• The women of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Torrington, Conn., gathered to “Labor on Labor Day,” completing 47 fleece blankets for children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. On each blanket was a label giving the congregation’s name and saying that St. Paul is praying for them. “Lots of love went into each and every stitch and snip,” reported Paula Rosenbeck.
• “We could have been escaped convicts, and they would have welcomed us,” says Dale Shadley, as he recalls his first visit to Swedesburg [Iowa] Lutheran Church, where he has been a member for 20 years. With priorities set on music, community service and creating a friendly environment for newcomers, it was featured in a Sept. 19 issue of the Mount Pleasant [Iowa] News. The church draws worshipers from the surrounding area, many of whom don’t have a Lutheran or church background.
• Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, Boulder, Colo., and Pardes Levavot, a Jewish congregation, do more than share a building and sanctuary. They participate in joint worship services and community service projects. Linda Daniels-Block, co-pastor of Shepherd of the Hills, says, “When we worship together, we don’t dilute either tradition.” A joint service includes blessings, sermons, Scripture readings and prayers from each tradition. Recently, visiting Muslim worshipers participated in joint Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur services. Some Shepherd of the Hills members fasted “in solidarity” for Yom Kippur and Ramadan. Together the congregations delivered Thanksgiving baskets to the needy. Rabbis Nadya and Victor Gross meet with pastors Larry and Linda Daniels-Block for weekly study and prayer. Rabbi Nadya Gross says, “We find our common longing and love of God can help us heal the world together.”
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers