The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


January 2000 Churchscan

  • Francisco Sosa, bishop of the Caribbean Synod, and several Lutheran pastors joined an ecumenical demonstration against continuing U.S. Navy military exercises on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico. Since the 1940s the Marines have used the island, which has a civilian population, as a target for bombing practice and other military activities. In April, a stray bomb killed one civilian and wounded four others.
  • Twelve faculty members of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., issued a statement supporting Called to Common Mission, the full communion agreement with the Episcopal Church. CCM, approved by the 1999 Churchwide Assembly, "beckons us to a new vocation of theological engagement," the statement said. Others from Luther have criticized the agreement.

  • ELCA International Disaster Response distributed $2 million to relief agencies helping refugees and reconstruction efforts in Kosovo. The money supports efforts of ELCA-affiliated organizations such as Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran World Federation-World Service, Action by Christians Together and the World Council of Churches.

  • Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod Bishop Mark Herbener might have given the home team a boost by singing the national anthem when the Texas Rangers baseball team hosted the Cleveland Indians last fall. The Rangers won 4-3.

  • The Moravian Church in America contributed $10,000 to the North Carolina Lutheran Disaster Response Fund. The money will help eastern North Carolina recover from Hurricane Floyd, which caused widespread flooding last fall. Send donations to ELCA Domestic Disaster Response, Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1864. To volunteer call (888) 336-4250.

  • Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem, joined other Christian churches there and closed its doors Nov. 22-23 to protest Israel's decision to allow a mosque to be built next to the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth — the spot where, according to tradition, an angel told Mary she would bear Jesus. Michael Thomas said, "For us it was really a question of being in solidarity with Palestinian Lutherans." Thomas and his wife, Susan, are ELCA pastors serving at Redeemer. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan closed its six churches in Israel in protest. Christians had wanted the site to be used for a plaza to accommodate pilgrims to the Basilica.

  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $4.6 million to Lutheran Social Services of New England to help build a 45-unit apartment complex for low- and moderate-income seniors in Middletown, Conn. The complex will complement an existing nursing home and congregate care residence. The three facilities will be renamed Luther Ridge.

  • The publishing houses of three churches in full communion with the ELCA will cooperatively use vacation Bible school resources developed by Augsburg Fortress, the ELCA publishing house. Publishers for the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and the Reformed Church in America will use 2000 Ark Avenue: God's Great Get-Together.

  • St. John Lutheran Church, Sudbury, Mass., hosted "Re-Visioning Christianity at the Millennium," a two-day series of seminars for the community west of Boston. Noted scholar Marcus Borg, author of best-selling Jesus: A New Vision and Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, led the series.

  • To raise money for earthquake victims in Turkey, singer-songwriter Lisa Weber and the Folk Group at St. Luke Lutheran church, Glen Ellyn, Ill., hosted a benefit concert. The church collected $851 for ELCA's Disaster Relief Fund.

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