* An arson fire caused about $850,000 in damage to the offices at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Omaha, Neb. Local officials believe the fire was set to cover up a break-in. Insurance will cover about 90 percent of rebuilding and cleanup of smoke-damaged areas. In McCool Junction, Neb., Pastor Anne Rosenquist escaped without injury a fire at the parsonage of First Lutheran Church. The cause of the fire is unknown. The home's exterior structure was deemed sound, and rebuilding took about six weeks.
* Natasha Hopkins, 5, was killed in an elevator accident at a transitional housing site run by Bethel New Life, a community ministry of Bethel Lutheran Church, Chicago. City officials determined that the elevator, which is serviced and inspected regularly, didn't malfunction. Hopkins was caught between the elevator's gate and door but didn't weigh enough to keep the door open. Bethel New Life, which rents the building from the Archdiocese of Chicago, started a collection to help Hopkins' m other and to pay funeral costs.
* 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, 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."
* 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. 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 so often about the board, he finally joked that they should put it on the sign when it was finished.
* Let's do lunch. Christ Lutheran, Wichita, Kan., hosts Falcon Fellowship, a monthly lunch and inspirational program sponsored by Wichita Heights High School's student Bible club, the church, Lutheran Brotherhood and three nondenominational Christian churches. Students get a free lunch while enjoying everything from comedians to musicians to inspirational programs created by the students.
* The Virginia Lutheran Men in Mission will move St. John Lutheran Church from Singers Glen to Camp Caroline Furnace, Fort Valley, Va. The church, built in 1887 and disbanded in 1956, will be dismantled and moved to the camp for use as a rural church center. The men's group agreed to raise the approximately $25,000 required for the project.
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