News and Resources from the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Tag Archives: mission interpreter

Ebola and the ELCA

From Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

The Situation:
In the last several months, the Ebola outbreak has claimed thousands of lives. The virus has spread rapidly, and with no approved vaccine and a high fatality rate, the World Health Organization is now calling it “one of the world’s most lethal diseases.” Ebola has spread to multiple countries, the hardest hit being Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and now has been diagnosed in the US, Spain and Germany.

ELCA Response:
Lutheran Disaster Response is committed to walking with our brothers and sisters affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Operating through our partners and companion churches, together we are:

  • Supplying and shipping essential protective gear and supplies to protect medical workers at Phebe Hospital and Curran Lutheran Hospital in Liberia.
  • Providing food assistance to the Lutheran Church in Liberia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone.
  • Raising awareness and providing sensitization messages on the symptoms and prevention methods of Ebola.
  • Completing construction of an isolation center at Phebe Hospital and School of Nursing that meets World Health Organization standards.

What Can You Do?
Pray for those affected or threatened by the virus that they may be granted healing and hope:

We pray for African nations that are struggling with Ebola outbreaks of unprecedented severity. Through ELCA World Hunger, Lutheran Disaster response and the ELCA Malaria Campaign, we walk together with our Lutheran companions all over the world as they respond to hunger, disaster and disease with compassion and action. Amen

Your gifts designated for Ebola Outbreak Response will be used in full (100 percent) to assist those directly impacted by this crisis. Gifts from people like you allow us to respond to those who are most vulnerable. Your gifts to your congregation already help through the mission support sent to the Synod. THANK YOU!!

To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response:

  • Check the Lutheran Disaster Response blog for updates and the latest information.
  • Follow the ELCA News blog to keep up on the news about our church’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

We are church together for the sake of the world. God’s work. Our hands.


By Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

Everybody loves a good story. How about stories about good things? That’s what mission interpreters do-tell the stories of how an individual’s or congregation’s mission support is used to do God’s work. They are easy and fun to tell, because they are such good news. And they are abundant. They range from your own congregation to anywhere across the world. Would you like to learn where to find them? How to tell them? There will be two training workshops in the Upstate New York Synod this fall where you can get the answers to those questions. It would be ideal for every congregation to have (at least) one person telling the stories. Pastors-can you identify that one person who seems to always be interested in what the ELCA is doing around the world? Someone who is passionate about malaria eradication, or world hunger, or who orders Christmas gifts from the Good Gifts catalogue? Please, encourage them to come:

In the West, the date is October 25th, at Crossroads Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY; from 9:30AM to 2:30PM. Contact Marcia Brown at

In the East, the date is November 8th, in Albany, location to be announced; from9:30AM to 2:30PM. Contact Denise Ballou at

We are church together for the sake of the world.

God’s Work. Our Hands (and Voices!).

August Mission Message

By Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

photo courtesy of

Filling the news lately is the crisis of tens of thousands of children crossing into the United States alone. There are very mixed feelings about them and what to do with and about them. Here is where the Church stands:

As a church that pursues justice, peace and human dignity for all people, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is committed to helping the thousands of unaccompanied children coming to the United States to escape violence and difficult situations in their home countries. To address this crisis, ELCA members are working through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to help find foster care for these children. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service estimates that 80,000 children will seek safety in the United States this year.

“As people of faith, we are reminded that among the children who had to flee across borders because of threat of life was our very own Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When children flee across two international borders alone, the community of Jesus – the church – must accompany them,” said the Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director, ELCA congregational and synodical mission. Rev. Bouman personally toured the border region in mid-July.

“The ELCA, through its partnership with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, is already involved through its congregations, social ministry organizations, advocacy, and Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service affiliates on the ground,” said Bouman. “We are pursuing both the short-term efforts at achieving safety and relevant social services for these children of God, as well as long-term systemic solutions to stem the flow of children cast adrift.”

“The children making this arduous trek north are fleeing violence, abuse and deep poverty and hunger, and are in desperate need of help and protection,” said Bouman. “Many are trying to reunite with family members here in the United States. By the time they cross the United States border, many have been robbed, raped or abused. The need is so large and current resources cannot keep pace.”

We confess with the wider church that all Christians are responsible to attend the needs of the lost, forgotten and lonely. Christians in the United States must help children in other countries find places free of violence and abuse where they can experience loving support and new opportunities.

We are Church for the sake of the world. God’s Work. Our Hands.

Polar Vortex, Revisited

By: Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

Whether you cite the massive blizzard we just had as proof for or against global warming (that’s a whole ‘nother article!), you can’t deny that the climate around the world is changing. And there is good reason to believe that those changes are causing extreme weather, whether it’s tornadoes here in the US, or the typhoon that struck the Philippines, or drought in Africa. People living in poverty around the world are affected the most by climate change. Providing aid in the Philippines is just one example of how the ELCA is committed to supporting people around the world who live in poverty and are affected by extreme weather events. Lutheran Disaster Response has provided $1 million for cooking utensils, shelter repair kits and debris removal for survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. But the recovery will be long and the need is great. Your help is still needed. Gifts designated for this disaster will be used 100 percent to support relief efforts. To donate, see For further discussion of how the ELCA is addressing global warming, see

God’s work. Our hands.

Praise and Thanksgiving

By: Marcia Brown, Mission Interpreter

We are thankful for: