The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


February 2001 Churchscan

  • • When Loss Creek Lutheran Church, Tiro, Ohio, closed its doors in September, its 15 members made a commitment to the wider church. As its final act, they gave remaining funds of $12,600 to the ELCA, including $4,200 from the Sunday school to Vision for Mission.

    Marva Dawn's A Royal ‘Waste’ of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World (William B. Eerdmanns) was fourth on the 2000 top 10 books for parish ministry, according to the Academy of Parish Clergy. Dawn is adjunct professor of spiritual theology at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C., and a columnist for The Lutheran. Three Fortress Press books also made the list: Contours of Old Testament Theology by Bernhard Anderson, Families of Faith: An Introduction to World Religions for Christians by Paul Varo Martinson and Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches, edited by Walter Wink. Another Fortress book, Water Brueggemann's Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World (Fortress Press) was named best general interest book in the 2000 Theologos Awards. The awards were presented in November at the Association of Theological Booksellers.

  • Community of Hope Lutheran, Shelby Township, Mich., appropriately celebrated its first worship as an ELCA congregation on the first Sunday in Advent. Three people were committed to the church when Paul Offhaus, pastor, began visiting 7,000 homes in June 1998. Since its first worship service in April 1999, 55 families have joined, including 85 adults and 51 children — more than half of them unchurched before coming to Community of Hope.

  • Members of Trinity Lutheran Church, Bonners Ferry, Idaho, responded in a letter to an Idaho group called The 11th Hour Remnant Messenger. Last fall the group, claiming to be Christian, mailed color posters that attacked individuals associated with human rights organizations. Trinity president Allen B. Chrisman wrote: "Organizations that preach hate against people of color or people of different religions are not from Christ. …We reject their message of hate and racism."

  • A pastor who waited two years for a kidney transplant received one from the late husband of a woman he had baptized but hadn't seen in years. Ray Burford Kaylor, 61, Gastonia, N.C., received the kidney from Michael Eddy, 23, who died in November while on a honeymoon with his wife, Bethann, 19. She arranged for the donation after hearing that Kaylor needed a kidney.

  • Members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Findlay, Ohio, had an ecumenically busy fall. On October's Make a Difference Day, they worked with the local Roman Catholic primary school to collect 428 jars of peanut butter and 297 jars of grape jelly to make 9,000 sandwiches for the hungry. In November the women's organization combined the usual Thankoffering Sunday with Friendship and Diversity Sunday — celebrating cultures throughout the world and displaying artifacts from the local Black Heritage Library.

  • Serving a midweek meal to youth and adults at church is become a common practice in many congregations, but at Bethany Lutheran, Batavia, Ill., it has necessitated plans for a new kitchen. Café Bethany was born when leaders realized that 175 Wednesday evening participants were having trouble finding room at the evening meal. What started as a meal for 50 has grown to a a program feeding more than 200. Now with a paid coordinator at the helm, Wednesdays are spent cooking — mostly from scratch, says member Jim Anderson. Café Bethany has raised the bar — no hot dogs for this group. A typical menu might be roast pork loin, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables and fruit salad, Anderson says.

  • At Joy Lutheran Church, Spartanburg, S.C., 10 young adults, ages 15-20, who are part of a member's special education class show up every Thursday to clean the storefront, mission church. They're getting work experience for future employment and are paid a small amount that's used for group field trips. The congregation hosts a party for them each month and adopts them and their families at Christmas.

  • In its attempt to attract young families, St. Michael Lutheran Church in Amagansett, N.Y., staged a performance of "Peter and the Wolf" with the help of the local Girl Scouts. In the narrator search, they decided: "Why not shoot for the stars?" They asked actor Alec Baldwin, who lives in the community, and he said, "Yes." Not surprisingly, they played to a full house.

  • Safe Streets, a community mobilization organization in Topeka, Kan., celebrated its fifth anniversary. Dave Fulton, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Topeka, heads the group. Fulton credited the organization with its success, saying, "It's nice to see things like this work. It's like, idealism isn't dead. You can still have a capacity to do good for society."

  • "This is our little spiritual home for the jazz community," said singer Nancie Banks during the 30th anniversary celebration of the annual All Nite Soul Jazzfest at St. Peter Lutheran Church on Manhattan's East Side. The site of weekly jazz vespers since 1965, St. Peter is renowned for its ministry to New York's large jazz community.

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      February issue

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      Embracing diversity