* The Bible school of St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Barrington, Ill., were paid a visit by the 75-foot RE/MAX hot air balloon. The children were given a demonstration of the techniques of hot-air ballooning and aerodynamics and were shown slides on the history of balloon aviation.
* Beware of pink flamingos! In Waterloo, Iowa, youth from Zion Lutheran Church use the plastic pink lawn ornaments to raise money. The flamingos are placed on an unsuspecting member's lawn, and, for a small donation, the flamingos are moved to the yard of the homeowner's choosing. The Zion youth raised money to take a mission trip to Chicago and to attend the National Youth gathering in New Orleans.
* Although the cemetery owned by First English Lutheran, Whitewater, Wis., is closed due to landmark status, the congregation honors requests for those who enjoyed worshiping at the church to scatter their remains in a cluster of lilies overlooking Whitewater Lake. Each name is listed on a plaque inside the church, and the total cost of the service is $6, which covers the inscription.
* Mary Shanahan, an intern at Messiah Lutheran Church, Redwood City, Calif., spearheaded the first Peninsula Career Fair Day for troubled teens at Hillcrest Juvenile Hall, a San Mateo County correctional facility. Forty professionals were recruited by Shanahan and area Lutheran churches to give the 120 teens specific information about 30 career fields.
* A $100,000 gift to First Lutheran Church, Oakland, Calif., in honor of Romaine Hansen Murphy, was used to start a residence for women in the city with serious financial needs. Tenants will get help with job searches. Sponsors for the project include other Oakland Lutheran churches, Lutheran Social Services of the East Bay and Salem Lutheran Home, Oakland.
* To give new moms a break, Hope Lutheran Church, Cranberry Township, Pa., adopted the MOPS program. Mothers of Preschoolers meets from 9-11 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. While the children from birth to kindergarten are placed in a classroom setting, the mothers have refreshments, listen to a speaker, participate in small-group discussions and share in a craft session. First developed in Colorado in 1973, there are now more than 1,000 MOPS groups in 13 countries.
* A Mighty Fortress, a musical based on life of Martin Luther, was written by Jeannette Sorrell and her husband Rene Schiffer, members of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Cleveland. The musical was performed in the greater Cleveland area with a cast recruited from Lord of Life. Church members designed and painted the scenery. At the end of each show, the group received invitations for tours.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers