• The building superintendent of Emanuel Lutheran, Marion, Ohio, was on the roof of the education wing one Saturday in Advent when he saw two men crossing the street with the baby Jesus from the church’s newly refurbished outside Nativity. In a deep voice he yelled, “Put that back.” The men stopped dead in their tracks, turned around and returned the baby. The superintendent, still out of their view, yelled “thank you” when he saw Jesus was safely back in the manger.
• Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Montpelier, Vt., has participated in the Angel Tree
ministry of Prison Fellowship
for five years. But last year they found a local recipient for their gifts at the Dale Correction Facility. The small church provided to each mother at the correctional facility a personal item, toy or game and clothing that mothers could wrap and give to their child(ren) for Christmas.
• James Maxey is the new director of program ministries for Lutheran Bible Translators
, an independent mission organization. Maxey, a doctoral student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
, will supervise and direct 87 LBT
missionaries in 19 countries on five continents. He has 20 years of missionary experience with LBT
, whose missionaries are working on more than 80 Bible translations.
Lutheran Social Services of the South Inc. celebrated its 7,000th adoption in December when Carson Matthew Albrecht, 4 days old, was placed with Alisha and Matthew Albrecht. LSSS began in Texas in 1926 as a ministry serving orphans and widows. Since the 1940s, LSSS has been placing children for adoption through its domestic and international programs. At right is Karl E. Gronberg, pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Austin, who supervised the placement.
• Metropolitan New York Synod
leaders appointed David W. Olson, 69, a retired ELCA
pastor from Clinton, Conn., to serve as interim bishop from Feb. 4 until August. Olson, former bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod
, assumes the role after Stephen P. Bouman resigned to become executive director of ELCA Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission
. The synod assembly will elect a new bishop May 15-17 in Tarrytown, N.Y. Olson said his top priorities as interim bishop are to assist the newly elected bishop and, second, to allay anxieties that normally occur with a change in leadership.
• Holy Trinity Lutheran
, a suburban congregation in south St. Louis, serves breakfast every fourth Sunday for the homeless who gather at Immanuel Lutheran
, an urban congregation in north St. Louis. At the beginning of 2007, Holy Trinity
’s social ministry committee also decided to hold a blanket and coat drive. They set a goal of 100 new or used blankets—though some had their doubts that could be accomplished. But more than 170 quilts and blankets along with 70 coats were distributed to adults and children in November thanks to yet another congregation — Bethesda Lutheran, Morrison, Ill. Bethesda member Bernice Janssen attended a special anniversary service at Holy Trinity
and learned about the congregation’s goal. Janssen returned to her quilting group at Bethesda, which decided to donate 100 quilts to the cause. And Gloria Besterfield, a member of Holy Trinity
’s social ministry committee, said that’s how members between the ages of 8 and 80 (including one family of four generations) at three churches (city, suburban and small town) served the homeless in 2007.