The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Easter disciples, spaghetti dinners, award-winners and more

• It started with a spaghetti dinner hosted by the Sunday school that raised $180. From there, members of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Rock Rapids, Iowa, raised more than $7,000 to pay for well drilling in Tanzania. After hearing about the water shortage in Tanzania, the church council committed Immanuel to support the drilling operation and paying for one well by the end of last year: $2,500. In a few months, the congregation had raised money for a second well and almost enough for a third.

Eleven people­—four adults and seven
Easter disciples
Eleven people­—four adults and seven children, including one infant—were baptized by Pastor Paula Maeder Connor on Easter Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lakewood, Ohio. Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Northeastern Ohio Synod participated in the laying on of hands, and “the congregation joyously called out the prayer for the spirit 11 times,” Maeder Connor said. The baptized are Matt and Peggy Gregg and their children Mitchell, Erin, Shaun and Lindsay; Angie McCaulley and her sons Kenny and Kyle Priddy and Tyler Hansen; and James Profitt II. Kristin Bryda Liviski and Matt Hansen were also welcomed into membership by affirmation of faith.
Tabitha Health Care Services, Nebraska’s first and the nation’s second long-term care Green House Project, received the award for excellence for program enhancement from Lutheran Services in America. The Green House Project—so named to reflect green plants, sunlight and even animals—claims to reinvent nursing home care by deinstitutionalizing residents’ lives. Tabitha opened its Green House in May 2006. Nine residents live in private rooms with private baths. Meals are eaten at one big table to make it “a community experience, where food and companionship come together,” said Bill Thomas, geriatrician and founder of Green House Project. Residents may also eat on the patio and are invited to happy hour twice a week. There are 35 Green Houses in 13 locations nationwide; three more are scheduled for Lincoln, Neb., and 100 are under development around the country. Tabitha’s Green House was featured on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer (search "Tabitha").

• When The Lutheran ran “A home for her ashes” (April 2004), members of Hope Lutheran Church in The Villages, Fla., started dreaming about a similar memorial garden for cremated remains. Some 20 members developed the project and in late 2006 the garden was completed. Ashes may be scattered, buried in urns with engraved granite markers, or the urns may be placed in an above-ground columbarium on a church wall. The garden occupies roughly 2,500 square feet next to the church. It has 19 interments with 95 additional spaces pre-subscribed and engraved. The garden is open to the community.

• A new resource to engage Lutherans about their feelings, knowledge, experiences and practices related to money was introduced in March. “Money Leadership for Thriving Congregations” is a biblically based stewardship education resource. “Conversations about money are out of the closet,” said Ed Kruse, ELCA director for stewardship. “People are really interested in hearing about money and finances, and money management.” Participants discuss their money “autobiographies,” plus giving, saving, spending, debt reduction, financial life planning, personal financial profiles, and developing personal action plans for themselves and their congregations. Workshops in all 65 synods will introduce the resource.

• Instead of the traditional foot-washing on Maundy Thursday, King of Kings Lutheran Church, Ann Arbor, Mich., began a monthlong campaign to give money to the ELCA World Hunger Appeal and food items to a local pantry. The middle-school youth group developed the project.


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