While congregations throughout the ELCA observed Reformation in October, Martin Luther--in bronze, that is--had his own celebration in Washington, D.C. The 11 1/2-foot statue that stands outside ofLuther Place Memorial Church, newly refurbished and rededicated, stood front and center at a street festival and enjoyed a major story in The Washington Post. In this city of statues, Luther was the first outdoor memorial to a religious figure.
The church on the corner of Robison Road and College Drive in Texarkana, Texas, has a new sign with two names: St. Mary's Episcopal and Christ Lutheran. The two congregations began worshiping together a year ago, and joint services worked so well they decided to make it official with a sign. "It's a way of making our resources for outreach, evangelism and ministry go twice as far," says Calvin Girvin, the Episcopal priest who serves both congregations. Any disadvantages? "Well," he says. "I now have twice as many meetings to attend and two bishops to report to, but the advantages far outweigh any disadvantages."
A $5.4 million gift to Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., will establish a center for international programs. Peter Wang, a PLU graduate, and his wife, Grace, intend the donation to create a center to prepare students to be global economy leaders and advocates for world peace.
Trinity Lutheran Church, Lynwood, Wash., will share a "Good Neighbor Award" with St. Thomas More Roman Catholic parish and The Assembly Dar Alarqam mosque. The award, presented by the nonprofit group Search for Common Ground, recognizes the three congregations' effort to encourage worship at the mosque after it was vandalized following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than 100 Lynwood-area Christians stood guard outside
the mosque and welcomed worshipers the Friday after the attacks.
Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., received a $2 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create and enhance programs that foster faith exploration and encourage students to pursue professions in ministry. It's the largest academic program grant in Concordia's history.
In three years, Simply Giving has enabled Lutherans to electronically transfer more than $100 million to their congregations. Although few expect the passing of the plate to disappear in churches anytime soon, the Lutheran Brotherhood program enables members to give simply and consistently, and allows congregations to enjoy a steady cash flow.
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