The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


January 1999 Churchscan

At many churches, "library" is a euphemism for a shelf of musty tomes from the former pastor's seminary days. But at Zion Lutheran, Canton, Ohio, it's a congregational resource that provides community outreach. Zion's library, dedicated Nov. 1, contains more than 1,000 books, scores of videos and other materials. In addition to serving the Sunday school, preschool and other Zion groups, the library is open two days a week for the public to browse and borrow.

A Lutheran and Roman Catholic squared off on Reformation Sunday to act out the 1519 debate between Martin Luther and John Eck, a Catholic scholar. Portraying Luther, Ken Lentz, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Venice, Fla., faced John J. Nevins, bishop of the Diocese of Venice. After the debate, Nevins discussed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. The proposed statement declares Lutherans and Catholics essentially agree on justification-the very issue that divided the churches in Luther's day. "In coming closer to unity among ourselves, we may, in turn, find greater unity with and in Christ," Nevins said.

Countless singers and musicians have graced Bethel Lutheran Church, Manassas, Va., since its beginning over a century ago. About 48 of them shared stories and-naturally-sang last summer when the choir held its first reunion.

When Trinity Lutheran Church, Spring Grove, Minn., wanted to honor Almore Mathesen for 40 years service as choir director, teacher and church leader, the traditional gold watch or testimonial dinner didn't seem sufficient. Trinity commissioned Carolyn Jennings of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., to compose a choral work dedicated to Mathesen. Bless the Lord, O My Soul based on Psalm 103-Mathesen's favorite-debuted last fall.

Trinity Lutheran, Lansdale, Pa., was one of the first congregations to participate in "Simply Giving," a Lutheran Brotherhood program where a member's weekly pledge is automatically transferred from a checking or savings account into the church's account. "It has helped the congregation see that we desire to adapt in healthy ways to new technological possibilities, said Bill Bixby, pastor of Trinity.


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