Global Links May 2023

Latest news and stories from Global Mission

View in your browser. | Download a pdf version
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Donate
May/June 2023
International Women Leaders Class of 2023
International Women Leaders scholars graduating in 2023 (left to right): Naomi Mbise, Marta Ndimulunde, Satta Sheriff, Asi Sitinjak and Mercy Zou.

The fifth full class of International Women Leaders (IWL) scholars is graduating! The IWL program provides full-tuition scholarships to ELCA colleges and universities, as well as scholarships for advanced graduate studies and gender justice seminars. This year, five scholars will earn their degrees.

Class of 2023
  • Naomi Mbise, California Lutheran University
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania
  • Marta Ndimulunde, Lenoir-Rhyne University
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia
  • Satta Sheriff, Wittenberg University
    Lutheran Church in Liberia
  • Asi Sitinjak, St. Olaf College
    Huria Kristen Batak Protestan
  • Mercy Zou, Augsburg University
    Manipur Evangelical Lutheran Church

We celebrate everything these leaders have accomplished so far, and we look forward to the ways they will strengthen our global community in the future. Congratulations IWL Class of 2023!

Learn more about IWL.
News From International Leaders Program Scholars
News Around the World
The Rev. Danielle Dokman. Photo: LWF/A. Danielsson
Two participants in the ELCA’s International Leaders Program are assuming leadership roles through the Lutheran World Federation. Tamar Haddad, an International Women Leaders program alum, was elected as a coordinator of the Gender Justice and Women’s Empowerment Network in Asia.

The Rev. Danielle Dokman, working toward her doctorate at Luther Seminary with support from an International Leaders Program scholarship, has been invited to give the opening sermon at the Lutheran World Federation Thirteenth Assembly in Poland in September. Rev. Dokman is from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname.

News Around the World
News Around the World
Cyclone Mocha made landfall on May 14 in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, causing major flooding and landslides and damaging lines of communication. In neighboring Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee camps were affected. The populations in these areas were already vulnerable due to ongoing conflict and displacement.

Learn More.

Mission Personnel
Mission Personnel Reflection
Lou-Marie and Rev. Philip Knutson
A reflection from the Rev. Philip Knutson, regional representative in southern Africa:

Lou-Marie and I arrived in Thaba Nchu (Black Mountain), South Africa, in late 1982 after being placed there by the Cape-Orange Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa. I was called to serve a small congregation in the sprawling resettlement area of Onverwacht/Botshabelo. We were both welcomed and challenged, especially by the youth, as the community struggled against the apartheid homeland system, demanding political freedom and basic human and socioeconomic rights.

We were studying in Chicago when Nelson Mandela and other liberation movement leaders were released from prison in 1990, and we were serving an Afrikaans-speaking congregation in Gelvandale, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, when the first democratic national elections were held in April 1994. I was able to attend the first public hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in April 1996.

In 2000 we moved to Cape Town, where I worked as Christian education coordinator in the diocese. In 2005 I was asked by ELCA Global Mission to serve as regional representative in southern Africa. Based in Johannesburg for the past 11 years, I have been working with companion churches, companion synods, mission personnel, the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa and ELCA-supported mission outreach and diakonia projects across 10 countries in the region.

Throughout this period Lou-Marie has been teaching physics and chemistry in local high schools, working with countless young people from diverse backgrounds. They wonder about the future and appreciate frank discussions about everything from relationships to rap music.

To work with so many people over more than 40 years in South Africa and its neighbors has been a privilege and an honor. We have learned so much on this journey of mutual accompaniment in God’s mission, but it is still a “long walk to freedom.” Our journey was and continues to be by God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Learn more about ELCA missionaries here.

Get Involved
Mission Personnel Reflection

  • The ELCA’s Truth and Healing Movement is an opportunity for the people of this church to enlarge their understanding of our colonizing impact on Indigenous people in the past and present. Over the next several months there will be opportunities to learn, raise awareness and engage in other ways to change hearts and lives across this church. Learn more at

  • The spring 2023 edition of “LifeLines” is now available! Read stories of how your gifts to ELCA World Hunger are at work, addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty around the world.

  • RECLAIM is a curated gathering for people of African descent of all ages and gender identities, brought to us by African Descent Ministries. Grounded in Scripture, this gathering seeks to help participants feel embodied, emboldened and liberated in their identities. It will take place Sept. 14-17 in Minneapolis, Minn. Learn more here.
Follow Us Facebook  Twitter  Instagram
Share “ELCA Global Links”
Please forward “ELCA Global Links,” in whole or in part, for use in publications, websites or blogs.
You received this email because you provided the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with your email address.

© Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631-4101 
ELCA Global Mission | Privacy | Unsubscribe | Terms of Use
Contact Us | Donate | Subscribe