The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Methodist-Lutheran cooperation, new life for damaged fabric, California church bilked and more ...

• Even before the United Methodist Church approved entering into full communion with the ELCA (see "UMC: 'Yes' to full communion"), two churches in McMinnville, Ore., were sharing nearly everything—meeting space, music and education programs, and outreach. Trinity Lutheran and McMinnville United Methodist formed a cooperative agreement two years ago—not out of desperation but out of common mission, they say. In April they voted to become co-owners of the United Methodist property. Now each is half-owner of McMinnville Cooperative Ministries Inc., which owns the property on their behalf. “Both of our churches could survive quite well on their own,” Stephen Ross, the United Methodist pastor, told the United Methodist News Service. Ross said the congregations liked the idea of being “a model of and a testimony to the unity of the church, which transcends denominational distinctions.” Together the congregations “run as efficiently and effectively as a group of our size possibly could,” said Mark C. Pederson, Trinity’s pastor.

• Henrietta Deters, 90, was determined to salvage whatever she could after Hurricane Katrina flooded her home—including cloth napkins stored in an armoire in her dining room. She met volunteers from Bethany Lutheran Church, Iowa Falls, Iowa, helping with recovery efforts and showed the damaged napkins to member Lynn Kramer. It took Kramer and others one day to make a multicolored quilted wall hanging from the fabric. “It was quite a revelation to me when I saw the symbolism [of the hanging],” Deters told The Times-Picayune, New Orleans. “It looked to me like waves of God’s amazing grace.” The hanging is displayed at Grace Lutheran Church, New Orleans, a home base for recovery efforts.

Newport Harbor Lutheran Church, Newport Beach, Calif., was allegedly bilked out of $320,000 by an office manager, who is now in jail facing felony charges and the possibility of nearly a decade in prison. While working as bookkeeper, Cheryl Lean Granger, 45, reportedly forged 170 checks, making many out to her husband, Richard Granger, then a professor of the University of California–Irvine, according to The Orange County Register. The couple eventually moved to New Hampshire, where she was arrested in March.

• Four North Carolina churches building a Habitat for Humanity home received a Thrivent Builds grant of $67,925. Grace Lutheran, Hendersonville, is the project’s lead congregation, joined by Mount Pisgah, Hickory; Nativity, Arden; and St. Mark, Asheville.

• Twelve pastors from the Naroki Conference in the Northwestern Minnesota Synod recently crossed the Canadian border to meet in Winnipeg. Paul Koch, pastor of Wannaska Lutheran Parish and conference dean, invited Winnipeg pastors of the the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to join them at a local restaurant. After a delay crossing the border, the 12 arrived and 11 pastors were on hand to greet them. The pastors discussed their ministries and people they knew in common. Several of the Canadian pastors had grown up in Minnesota and attended seminary there. “The dim sum was delightful, and the collegiality was even better,” Koch reported, adding that there may be a second Laroki-Winnipeg preachers symposium.


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