• Members of Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa, prepared nearly 1 million meal packages for hungry people in Haiti, according to the Des Moines Register (March 25). This Lenten challenge, “Feed 1 Million in 40 Days,” called for the congregation’s 7,000 members to fill grocery bags with enough food for 972,000 meals. The project is an outgrowth of the year-old Kids Against Hunger of Des Moines, which was founded by Hope member Max Holmes and is affiliated with Feeding Children International. In preparation for the project, Holmes stored three full semi-loads of rice, soy protein and other supplies in his car dealership showroom. The congregation has a slogan for its collective can-do attitude: “It’s a God thing.”
• Statistics from 2006 collected at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network’s Extravaganza in February debunk two myths, said Todd Buegler, executive director of the network. The first is that youth ministry is the work of young adults; the second is that youth ministers burn out after 18 months. About 550 of the network’s 700 members attended the conference—46 were honored for more than 25 years in youth and family ministry. Eleven percent of the members have one to two years experience; 19 percent have three to five years; 28 percent have six to 10 years; 27 percent have 11 to 20 years and 15 percent have more than 21 years.
• To an outsider, the chorus of 200 voices at Faith Lutheran Church, Chico, Calif., on a Sunday night in March would have seemed like an ordinary worship service. “This is our cry/this is our prayer/peace in the world/peace in the world.” They were Jewish, Muslim and Christian voices joining as one. “As we’re increasing more as a global society, we have to understand each other across global traditions,” Reg Schulz-Akerson, a pastor of Faith, told the Chico Enterprise-Record. It was the third annual Celebration of Abraham, sponsored by the Chico Area Interfaith Council. The celebration begins with a vegetarian potluck, followed by worship intermingling songs and scriptures from all three faiths that have Abraham in common.
• Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran and Roman Catholic congregations across northern Illinois paid more than $7,000 toward a $43,000 wheelchair accessible van. Ken Matthews, pastor of Hanover [Ill.] United Presbyterian Church has limited use of his legs due to a childhood illness. Infections and worn rotator cuffs made crutches and a manual wheelchair difficult. An electric wheelchair helped, but Matthews still put further strain on his shoulders when transferring in and out of vehicles. Kurt Hansen, pastor of St. Paul (Hanover) and Trinity (Elizabeth) Lutheran churches, spearheaded an effort for the van, which was delivered as a surprise to Matthews following Christmas Eve worship.
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