Monday, May 3, 2010

Synod Assembly Report #1--the ELCA in Haiti

As I think about Synod Assembly, I'm struck by how often I heard about the Lutheran Church in Haiti. Before I went to last year's Synod Assembly, I didn't realize we even had a Lutheran presence in Haiti.

The Lutheran church is blessed to have an energetic pastor, Livenson Lauvanus, a native of Haiti, serving the country. He spoke in several different venues (a workshop, the opening plenary session, informally) about the work being done there and of course, about the rebuilding work that must be done after the earthquake. We also heard from some lay people who work in the country, and we saw a film that was very moving.

The offering from our opening Eucharist service was destined for Haiti, with Thrivent matching part of the offering. I found the people who spoke about Haiti so inspiring that I gave every scrap of cash I had to the opening offering. I no longer travel with my checkbook, so that's why I was scrounging together all my cash.

I confess to being guilty of dismissing the entire country of Haiti as a lost cause. I feel blessed to be reminded that there are no lost causes. We are Easter people who believe that even in the midst of bleakest death, life can return. The words of the people on the ground in that country give me hope that rebuilding can happen.

Our Florida Bahamas is early in a process that we're calling Together in Mission, where we give money to individuals, groups, and congregations that are doing exciting work. One of those missions first to get support is the Lutheran Church in Haiti. Hopefully, we can do more consciousness raising in our local churches to help people discover the vitality of our Lutheran expression in Haiti. Hopefully, we can also do some fund raising. One of the things that we know about doing justice in the developing world is that our dollars often buy more. And we're lucky that we have people like Pastor Lauvanus who understand the situation(s) on the ground and can guide the larger church in the best way to spend those funds that we raise.

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