The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


August 2001 Churchscan

  • •In June, Lutheran Disaster Response, a cooperative ministry of the ELCA and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, responded to disasters around the country. LDR gave an initial grant of $25,000 to Lutheran Social Services of the South to help with the response to floods in Texas and Louisiana following Tropical Storm Allison. The storm left a trail of death and destruction through several states. A longtime member of Kinsmen Lutheran Church in Houston was one of the victims of the floods. Kristie Lee Tautenhahn, 42, died in an elevator in the downtown building where she worked. She was killed when floodwaters rushed into the elevator as it opened on an underground parking level. LDR also responded to a deadly tornado in Siren, Wis., June 21. The category F-3 tornado damaged or destroyed about 120 homes in the northwest Wisconsin town of 900 residents

  • The ELCA showed a $6.5 million increase in financial gifts (a record $36 million) for fiscal 2000, says Don Hallberg, executive director of the ELCA Foundation. Hallberg says gifts in the first quarter of fiscal 2001 are running $1.6 million ahead of last year. The Foundation conducts a program of significant gifts and planned giving on behalf of the church, offering educational materials and seminars on planned giving. A charitable gift annuity is one of the most popular ways of making gifts to ELCA ministries, he says. Via the donor-driven Foundation, Hallberg says 70 cents of each dollar goes to local ministries and the remaining 30 cents goes to churchwide ministries.

    Started as an initiative by the ELCA, a prayer vigil for peace in the Middle East has spread to churches in Denmark, Germany and Australia. The vigil began last December in Alabama and New York, when each state was assigned a different day of the month on which to pray. "We're hoping people will continue with the vigil until there is peace," says Said Ailabouni of the ELCA Division for Global Mission. Mark Brown of the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, Washington, D.C., says the vigil is going beyond the bounds of congregations, adding: "Individual churches are doing it. It's happening ecumenically in many places, and, in some places, it has become an interfaith practice." LOGA's Web site offers suggestions for getting involved in the prayer vigil (www.loga.org).

  • Paul Formo, former provost of Dana College in Blair, Neb., is the new president of Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kan. Both are ELCA colleges.

  • "Picnic and Praise" at Bethany Lutheran Church, Spanaway, Wash., is a draw for some who might normally take a break from summer worship. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. each Wednesday, members gather for a barbecue and recreation followed by a brief, youth-led worship and praise service.

  • The ELCA Asociacion Luterana de Ministerios Latinos (Lutheran Association of Latino Ministries) in May re-elected Carlos E. Paiva to a two-year term as president. About 80 Spanish-speaking Lutherans attended the assembly at which the election was held.

  • Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., will open its 2001 football season by taking on California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks — compliments of Lutheran Brotherhood. Muhlenberg was left with a hole in its schedule when another college dropped its football program, resulting in the agreement with CLU, which had an open date as well. CLU will travel to Pennsylvania the following year.

  • Clergy from 19 Hershey, Pa., churches signed a pledge to teach couples the art of good marriage. Winfield Devonshire, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, told the local paper, "It's basically a way of affirming together what we believe are important ways to undergird the important institution of marriage. We consider it to be a lifelong commitment and not an easy promise to keep." Clergy in the Hershey Ministerium gathered at the local library to sign the covenant saying they'll urge couples to schedule counseling six months prior to their weddings. They will receive counsel in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, financial management, sexuality and other relationship issues.

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