*When Augsburg College, Minneapolis, declined to name a building's wing after him, Elroy Stock sued his alma mater to get back the $500,000 he donated. After Augsburg accepted the money in 1987, news broke that Stock had sent thousands of letters to mixed-race couples advocating racial purity. The college denies Stock's claims that it agreed to put his name on the wing his money financed. Support for Augsburg came in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial: "He [Stock] deserves no honor, only the prayers that disapproving fellow Lutherans owe a troubled soul. Augsburg, a racially inclusive Lutheran college, should not return one nickel from current resources meant to help today's students."
* Faith Lutheran Church, Rochelle, Ill., reaped a harvest of savings from a homegrown landscaping strategy for its new sanctuary. When the building plan was conceived seven years ago, member Larry Marty planted 25 tree seedlings no bigger than his thumb on a vacant section of the church's property. Marty, who teaches horticulture at nearby Kishwaukee College, nourished the plants for pennies and last fall transplanted them-now with trunks a half-foot in diameter-around the church. The moving cost per tree: $24.
* "Thanks!" read the inscription on the refrigerator magnets given to veterans and other worshipers who gathered at Trinity Lutheran Church, Thief River Falls, Minn., on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The service featured patriotic music.
* When the Mississippi River flooded Calvary Lutheran, Sabula, Iowa, in 1993, the congregation recovered with the help from friends. So when three churches in northeast Iowa were flooded last spring (St. Paul, Volga; Hope, Littleport; and Grace, Fayette), Calvary wanted to return the favor. It organized fund-raisers with other Lutheran churches. Counting donations from Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans, they raised $10,000.
* "God knows our fatigue and our weariness and our victories," declared Michelle Robinson, pastor of United in Christ Lutheran Church, Chicago, at a retreat gathering in San Antonio of ministers who are women of color. The event, which focused on renewal, affirmation, sharing and visioning, drew 53 of the ELCA's 94 pastors who are women of color. "I always enjoy coming into the presence of sisters," said Yvonne Delk, a pastor in Norfolk, Va.
* Atonement Lutheran, Muskego, Wis., used the power of internet shopping to raise money for All Peoples Gathering, an inner-city Milwaukee church of which Atonement is one of 13 partners. When members register and shop through igive.com, a gateway to Web shopping pages, a small percentage of the sale goes to All Peoples, says Jim Lynch, the Atonement member who set up the system.
* The Division for Global Mission is backing an effort to bring back organ music to Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem, in time for Jesus' 2,000th birthday. It will take an estimated $130,000 to fix the church's 106-year-old pipe organ. Christmas' American sister church, Christ the Redeemer, 5440 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55419, is handling the fund drive in the United States.
* The U.S. Surgeon General's office commended the ELCA for its message on suicide prevention, which the Church Council passed in November. The message "is a shining example of the important and life-saving role for the faith community in suicide prevention," a letter of commendation reads. The ELCA's message-plus facts, links to related sites, tips for individual and community action-can be read at www.elca.org/dcs/suicide_prevention.html.
* Ever look through The Lutheran Book of Worship and wonder "How does that hymn go?" Now you can log onto the Web and listen to piano renditions of most LBW hymns. The project is the brainchild of Richard Jordan, a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor who started with three LCMS hymnals. Congregational webmasters can also link to www.lutheran-hymnal.com/lbw to provide music for their own sites. Read and respect the copyright notice.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers