The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod will continue to reach out with mercy even in the wake of the church body’s restructuring, said LCMS President-elect Rev. Matthew C. Harrison at a July 21 meeting with LCMS World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) staff in St. Louis.
“While restructuring mandates many changes for our church and we don’t know exactly what will happen, LCMS World Relief and Human Care is still here,” said Harrison, WR-HC executive director. “We want World Relief and Human Care’s many faithful supporters to know this for certain: Our vision for being merciful and being Lutheran will continue and even expand.”
Harrison has served at the helm of WR-HC since 2001. The Board for Human Care Ministries, which oversees WR-HC, is one of seven program boards to be eliminated by a sweeping proposal adopted at the recent LCMS national convention. Along with electing a new Synod president, delegates approved the realignment of LCMS programs under two mission boards, one each for domestic and international ministries.
In his first meeting with WR-HC staff since returning from Houston, Harrison emphasized that “mercy will continue” and that the LCMS will continue to do what Lutherans are called to do — reach out in mercy and mission to physical and spiritual needs.
“There are still orphans around the world. Disasters happen every day,” he said. “We will continue to reach out with mercy to people in need. That’s not going to change.”
At WR-HC, Harrison oversaw a department that shifted gears to become a hands-on, uniquely Lutheran, domestic and international mercy ministry. WR-HC (www.lcms.org/worldrelief) developed what is believed to be the first-ever comprehensive LCMS disaster response initiative and oversaw the church’s response after the Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Haiti and Chile earthquakes. The ministry launched new mercy programs, including the Mercy Medical Teams (volunteers who provide health care in some of the world’s poorest communities) and opportunities to support orphans.
During this decade, WR-HC donors have provided more than $125 million in gifts that enabled the ministry to fulfill its mission of reaching out with mercy and compassion to people in need, motivated by Christ’s love.
Posted July 29, 2010