• Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota received a $500,000 grant from the Bush Foundation, a private group in St. Paul, Minn. It will support the Changing Children's Lives capital campaign serving abused and neglected children and youth. Youth treatment centers will be built in Spearfish and Sioux Falls, and a residential treatment center in Aberdeen will be expanded, thanks to the $4.6 million that has been raised in gifts and pledges. In 2004, more than 2,300 children in South Dakota were removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, an increase of more than 200 percent in five years.
• A Des Moines [Iowa] Register story on Easter Monday had this headline: "Glimpse of heaven" and this lead: "Jesus has outdrawn basketball." Mike Housholder, a pastor of Lutheran Church of Hope, Des Moines, announced that good news on Easter Sunday. "A celebratory cheer rose up from the crowd of 10,000," the paper reported. The congregation's Easter services, held at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, beat the average single-session attendance at the boys' state basketball tournament earlier in the month. Housholder said more people were in the first section alone than there were in the entire congregation 10 years ago and gave his own take on Kevin Costner's good fortune in a certain Iowa-set film: "It almost makes this a glimpse of heaven, if you will. It's kind of like our own field of dreams."
• In January, Rosemarie Johnk, a former finance director for the Northwestern Minnesota Synod, pleaded not guilty to charges of theft by false representation and financial transaction credit-card fraud. She is charged with forging a credit card application on the synod's account. Nearly $13,000 in purchases were made on the card. Other purchases were made on charge accounts for a total of nearly $24,000 in unauthorized purchases. Her trial, originally set for March, was postponed until June. In March two additional charges were added: temporary felony theft and felony theft.
• Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Auburn Hills, Mich., worked with the local Sons of Norway Lodge to collect books for the WE READ project. More than 3,000 books were donated to the Detroit Public Schools.
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