Bringing a Christian message of thanksgiving to its community's Memorial Day observance, Advent Lutheran Church, Sylvania, Ohio, joined veterans groups and high-school bands in the parade. Members rode on Advent's float or walked beside it carrying signs that read "Thank God for freedom," "How blessed we are," "Thank God for those who gave their lives" and other messages that resonated deeply with residents. "People were thrilled with it," said Dennis Lauman, pastor of Advent. "Many said that's what Memorial Day is all about." To provide soldiers at nearby Fort Jackson with spiritual ammunition, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Columbia, S.C., began "Fort Scriptures Ministry." The church dedicated 324 Bibles and New Testaments (all with Pentagon-required camouflage covers) and presented them to Lt. Col. Mark Atkins and Chaplain Alvin Shrum, a member of Resurrection. The church plans to give the military base more than 1,600 copies this year. The books are inscribed with: "As an expression of our outreach and appreciation for the service you provide our nation. May the words of God's grace found herein enlighten for you the hope, encouragement and the assurance that God provides for life." St. Paul Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, was finishing repairs from a tornado that struck last June when a fire heavily damaged its new roof in February. The roof needs new beams, shingles and plaster; water- and smoke-damaged carpeting, tiles, windows, draperies, wiring and other items will be replaced. Insurers, who will cover most of the repairs, are working on a damage estimate. The Hazelwood community and local Lutheran congregations contributed several thousand dollars to help the 85-member church get back on its feet. St. Paul is holding worship in the basement. Members of Messiah Lutheran, Mountain Iron, Minn., could only watch in helpless horror when their church burned after a lightning strike July 14. But they found a helping hand among the Roman Catholics in town. "They handed me the keys to their church that night," said Kristin Foster, pastor of Messiah. Sacred Heart of Jesus Church provided office space and said the Lutherans could stay as long as needed. Messiah also held weekly worship at the Catholic church until it found space in a community center. Messiah expects to move this fall into a church it is building. Faith Lutheran Church, Flower Mound, Texas, teamed up with Trietsch Memorial United Methodist in town to help victims of last year's floods in south Texas. The churches donated more than 4,000 pounds of goods and raised $2,000 cash, which was doubled by matching funds from Lutheran Brotherhood. Other churches and individuals helped as well. They filled a truck with goods and delivered it to Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Seguin, Texas. A goodwill donation snowballed as it passed through three rural churches in the Northeastern Iowa Synod, before landing at a two-point parish. It began when West Prairie Lutheran, Leland, gave $1,000 to help North Prairie Lutheran, Scarville, with roof repairs. North Prairie fixed the roof without the gift, but added $400 to the fund and sent the $1,400 to Immanuel Lutheran, Scarville, which was raising money for church windows. When Immanuel didn't need the money after all, it bolstered the fund by $400 and sent the $1,800 to two Lutheran congregations jointly seeking money to hire a pastor: Hope, Littleport, and Immanuel, Elkport. To help the community deal with life and death issues, the health ministry team of Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Northfield, Ill., brought in social and medical experts for a three-hour seminar. "Life and Death — the Faith Connection: Preparing to Die, Prepared to Live" focused on learning to talk about death, preparing for death as a way to improve quality of life and other matters.