The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


August 1998 Churchscan

• Three weeks after St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., announced budget cutbacks that would end its hockey and wrestling programs, more than 75 donors pledged $275,000 to keep the teams in intercollegiate sports. Without the funds, they would have changed to club sports. "We are delighted and overwhelmed by the generosity and outpouring of support from our alumni, parents and friends," said Mark Edwards, president of St. Olaf.

• The Students in Free Enterprise chapter at Newberry [S.C.] College won the International Rookie Team of the Year award at the International Exposition in Kansas City, Mo. Newberry competed against 160 college and university chapters of all sizes. The competition consisted of a 40-minute multimedia presentation, where Newberry detailed its projects, which included the distribution of $60,000 worth of children's clothes, supplies and infant care products donated by the national foundation K.I.D.S. Inc.

• Full communion between the ELCA and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) became official June 17 during the Presbyterian General Assembly. The ELCA approved full communion at its 1997 Churchwide Assembly. "Out of shared commitment to the gospel we've come together after 450 years to say, `There is nothing that should divide us. We can be in full communion. This is a united witness we make to the world,' " said Guy Edmiston Jr., bishop of the ELCA Lower Susquehanna Synod. A celebratory worship service is planned for Oct. 4 in Chicago at the Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. (See also, page 35.)

• About 140 people involved in ELCA hunger ministries met in Bismarck, N.D., for the ELCA World Hunger Synod Leadership Gathering to worship, tell stories, foster education about agricultural issues facing North Dakota farmers and ranchers, and examine poverty issues on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Fort Yates, N.D. "Hundreds of farmers and ranchers are living on the brink of financial ruin in North Dakota," said Arlene Olson, a family farmer and member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Wing, N.D. "If something isn't done soon, there won't be any family farmers left."

• "People between the ages of 13 and 18 are serious about life. They are also self-reliant, stressed out and skeptical, but they are spiritual and survivors," said Paul Hill, director of the Center for Youth Ministry, Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, who spoke at Confirmation 2000, a symposium on confirmation ministry sponsored by the ELCA Division for Congregational Ministries. "They realize the society is a mess and they are the ones to fix it. We should help turn the cleanup generation into disciples."

• Scenes from the movie Martin Luther are being used to highlight a new educational video on Luther. Lutheran Film Associates, a partnership between the ELCA and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, has released Luther Legacy, a four-part series.

• A coalition of 200 Roman Catholic, Jewish and Protestant leaders, including ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson and Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), called on the Senate to quickly ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. "The United States has within its powers the capacity to take decisive action on some of the most fateful issues affecting the security of our nation and the peace of the planet," the statement says.

• ELCA members are learning to rely on each other and to depend less on the pastor as the one and only caregiver, according to Marta Poling-Goldenne, ELCA director for evangelism. The laity-led concept was shared at the Evangelism Connections 1998 conference on 21st century evangelism in Los Angeles. "Prayer, guidance and accountability among Christians are replacing ... pastor-exclusive chaplaincy," she said.

• Lutheran young people from across the country used the Internet April 29 to connect with each other for a live interactive chat. ELCA youth talked about how the church can minister with gay, lesbian and bisexual youth. More than 45 people and youth advisers participated in event. Young people and church leaders also prayed and joined a 24-hour fast that day for the "personal and faith issues facing gay, lesbian and bisexual youth."

• A procession of Episcopal priests, Lutheran pastors and four bishops gathered in Church of the Ascension, Frankfort, Ky., to celebrate the signing of a covenant by the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington and the ELCA Indiana-Kentucky Synod — and the commissioning of Cynthia Rauh as the priest developer of St. Thomas Church, Campbellsville, Ky., an Episcopal-Lutheran congregation.

• Mount Washington Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, served as a shelter for people whose homes were lost or damaged when 16 tornadoes touched down in southwestern Pennsylvania. The June 2 storm included strong winds, damaging hail, heavy rains and flash floods. The ELCA Domestic Disaster Response and Lutheran Disaster Response have responded to 17 disasters in the last five months, expending more than $100,000 in emergency tornado relief in just a few weeks.

• Hallmark Entertainment is joining with Jim Henson Productions to invest $100 million to form a partnership with the Odyssey Channel, which receives ELCA support. Odyssey, a 30-million subscriber cable channel is owned by Tele-Communications Inc.'s Liberty Media and by the National Interfaith Cable Coalition. Odyssey plans a dramatic overhaul. It will keep some of its religious programming and add movies and programs that Hallmark considers wholesome.


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