• If people in Camden, N.J., don’t know about Pentecost, they aren’t paying attention. For the fourth year, area congregations participated in their biggest-yet celebration of the church’s birth. Churches processed to the community’s central square for music, prayer and fellowship. “For us, it’s the next step in cooperation among the churches of our community,” says Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane, pastor developer of the ELCA Bridge of Peace Community Church and part of Camden Churches Organized for People, the local ministerium. “Now we will take local ecumenism to the next level. ... It’s very appropriate for us to celebrate our common heritage together, especially on our birthday, despite all our differences in doctrine and church order.”
• Citing the Lutheran church’s century-long history of opposition to gambling, the board of directors of the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.) spoke against a slot machine casino proposed for the area. “The expansion of gambling is not healthy for this or any other community that cares about its quality of life and its commitments to education, history and the common good,” the board concluded. Saying slots would cheapen and diminish the symbolic value of the community, the seminary called on residents to join in opposition.
• Lutheran Church of God’s Love, Newtown, Pa., dedicated a new prayer garden, located on a quarter of an acre behind its building. It includes a labyrinth and a brick pathway of engraved bricks donated by church families, trees, plants and flowers, benches for resting and meditation, and a stone waterfall. Members Michael and Karen Fox, who own Foxcroft Nursery, designed and built the garden.
• Spring Lutheran Church, Apollo, Pa., hosted “Rachel’s Day” for the community May 1. The day of commemoration and education takes its name from Jeremiah 31:15-17 in which Rachel grieves for her children. In 1994 a woman from Bethel Lutheran on Chicago’s West Side spoke out against the violence her congregation and community face. Activists transformed a vacant lot into Rachel’s Garden where people, mostly mothers, come to mourn and remember children killed by gun violence. Two years later, the 1996 Women of the ELCA Triennial Convention in Minneapolis adopted Rachel’s Day, the first Sunday in May, to broaden awareness of the violence children face and actions to address it.
• Like many other ELCA congregations, quilting is nothing new at Central Lutheran, Bellingham, Wash. But a good challenge is. Its Mission Sewing Group meets monthly to make layettes, health kits and quilts distributed by Lutheran World Relief. About 100 quilts a year. Pastor Tim Whiteman challenged parishioners to make 1,000 quilts between Christmas and Easter this year—ones that would stay in the county. Parishioners made about 400 by Easter, distributed to several organizations, including Lydia Place, YWCA, Church on the Street run by Faith Lutheran Church, Soup’s On ministry and Agape House. Every Thursday afternoon and evening, 30 to 35 members from children to seniors met to quilt. “It was snowing like mad the first day, so we didn’t get a lot of people, but word spread about how much fun we were having and the participation soon was terrific,” said organizer Linda Callender. “It was both outreach and inreach. ... Because we have two worship services ... there are people who never met [until now].” Member Amy Myers said the quilters weren’t discouraged at missing the 1,000 mark. “It’s fabulous what we did. My daughter Megan, a second-grader, is always worried about people on the streets. By participating in the quilting project, she was able to feel like she was really helping.”
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