ELCA NEWS SERVICE
March 28, 2011
ELCA Members Donate $750,000 for Japan Earthquake Response
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have contributed nearly $750,000 in response to the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan March 11.
ELCA Treasurer Christina Jackson-Skelton provided this report on March 25. One hundred percent of all donations designated for the Japan disaster go to the local response.
The Rev. Sumiyuki Watanabe, president of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, expressed his "deep gratitude" to ELCA members for their "heartfelt prayers" and the financial gifts the church has received from the ELCA to date.
"Within this sudden disaster, we have asked ourselves what can we, as humans, do? But we come back to (these) words (from Hebrews): Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Behind these words is the understanding that while there is a limit to what is human, we proclaim there is no end with God," Watanabe said.
The Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church has begun distributing food and non-food items to affected families in Sendai, according to Megan Bradfield, director, ELCA International Disaster Response. Distribution points have been established at churches and preschools for materials transported from Tokyo to Sendai, she said
"We ask your continued prayers and support," Watanabe added. "We are mindful of the prayers coming from Christians … from around the world. Let us walk together with those who have survived this disaster as we provide relief and support."
As of March 18, the ELCA had released an initial $240,000 in funds to a variety of partners in Japan, including the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church. The ELCA made a contribution to The Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, to support a disaster response expert from India who will assist the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church and other Lutheran churches, as well as to Church World Service, New York. The funds to Church World Service are to help support an ecumenical disaster response in Japan through the Japan Platform, a consortium of 32 Japanese nonprofit organizations, and the National Council of Churches Japan.
The Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church works with three other Lutheran churches to coordinate response in the wake of the disaster, including the Japan Lutheran Church, Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church and West Japan Lutheran Church, according to Watanabe. He also said the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church partners with the Roman Catholic Church and Japan Episcopal Church, among many others.
As of March 28, Japan's National Police Agency confirmed 10,804 deaths as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, and another 16,244 people are missing. An estimated 250,000 people are living in shelters.
Financial gifts for the Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami can be contributed at http://www.ELCA.org/japanearthquake on the ELCA website. Credit card gifts may be made by calling 1-800-638-3522. Gifts designated for the Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami can also be sent to: ELCA Disaster Response, 39330 Treasury Center, Chicago, IL 60694-9300.
Information about response efforts and the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church can be found at http://www.ELCA.org/disaster and at http://www.ELCA.org/japan on the ELCA website.
Stories and blogs about the experiences of ELCA missionaries in Japan since the disaster are available on the ELCA's website for members, http://www.livinglutheran.com.
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with approximately 4.5 million members in more than 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
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