Some synods, such as the Caribbean, passed on business sessions and held festivals this year.
The Upper Susquehanna, Lower Susquehanna, Allegheny and Slovak Zion synods met together for a three-day Festival of Faith. The event included Bible studies, presentations on making Christ known, worship and sessions on children, family and service projects. The Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod's festival focused on youth and family ministry. A lakeside barbecue (313-pound pig) featured music led by Trinity Lutheran Church, Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Speakers also informed at assemblies. The Metropolitan Chicago Synod held a workshop called "Intentional Community Outreach: Reaching Out" that offered ideas for serving neighborhoods. At the Oregon Synod assembly, Tex Sample, an author and consultant, discussed challenges the church faces in working with cultural diversity. He said people are looking for a hands-on experience of God.
Music included a Dixieland jazz band at the opening worship of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod in historic St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, the nation's oldest cathedral. Delegates also enjoyed a dinner cruise on a Mississippi River boat.
In Morgantown, WVa., "doing the wave" is common at the sports events of West Virginia University. So West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod Bishop Ralph Dunkin, with the help of acolytes, engineered the wave among worshipers as he challenged them to "make waves for Christ's sake."
For entertainment at the New England Synod assembly, ventriloquist Judy Buch, a member of Peace Lutheran Church, Tolland, Conn., and her friend, "Daisy," discussed the difficulties of church volunteering. Teenagers working with Buch presented their own puppet show.
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