The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


September 2001 Churchscan

  • • Two alumni from St. Olaf, Northfield, Minn.., promised the college $12 million to build a recreation center. The center will include state-of-the-art exercise machines as well as an indoor track and rock-climbing wall. Ground for the new center was broken in July; it is expected to be finished in September 2002. The gift is from Jerrol and Alleen Tostrud, who graduated in 1960 and 1961. Jerrol was an executive at West Publishing Co. and is on the college's board of regents. Alleen is a homemaker and former schoolteacher.

  • St. John Lutheran, Atlanta, was one of four area churches featured in Answering Micah's Call, a CBS TV feature this summer. The National Council of Churches' "Micah 6" project encourages churches to look at all their activities through the lens of Micah 6:8. Bradley Schmeling, pastor of St. John, helps build relationships around advocacy work, asking the tough question, "Who's not here (around the table)?"

  • When All Saints Lutheran Church, Palatine, Ill.., discovered it was their pastor's 35th anniversary of ordination, they contributed to the ELCA Fund for Leaders in Mission, which helps support full tuition for seminarians, and bought their pastor a new alb. But to match their pastor's sense of humor, they also declared the 35 days following F. Leonard Peterson's May 25 ordination the "35 days of Len." Thirty-five households adopted a day to present Peterson with a creative gift. He received a visit from firemen on fire engine No. 35, raw eggs, cookies and Krispy Kreme donuts in increments of 35. Members also ushered Peterson onto school bus No. 35 and headed for a Cubs-White Sox game. Peterson, an avid Sox fan, even enjoyed a White Sox win.

  • Building projects often drain congregations of dollars and energy. But Lutheran, Villages of Lady Lake, Fla.., was able to help another church with its building project. Hope sent Eglise Lutherienne Jerusalem Church in Haiti $7,000 to help finish church construction, and assisted two other Christian communities in Liberia and Southeast Asia to build churches. Hope began in March 1998 with 203 people and has grown to 451 members. Groundbreaking for its church took place in May. Member Donna Vierow told the local newspaper the congregation had plans to give $7,000 to mission work before knowing they could build their own church. "It's a gift to be able to do that with faith and not have to worry about taking care of ourselves first," she said.

  • This month, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.., opens the 2001 football season by taking on California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks — with a little help from 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 also had an open date. CLU will travel to Pennsylvania the following year. LB district offices and agents in both locations are helping pay for the trips.

  • St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hampton, Va.., was recently awarded the ELCA's annual accessibility award. Christine L. Farrow, St. Paul pastor, said the $1,000 award will be used to make the water fountains accessible to people who use wheelchairs. St. Paul was selected for the accessibility of its buildings and for the extent to which the congregation includes people with disabilities in worship, leadership and other activities. Three other Lutheran congregations received honorable mention: Zion, Staten Island, N.Y.; Emmanuel, Cheney, Wash.; and Ascension, Waukesha, Wis.

  • The ELCA moved from the sixth largest Christian denomination to fifth, and from the fifth largest Protestant denomination to fourth in the United States, according to the 2001 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. Although the ELCA has not grown, the yearbook received more accurate figures for other denominations. The top five are: Roman Catholic, 62 million; Southern Baptist Convention, 15.85 million; United Methodist, 8.37 million; Church of God in Christ, 5.49 million; ELCA, 5.14 million.

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