• Clergy attending a conference for ELCA pastors of large congregations May 3-7 in Dorado, Puerto Rico, drafted a covenant with their views on ministry and the churchwide sexuality vote in 2005. Believing the church can't do Christian ministry without shared values, the group agreed the Bible is the only final authority for all aspects of life; affirmed an aggressive, positive stance on "kingdom expansion and congregational growth"; supported the advancement of the use of spiritual gifts; agreed to teach and practice the belief that a full sexual relationship belongs exclusively in a committed marriage of a man and woman; and concurred that mission and ministry is best accomplished within the context of the congregation. The covenant was drafted by pastors meeting informally during the conference to discuss their futures with the ELCA, said David Housholder, a pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, Calif. For more information on the Dorado Covenant, see www.DoradoCovenant.org.
• On June 29, fire destroyed the historic building of Brevig [Alaska] Memorial Lutheran Church. Also damaged was a newer church built next door in 1976 and the parsonage, built in 1984. The newer church is still structurally sound but needs a new roof, walls and floor. The congregation hopes volunteers and offerings will help them rebuild. Cost of materials is estimated at $75,000 to $150,000. Checks can be made out to the Alaska Synod and sent to 1847 W. Northern Lights Blvd. #2, Anchorage AK 99517-3343.
• St. Timothy Lutheran, Portland, Ore., has three other congregations that use its buildings. That arrangement was fortuitous on Pentecost Sunday, when John Beck, pastor of St. Timothy, asked the Samoan Adventist, Baptist and Ukrainian Pentecostal congregations to join in worship, as well as the local religion writer. A spread in The Oregonian included this colorful report: "Vowels and consonants caressed and crashed on the ears of English-only speakers as the Christian Pentecost story ... was read aloud in 10 languages (Latin, Greek, Norwegian, Spanish, English, German, Samoan, Ukrainian, Trukese and Russian). Just as one's ears got used to the sound and cadence of one language, another took over."
• Countless people have been touched by cancer. Hope Lutheran Church, Hollywood, Calif., recognizes that reality and remembered it in June with its third annual worship service of remembrance. In addition to a speaker, music and communion, worshipers can light a candle to remember someone who has died.
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