When Accompaniment Becomes a Calling
Dear Partners in Ministry,
In recent weeks many of us have watched the drama of the Ebola crisis unfold as we continue to recognize the impact of this lethal disease on many in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. I am grateful that prayers are being lifted up across our synod for those suffering from this disease. When asked what more we can do to help, I have been directing people to Lutheran Disaster Response, which is working on the ground with those most keenly affected by this public health crisis. Gifts designated for the Ebola Outbreak Response are being used to support those suffering in this crisis and to provide food to communities living under quarantine. Donations may be made at the ELCA.org Ebola Outbreak Response page.
But another response is also needed from us as people of faith. The Twin Cities is home to many immigrants from Africa. With heightened fear about Ebola, some of our neighbors have been shunned, bullied or treated with suspicion simply because they once lived in the countries most affected today. I encourage all of our congregational leaders to make a concerted effort to address such fears with facts about the Ebola virus and to help our congregations be places of welcome and support for those with family members in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Many of these persons are burdened by grief and worry for their families far away, and our support, prayers, and welcome are clear gifts of grace.
Pastor Linda Johnson Seyenkulo, who serves in Global Mission for the ELCA and who is married to the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, will be in the Twin Cities in January 2015. She is available to preach or speak in congregations that month. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time for her to be with your congregation and to share additional information about this crisis.
Thank you for finding ways for us to be church together amid this health crisis.
Yours in God's service,
Patricia Lull, Bishop