• Lutherans in Lancaster County, Pa., wanted something besides the houses they've built to signify their work with Habitat for Humanity. So they asked John David Wissler, a member of Jerusalem Lutheran Church, Rothsville, Pa., to design a quilt. The quilt now travels from church to church to pique interest in the relationship the county's 46 Lutheran churches have with Habitat.
• This fall, Bang Lutheran Church, Portland, N.D., harvested its third mission field in three years. Member Brad Thykeson heard of a South Dakota church that "community-farmed" a field and thought, "We can do that here too." He donated 71 acres and other farmers gave seed, time, fuel, chemicals and money. In January, they'll decide which mission projects will benefit from the field's $10,000 profit. The congregation's former pastor, John Juhl, is a missionary in Kenya and two former members work in missions, so "it makes it more personal to put a face on the missionaries and the work they do," Thykeson says. Another benefit from the project, says Eric Hulstrand, pastor, is that each year at least 25 members — including Clara Rud, 90, and Kyle Braaten, 4 — watch the harvest.
• More than 200 prayer partners are the "human beams" supporting Bridge of Peace Community Church, Camden, N.J. Before it even opened its doors, Wolfgang Herz-Lane, pastor/developer, recruited 140 congregations, prayer groups and individuals. From New Jersey to Romania, partners set aside one day a week to pray for the multicultural congregation that bridges two neighborhoods (August 2002, page 32). "Our community development, our worship life, the services we offer the neighborhood are all undergirded by people praying," Herz-Lane says.
• For the third year in a row, Lutheran Services of America topped The NonProfit Times' list of the nation's 100 largest nonprofit organizations. LSA, based in Baltimore, is an alliance of the ELCA, Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod and their 280 social ministry organizations. LSA reported a $7.6 billion income and $7.57 billion in expenses in 2001. The YMCA and the American Red Cross followed LSA on the list.
• Dick Hardel resigned as executive director of the Youth & Family Institute of Augsburg College, Minneapolis, due to a fundamental disagreement with the school's president. Three staff members also resigned. Hardel, director since 1994, sees the institute as independent of the college but in partnership in mission. William Frame, president, views the institute as part of the college, under its vision and management. "The institute's ministry is crucial to the college, and the college will do everything in its power to fulfill obligations for conferences and training sessions," Frame said. In some cases, institute staff may be hired to fulfill contracts on a project-by-project basis, he said.
• Carol Willadsen and Colin Ward gave new meaning to the Called to Common Mission agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church. Ward was ordained Oct. 30 at St. John Lutheran Church, Pittsburg, Kan., where his wife, Willadsen, is pastor. Ward will serve St. Peter's Episcopal Church, five blocks away. The glue of that working relationship may be Janet Pittman, who will work at both churches part time as secretary. Gerald Mansholt, Central States Synod bishop, and William Smalley, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas, ordained Ward.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers