* ELCA missionaries have remained in the Central African Republic despite a U.S. government decision to temporarily suspend its operations there due to hostilities between rebel forces and African peacekeepers. The U.S. Embassy closed, but the State Department plans to reopen it soon.
* More than 700 descendants of Martin Luther live in North America, according to The Lutheran Witness, the official publication of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Most are members of mainline Protestant denominations; about 230 are ELCA members and 16 belong to the LCMS.
* Religious leaders of several denominations and organizations in the Dallas area, including ELCA Bishop Mark Herbener of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, pledged to work together to promote Christian unity and cooperation. The leaders signed a covenant outlining an agreement to hold joint activities and celebrations as the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus Christ nears in the year 2000.
* The first-ever regional social ministry convocations will be held in October at eight sites across the country. Via satellite, the "ELCA National Town Hall Meeting on Economic Life" will draw together leaders of synod boards and committees with a concern for social ministry. Anyone interested in convocation registration information can call Les Weber, the churchwide project coordinator, (800) 638-3522 Ext. 2561.
* More than 1,000 freshmen at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., received Bibles from the American Bible Society at the end of basic training. The project was coordinated by an ELC chaplain, Capt. Paul Cannon, director of the academy's ministry for basic cadets. The society has provided Bibles for the nation's military since the Civil War.
* Two donors in the Northeastern Iowa Synod funded a synodwide printing-2,000 copies-of Daily Texts, a yearly booklet of 365 biblical verses grouped into weekly themes. The Daily Texts tradition began in 1722 with a community of Bohemian and Moravian refugees and continues as a ministry of the Moravian Church in America, Bethlehem, Pa.
* Katie Klausen, 14, member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Greeley, Colo., was among 51 students who made their voices heard in government when they discussed youth-related issues with members of Congress at the ninth annual RespecTeen National Youth Forum in Washington, D.C., April 26 through May 1. Clausen was chosen from more than 13,000 students nationwide when she wrote a letter to Rep. Bob Schaffer on the electoral college.
* Augsburg Fortress, the ELCA publishing house, plans to relocate its Minneapolis offices by the end of the year to Fifth Street Towers. Sold to the county, Augsburg's property will become a safety facility.
* April Ulring Larson, bishop of the LaCrosse Area Synod, was a guest of special interest when she visited LaCrosse's companion synod in the Ethiopian Evangelical [Lutheran] Church Mekane Yesus. The Ethiopian church recently ended a 15-year discussion on the ordination of women by voting in favor of it. Larson and the Wisconsin group accompanying her documented their trip through a video, and they plan to show it to each of the ELCA synod's 80 congregations.
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