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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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November 2001 Churchscan

  • • After bomb threats and other violence against the Abu-Bakr Mosque in San Diego following the Sept. 11 attacks, Atonement Lutheran Church and the Pacifica Synod invited more than 100 local clergy to a prayer service in front of the mosque, next door to Atonement. Clergy met at Atonement and walked down the sidewalk with a sign denouncing the violence. The imam (Muslim religious leader) came out and prayed with the clergy while Muslims held Friday prayer inside.

  • Both Lutheran fraternal benefit societies allocated funds in wake of the Sept. 11 disaster. Lutheran Brotherhood gave $362,000 to be distributed among individuals, families and recovery agencies (with additional matching funds available to the 181 branches in that region). Aid Association for Lutherans released $1 million, which will be used to mobilize AAL members and branches to help disaster victims through fund raising.

  • Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kan., issued a call to Helen Svoboda-Barber, an Episcopal priest, to serve as associate pastor. "The practicalities of putting Called to Common Mission into practice were not only interesting but challenging," said Michael Peck, pastor. Holy Cross is a rapidly growing congregation that has more than doubled its worship attendance in the last three years.

  • More than 70 people gathered in South Bend, Ind., last summer for the 60th anniversary of the Zamzam reunion. The Zamzam was big news in 1941, when a German raider in the South Atlantic sunk the passenger ship. For 32 days, survivors endured severe shortages of food, water and space on a prison ship before being brought to German-occupied France. The 140 Americans from the Zamzam--most of them missionaries--were eventually released and returned to the United States. Nineteen of those passengers were members of the former Augustana Synod en route to Tanzania.

  • Polai'a Mereane Tausili is the first Samoan woman ordained in the ELCA. Her ordination and installation as associate pastor of multicultural outreach for Peace Lutheran Church, West Seattle, was held last summer.

  • Sixteen seminarians (two from each of the eight ELCA seminaries) who began seminary full time this fall recently received full-tuition scholarships for three years from the ELCA Fund for Leaders in Mission initiative of the ELCA Foundation. The fund, which began last year with eight recipients, hopes to one day ensure full-tuition support to every qualified candidate for ordained or lay rostered ministry attending an ELCA seminary.

  • Paul M. Werger, formerly interim pastor of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem (Israel) and of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Iowa City, Iowa, began serving as interim bishop of the St. Paul Area Synod. The synod council named him interim after Mark Hanson was elected ELCA presiding bishop. The St. Paul Area Synod will elect a new bishop at its April 2002 assembly. Werger, 70, will serve as interim bishop through June 1.

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