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CLWR: Our treasured partner

November 5, 2013 No Comment
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CLWR’s Executive Director Robert Granke and LCC’s President Robert Bugbee

by Robert Bugbee

God’s people have agonized at times about what the Christian church’s mission is. What are we here for? What should we try to accomplish? Often the debates have focused on whether the Holy Christian Church should be spreading the Good News of Christ and urging people to put their trust in Him, or whether Christians should invest their efforts on meeting more practical human needs, feeding the starving, bringing relief to those injured in conflicts or overtaken by natural disasters, and so on.

Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) takes the “great commission” of Jesus deeply seriously: “Having gone, therefore, disciple-ize all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). The heartbeat of our work is proclaiming. I hope it always will be. There is no substitute for speaking the saving Good News of Christ in clear terms, as Scripture tells us: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

One of the most basic things our Synod exists to do, for example, is to maintain seminaries to train servants. Above all else, we want them to be preachers and teachers of the Gospel. With due respect to other activities going on at your local church, the heart of the congregation’s ministry is proclamation—telling how God has rescued the world through the living, dying, and rising of our Saviour Jesus. Our national church is dedicated to the mission of taking this message to people in Canada and in foreign countries who do not confess Christ.

At the same time, the focus on telling Christ’s Good News will move us to care for people the way the Lord Himself does. He made them, body and soul; provides for them, body and soul; all because He loves them, body and soul. It’s why the holy writer asked, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16). Well, it’s no good at all. The saving Gospel you and I believe—and want to tell—will move us to do something practical about the predicaments people around us find themselves in.

The saving Gospel you and I believe—and want to tell—will move us to do something practical about the predicaments people around us find themselves in.

This is why I treasure the partnership we have with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR). Long before LCC was organized, our pastors and local churches worked with this caring agency. After the Second World War, it laboured to help the devastated people of Europe. Yesterday’s needs may have faded, but new ones are constantly arising. CLWR hooks us up to other world-wide partners, so that members of your local church can bring help to places you will never visit in person, but where the need is strong and the touch of Christ’s people makes a healing difference.

As we move toward year’s end and the season of Christmas, I hope more of our LCC members will get to know the work of CLWR. More than that, I hope you’ll pray for and support it. I deeply appreciate the commitment of CLWR’s Executive Director, Robert Granke, whom I count as a friend of LCC. He and the very competent staff at CLWR’s office in Winnipeg have enabled us to deepen our mission of proclaiming and helping in some of our own synodical mission fields like Nicaragua. Even in areas where we have no mission of our own, they are opening doors for us to show love in the Name of Christ to some of the neediest people in the world.

These few lines on a page won’t go very far in telling the CLWR story. You can find out much more online at www.clwr.org, or—if the internet scares you—call our friends at CLWR at 1-800-661-2597. They’ll be more than glad to tell you what you need to know, and to send printed materials if computers aren’t your thing.

LCC has devoted representatives on the governing board of Canadian Lutheran World Relief. They include Deanna Friesen, Nathan Krey, Pastor Gerhard Wilch, and Dr. Glenn Schaeffer. Figuring out the best directions for CLWR’s future is a challenge for them, together with board members from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada who serve in the same capacity. So, while you’re getting informed, learning and supporting, I lay it on your hearts to pray for this agency. It has such a splendid history! Such a mountain of opportunities! Such a world of need all around! Praise God for everything we’ve been able to do together!

———————

Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee is President of Lutheran Church–Canada.

Canadian Lutheran World Relief has recently issued its annual Gifts from the Heart catalogue. Find out more here.

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