World Vision, the international evangelical relief agency based in Monrovia, has adopted its first permanent U.S. ministry--a 7-year-old group that has established church networks in 55 U.S. cities to prevent freeloaders from sponging off one church after another.
Love Inc., the brainchild of Virgil Gulker of Holland, Mich., doesn’t just catch scams before they get going. Participating churches are able to identify through the network those families and individuals in genuine need of help, and then link them up with church members willing to help.
World Vision has worked with other U.S.-based ministries before in temporary projects--and in fact has a $2.5-million budget for domestic relief and self-help projects, said Craig Hammon, vice president of World Vision’s U.S. ministry. But as of Oct. 1, Love Inc. became a department of World Vision with a $200,000 budget and with Gulker still heading it from his Michigan office.
“We took a close look at the program, visiting five cities where it operates,” Hammon said. “Most people overestimate how much their group helps people. We found they were underestimating the good it does.”
Love Inc. programs have not been adopted in Southern California, he said, but they have reportedly involved 1,300 local churches in other regions.
Jesuit theologian Thomas P. Rausch, 47, who became rector of the 60-member Jesuit community at Loyola Marymount University last summer, was also elected recently to the board of trustees of the largest Catholic university in Los Angeles. Noted for his ecumenical work locally and abroad, Rausch said his added duties have forced him to reduce his teaching load to one class. He was a commentator on KTTV during the Los Angeles visit of Pope John Paul II last year.
Father John A. Gurrieri, executive director of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Liturgy in Washington for the last seven years, will leave that post in December and eventually join the Los Angeles archdiocese to work in positions relating to liturgical renewal and implementation. He will come to Los Angeles after completing a doctoral dissertation at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. Gurrieri taught at Catholic University of America from 1979 to 1985.
The 75th anniversary dinner of the Southern California Ecumenical Council, once known as the Southern California Council of Churches, will be held Oct. 29 at St. James Armenian Church in Los Angeles with the new Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles, Frederick Borsch, as the principal speaker.