The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



  Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota removed a same-sex couple from the "waiting families" section on its adoption Web site. The Minnesota Family Council, which describes itself as defender "of principles and policies supporting the traditional American family," said LSS acted after more than 200 Minnesotans objected because the couple is lesbian. But Richard Smith, director of LSS adoption services, said the couple asked to be removed from the site, along with their phone number and e-mail address, to avoid harassment. Smith says the LSS board has a policy of nondiscrimination; same-sex couples can adopt. Nearly 700 Minnesota foster children are eligible for adoption. "Clearly, foster care isn't the ideal, but do we want to open up the door to other problems in the child's life?" asked Tom Prichard, president of the family council. "Children look at how their parents interact as a mom and a dad. With gay or lesbian parents there would be gender confusion issues in the mind of a small child."

• In many congregations, worship attendance the Sunday after Easter can be low--at least compared to the previous week. At Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Royersford, Pa., that day is now a high-attendance Sunday. That's when they offer holy humor: "The Resurrection Celebration Continues." Member Ray Kiefer says Grace's tradition--now in its eighth year--is based on the old Christian custom of Easter Monday as a "day of joy and laughter. ... The faithful played practical jokes on each other, drenched each other with water and danced. It was a time for clergy and lay people to tell jokes and have fun." The congregation's "dramadies" have featured Granny Clampett, Captain Kirk and the Klingons to Regis Phillistine in a Who Wants to be a Millionaire? parody called "Can You Find the Treasure?"

• It was well into the new year when St. Barnabas Lutheran Church, Howard Beach, Queens, N.Y., received a thank-you note for Christmas gifts, but the P.S. explained it well: "We can't post letters until the ship arrives at the Suez Canal," William Baum, pastor, says the congregation annually sends dozens of gifts through the Lutheran seafarers' ministry in New York City. This year John Cody "and all the others aboard [the Edward Oldendorf]" wrote a thank you during a Christmas storm on the Mediterranean. "At dinnertime Christmas Day, Capt. Valery Shuarts gave each sailor one of your presents," wrote Cody, adding that the officers and crew were particularly lonesome for family that day. The ship's crew came from such countries as Singapore, the Maldives and Ghana. He thanked the church for reaching out to people of all cultures, adding: "There is not a single sailor on our freighter from North America. ... Your thoughtfulness gave them a wonderful idea of what the Christian religion encourages people to do."

• An unused parsonage at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Ottumwa, Iowa, has been put to good use. It houses the Casa Roja (Red House) After School Project. While collaborating with the local school in its English-as-a-second-language program, parishioners became aware of the need for after-school care for children who are learning English.

•  "Here's my card," say members of Zion Lutheran, Stockton, Calif., when they want people to know about their congregation. Members are encouraged to carry printed business cards with church information, including a map to Zion and details about the 9:30 a.m. visitor-friendly worship service.


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