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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Ride the rail

Texas church opens its parking lot for neighborhood skaters

Half-pipe, leaping, tricks, twist and twirl usually don't make people think about church. But these words meant fun at Holy Ghost Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg, Texas.

Area youth were developing a reputation for in-line skating and skateboarding in areas dangerous to themselves and others. With that in mind, Holy Ghost sponsored a Skaters' Skills Contest.

Thirty-six youth — mostly junior-high aged — participated. The group included a cross-section of the community — white, Hispanic, wealthy, poor. Only nine were members of the congregation.

"It was a wonderful outreach for the congregation," said Ray Tiemann, a pastor of Holy Ghost. "We were able to show how youth-friendly the congregation seeks to be. By reaching out to those who were on the edge in the community, we opened our arms wide, just like Jesus did in his ministry."

Holy Ghost youth brought rails and ramps from home. Adult sponsors secured prizes that were given for various skills.

Permission slips served as a medical and liability release and required that all participants wear helmets. The Fredericksburg Youth Center, whose skating area was closed while it moved locations, provided extra helmets for those who didn't own one.

The youth from Holy Ghost enjoyed hosting this event so much they're considering a repeat performance.


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