The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


July 1999 Churchscan

  • Schoolchildren had twice as much learning fun when two churches teamed up for vacation Bible School. Gloria Dei and St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran churches, Huntington Station, N.Y., held joint Bible school for 250 children.

  • Leaving the present world behind, children in vacation Bible school at St. Michael Lutheran Church, Sellersville, Pa., traveled to "Marketplace 29 AD." Participants dressed in costumes and were assigned to one of the 12 tribes of Israel. For five evenings they experienced the culture, crafts and food of Jesus' time and place.


  • Strengthening intergenerational connections, some of the youngest members of United Lutheran, Eugene, Ore., raised money and hosted a dinner party in honor of eight church members who are 90 or older. The youth interviewed each honoree, assembled photos and created a biographical display. Limousines whisked the honored guests to the dinner, held in a local hotel and attended by more than 100 people.

  • To invite neighbors to services, members of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chicago, fanned out through the community placing 500 door hangers on houses. The church craft group made and decorated the paper hangers, which slip over a doorknob and contain a pouch that can hold a flyer or bulletin. The church plans to pass out another 1,000 in the fall. "We're eager for people to continue to join us in living our mission: Strong in worship, boundless in love, bold in service," says Ed Oller, evangelism chairman.

  • Feeling thankful for God's blessings over the years and wanting to pass this good fortune along, leaders of Haven Lutheran Church, Salisbury, N.C., challenged members to "adopt a mission" by giving a "second-mile" donation of $100. Although Ronald Fink, pastor of Haven, anticipated giving one such contribution a month for all of 1999, members gave enough for two monthly gifts.

  • Call it good stewardship on the grass-roots level. "We boast of not paying for lawn care because our members volunteer for this work," read a recruiting notice in the bulletin of Bethany English Lutheran Church, Cleveland. In asking members to sign up for lawn duty, the item pointed out that the appearance of the church and grounds is "our first line of evangelism. We want folks to know the people at Bethany love their church-where they meet their Lord in word, sacrament, service, study and fellowship."

  • First Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, led an effort to fill a shipping container with medical supplies, Christian-education materials and other goods and send it to Lutheran mission hospitals in Liberia. The containers are boxes about the size of a semi-trailer that are stacked aboard cargo ships. First worked with other churches, hospitals, doctors and dentists to fill the container and raise money to ship it to Monrovia, Liberia.

  • Steve Sabin, who was removed from the ELCA clergy roster last year because he is involved in an openly gay relationship, was invited as a special guest to the 19th Annual Festival Worship Celebrating GLBT (Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgendered) Pride at St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn. The congregation, home of Wingspan Ministry to gays and lesbians, scheduled a dinner honoring Sabin and his partner, Karl von Uhl.

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    Embracing diversity