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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Becoming part of a community

Hilary Bouknight, a member of First Lutheran Church, Greensboro, N.C., visited Costa Rica for 10 days early in 2006. Bouknight and 11 other parishioners visited the ELCA North Carolina Synod’s partner churches in Costa Rica.

“Our main project was to put a cement floor down in [a] church in Chilamate. ... We spent five days living, working and becoming part of their community. Our lives have been forever changed by the hospitality, generosity and love of a community who allowed us to become part of their family in faith,” Bouknight told The Lutheran.

Here is the reflection she wrote after the mission trip:

It’s a time of tasting;
Beans and rice made so many different ways.
Generosity of a cup of coffee made with love.
Trust to eat the fruits on the trees.
Purified water graciously brought for our health.
Tamales that are only made on very special occasions.
Food made for me from the hands of God through others.
A good life.

It is anticipation;
Where is God sending us?
What are his plans for us?
Trusting he will reveal himself to me for the task at hand.
Trusting the community will be receptive to me.
Learning how to live simply and with so much happiness.
Real living.

It is to experience;
Unconditional love from strangers.
Overflowing hospitality and grace.
God’s children opening my eyes to joy.
Receiving much more than I could give.
Walking with Jesus in the flesh where he dwells.
Joy.

It is seeing;
My life transformed before my eyes.
Simplicity and the joy that surrounds it.
God’s presence so strong in the eyes of my new family.
Palaces instead of primitive homes.
A strong sense of community.
Beauty.

It is hearing;
Children’s laughter surrounding me.
Women’s songs from their hearts.
Pastor Roberto praising God for all they have.
Unconditional love for me as we speak from the heart.
Silence.

It is occasions of scents;
Flowers of beauty and elegance.
Women cooking my meal over an outdoor stove, made with love.
Magic markers as children draw pictures for me.
Cement that has been made by hand covering the floor of the church.
The season.

It is finding;
A sought-after image,
Perfection in simplicity.
Time to sit and be.

It’s a place and a God-sent journey for;
Experiencing.
Remembering.
Preserving and
Returning.

This week's front page features:

Building on the Mount of Olives: Hoping to stem the flow of Christians from the Holy Land, Lutherans build affordable housing. (Photo at right.)

Prayer protection: Congregations fight sexual exploitation by naming children before God.

Enjoying the ride: For Charlene and Guy Leavitt, life really is fun and games.

Dear Faith: In our love for you, we give you back to God.

Also: Lutheran hospital says it needs $1.4 million.

Also: Bodies.

Also: A corner of care.

Read these articles at our front page > > >


This week on our discussion forums:

Join Megan Ross (right) and your fellow readers throughout the month of May to discuss how faith has changed in your life.

Read Ross' story about how her dream to study meteorology ended when she failed calculus, and how that disappointment led her to discern a call to ministry.

(Haven't read the articles? You may consider checking out "Changing faith", "Stages of faith", and, of course, "Blame calculus" before joining in.)


This week on our blog:


Andrea Pohlmann blogs about taking a dose of happy news along with news that might sadden or disturb us.

Elizabeth Hunter writes about May Day celebrations.

Amber Leberman blogs about her congregation's service for healing.

In his blog debut, Michael D. Watson (right) shares a photo that blends fishing and theology.

Kathleen Kastilahn blogs about the legacy of one of The Lutheran's occasional contributors.

Daniel J. Lehmann writes about youth who are part of the church's foundation.

Julie Sevig blogs about royal Lutherans, kings and queens that don't wear crowns and shoeless princesses.

Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >

Tell us!

This week we announce two new opportunities for readers to share their stories with The Lutheran:

Reversing greed

How does your family stay grounded in this crazy consumer culture? For our November cover story, we’d like to know how you reverse greed in your home, especially if you have children. Send your idea (100-200 words), with your name, congregation, city and state, to Elizabeth Hunter or The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631, by Aug. 1.

Or respond on-line > > >

The big goodbye

For a future story in The Lutheran, share your opinion(s) of today’s funeral/memorial service trends:
1. What’s most important to you for your funeral? (200 words)
2. What’s the oddest, or most meaningful, thing you’ve experienced at a funeral? (100-200 words)
Send your responses to either or both questions to Julie Sevig or The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631, by Aug. 1. Be sure to include your name, congregation, city and state.

Or respond on-line > > >

The Lutheran wins award for e-newsletter:

At an April 25 award ceremony in Orlando, Fla., the staff of The Lutheran was pleased to accept an award of merit from the Associated Church Press for this e-newsletter.

"Strong editorial copy. An engaging and meaty promo," the judges wrote.

A sincere thanks to you, the readers, for your interest in and support of this e-newsletter.

The Lutheran magazine also won seven other awards in editorial and design categories.

Read more > > >

Subscribe to The Lutheran magazine:


Did you know: An individual subscription to The Lutheran magazine is only $15.95 a year and includes a Web Premium membership at no additional cost?

For only $15.95 you'll receive 12 issues of The Lutheran magazine in your mailbox. You'll also receive access to back issues' articles since 1996 and unlimited study guide downloads (regularly $3.50 each) at www.thelutheran.org.

(Congregational subscriptions begin at $7.95 and include Web Standard memberships. Call Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, for details about our congregational plans. 1-800-328-4648.)



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October issue

OCTOBER issue:

Older adults: Assets to our church

More...