. Fresh off the challenge of transitioning the scholarship application process into a digital format, I’m energized to be involved with some of the exciting initiatives and partnerships that are in the works for ELCA World Hunger’s domestic programming.

My first exposure to the ELCA was as a participant in Lutheran Volunteer Corps, working with the interfaith environmental non-profit Faith in Place here in Chicago. My work there touched on the connections between justice, education and access to healthy food. I then moved back to Washington, DC, (my home turf) to work for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps national office and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, where I participated in the work of building healthier communities on an international scale. Bitten by the international bug, I moved to Canada to complete a graduate program in heritage conservation, which culminated in nine months working with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris, France.

Living outside of the U.S. highlighted for me how deeply I care about the people and communities in this country, and the issues that we are facing together. I am grateful to be back in my beloved city of Chicago, working with all of you toward a just world where all are fed.

Mae Helen Jackson, Coordinator for Community Engagement and Granting

Hi! I’m Mae Helen Jackson, and I was born and raised and currently reside on the South Side of Chicago, Ill. I have served with ELCA World Hunger as Coordinator for Community Engagement and Granting on the Domestic Hunger Strategy team since November 2017. I have been active in the ELCA throughout my life. My first known experience was an ELCA Youth Gathering in utero. In 2014, I served as a Young Adult in Global Mission in their Southern Africa program with a placement in the KwaZulu Natal region. Today, in my current role with ELCA World Hunger, I am excited for the opportunity to grow professionally in both new and old ways.




blogWelcome to the new ELCA Youth Gathering blog!

We want to create a space for sharing the stories and experiences of the Gathering. A place that wasn’t filled with the latest updates or specific details, but rather a place for those who love and are transformed by this ministry to share their stories, best practices, and insights.

There are plans for youth participants, adult leaders, Gathering staff, team leaders, artists, speakers, learning partners, and host city leaders to contribute to the blog over the next few months. As we enter the preparation phase of the Gathering, we will call on adult leaders and others to share their experiences and helpful tips. But our plans are flexible, and we will see how the story of the 2018 Gathering unfolds.

If there are people you would like to hear from or things you would like to see told on the blog, please let us know by email.

We invite you to subscribe to our blog. This is a separate list from our gNews, so be sure to sign up. In fact, it would be great for everyone in your congregation or ministry to sign up, so they too can read first-hand the impact the Gathering has on individuals and communities.

Molly Beck Dean,
Gathering Director