Reformation Global Ministry
Reformation members are involved in international relationships on many levels – in the synod’s global mission committee; lifting up global partnerships through travel, study, music, friendship, advocacy, and prayer; and serving in professional capacities in a broad range of international church, nonprofit, governmental, and private organizations.
In addition to connecting with the global church through the ELCA and Lutheran World Federation, Reformation has a few special, direct connections with churches in El Salvador, Namibia, Palestine and Israel, as well as with Lutheran World Relief.
Reformation’s funds and efforts support three ministries of our Salvadoran siblings. We support pastoral and diaconal leadership development. In 2019, Pastor Mike Wilker participated in the ordination of 14 new Salvadoran pastors. We also engage in the transnational AMMPARO ministry to accompany migrant minors with protection, advocacy, representation and opportunities in their home countries and in the US. The Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service also an AMMPARO partner. In addition, the Salvadoran Lutheran Church is a leader in climate justice efforts, especially clean safeguarding water resources. The Salvadoran Lutheran Church is like a mustard seed or yeast—tiny and transformative.
Namibia is the only nation in African with a Lutheran majority. Finnish and German missionaries started Lutheran congregation’s when this part of Africa was a German colony. Reformation’s accompaniment of the Namibian churches began during the apartheid-era. Black and “mixed-race” Lutheran Namibians were leaders in the anti-apartheid revolutionary movement against the Republic of South Africa. Today, Reformation supports seminary education, HIV/AIDS ministries, and the care of children who are in boarding schools because their parents live too far away from a school, or have died because of HIV/AIDS.
Palestine and Israel
Of course, followers of Jesus have been in Palestine and Israel since the beginning of the church. In the late 19th century the German Empire received permission from its allies the Ottoman Empire to build two Lutheran churches in Jerusalem. The Church of the Redeemer was built 1893-1898 and happens to be upon the ancient walls of the city of Jerusalem, near the site of Jesus’s crucifixion on Golgotha. Church of the Redeemer is the site of the bishop’s office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). On the Mount of Olives, a second church and hospital, named after German Empress Augusta Victoria, were built 1907-1914. In 1948, Palestinian Lutherans, with the support of the Lutheran World Federation, began ministering to refugees. Today the hospital specializes in oncology and nephrology and is one of six hospitals serving Palestinians. The hospital grounds also have hundreds of olive trees and Reformation used oil from those trees in our anointing at baptism and healing services. There are four other Lutheran congregations in Palestine including in and around Bethlehem and Ramallah. Reformation’s Christmas manger scene is from Christian Palestinian artists in Bethlehem. Reformation supports (and for a while housed the US office of) Bright Stars of Bethlehem and Dar al-Kalima University of the Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. Reformation participates in the ELCA’s Peace Not Wallsprogram to accompany Palestinians and Israelis, Jews, Christians and Muslims working together for peace with justice.
Lutheran World Relief and Corus
Founded by Lutherans after WWII, Lutheran World Relief works with local leaders in 40 countries to strengthen local farmers, care for the environment, and respond to emergencies. LWR works with people based on need, regardless of race, religion or nationality and it does not proselytize. LWR also has a focus on gender equity and supports women-led farms, businesses, and non-profit organizations. In 2020, LWR and IMA World Healthmerged and launched Corus, an ensemble of non-profits and for-profits working in concert to end extreme poverty. The Corus group also includes UK-based technology company Charlie Goldsmith Associates; impact investing firm Ground Up Investing; and direct-trade coffee producer LWR Farmers Market Coffee.