Global Links April 2022

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April 2022
Finding God’s Love in the Gloom of War
Ukrainian refugees arrive in Budapest. Photo: Zach Courter

“Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17)

In a blog entry for Ash Wednesday, the Rev. Amy Reumann, senior director for ELCA Witness in Society, writes about the Putin regime’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. “The valiant resistance of Ukrainian leaders, the courage of civilians fighting back and resilience of so many inhabitants are inspiring,” she says. “But they do not ease my deep dismay as Russian air strikes and ground fighting continue, and civilian casualties mount.” Reumann ponders the words of the prophet Joel and the question “Where is our God?”

Reumann goes on to say that God is still present in the midst of war and injustice. She sees God’s love in everyone around the world stepping forward in solidarity with Ukraine — and especially within the church. Members of the ELCA community have responded to the crisis with prayer, advocacy and financial support through Lutheran Disaster Response. Reumann says, “In our Lutheran family, I can glimpse God’s action and can testify that in the gloom and horror of war, God is here.”

Read the full reflection and learn how you can get involved here.

News Around the World
News Around the World
So far, generous donors have given over $3 million to support relief for those impacted by the crisis in Eastern Europe through Lutheran Disaster Response. Those gifts are at work in Ukraine as well as in the border countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. They are providing crucial resources such as cash support for refugees; emergency items such as beds and shelter, food and clean water; protection for vulnerable individuals and groups; psychosocial care; and the prevention of sexual abuse.

Give and learn more here.

Mission Personnel
Mission Personnel Reflection
Central Europe Teacher Megan Freudenberg with a class.

A reflection from Naomi Sveholm, ELCA education coordinator, Central Europe:
The Central Europe Teachers (CET) program brings American teachers into Slovak and Polish classrooms. My role as education coordinator is primarily communication: preparing new teachers for the classroom and culture, supporting volunteers pedagogically and emotionally, teaching half time in Bratislava, visiting and maintaining contact with all our partner schools, and maintaining a public face through social media.

This school year, even more than previous years, has been one of low-level chaos as the ongoing pandemic affects schools and everyday life through unpredictable health and attendance (my own included). Mental health is challenged in the face of a war just across the border.

This year I have listened perhaps more than I’ve spoken. I hope I’ve inspired too. A group of 10 students helped to plan actions this fall to highlight sexual and gender-based violence, which I hope to repeat annually. We have also spent class time discussing the violence in Ukraine and its ramifications, along with what students are thinking and doing. Listening, caring and guiding are key aspects of the CET program.

To learn more about CET and its partner schools, follow ELCACET on Facebook and Instagram.

Get Involved
Get Involved

  • This Easter, pray and act for the peace of Jerusalem with the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. The 2022 WCC-EAPPI Easter initiative invites churches and partners around the world to engage with the different narratives around Easter, together with their local communities. Participants can engage in biblical reflection, prayer, advocacy and discussion of materials highlighting present-day experiences in Jerusalem. Learn more here.
  • Ecumenical Advocacy Days, taking place April 25-27, is an annual gathering of Christian advocates and activists. Participants worship, review advocacy best practices, dive deeper into issues around the central theme, take Lobby Day action, and network with other people of faith. Lutherans who attend have denomination-specific opportunities to get to know one another and envision what we can do together. Learn how you can participate here.

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