The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


September 1998 Churchscan

  • Everyone at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Wayne, Neb., knew of Pastor Bill Koeber's sweet tooth. But he became notorious for his love of chocolate when he ate five Milky Ways between services one Sunday. Unfortunately, the candies were to be props for a children's sermon in the second service. Delivering the message, Pastor Martin Russell was stunned to find only empty wrappers. As if all the elbow ribbing weren't sufficient punishment, Randy Brenner, a parishioner and grocer, held a weeklong sale on Milky Ways in Koeber's honor. Brenner put a full-page ad in the Wayne Herald offering Milky Ways for 25 cents. The slogan: "Four Bars for One Bill." The store display included a photo of the "Bill" in question.

  • Underscoring the end of the Cold War, Zion Lutheran, Harrisburg (Penbrook), Pa., dismantled a fallout shelter built in 1962 in the church basement. Members of the property committee-some of whom were involved in civil defense decades ago-figured the church could better use the space for storage.

  • The 20-foot cross atop the bell tower at St. Paul Lutheran, Arlington, Mass., does more than proclaim the church's message. It also raises $45,000 a year for mission. Cellular phone antennas are concealed in the tower. Desperate for access to higher ground of a nonspiritual sort, phone companies are increasingly looking to churches to erect antennas. And they are paying big money for them. AT&T even replaced St. Paul's cross and agreed to illuminate it nightly. St. Paul has earmarked the money for new programs, charity and outreach. "Spreading the gospel, that's what the resources are about," parishioner Dave Peterson told the Boston Globe.

  • A church built from crosses! That's the slogan at Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, Jackson, Wyo., where property values soar as high as the Tetons. The mission congregation meets in a school but dreams of having its own church. To keep its building fund growing, parishioners give homemade oak crosses on a satin ribbon to anyone who donates at least $1. So far about 21,000 crosses have been sent nationwide and as far away as Norway and Kazakhstan.

  • Six members and two friends of Faith Lutheran Church, Arlington, Va., bicycled in the Washington, D.C., AIDS Ride. Calling themselves Team FAITH (Fighting Aids In Tremendous Hope), they pedaled 350 miles from North Carolina to the capital and raised $21,000. Other parishioners helped with transportation, rest stops and support.

  • Minnesota Foodshare honored Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn., for its outstanding contributions to a regional food bank. More than 70 churches pitched in, but Gloria Dei's contributions in March accounted for 10 percent of the total.

  • Christ Lutheran Church, Suffern, N.Y., is launching "House of Hope," an outreach ministry aimed at meeting community needs. Initially it will offer counseling and support services, a teen crisis hotline, a Christian literacy program and food program under which church members cook meals for families. A $35,000 grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries helped the effort.

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