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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Churchscan

• The cranes and murals that decorated worship and plenary space at the 2003 Churchwide Assembly have found homes (see page 12). The peace cranes roost at All Peoples Gathering Lutheran Church, Milwaukee. The murals painted at the ELCA Youth Gathering in Atlanta also stayed in Milwaukee, at Ascension Lutheran Church. The congregation's building is also home to the Greater Milwaukee Synod. Each mural is 20-by-7-feet and almost 80 pounds.

• A fire destroyed Holden Lutheran Church, Isle, Minn., in early August. The 130-member congregation, which worshiped in the parking lot the following Sunday, is meeting at the township hall during rebuilding. In Brandon, Fla., a vandal turned over the altar and pulpit and set fire to Apostles Lutheran Church, later vandalizing a Methodist church and businesses. The congregation is meeting in the fellowship hall during repairs.

• More than 600 low-income children received back-to-school clothes and school supplies at St. Luke Lutheran Church, Portland, Ore., Aug. 16. Thanks to several congregations, nonprofit agencies and businesses, and 150 volunteers, children aged 5 to 18 selected shoes, coats, clothing and a backpack filled with school supplies.

The Southwestern Washington Synod's Community of Lay Ministers program touches lives in Kuwait, thanks to a participant, Thomas Heavey of the U.S. Coast Guard. Heavey used his new skills to assist the Lutheran and the Episcopal chaplains at Camp Patriot, a port facility in Kuwait. When the chaplains moved on, he was asked to conduct "liturgical worship." He said he was not ordained and would not preside at the eucharist without his bishop's endorsement. After much communication, it was determined there was a scarcity of "liturgical chaplains." Synod Bishop Robert Hofstad suggested guidelines by which Heavey could preside at the eucharist.

• The ELCA Youth Gathering in Atlanta turned out to be a cousin reunion for five members of Lutheran churches: Kirsten and Shannon Ealy of St. John, Boerne, Texas; Andrea Doerr of St. Philip, Littleton, Colo.; Scott Matocha of Trinity, Victoria, Texas; and Lindsey Pitts of Hope, Midland, Texas.

• The American God Parent Scholarship Program, a ministry of College Lutheran Church, Salem, Va., has helped many children in Tanzania receive an education. God Parent volunteers help pay for tuition, which for secondary school is $400 a year, and they exchange letters and photos with a student. For more information, call (540) 389-4963 or visit http://members.cox.net/amgodparent.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is offering Responding to the Call: A Manual for Congregations Reaching out to Immigrants Through Ministries of Service and Justice. The 30-page manual is built around four case studies that found successful ways to build relationships with immigrants in their areas. Download free at www.lirs.org/responding or send a check or money order for a $9 print version to: “Responding to the Call,” LIRS, 700 Light St., Baltimore, MD, 21230.

• They used to be called “The Bear Ladies,” but the women from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Irving, Texas, are much more now. Every Monday, the congregation’s sewing circle creates stuffed turtles, dinosaurs, dolls and, yes, teddy bears. In the last decade, the circle has donated more than 25,000 of its animals to Parkland Hospital, Dallas. The stuffed creatures are passed out on Valentine’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween and Christmas.

• A year after they collected more than $16,000 in offerings from the Women of the ELCA Fifth Triennial Gathering in Philadelphia, Elsa’s Thrift Shop opened to the public. The shop is a collaboration of five congregations, Lutheran Children and Family Service of Eastern Pennsylvania and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Women of the ELCA. It provides low-cost, quality clothing and household goods to its multiethnic neighborhood. They also refurbished an upstairs apartment, rented to two young women from Sudan. The rent helps subsidize the shop.

St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., donated more than 2,000 copies of the St. Olaf Choir’s CD, Great Hymns of Faith, to the U.S. Military Chaplaincy for worship services. Gorden Estenson, an ELCA pastor, was the inspiration behind the the donation. When he was called to active service during the war in Iraq, he asked his wife, Rikka, to send him Great Hymns of Faith for his worship services. She then told Bob Johnson, manager of music organizations at St. Olaf, that there might be a need for music among military chaplains, and the donation was made.


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September issue

SEPTEMBER issue:

Reinventing Sunday school

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