Creative Ministry Grants

By Ryan

Is your congregation looking for ways to fund its most creative ministry ideas? It’s time to apply for support from the Synod Endowment Fund.

Creative Ministry Grants allow congregations to try new ministries. Grants can be applied to any number of projects, and are typically for $500 to $1,000. The money may not offset staffing costs.

Last year 7 congregations received Creative Ministry Grants. Applications came from all regions of the synod, from congregations of all sizes, targeted ministries reaching out to youth and children or the poor, the larger community or the body of believers.

Applications for the Creative Ministry Grant are available for download below. Applications are due by March 1st. If you receive a grant, we will notify you by March 25th. We will be lifting up this year’s Creative Ministry Grants at the Synod Assembly.

Maybe your congregation faces other financial needs. The Endowment Board also makes recommendations throughout the year regarding the synod’s Mission Loan Fund. These projects are frequently, though not necessarily, for capital improvements.

More information about loans is available by contacting us. We want to provide financial support for your ministries, and we are waiting to hear from you.

The funds that we distribute are the result of gifts made by individuals and congregations specifically for this purpose. If your congregation as a whole or anyone you know wants to provide for a legacy of creative ministry, we would love to talk. Please contact us.

In Christ’s service,

Your Synod Endowment Board
Grieg Anderson, Bishop David Brauer-Rieke, Rev. John Maas, Carol Law, Mary Beth Wilson
John Thom, Endowment Board of Trustees Chair

ELCA presiding bishop visits companion church in the Holy Land

CHICAGO (ELCA) – In her first visit to the Middle East as presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton led a delegation Jan. 11-17 to meet with leaders and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land – a companion church of the ELCA. The delegation also met with political and religious leaders, including a meeting with the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land.

The ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) are member churches of The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 144 churches representing more than 70 million Christians in 79 countries. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States.
During their visit, the delegation met with students of the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour and Dar Al-Kalima Lutheran School in Bethlehem. The school and educational programs of the ELCJHL employ nearly 200 educators, administrators, social workers and others, and nearly all faculty and staff are Palestinians from Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem and elsewhere. The delegation visited Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, and they toured the Environmental Education Center in Beit Jala, a ministry of the ELCJHL, to learn more about the denomination’s special ecological projects.
“The impact of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land upon the lives of all people in the region is out of proportion to its size. This relatively small church does enormous work in education, humanitarian aid, environmental study, advocacy, ecumenical and inter- religious relations and peacemaking all while dealing with the difficult and ever present reality of the Israeli occupation,” said Eaton.
“This land has a unique beauty: green and gentle in Galilee, severe and barren in the mountains and hills around Jerusalem and the West Bank. It wasn’t what I expected the first time I saw it. It made me aware of all of the preconceptions I bring with me to this place. That is a dangerous thing to do,” she said. This trip marks Eaton’s third visit to the Middle East, first as ELCA presiding bishop.
The delegation visited the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and also toured Augusta Victoria Hospital, a ministry of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The hospital offers the only cancer facility for residents of the West Bank and Gaza, and it employs more than 300 people. The hospital was founded in 1950. Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, the hospital’s chief executive officer, and the Rev. Mark Brown, LWF regional representative in Jerusalem, accompanied Eaton on the hospital tour.
“Augusta Victoria Hospital is a vital ministry” said Eaton. “It is something that The Lutheran World Federation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are committed to supporting, have been, are now and always will be.”
“We were very honored by the visit of Bishop Eaton and her delegation,” said the Rev. Munib Younan, bishop of the ELCJHL and president of The Lutheran World Federation.

“We arranged a program where she could meet all concerned parties, all ecumenical parties, representatives from all of the Abrahamic faiths, and the work of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and The Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem. Through her visit, this accompaniment relationship that started in 1988 was strengthened even more. It has helped us to see that we both in the ELCJHL and ELCA have been called together for a common mission for the love of God in the Middle East and the United States,” said Younan.
The ELCA delegation met with representatives of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land – established in 2005 to ensure the ongoing engagement of the leadership and representation of the official religious institutions of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith communities in the Holy Land.
In addition to the council, the delegation met with Patriarch Theophilos III, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem; Patriarch Fouad Twal, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, Patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Eaton and others from her delegation met with Palestinian Authority officials, the mayor of Bethlehem, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, Israeli deputy foreign minister officials, the U.S. Consul General and others.
Eaton addressed a gathering of ELCJHL pastors and the denomination’s Church Council. The relationship between the ELCJHL and ELCA “is deeply important to us,” she said, adding that she sees hope for the land through the ministries of ELCJHL. “When I think of people, Christian brothers and sisters, who are in situations that seem hopeless and they have hope, they give me hope. This church is a source of hope for me when I think there can be no hope,” she said.
Images of the ELCA delegation’s visit are available at

