Archived Sections, National Lutheran News

New WELS committee to offer aid and relief

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) has formed Christian Aid and Relief, a new committee charged with the dual role of providing disaster relief and building bridges to the gospel through long- and short-term humanitarian aid projects.
Christian Aid and Relief was officially endorsed by the Board for World Missions (BWM) this month. It assumes the responsibilities of the former Committee on Relief and the Humanitarian Aid Committee of the BWM.
“The work of these two groups has always seemed somewhat similar and related, even though the purpose of each was different,” said Rev. Mark Schroeder, WELS president. “It was the conviction of both the Committee on Relief and the Humanitarian Aid Committee that a new entity having both responsibilities would put similar efforts under the direction of a single committee, improving efficiency and ending any possible confusion.”

WELS president Mark Schroeder

Christian Aid and Relief will continue a 50-year history of WELS members helping others in time of need, including response to disasters like the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the Haiti earthquake. WELS humanitarian projects have included providing water purification facilities in places like India and Indonesia, digging water wells in African villages, and providing medical supplies in Eastern Europe.
Mark Vance, director of operations for the WELS, will serve as staff contact for the new committee. He previously served on the former committee on relief, according to Joel Hochmuth, WELS director of communications.
Hochmuth also told Metro Lutheran that, when a need arises, the first call from a district like the Minnesota District should be to Christian Aid and Relief. The committee reorganization will increase the capacity of the national church body to respond to local needs.
“All of these efforts — disaster relief or humanitarian aid projects — are ways in which WELS Christians can follow the biblical encouragement to do good to all people,” Schroeder said. “Showing Christian love and providing help to those in need are ways in which we can let our light of faith shine. In addition, these efforts — especially the humanitarian aid projects — will serve to provide points of contact for gospel outreach in places around the world.”

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