contributed by PJ May, FBSynod Global Mission Table Chair
Last year’s Global Mission fundraising Sunday coincided with Hurricane Dorian’s devastating landfall in the Bahamas and many congregations and conferences diverted their gifts to help with disaster relief efforts there. Many clergy and congregations continue to help with the ongoing recovery work – as well as contributing and participating in places like Puerto Rico (Hurricane Maria and recent earthquakes) and the Florida Panhandle (Hurricane Michael). As my husband Rusty and I discovered on a recent trip to Panama City – recovery from such destruction will take many years. Thank goodness for Lutheran Disaster Response and the funds and resources they can provide to these areas – along with the funds sent into our Synod.
In the meantime – one of our Global Mission companions, the seminary in Jamaica, had submitted a project for a classroom renovation that was approved for funding back in early September. We anticipated being able to raise $10,000 for the project during Global Mission Fund-day and the month of October so the renovations could be done in January while the students were on break. We did receive $1300 from the Space Coast conferences churches, for which we are very grateful.
The Jamaica Team and Global Mission Table are reaching out to the rest of the Synod at this time and asking individuals and congregations to consider adding to this amount during the season of Lent. Perhaps there would be an opportunity to share the poster and information with your congregation, Bible Study group, youth group, or Mission outreach team – and/or take a special collection for the seminary. Attached is a poster that Sr. Michelle Collins created to help donors see what is needed and how much each item will cost. Even small donations can help us reach our goal.
The plan would be to have the renovation work done during the summer break and completed in time for the fall semester. In addition, the ELCA Global Mission Desk has provided a $10,000 grant to the seminary for a campus wide Internet and technology upgrade. This gift affirms that the ELCA Churchwide office sees the seminary as a sustainable and vital part of the Lutheran church’s ministry in the Caribbean.
I hope you will share this opportunity with others and join in this special fundraising effort for the seminary in Jamaica. Please send all checks/donations to the Synod office – Attn: Kim Raymond, 3838 W. Cypress St., Tampa, FL 33607 with Jamaica – UTCWI on the memo line.