Turn to this issue’s back inside cover (page 51) to consider a call for a day of service in recognition of the ELCA’s 25th anniversary. Save the date, as the saying goes, of Sept. 8, 2013.
The case for such an observance is highlighted in an eye-catching black and gold ad asking the church to “join together as 4 million members and nearly 10,000 congregations for a dedicated day of service. Let’s clean up neighborhoods, deliver meals, collect supplies for refugees overseas, visit our neighbors or help children learn to read.”
Why not celebrate? Recall that the theme for the anniversary year is “Always being made new.” As the promotional material for the event says so well, “What God is doing through us here at home and around the world is worth celebrating. As you embark in ministry during this anniversary year, take a look back at the people and events that have shaped us as a church while looking toward the future together anew.” At the magazine, we intend to do that at some length in the August issue, just in time for the Churchwide Assembly Aug. 12-17 in Pittsburgh.
The anniversary day of service also features a fun gold and black T-shirt with the ELCA’s tagline of “God’s work. Our hands.” that can be purchased for wear that day. With the ELCA emblem and name on the back, it can be customized with the addition of a congregation’s name and town. It’s something like a moving billboard letting others know a tidbit about our church. Details are available at www.elca.org/25years.
(Full disclosure: the colors are those of my alma mater, the University of Missouri, that still cause a small internal stir 40 years later, so maybe I’m a bit more predisposed to the ad and T-shirt than others.)
The promotional material is on target when it describes the ELCA as a church rooted in Scripture, tradition and the Lutheran Confessions. We indeed do have congregations that are vibrant communities with rich histories: “These roots are an ongoing source of nourishment, enabling us to be a church that is resilient, always reforming and guided by the Holy Spirit.” Amen to that.
Now just a few words about a selfless act. St. John Lutheran Church in Racine, Ohio, had canceled its subscription to The Lutheran. The Ohio River congregation of 27 members has an average worship attendance of 13 and a tiny budget. For situations such as this, the magazine tailors best-rate subscription plans based on average worship attendance.
So its pastor, Linea Warmke, ordered five copies for $44.75, and paid the invoice herself. Since the congregation “is so small that we do not have a mailbox,” she asked that the copies be mailed to her home. A good church servant, indeed.
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© 2016 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers