• Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, formed a partnership with Bexley Hall [Episcopal] Seminary, Rochester, N.Y., to provide theological education on Trinity's campus to Lutherans, Episcopalians and seminarians of other denominations. The agreement calls for Episcopal students to be fully integrated into Trinity's program. Special arrangements are being made to provide ecclesiology, spiritual formation, fellowship and worship opportunities for Episcopal students.
• Unwanted babies in Savannah, Ga., are finding loving arms to hold them, thanks to a Lutheran Ministries of Georgia program called Open Arms. Co-sponsored by a local hospital, the program takes babies who are seriously ill or premature, who have been abused or abandoned or who have parents who can't care for them. The babies stay at a home operated by Open Arms until the courts determine where they will go. They are cared for by 30 volunteers who give them love and nurturing that they would not receive otherwise. Parade Magazine (Sept. 6) carried an item about this ministry in an issue featuring a lead story on "How You Can Help A Child."
• The United Lutheran Society, Ligonier, Pa., sold Camp Laurel Wood to private ownership. The camp has been used for almost 30 years for vacation Bible school, church gatherings and other outdoor events. "We are using the millennium as a fresh starting block," said Matt Blistan, the society's national president. "In order to do this, we are streamlining our fraternal organization by focusing on the marketing of our family life insurance and retirement programs, and bowing out of the camping business by selling our prized Camp Laurel Wood."
• In June, high school students from Mill Neck [N.Y.] Manor School for Deaf Children traveled across the prairie to help rancher Bud Boudreau near Marcus, S.D. They flew to Rapid City and were met by Shirley Conrad, the West River Disaster Coordinator of Lutheran Social Services. The damage caused by flooding, winter storms and tornadoes isn't front page news, but devastation in the Dakotas remains. For the students, the experience was satisfying. "It made me very happy to work and help out," said Victor Urich, who hopes to do this in another state.
• The students joined hearing youth to help tie down a trailer house. They cleaned out Boudreau's windbreak and replanted trees. Boudreau, a sheep rancher who trains border collies, showed the students every step of what to do. He taught them how to train dogs and ride a tractor. And he made sure each student rode his mule, Lorraine.
• "The experience was such a sharing of gifts," said staffer Barbara Lanman. "Our students grew from being unsure to feeling proud of themselves. It was great to see the change in such a short time. They were pleased to give to him."
• "Quite often our students are on the receiving end," said high school principal Dennis Tobin, "and now we have a way for them to give back. Helping in other states also exposes them to human needs that occur in other places."
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers