Seattle is known as "Latte Land" even when it comes to preparing for Lent. Faith Lutheran Church, Seattle, sponsored the "Lose a latte, give the money you save to the ELCA World Hunger Fund" project. Members received a latte cup and donated the same amount of money they would have spent on coffee during Lent to the hunger fund. For those who didn't want to give up something for Lent, they could "Match a mocha."
Church treasurer George Martin arrived at St. Andrew Lutheran, Portsmouth, Va., to find the message "George, you can pay for it now!" on the sign outside. No, the congregation isn't financially strapped. The note was a lighthearted way of telling Martin that the sign-which was improperly installed a few months before-was finally finished. Martin had asked daily about the board until he finally joked that they should put it on the sign when it was time to pay the bill.
Members of Covenant Lutheran, Houston, were discouraged that they didn't know others in the congregation because the church had grown to accommodate four worship services. So the church held a "family reunion" service for all members at a rodeo arena where the church's band and choirs performed contemporary and traditional music. The sermon title was "A Church Is not a Building," and the service was followed by a barbecue dinner.
Up, up and away. Members of Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, took a mythical balloon ride in a festival called "Around the World in 180 Minutes" to raise interest in global missions. Exhibits about Lutheran evangelism programs were presented, followed by an international feast. A $533 offering was sent to Global Health Ministries and 14 families were designated as country representatives, responsible for keeping other members abreast of Lutheran activity in their appointed areas.
Emmaus Lutheran Church, Orange City, Fla., creates its own calendar featuring artwork and poetry from members. Lutheran Brotherhood covers printing expenses.
Forget the Yellow Pages. Christ the King Lutheran Church, Sunrise, Fla., compiled its own business directory. Members list any businesses, from an after-school lawn service to a multimillion dollar corporation, so others in the congregation can patronize them.
Lutheran Family Services of Colorado is looking for churches to provide a "safe haven" for victims of the Oklahoma City bombing who are attending the trial in Denver. Churches will provide breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack for 30 to 50 people every day for eight weeks. The trial, scheduled to begin the third week of April, is expected to last eight months. For more information call Jan Perino, Lutheran Family Services, (303) 922-3433.
April showers bring May flowers, but that didn't explain the dozen trees and hundreds of holly bushes, day lilies and pansies that seemingly sprouted overnight in front of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Decatur, Ga. The answer: Doug Adams, a Baptist and co-owner of a landscape company, who passes the church frequently. Surmising that the church couldn't afford professional landscaping, Adams took the feast day of St. Nicholas, which celebrates secret gift-giving, as the opportunity to beautify the grounds. No one knew about the gift until arriving for worship two days later.
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Biglerville, Pa., turned garbage into a way of life. By creating a successful recycling program, the congregation received the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Commercial Recycling Award in the Pioneer category. St. Paul, the only church to receive the award, set up a monthly drop-off recycling site for the city and surrounding rural area.
Members of Zion Lutheran Church, Lima, Ohio, came across a quilt shrouded in mystery that they would like to know more about. Found at an auction in Wisconsin, the quilt was stitched in 1908 as a gift for Zion's pastor. There are 600 names in the quilt, many of whom were never members of Zion. No one is sure why the quilt was made or how it made its way to Wisconsin. The quilt was purchased by Mary Lee Claus, Grand Marsh, Wis., who sold it back to Zion for the same amount.
Babies are big business at Trinity Lutheran Church, Hemet, Calif. Members held baby showers to collect supplies for a new satellite ministry, Spirit of Joy Community Church. To get the word out about the new church, many members sported T-shirts with "Trinity Lutheran Church ... We're Expecting" on the front, and information about Spirit of Joy on the back along with its motto, "Real Joy for the Real World."
A second chance is what members of Trinity Lutheran Church are supporting. The Hixson, Tenn., congregation is one of several involved in the Lenten project at Dismas House in Chattanooga, an ecumenical ministry that provides temporary housing and transitional services for released prisoners. Volunteers choose a stone from underneath a wooden cross in their church. Each stone contains the name of a former offender to pray for and a card listing an item needed by Dismas.
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