The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


It's the old family pew shake

My mother has four daughters. We always sat third pew from the front, on the right. Our mom was the church secretary. One Christmas Eve, the organist played the introduction to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing with great fanfare, using the rousing refrain of the hymn. When the rest of us started in on the verse, my sister Donna belted out the words to the tune of the refrain, very enthusiastically. One by one we collapsed in laughter. Sputtering, snorting, shoulders shaking. In our family, it’s called “a pew shake.”

Sheila Ness
Escanaba, Mich.

We're making it fun.�?
“We’re making it fun.”
My husband and I are both pastors. When we were new parents and both busy leading services, our daughter, Betsy, 2, would sit with parishioners. One Sunday after the children’s sermon she didn’t go back to her seat, so I held her while preaching. This new mode of preaching worked well for a few minutes, until she reached up and patted my mouth with her hand as if to say, “Time to stop, Mommy.”

Nancy Lund
Stockbridge, Ga.

As I was about to usher my class of 5-year-olds into the sanctuary I said, “We have to be quiet when we go inside, so let’s leave our wiggles and giggles outside the door before we go in.” Everyone started laughing, shaking their arms and jumping around. One angelic girl asked, “But we can take our smiles in, can’t we?” “Of course,” I replied. “Everybody: Smiles on. Here we go.” And they were perfect angels.

Marilyn Fursman
Granada Hills, Calif.

As lay minister I have conducted several funerals and graveside services. This past month I was asked to preside at a graveside service for a husband and wife who had died several years apart. Arriving at the grave site, the sons and daughters-in-law were anxiously waiting, but not for me. The cremains had not arrived. The family called the funeral home to ask if there was a misunderstanding on the date of the ceremony. No, they had just forgotten and would be there soon. You might say this couple was late for their own funeral, and knowing them I’m sure they would have chuckled.

Ann Ziehm
Manistee, Mich.

Who authorized the fundraiser?�?
“Who authorized the fundraiser?”

One Sunday I introduced the person who would sign for the hearing impaired during the special music. I said, “We are so happy to have Connie with us this morning. As the choir sings How Beautiful she will be signing for the blind.” I turned to direct the choir when one of the basses asked, “Sign for the blind?”

Chuck Carlson
Sacramento, Calif.

While filling in for a vacationing pastor in a nearby community, I was handed this announcement: “Next week’s Saturday worship will be on Thursday at 6 p.m.”

Willard Olsen
Piedmont, S.D.


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February issue


Embracing diversity