Lutherans are "lightly represented" in Ogden, Utah, admitted David Thomas, office administrator of Elim Lutheran Church, "but we try to have an impact greater than our numbers."
And so they do.
Elim takes several opportunities during the year to bless what is important to members. In the fall they bless animals, in the spring they bless bikes. And Labor Day weekend, they bless work boots — and anything else that represents people's labors.
Last year was the first time the congregation held a boot blessing, so Thomas said he wasn't sure how many people would bring a work item to be blessed. He had seen the blessing in the "Sundays and Season" resource and asked Elim's pastor, DanaLee Simon, about it.
As office administrator, Thomas spends most of his time at the computer so he brought his keyboard to worship to be blessed. There were also combat boots from a member in the Air Force, cowboy boots, a log book from a trucker, a pager from a doctor and a whisk from a pastry chef. Like the welcome of this small congregation, the door for participation was wide open — retired folks were invited to bring an item representing past careers, and those still studying for a career were encouraged to bring something that denotes their future job goal.
Just weeks before the boot blessing, the congregation also blesses school backpacks. At least eight school districts are represented at Elim, which is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Ogden. The poverty rate at the closest elementary school is 98 percent. So the congregation collects school supplies to give to member children when the backpacks are blessed, but also donates to several classrooms at nearby Dee Elementary, Thomas said.
"One of the things I enjoy most about all the blessings we do is that they connect people's everyday life to their life of faith," said Simon (firstname.lastname@example.org). "Blessings are a helpful reminder of God's presence with us all the time and everywhere — not just when we're at church or with a specific group of people."
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