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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Churchscan

Zion Lutheran Church, Princeton, Iowa, located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, held its first ever Easter sunrise service on the banks of the river this year. A highlight of the service was the baptisms of five adults and three children ages 12, 10 and 9. The congregation and candidates prepared for the baptisms by using the Easter Vigil texts during Lenten worship. Easter morning was brisk, but the sun broke through the mist over the water at 6:30 a.m., Pastor Peter Sickels reported. Those to be baptized knelt on the rocks and Sickels dipped a handmade pottery shell in the cool, but “surprisingly clear,” river and poured water over their heads. He also held a staff of driftwood from last summer’s canoe trip with the senior high youth. It was engraved “I am Resurrection, I am Life” by a camp counselor. The 45 worshipers processed to church for pancakes, and the photographer had his digital photos of the early service ready to show the 9 a.m. worshipers. 
• The Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa, board of regents elected Richard Hanson 14th president of the school. Hanson was vice president of academic affairs at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D.

• "They assembled, painted and screwed in hundreds of light bulbs." That's how the story in a recent edition of the Omaha, Neb., World-Herald began. As part of its Easter celebration,
First Lutheran Church, Fremont, Neb., decided to build and display lit crosses throughout the city. Members put the crosses in their windows and front lawns. The church put a 7-foot cross on the property where its new building is going up. "This was a way ... to have members say this is their faith ..." said Anjanette Rist, one of the pastors. "The catchword for us has been �The light of Christ is shining brightly at First Lutheran.' " The project started in January when one member designed the crosses, and a group of men volunteered to make the large one and 600 smaller ones for the congregation. Other volunteers painted the crosses white, attached the lights and helped distribute them. They were lit for the first time Easter Sunday and every night throughout the Easter season. They'll be lit again during the Christmas season. "It's been fun for members to say, �I didn't know that person goes to First Lutheran too,' " Rist said. "It's been a good connector within neighborhoods."

Elim Lutheran Church, Marshalltown, Iowa, decided to expand its prison ministry by also visiting the Marshall County jail, which holds overflow from the Polk County jail due to its own overcrowding. After two Easter morning services at church, Pastor Karen Cluts and seven members held three services at the jail but weren't expecting to run out of their 50 bulletins and chocolate Easter bunnies at the first service. Sunday worship jail attendance was 88 — more than half the number of inmates there.

• Brian Koehn, 24, who grew up in
First Lutheran Church, Litchfield, Minn., went to Thailand on vacation and ended up staying. His mother, Laurie, says he may stay three years as a full-time volunteer in one of the areas hardest hit by the Dec. 26 tsunami. "He works long days building homes and other construction projects. In fact, he is a project manager due to his experience with Habitat for Humanity," she says. Brian Koehn also is working to get sister cities established with several communities in the Khao Lake area of Thailand. Litchfield is working to become a sister city, fundraising for the people of Tap Tawan, she says.


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November issue

NOVEMBER issue:

The ELCA's aging clergy wave

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