Renewing efforts for a two-state peace agreement
In a Jan. 21 letter to President Obama, members of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East urged the president – in coordination with the Quartet (the United Nations, United States, the European Union and Russia) – to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to renew efforts and achieve a negotiated two-state peace agreement “before it is too late.” Eaton is among the Christian, Jewish and Muslim endorsers of the letter.
In their letter, the religious leaders wrote that “the Gaza war demonstrated once again that there is no military solution to the conflict” and “given developments on the ground, including dangerous new violent clashes in Jerusalem, simply urging the parties to return to negotiations is no longer sufficient.”
The leaders said that “the outline for a two-state peace agreement is widely known and would likely be accepted by majorities of Israelis and Palestinians if presented by their leaders as the only viable alternative to more violence and war.”
The leaders urged the president to authorize U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – coordinating with the Quartet and “drawing on internationally accepted principles and practical ideas from previous official and informal negotiations” – to offer a balanced and fair framework to the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority as the basis for negotiating a two-state peace agreement to end conflict. Religious leaders also offered to meet with Kerry to discuss ways they can be helpful.
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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 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.

For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper, Manager, Public Relations
773-380-2956 or
ELCA News:
Living Lutheran:

ELCA response to Ebola outbreak totals $275,000

​ CHICAGO (ELCA) – Since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has provided $275,000 to support the work of Lutheran companion churches in both African countries.
The funds were disbursed through Lutheran Disaster Response International to ELCA companion churches and partners responding to the immediate needs of people impacted by the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 8,500 people have died due to Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“There are some signs the situation in Liberia and Sierra Leone is getting better, (but) Ebola is more than just a health crisis. Ebola also has a devastating impact on the livelihoods in Liberia and Sierra Leone,” said Vitaly Vorona, ELCA program director for Lutheran Disaster Response International. “Women and children are particularly vulnerable.”
“One of my proudest moments as a Lutheran came when Mrs. Roselyn Kawah, (chairperson) of a concerned women group in Monrovia, enthusiastically expressed her gratitude to the Lutheran Church at a presentation ceremony a few weeks ago,” said the Rev. Jensen Seyenkulo, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. “Mrs. Kawah spoke of the enormous challenges the country faces and how the Lutheran Church has been a shining ray of light in this bleak situation.”
“Although we still have the aftermath of Ebola to deal with, there are very few new cases in Liberia today,” said Seyenkulo. “Liberians have learned a lot. Even these improvements can partly be attributed to our partners’ accompaniment. We are grateful, very grateful.”
The ELCA has responded in the following areas:
+$10,000 helped cover air-freight costs for Global Health Ministries to ship personal protective equipment to Monrovia. This was at the request of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. Global Health Ministries provides medical supplies and funding for health care programs in Lutheran churches in 20 countries.
+$85,000 to the Lutheran Church in Liberia provided food assistance of oil, rice and fish to nearly 3,000 households in six territorial areas. Food supplies were necessary because many areas were under quarantine in an effort to contain the spread of the Ebola virus.
+$50,000 to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone provided oil, rice and fish to 4,750 individuals who were under quarantine.
+$50,000 to Lutheran Development Service in Liberia to help raise awareness and share messages about Ebola symptoms and prevention methods to 4,500 individuals in Liberia. The funds also provided for a contractor to ensure that the construction of an isolation center at Phebe Hospital and the School of Nursing meets WHO standards. Phebe Hospital is a Lutheran hospital and is the largest public health institution in Liberia.
+$80,000 to the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone to support the prevention of the Ebola virus in two districts and 180 communities through various activities, including awareness and distribution of bleach and water containers.
Vorona said moving forward Lutheran Disaster Response will “shift its major Ebola efforts from immediate response to primary attention to recovery needs.”
He said the ELCA will provide $146,500 to support the following programs:
+Strengthening health systems in Liberia and Sierra Leone as an essential component of an ELCA long-term strategy
+Support to orphans and youth affected by Ebola in Liberia
+Promotion of proper hygiene and safe drinking water in Sierra Leone
+Income generation and job creation in Liberia and Sierra Leone
Lutheran Disaster Response provides assistance to survivors of natural disasters and humanitarian crises throughout the world. This support is carried out, both domestically and internationally, in coordination with local affiliates – social ministry organizations, agencies, partners and international companion churches – located in the disaster-affected communities.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.8 million members in nearly 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.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
773-380-2877 or
Living Lutheran: