St. James Lutheran Church to host con­cert as fundraiser for the Hu­man­i­tar­ian Coali­tion

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - WHITNEY NEILSON

CON­TIN­U­ING THEIR NEW TRA­DI­TION of host­ing ben­e­fit con­certs, Elmira’s St. James Lutheran Church wel­comes Ju­bi­la­tion Male Cho­rus this Sun­day for an af­ter­noon of mu­sic and fel­low­ship.

The con­cert will sup­port the Hu­man­i­tar­ian Coali­tion, which is work­ing to fight the drought in South Su­dan, So­ma­lia, North­east Nige­ria and Ye­men, which the United Na­tions said ear­lier this year could be the largest hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis since the UN was formed in 1945. More than 20 mil­lion peo­ple are at risk of star­va­tion.

Ken Huehn from the Ju­bi­la­tion Male Cho­rus says they’ve been do­ing ben­e­fit work through­out south­west­ern On­tario since the cho­rus was founded in 1994.

“We try to help out wher­ever we can. We’re a reg­is­tered char­ity so when­ever we do some­thing we don’t take any­thing off the top. Ev­ery­thing goes to the char­ity that we sup­port,” Huehn said.

They will be di­rected by Robert Shantz and ac­com­pa­nied by Karen Enns. Ad­di­tional mu­sic will be pre­sented by Enns and her son, Jeff Enns on pi­ano and vi­o­lin. Jeff is the or­gan­ist and choir di­rec­tor at St. James.

The cho­rus’ of­fer­ing will in­clude spir­i­tual mu­sic from the South­ern gospel genre as well as some clas­si­cal reper­toire.

“The last three con­certs that we have done on our own we’ve raised money for the House of Friend­ship and the one pre­vi­ous to that we raised some funds for the Menno-Homes project which is cur­rently un­der­way in Elmira. And then be­fore that we sup­ported Men­non­ite Cen­tral Com­mit­tee for the on­go­ing refugee prob­lem,” Huehn says of their pre­vi­ous char­i­ta­ble ef­forts.

He says any time they put on a con­cert they sit down with the cho­rus – which in­cludes four mem­bers from Wool­wich – and see if any­one has a cause they would like to sup­port, and go from there.

For this con­cert, they’ve added an ex­tra spe­cial lo­cal touch.

“There’s one piece of mu­sic that we’re go­ing to do that has some lo­cal roots to it and it’s a piece by Stephanie Martin, who is Ab­ner Martin’s daugh­ter, who founded the Menno Singers and on from there. We’ve cho­sen to do that piece be­cause we think there will prob­a­bly be some peo­ple who know she is and know her back­ground,” Huehn said.

The Lutheran Church be­came a mem­ber of the Hu­man­i­tar­ian Coali­tion ear­lier this year through the Cana­dian Lutheran World Re­lief Ser­vice.

The Hu­man­i­tar­ian Coali­tion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Richard Mor­gan, says it’s been won­der­ful to see the col­lab­o­ra­tion of new part­ners like the Luther­ans.

Mor­gan ex­plains the cri­sis that’s oc­cur­ring and likely to get worse.

“If you were to tell Cana­di­ans that more than half of Canada was at risk of a food in­se­cu­rity, it would just be mind bog­gling. But that’s es­sen­tially the sit­u­a­tion that’s hap­pen­ing right now. If you were to draw a bit of a belt from North­east Nige­ria across to South Su­dan, parts of Ethiopia, parts of Kenya, So­ma­lia, and then over to Ye­men on the Ara­bian Penin­sula, there’s a ter­ri­ble com­bi­na­tion of drought that is one big part of the prob­lem and there’s also some dis­lo­ca­tion caused by con­flict,” Mor­gan said.

In each of those coun­tries food in­se­cu­rity is grow­ing dra­mat­i­cally. The crops that should have been go­ing into the ground

now for the plant­ing sea­son aren’t hap­pen­ing.

“That vir­tu­ally guar­an­tees we’re march­ing to­ward a ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion within a cou­ple of months,” Mor­gan said.

He ex­plains in some ru­ral ar­eas, farm­ers were be­ing sent card­board by the cities to have some­thing to feed their live­stock.

“One of the ways we can help the most ef­fec­tively is by just con­tribut­ing funds to an agency that’s al­ready work­ing on the ground. All of our part­ners are in the re­gion work­ing in dif­fer­ent parts try­ing to fight the food cri­sis and the dis­lo­ca­tion that’s hap­pen­ing.”

The ben­e­fit con­cert is Apr. 23 at 3 p.m. at St. James Lutheran Church in Elmira. Tick­ets are $15 for adults and $10 for se­niors. Chil­dren and stu­dents are free. Re­ceipts for tax pur­poses will be is­sued for char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions of $10 or more be­yond the ticket pay­ment. Tick­ets are avail­able at www.eventbrite.ca, the Win­dow Box in Elmira, and St. James’ of­fice in the morn­ing, as well as at the door.

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