I recently spoke with Don Miller, World Relief Canada’s Church Engagement Officer. Don is an ordained Free Methodist minister. Prior to joining World Relief, he pastored at Arlington Woods in Ottawa, ON for sixteen years and then worked at the Canadian Bible Society.
World Relief is focused on “Empowering developing communities so they mobilize their own strategies to end poverty and build hope.” Founded by a group of pastors forty-five years ago, World Relief has never before had anyone responsible for connecting with churches so Don’s job is a totally new gig, “One of the things I am learning is that a lot of churches don’t know about us. So how do we tell the story of who we are and what we do?”
“The majority of our projects focus on long-term solutions to some of the world’s most difficult problems. We use micro-enterprise development, micro-credit, literacy, agricultural technology and farm inputs, developing water resources health education training to name just a few.”
In a nutshell, World Relief has three main priority areas:
Working with partners in twelve countries – primarily sub-saharan Africa to help secure and deliver food. This could include with working farmers to help them get a higher yield from their fields or to help them deal with droughts.
Micro Financing/Village Savings and Loans
What does a personal living in rural Africa do for a banking system? Nothing. There are no banks so World Relief helps these communities create a cooperative where people work together to manage their money and create a system so they can have some money when dry season hits or until the crops come up.
World Relief works with the Integral Alliance which is a collaboration of eighteen partners around the world who work together to respond immediately to disasters. For example, when the hurricane hit Haiti one of the Integral Alliance partners was immediately on the ground to begin responding to needs.
For Don, “One of the neat things about being at World Relief is determining how to effectively work with Free Methodists so they know what is happening in countries where there are FM churches. For example, how do we work with the FM church in India and strengthen denomination partnerships?
Don is in the early stages of developing a church engagement plan. What can World Relief do for your church?
1 – Guest speakers – Don can speak to your church about World Relief
2 – Resources – World Relief Sunday, Advent Conspiracy, etc.
3 – Disaster Relief – Can explain how they are able to respond immediately.
If you want more information regarding World Relief then check out their website. If you would like more info or a visit from Don then email him directly at dmiller