* In the spirit of All Saints' Sunday, last year Martin Luther Lutheran Church, Canton, Ohio, tolled its bell once for all deceased members, dating back to its founding in 1893. The bell tolled 1,849 times, at three-second intervals, for a total of 93 minutes. Each deceased member's name was also printed in a bulletin insert.
* Colton [Ore.] Lutheran Church turned a building that formerly housed the Colton School District office into a community center. The building, which the church is leasing from the school district for $1 a year, was renovated to meet American Disability Act requirements. It's now used for community education classes, student and youth programs, and senior citizen health and wellness programs. An ELCA grant helped the center offer a four-week youth day camp for students interested in science, art, drama or sports.
* Augustana Vocal Ensemble, a professional group from Augustana Lutheran Church, Denver, performed Sept. 24 at the Art Institute of Chicago in conjunction with the special exhibition, "William Merritt Chase: Modern American Landscapes." The ensemble opened its performance with a piece from Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George and continued with choral settings of love poems, jazz music and ballads.
* Bishop Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl of the South Dakota Synod joined other state religious leaders in educating residents about the video lottery. "I'm afraid a lot of people think it's harmless," she said. "The challenge will be to help people understand the depth of the problem." DeGroot-Nesdahl spoke at the annual meeting of two national anti-gambling organizations in Sioux Falls, S.D., in October. South Dakota votes Nov. 7 on a constitutional amendment to repeal video gambling.
* Hope Lutheran Church, Hollywood, Calif., hosted a "Christianity, Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls" seminar Oct. 28. Biblical scholars from Claremont School of Theology and Trinity Western University spoke at the daylong event.
* Bridge of Peace Community Church, a new mission in Camden, N.J., began evening prayer services Sept 3. The pastor/developer is Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane, (856) 365-1450. Organizers hope the church will become a multicultural and multiracial congregation that will be heavily involved in community service and neighborhood organizing.
* The South Carolina Synod continued its tradition of sponsoring a "Lutheran exhibit" at the South Carolina State Fair last October. "The fair attracts a broad spectrum of people, many who might not ordinarily visit a Lutheran church," says Derald Edwards, who coordinated the original booth seven years ago. As well as providing fairgoers with information, the booth featured magic acts, music and an area for parents to read with their children.
* Last winter, Nativity Lutheran and First Lutheran, Bend, Ore., participated in a six-church rotating dormitory program for homeless people called "Bethlehem Inn." Over four weeks, the program housed more than 100 homeless and provided meals and other services, such as haircuts.
* St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa, adopted a mile of the Mississippi River for cleanup as part of its environmental program.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers