• Last year, the Good Samaritan Fund— a partnership of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Wheat Ridge Ministries — awarded $85,500 in grants to 19 congregations for immigrant and refugee programs. Projects included computer job training, care for children whose parents are enrolled in English language classes, immigration assistance and citizenship classes. Congregations and individuals contribute to the fund through LIRS (410-230-2786; www.lirs.org) or Wheat Ridge (800-762-6748; www.wheatridge.org). Download applications from the LIRS Web site; deadline is Feb. 28.
• Saturday mornings on college campuses are traditionally for sleeping. But not for members of Lutheran Campus Ministry at Syracuse [N.Y.] University. They showed up atFirst English Lutheran Church, Syracuse, to scrape and paint, transforming a little-used room into a community computer lab. It's the partnership of First English, the federal Weed and Seed program and Syracuse's campus ministry program. The lab houses 17 computers, a scanner and two printers. Computer skills and the Internet will be taught. "The lab will give 90-year-old grandmothers the opportunity to e-mail their grandchildren," says Craig Herrick, pastor of First English.
• Grace Lutheran Church, San Antonio, celebrates 100 years of ministry this year — and decided to mint a medal, a commemorative medal that is. The medals show its original building and current bell tower on one side and Martin Luther with an open Bible on the other. Proceeds from the sale of the limited edition medals will support ministries in San Antonio.
• Dick Hardel and staff from the Youth and Family Institute of Augsburg College, Minneapolis, found a new name and location since parting ways with Augsburg over issues of institute control. The new Institute for Faith, Renewal and Wellness, Bloomington, Minn., will focus on faith formation, research and resources.
• While Valentine hearts may be the February focus for many, members of Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Stuttgart, Kan., look back over the last two years with grateful hearts. On Feb. 8, 2001, fire destroyed its 50-year-old parsonage. Despite tough economic times, congregation and community recently completed construction of a parsonage. They could have used only the insurance settlement to get the job done, but they wanted to build something for the 21st century pastor's family, says parishioner Anthony C. Kirchhoff. Now they're actively looking for a candidate, anticipating the day a pastor makes the parsonage a home again, Kirchhoff says.
• Alvin Rueter, pastor and host of Sing for Joy, the radio broadcast sponsored by St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., retired in December at age 81. Forty years ago, Rueter founded the program, which is sponsored by 89.3-FM in the Twin Cities. The program features Christian choral music on 150 stations nationwide. Bruce Benson, college pastor, will host the program and John Ferguson, a St. Olaf professor of organ and church music, will oversee music selection. The program's hallmark: Music is selected following the ecumenical Common Lectionary, a three-year cycle of Scripture lessons used by many church bodies for worship.
• St. Paul Lutheran Church, Ottumwa, Iowa, received the Governor's Award for its outstanding contribution of volunteer service. The award, chosen by the Iowa Department of Education, recognizes the congregation's English as a Second Language courses taught by members.
• Nebraska Women of the ELCA decided in 1998 that they wanted to do more than sit at meetings. So "Saved to Serve" was created to help church-related institutes. A one-day gathering of 150 women at Camp Carol Joy Halling, Ashland, Neb., produced 80 quilts, 506 health kits, 189 sewing kits and 95 layettes.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers