The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Churches in the lead

It's not a race that scholar Amitai Etzioni had in mind when he said, "The churches have taken the lead. It comes down to values." The George Washington University professor was talking about rebuilding community. He was interviewed by Carol Mueller, an editor for weekly newspapers, who investigated the problems and possibilities of the nation's neighborhoods for "Finding our way home" (page 22). You'll read about remarkable congregations in Chicago and the Seattle area that illustrate Etzioni's point.

But that's not our only story about the hard and hopeful work of our church's people. Turn to page 32 to learn how 10 churches put together a summer program for 1,000 children in one of Baltimore's most violent areas. And read on page 48 about a required course at Pacific Lutheran Seminary that places future pastors at congregations where they learn from members how to do cross-cultural ministry.

The spontaneous support for the tornado-torn campus of Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., tells a different story of community (page 41). Volunteers daily filled a dozen Lutheran Social Service buses, coming from the Twin Cities to boost the cleanup effort.

Yes, the churches have taken the lead. How could we do less, we who follow Jesus? "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Kathleen Kastilahn's signature


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