* First Lutheran, Edinboro, Pa., is working to bring healing to its congregation and community after a 14-year-old shot and killed a schoolteacher and wounded three other people at an eighth-grade dance in that town. Church membership includes many students and teachers, said Pastor Robert Schmidt, though no relatives of the victims or the accused belong to First. Several church youth were schoolmates of the alleged shooter; one was nearby when the shots were fired April 24. The church held a prayer vigil open to the community, as well as special healing services. Schmidt also joined counselors who visited the school after the incident.
* Like many retirees from the Snowbelt, a 9,000-pound metal cross and tripod tower from Oak Knoll Lutheran Church, Minnetonka, Minn., is enjoying new life in Florida. When Oak Knoll was building anew several years ago, the church wanted to find a "good home" for the cross. Word reached Victor Jortack, pastor of Luther Memorial Church, Hollywood, Fla., via his friends, Ted and Myrna Wolf of Long Lake, Minn. The Wolfs directed the effort to dismantle the cross and drive it about 1,800 miles to Florida. Today the Northern cross stands tall in the Southern sun.
* Lazarus House, a summer shelter for homeless people in St. Charles, Ill., is open for its second season. Darlene Marcusson, congregation coordinator of Hosanna Lutheran, St. Charles, created the shelter after the city council effectively made homelessness illegal by passing a law against vagrancy. Hosanna's leadership backed the shelter and has worked with other community agencies to make the shelter a success. Lazarus House has hosted as many as six guests a night.
* The city of Buffalo, N.Y., bestowed two honors upon the choir of Parkside Lutheran Church. Noting the group's excellence, the city council named the choir Buffalo's "Goodwill Musical Ambassadors" for its weeklong concert tour to Germany in April. Mayor Anthony Masiello named March 27 "Parkside Choir Day."
* Here's a sure contender for the Lutheran Book of World Records: A whopping 105 children from kindergartners to fifth grade took first communion at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Grand Island, Neb., on Maundy Thursday. Nebraska Synod Bishop Richard Jessen was celebrant for the event, attended by 745 people. St. Paul's council voted last November to lower the age of communion, as permitted by Churchwide Assembly last August.
* In recognition of its extensive role in serving the community, Grace Lutheran Church, San Antonio, Texas, received the Churchmanship Award from its peers. The San Antonio Community of Churches gave Grace the award for its programs, ranging from serving Alzheimer's and tuberculosis patients to offering preschool and promoting nonviolence by working with gang members and creating a peace center.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers