The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The religions in my 'backyard'

In January, I had the privilege of starting to learn about other faith groups in a “World Religions in Our Backyard” class at my high school, Long Island Lutheran. This class offered a detailed overview of major religions that are practiced right here “in our backyard.” Examples include Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Judaism.

The course also included field trips to complement the covered topics. Our first trip was to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Paul in Hempstead, N.Y. Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by Father John Vlahos, the cathedral’s presbyter. He gave us a fantastic tour of the cathedral and gladly answered all of our questions regarding Greek Orthodoxy.

The cathedral was gorgeous. The walls were lined in mosaic tiles designed to depict biblical stories. Its centerpiece was an incredible mosaic dome right above the altar. The cathedral also contained other fascinating sights, such as a “Weeping Icon” that made news headlines back in the 1970s and relics said to be original bones of apostles.

What I liked about the class was the freedom we were given to express our individual beliefs. When I was in the classroom, I felt like no matter what I said or what stand I took on my beliefs, I was free to share my opinion. The delivery of the lessons by our teachers was unbiased and knowledgeable. They developed an open, inviting atmosphere, which created the foundation for this excellent class.

This week's front page features:

A history of dissent: Our heritage is woven from both schisms and mergers. (Photo at right.)

The power of two … plus prayer: Carlsen twins undergo successful surgery.

At synod assemblies: Members discuss leadership, social concerns.

What's in a name? Branding leaves its mark on social service providers.

Also: Discerning dissent.

Also: Jaroslav Pelikan, 1923-2006.

Also: A place to call home.

Read these articles on our front page > > >

This week in our discussion forums:

Join Jill Schumann, president/CEO of Lutheran Services in America; Pam Blumensheid, Graceworks Lutheran Services marketing director; and Ruth Reko, ELCA director for social ministry organizations today through June 13 to discuss the branding of ELCA-affiliated social service providers.

(Haven't read the article? Consider checking out "What's in a name?" before joining in.)

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

It's June 6, 2006 and Andrea Pohlmann blogs about 666 — Revelations' “number of the beast.”

Amber Leberman asks what types of podcasts our blog-readers listen to.

Kathleen Kastilahn writes about summer worship on the road.

Julie Sevig (right) bids adieu to Katie Couric.

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

Tell us! 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 > > >

Looking for a speaker?

Is your congregation, synod or organization planning an event? Do you need a speaker? The staff members of The Lutheran would love to bring our perspectives to your organization.

We've traveled around the world, reporting on what's happening in the Lutheran church, and we keep our finger on the pulse of the ELCA in our daily work.

We've given sermons, participated in panels, led adult forums and prayer breakfasts, and given workshops.

Call us at (773) 380-2540 or e-mail us to find out how we might meet your needs.

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February issue


Embracing diversity