The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America



• ELCA members and their neighbors in Southern California continue to rebuild their lives after last fall’s fires, and they still need help. Some 550,000 people were evacuated. More than 1,800 homes were lost and thousands more were deemed uninhabitable because of damage by smoke, wind, ash, heat and water. Nine people died. With little time to escape, many were able to take only limited possessions with them. Seven counties were declared federal and state emergency areas. Murray Finck, bishop of the Pacifica Synod, is thankful for help from throughout the church but asked for continued support. To help: ELCA Domestic Disaster Response, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764; 800-638-3522 (Choose “Southern California Fires 2007”).

• When members of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, St. Louis, dedicated their new space Nov. 11, it was almost “Extreme Makeover: Church Edition.” The church had been relocated twice because of airport expansion and “condemned” two years ago. Since then, they had been meeting in a school.

• Kathleen Suggitt kept her word before proclaiming the word on a November Sunday morning. The pastor made a deal with Grace Lutheran Church, Castalia, Ohio, prior to the annual CROP Walk. The previous pastor had shaved his head, but that she “was a little leery of.” Instead, she said that if the congregation raised $1,000 she would let them color her hair scarlet and gray the weekend of the Ohio State-Michigan football game. Suggitt is from Michigan—her hair sported the Ohio State colors. The church exceeded its goal by $500. Of the 15 local churches involved, Grace raised 25 percent of the proceeds. “She had the last laugh,” said member Doug Paule. “She said you could color her hair but couldn’t break her spirit. Under her robe she was wearing a Michigan jersey.”

• “That’s a lot of garbage!” members said as they walked through the hallways of Faith Lutheran Church, West Fargo, N.D., when their annual Creation Series began. The series included an “audit” of a week’s worth of garbage from 14 volunteers: 397 pounds. After removing cans, glass, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard, the amount was reduced to 156 pounds. Based on the average recycling of 17.5 pounds per person, per week, the church estimated that if all members recycled they could prevent 3,103,100 pounds of garbage from entering landfills. The series included displays pertaining to water usage, recycling bins for sale, information about U.S. use of resources compared to the rest of the world, and information on how to check their “environmental footprint” to see how their lifestyle impacts the plant. (Calculate your impact.)

• “This was a huge project for our small country church,” said member Lorraine N. Craley when Emanuel Lutheran Freysville , Red Lion, Pa., raised $1,200 for a defibrillator for a nearby school. In other years, the church has provided caps and gloves to Windsor Manor Elementary, but the school nurse mentioned the need for a defibrillator. Windsor Manor is the only one in the district to have the apparatus, but Craley hopes Emanuel’s outreach might spur others to do the same.

• In a twist on the typical food safety lawsuit, a meat plant is suing a Longville, Minn., congregation after a deadly E. coli outbreak killed one and sickened 17 others in 2006. The lawsuit filed by Nebraska Beef Ltd. alleges that volunteer cooks at Salem Lutheran Church’s monthly potluck were negligent as they prepared meatballs out of ground beef purchased at a local grocery store. Three individual lawsuits filed last fall allege that Nebraska Beef, along with distributor Interstate Meat Services and Tabaka’s Supervalu in Longville, should be held responsible for the death of Carolyn Hawkinson, 73, and the illnesses of two others.


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February issue


Embracing diversity