The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


December 2000 Churchscan

• Mark Ramseth, bishop of the Montana Synod since 1991, will become president of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, in early 2001. William Trexler, bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, resigned to accept a call to First Lutheran Church, Norfolk Va. ANew bishop will be elected at May synod assemblies.

• A university student who vandalized a church has helped restore the building and joined the congregation. Gerard Guhde, a senior at Bowling Green [Ohio] State University, has grown along with the members of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Bowling Green. "We have forgiven him," says Dale Schaefer, pastor. "He made new friends. We made a new friend." Guhde, who pleaded guilty to burglary, was found inside the damaged church last spring after a day of drinking.

• Literally rising from the ashes of fire that destroyed its building five years ago, Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, recently dedicated its Center for Worship and Mission. Our Saviour has been a landmark in the Phillips neighborhood since 1912, reaching out to the community with housing, food and classes. The new building includes a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows along Chicago Avenue, allowing the congregation and neighborhood to see one another. "It is important for us to know who our neighbors are, and important for them to know who we are," said Janet Tidemann, pastor.

• H. George Anderson, ELCA presiding bishop, recently met with three leaders — all Lutheran — of large U.S. farm organizations. Two ELCA members participated in the meeting-Leland H. Swenson, National Farmers Union, and a member of Lutheran Church of the Cross, Evergreen, Colo., and Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Columbus, Texas. Less than 2 percent of U.S. citizens are engaged in agriculture, but more than half of the ELCA's 10,851 congregations live in small town and rural settings. The group met to determine basic points about the massive, complex rural crisis, Anderson said.

• Twice a year at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, Bellevue, Wash., the words of Isaiah 55:1 are fulfilled: "You that have no money, come, buy and eat!" Each spring and fall the church hosts an "unsale" to encourage members to simplify their lives. It looks like a typical church rummage sale-tables filled with books, toys, clothing and appliances-except for one thing: there are no price tags. Everything is free. Trilingual posters throughout the multiethnic area invite neighbors, many of them low-income immigrants, to visit the unsale.

• Pastors who graduated from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., within the past 10 years (and spouses) were recently invited back to the school for Stewardship 2000: Looking Stewardship Straight in the Eye. The conference was underwritten by a couple who believe pastors must be comfortable with their own stories of giving before effectively being stewardship leaders in their congregation.


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February issue


Embracing diversity