• St. Matthew Lutheran Church, York, Pa., has for 40 years ministered through a youth center dubbed “The Matt’s.” The center, which survived the York race riots of the 1960s, offers a full-court gym, pool tables, air hockey and foosball tables, a sitting area with television and video games, hot shot and pinball machines. Food and drinks, which are supper for some youth, are available at low prices. About 300 youth have paid the $5 a year membership dues; 40 to 70 youth visit the center nightly. NFL lineman Chris Doleman, Harlem Globetrotter Tyrone Doleman and European professional basketball player Darnell Jackson are among those who spent time at the center as youth.
• The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, a professional organization dedicated to strengthening the ministry of music in the Lutheran church, in August moved its headquarters from Ellicott City, Md., to Valparaiso [Ind.] University.
• Eleven years ago Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Va., found a way to keep in touch with current and former members. During the 1960s and 1970s, Messiah had an active membership of many young families. Since the church is located just outside of Washington, D.C., several members were employed by the federal government. At the time, members formed bonds that hold today as they retire and return to their hometowns. Several motivated couples informally invited others to a “scramble” in South Dakota. Since then, various host couples have led annual weeklong reunions in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut and Texas. This year’s reunion was in the historical triangle surrounding Williamsburg, Va. Next year they’re likely back in South Dakota.
• Judy Rumbaugh, a member of Spring Church Evangelical Lutheran, Apollo, Pa., and her friend Shirley Koyro started their own ministry, “Willing Hearts and Busy Hands,” which gives quilts to babies born to HIV-positive mothers in western Pennsylvania hospitals. The women ran ads in local papers asking for donations of time and materials. More than 20 women from several denominations helped, along with men who serviced machines and delivered gifts. Volunteers created quilts, afghans, preemie clothes, toys and totes.
• It was a typical church basement event with atypical excitement attached. Hallelujahs and hand-clapping reached the ceiling as Resurrection Lutheran Church, Oakland, Calif., and extended family honored its six high school graduates—Dawit Asfaha, Jeremiah Chacha, Tarchie Herron, Dante Millet, Elizabeth Misana and Monika Yamuremye. Five different birth countries were represented: Tanzania, Burundi, Ethiopia, Nigeria and the U.S. All six have African roots and some have escaped genocide and civil war. All six are in college this fall. Resurrection has a tradition of welcoming African immigrants and has sister congregations in Tanzania and Rwanda. Drumming and Swahili language classes are offered at church.
• It’s being called the great organ transplant, the dismantling and movement of a 3-ton organ from Maine to Wisconsin. Members of Chetek [Wis.] Lutheran Church drove more than 1,400 miles and 29 hours to retrieve the prize that awaited them at the former Winter Street Church in Bath, Maine: a 1,300-pipe Andover pipe organ. They will reassemble it back in Wisconsin in time for Christmas services. The organ was donated to the Chetek congregation at no cost. It had to be moved so the 1843 building could be converted into a performing arts center. Chetek Lutheran made the contact after hearing the organ was available. A new organ would have cost $300,000, a used one $150,000. Though the Maine organ was modified in 1952, parts date back to the Civil War. “It had to be rescued,” said Tim Grenz, substitute organist of Chetek. “It would have been a shame to see something like this destroyed.”
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