• It was a potluck unlike any other. Donna Durrette, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church, Stromsberg, Neb., was alerted that 39 U.N. delegates were coming for worship and to eat June 1. "My concern was how to be boldly and unashamedly Christian, and at the same time offer hospitality to non-Christians, something I believe is a vital teaching of Jesus," she said. The U.N. group included Christians, Jews, Muslims and a Buddhist. It also included a woman whose great-grandparents had come to Nebraska as missionaries from Sweden and, as it turned out, her ancestor, Lars Almquist, founded Calvary. Parishioners greeted the visitors outside the church and sat with them. They seemed most impressed with the potluck, an idea that was a revelation to the visitors, Durrette said. Several took photos of the food and how it was set up.
• A surprise $1.2 million legacy from a Philadelphia retired public school teacher created a teaching post for an Episcopal professor at The Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia. Anna Werner, who died a year ago at age 92, gave the gift to the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. Frederick Houk Borsch, retired bishop of Los Angeles, is the first holder of a chair of Anglican studies. The gift comes as the diocese, which doesn't have a seminary, faces a shortage of priests and deacons. Expanding the Anglican studies program at LTSP, which has been a training center for the diocese's deacons, is one way to address the trend.
• Lutheran Disaster Response is working through Lutheran Social Ministry of the Southwest, Tucson, Ariz., to respond to forest fires that struck June 17, destroying more than 300 structures in Summerhaven, Ariz. To help, send checks to: ELCA Domestic Disaster Response, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764. To give by credit card, call (800) 638-3522 or visit www.elca.org/disaster.
• Three Seattle-area boys were arrested July 29 on suspicion of second-degree rape of three girls from Alaska. The six were attending an ELCA-sponsored youth leadership conference held atTrinity Lutheran College, Issaquah, Wash. The two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old were booked into King County Juvenile Detention Facility in Seattle, the Seattle Times reported. The boys were arrested in the dorm after a 14-year-old girl reported the assault that allegedly took place the night before. Dave Ellingson, Region 1 congregational ministries coordinator, said he and event leaders asked pastors and others in the girls' home communities to "make sure they get the best care possible."
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