# The Lutheran magazine will be sent to every member of Epiphany Lutheran Church, Canoga Park, Calif., thanks to the congregation's Women of the ELCA. The group held a bake and craft sale to pay for the subscriptions.
# In Portland, Ore., the coming attractions include more than the latest summer blockbuster. First Immanuel Lutheran Church took out an ad on 12 movie theater screens that runs before the films. The slide shows youth with the words, "Why are these people so happy? Find out at First Immanuel Lutheran," along with the church's address.
# Shut-ins from Immanuel Lutheran Church, Centralia, Wash., receive a "cookie banquet." Prepared by Lori Pannette and delivered by Immanuel's pastor, Bernt El le, each person gets heart-shaped cookies in a festively wrapped mug.
# Faith Lutheran Church, Natrona Heights, Pa., along with other area churches, signed a "Speak Out for Sunday" declaration urging all community musical, drama and athletic program leaders to reserve Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for religious ac tivities.
# A "secret garden" was planted in the library at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Massillon, Ohio. With plants, flowers, a fountain and an angel statue, the garden created a relaxing atmosphere for children to participate in a summer reading program. A paper flower for each child was put on the wall, and every time that child read a book, its title was added to the petals. At the end of summer, the youth received different prizes based on how many books they read.
# The Turning Point Housing Coalition, a not-for-profit volunteer organization that provides temporary shelter and assistance to homeless families, received the Key Award from the Indiana Coalition on Housing and Homeless Issues. Turning Point g rew from a $4,000 grant given to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Ind., by the Lilly Foundation.
# It's time to play ball at Nativity Lutheran Church, Rockland, Maine. Each summer a cow pasture next to the church is used for monthly softball games, open to the entire community.
# Many churches celebrate a 100th anniversary, but Our Savior Lutheran, Virginia, Minn., reached the century mark with two charter members still a part of the congregation. Agnes Hovland, 107, and her sister, Theressa, 103, have been with the ch urch since its founding in 1897.
# Tore Vingo, 62, was on a quest to ski (using skis with wheels) across the country. On the way, he and Nina Macleod, who was accompanying him on the journey, decided to get married. Both were born in Norway and lived in California but decided to hold the ceremony along the way. They stopped in Norway, Kan., population 55, and arranged for the wedding at the only church in town, Our Savior Lutheran. Expecting to have only two witnesses and the pastor in attendance, tears came to Macleod's eyes when 65 guests-every member in town plus 10 from surrounding farms-attended the wedding. The presiding pastor, Bradford Bray, also called a retired pastor who speaks Norwegian to do part of the service in the couple's native language.
# Members of St. Michael Lutheran Church, Doraville, Ga., get a bonus with their newsletter. Each month volunteers donate a small original piece of art with a religious message that is attached to everyone's newsletter.
# So long Snowbirds. Grace Lutheran Church, Gulf Shores, Ala., held a party in appreciation of its winter members. The number of winter worshipers has grown in the past few years from less than 10 to more than 200 this year.
# 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 what she paid.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers