The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Community News Scan

Members of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Forest City, Iowa, don't throw out their jeans when the knees wear out. Instead, the jeans are cut up, sewn into bags, filled with school supplies and sent to Lutheran World Relief.

Churches in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod are gearing up for the Souper Bowl. Members put $1 in a large soup bowl/pot as they leave church on Super Bowl Sunday. Someone then calls (800) 358-SOUP so organizers can report how much churches gave nationwide. Churches select the charity they will support. In 1995, 70 synod churches contributed to the $72,124 raised by Pennsylvania congregations.

Early Tuesday mornings, while most high school students are still in bed, youth from Epiphany Lutheran Church, Pickerington, Ohio, are worshiping. About a dozen students meet Tuesdays at 6:55 a.m. for a 20-minute service that includes a prayer and communion.

When it comes to helping the needy, Ray Martin really cleans up. Each month Martin, a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Dubuque, Iowa, collects used bars of soap from local motels. The church sent 1,550 pounds of soap collected during the year to a Rwandan refugee camp via Lutheran World Relief.

Members of Grace Lutheran Church, San Francisco, helped organize a "call to statewide action." U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley and state Superintendent of Public Education Delaine Eastin listened to the group's concern that education isn't meeting the needs of youth in preparing them for the economic marketplace.

Pew Partners, a project started at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, pairs children who normally worship alone with adults who sit with them each Sunday.

The children of St. Luke Lutheran Church, Charlotte, N.C., learned firsthand about turning swords into plowshares by bringing their toy weapons to the pastor, who will keep them for a month. The children can pick them up any time. At the end of the month, any toy weapon not retrieved will be recycled into something for peace.

Trinity Lutheran Church, Couer d'Alene, Idaho, has its own "Pineapple Gang." As a symbol of hospitality and welcome, a can of pineapple is presented to all worship visitors.

When two babies were born with Down syndrome to families of Immanuel Lutheran, East Moline, Ill., the congregation began a monthly group meeting for any area parents with a Down child. The group, says Tina Strieder, mother of Nicholas, 1, helps the families "share our joys and our burdens in light of our faith."

Finding ushers is no longer a concern at Highland Avenue Lutheran Church, San Bernardino, Calif. The first four people who walk into church before the service are automatically designated as the ushers.

The "Families 2000" committee of English Lutheran Church, Bluffton, Ohio, promotes a strong family life through four events during the school year. For one event, the "Family Game Night Prize Patrol" van dropped in on families, taking photos and video footage of family strengthening activities and delivering gift bags. The videos were shown later at the church.


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