* Boy Scout Troop 567, sponsored by Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Monroe, Mich., collected soft-drink cans, performed odd jobs, cleaned litter and garbage from a field, solicited contributions and donated their allowance to help victims of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras. They gave $830 to Mission Caribe.
* When the Mississippi River flooded, Calvary Lutheran, Sabula, Iowa, in 1993, the congregation recovered with the help from friends. So when three churches in northeast Iowa were flooded last spring (St. Paul, Volga; Hope, Littleport; and Grace, Fayette), Calvary wanted to return the favor. It organized fund-raisers with other Lutheran churches. Counting matching funds from Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans, they raised $10,000.
* Citing diminishing arts funding as their motivation, St John Evangelical Lutheran and Holy Nativity Episcopal churches, Baltimore, formed an organization to provide art and cultural programs for youth from pre-kindergarten to 17 years old. The Holy Nativity and St. John's Development Corporation operates an after-school music program with the Baltimore School for the Arts and a Saturday dance, drama and arts and crafts program.
* With a gift of $250,000 from the state of Pennsylvania, the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg, Pa., launched a foundation to preserve campus grounds where the Civil War battle of Gettysburg was fought. The foundation will create a self-guided tour, preserve three houses and restore landscaping to its 19th century states. It will offer symposia on the battle, slavery and abolition, and the 19th century African American experience.
* Residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands are better prepared for this year's hurricane season through grants and supplies provided by Lutheran Disaster Response. Employees of Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands received grants to prepare and staff care facilities and to buy severe-weather supplies and tools. Each Lutheran pastor was also provided with a hand-held shortwave radio. The Lutheran organizations are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create a manual instructing families how to protect their homes and care for children affected by natural disasters. A program on the island of St. Croix will solidify homes and repair minor damage from previous hurricanes.
* Fifty youth from House of Hope Lutheran Church, New Hope, Minn., presented "The Big Picture," a true-story drama, to church audiences in Spring Grove, Minn.; Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Bartlett, Ill. The production, which is about an auto accident that kills one teenager and paralyzes another, explores the theme of tragedy and how to make sense of loss. The tour was dedicated to the memory of Lindsay Ranta, an active member of the group who died of leukemia in December 1999.
* Last fall, St. Paul Lutheran in Clearwater, Fla. donated 42 new backpacks filled with school supplies to the Haven, a domestic abuse shelter. Congregation members bought supplies and Vacation Bible School students decorated shoeboxes as home supply organizers. Each child at the Haven received a pack full of paper, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, glue sticks, notebooks and assignment books.
* The U.S. Department of Education awarded $685,000 to Lutheran Social Services of New England. The grant will be used to fund literacy and civics education for refugees and immigrants in central and western Massachusetts. "Too often refugees and immigrants are so overwhelmed by the requirements of learning the language, finding employment and navigating a whole new social system, that it is years before they stop feeling vulnerable and powerless," said Kathleen Shaw, director of the agency's refugee services.
* In1817, members of the Lutheran, Reformed and Presbyterian denominations in the Milton, Pa., area built "Harmony Church" where settlers worshiped together for 50 years before each congregation built its own church. Four Milton churches came together again to celebrate their ecumenical beginnings on Pentecost Sunday. The churches, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran, Christ Evangelical Lutheran, St. John's United Church of Christ and First Presbyterian, brought together 363 people to celebrate Pentecost as their ancestors had 183 years ago.
* As a result of 14 inches of rain in mid-May, floods in east-central Missouri destroyed 100 homes and damaged 400 others. Lutheran Disaster Response, a ministry of the ELCA and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, provided a $5,000 grant for emergency needs and recovery efforts in the affected area.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers