• Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer, Minneapolis, installed Mary Albing, a lesbian in a committed relationship, as its pastor May 18. Three former ELCA synod bishops participated in the unauthorized installation, which isn't recognized by the Minneapolis Area Synod: L. David Brown, Northeastern Iowa; Darold Beekmann, Southwestern Minnesota; and Lowell Erdahl, St. Paul Area. Albing previously served as chaplain at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis. Craig Johnson, bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod, didn't sign the letter of call for Albing because she is in violation of Vision and Expections, the document that sets standards for ELCA rostered ministers. ELCA policy calls gay and lesbian ministers to "abstain from homosexual sexual relationships." Johnson said, "We will take this situation one step at a time." The synod council began discussion of its response to the congregation and Albing at its June meeting. Johnson said it might be prudent to postpone any disciplinary action until after the 2005 Churchwide Assembly, which is scheduled to consider the rostering of noncelibate gay and lesbian people. In related news, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn., voted 206-53 on May 4 to allow its pastors to do blessing ceremonies of same-sex relationships, with premarital counseling required.
• Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, Matthews, N.C., lived out Isaiah 58:7 during Lent: "Share your food with everyone who is hungry." They chose The Macaroni Mile as a theme, collecting more than 40 pounds of pasta for local food pantries. The women's group made pasta necklaces for all the children and developed a performance group, The Carbo(hydrate) Chicks, including stars named Queenly Linguine and Ruthie Ravioli.
• Summer is a busy time at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Palm City, Fla. Like other churches, there is vacation Bible school — which includes more than 250 youth. That enrollment will only grow: The congregation has more than 40 babies under age 2. Immanuel was the ELCA's first mission congregation. In 1988, it started with 109 members (The Lutheran, Jan. 27, 1988, page 6) and has grown to 1,350 today.
• At Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, Wash., members worship in the parking lot one Sunday each summer and offer hot dogs, potato salad and dessert following the service. Trinity started with 37 members 50 years ago thanks to the gift of land and a building from an old-timer, Deke Austin, who ran the local mercantile. Today there are 850 members.
• As if the lakes and woods of northwestern Wisconsin aren't breathtaking enough, now there's an additional view to enjoy atLakeside Community Lutheran Church, Webster, Wis. In May, 10 stained-glass panels were dedicated. An anonymous donor gave funds for the material. Artist and parishioner Gus Johnson made and donated the sanctuary windows. In this primarily retirement area, 20-year-old Lakeside Community is growing so much that it had to add Sunday school rooms, an administration wing and 40 additional feet to the sanctuary.
• Even the hosts of the National Public Radio show Car Talk have gotten involved in a "legislative alert" in Massachusetts. Good News Garage, a Lutheran Social Services of New England program, reconditions donated vehicles for people coming off the welfare rolls. When funding was cut from the governor's budget, legislators, Lutheran Social Services and others rallied. As did Tom Magliozzi from Car Talk, who put a message on the program's Web site, www.Cartalk.cars.com. The alert asks people to voice support for an amendment to restore funding.
• The effects of war will no doubt focus powerful emotions when Mount Carmel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Portland, Ore., hosts its second service of remembrance and healing July 28. The ecumenical service is dedicated to all military personnel and civilians who have experienced the effects of armed conflict. The service was written for this year's 30th anniversary of the Vietnam Peace Accord and the 50th anniversary of the Korean Armistice.
• Ronald Bennett just completed his interim ministry at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Christchurch, New Zealand. If his calculations are correct, he says he's been serving the most southern Lutheran church in the world. For 25 years Bennett, a retired ELCA pastor, led backpacking trips in California, always wanting to hike the Milford Track in New Zealand. So he asked about interim positions and has since served three congregations in New Zealand. Although he didn't actually hike the Milford Track, he says he and his wife, Priscilla, drove most of the roads on the two islands.
• First Lutheran Church of Moline, Ill., and the Moline Swedish Friendship Association in June hosted a concert by the 2003 winner of Sweden's prestigious Jenny Lind Performance Scholarship. Operatic soprano Ulrika Mjorndahl, a graduate student at the Royal Opera Academy of Stockholm, will perform classics made famous by Lind in the 1850s during her U.S. appearances managed by circus genius P.T. Barnum.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers