A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
Dolls with missing limbs offer comfort
Amy Jandrisevits, a member of Cross Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, is creator of A Doll Like Me, hand-crafted dolls she makes for recipients who have limb differences. “Doll making combines my love of dolls and passion for social work,” said Jandrisevits, a former pediatric oncology social worker. In October 2014, a woman asked Jandrisevits to make a doll for her daughter, whose leg had recently been amputated. Jandrisevits did just that, and when word spread on Facebook, her business blossomed. Some of her many recipients are in this week’s photo blog.
Because of this small business started by Amy Jandrisevits, dolls are finding their way to children all over the world.
When her doll arrived from Santa last year, Ellie, the daughter of Miranda Todd, said, “I guess Santa knows my hands!” They live in Texas.
Susan Ferris tried for 17 years to find a company that could make a doll with an arm and hand like her daughter’s – Rachel, 17, Napa, Calif.
“I look at the doll making much like making a prayer shawl. I like to sit and think about each child as I make their doll and hope that the doll will provide some type of comfort,” said Amy Jandrisevits.
Louanne Mason’s daughter Amelie was adopted from China just before she turned 2. She didn’t know how to pretend play and had no interest in dolls or stuffed animals. After receiving her Doll Like Me for her sixth birthday, her mother said, “She sleeps with her, takes her everywhere and plays with her like little girls do. It’s been such a blessing to see her bloom in this way.”
Kimmy Allison lives in San Diego.
Our favorite Bible characters, stories
Earlier this year, The Lutheran magazine invited readers to submit reflections on their favorite Bible characters and stories. No two entries were alike. Instead, the editors received a kaleidoscope of reflections on biblical people and stories that highlight the diversity of the body of Christ. Here is a preview of those selections, paired with artwork. May they comfort and inspire you this Advent season. You can read the story here.
Jesus the Good Shepherd: “My favorite image of Jesus is as the Good Shepherd. In John 10, the Good Shepherd tells us that he knows his sheep and his sheep know him.” – Terrance J. Thompson II, Coconut Creek, Fla., attends three congregations; credit: “Do Not Hold on to Me” (2013) by He Qi (1948-, Chinese)
Mary: “Martin Luther thought Mary may have been doing housework when her life changed ... Mary does not fear, she wonders. In an age plagued by fear and skepticism, Mary wonders at this gospel.” – Terry L. Morgan, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Centerville, Ohio; credit: “Annunciation” (1913) by Maurice Denis (1870-1943; French)
Moses at the Red Sea: “Faced with a seemingly impossible situation with nowhere to turn, Moses tells the people ‘Do not be afraid ... .’ If you trust in the Lord and ‘stand firm,’ God will deliver you.” – George M. Brickley, First Lutheran Church, Malden, Mass.; credit: “Exodus” by Azariah Mbatha (1941-, South Africa)
The healing of a boy with a spirit: “I read this story (the healing of a boy with a spirit) often during the 26 years I cared for my son. It helped me understand how Jesus shares our struggles.” – Susan B. Bianchi, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hershey, Pa.; credit: “Christ’s Pity of the Sick” (1970, by Sadao Wantanabe (1913-1996, Japan)
The woman who touched Jesus: “What endears me to this story is the woman’s boldness … – no words, simply a touch made the connection to her. … [It reminds] me that anyone can approach the Lord with a problem.” – Vivian J. Becker, St. Mark Lutheran Church, Mount Prospect, Ill.; credit: “Jesus Healing the Woman with an Issue of Blood” mosaic (sixth century), Italy
College students from Chicago’s South Loop are meeting their neighbors in a most unusual way: each Sunday night, they walk a shopping cart through the streets and hand out sandwiches and clothes to people in need. The program, called “Takin’ it to the Streets,” is part of South Loop Campus Ministry, a join initiative of the ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. (Photos/Chris Ocken)
Nick Bruenning, a senior at Roosevelt, connects with a man at the corner of State and Madison streets. Since he started volunteering with the program, he says he’s learned the names and stories of a few of his neighbors while sharing dinner at Grace Place’s monthly community meal.
Led by Ben Adams, campus pastor, in collaboration with volunteer student leaders, “Takin’ it to the Streets” started in 2012. Here, a student prepares peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Grace Place Episcopal Church, Chicago, is the home base for the program. Renaldo Webb (middle), a member of Grace Place, assists with sandwiches. “Takin’ it to the Streets” distributes an average of 60 meals each week to people on the streets.
Mary Strickler, a junior at Roosevelt University (middle, in black), talks with Renaldo Webb and a neighbor from the streets after giving him a bag meal.
Mary and Renaldo pass out bag lunches to a couple sheltering themselves from the rain. The group hands out food and clothing every Sunday, rain or shine. “We go because we know that people will be on the streets in any condition,” said Ben Adams, campus pastor.
Next phase of recovery in Nepal
Six months ago two earthquakes struck Nepal within weeks of one another, leaving millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance. The earthquakes triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and another in the Langtang Valley. More than 8,500 people died as result of the earthquakes. With the monsoon season now over, the ELCA and others have resumed earthquake reconstruction efforts and are preparing for the winter season.
Some of the destruction in Nepal’s Bhattendandan area. (Photo/Antti Helin)
Residents of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, make their way through rubble. (Photo/ACT Christian Aid/Yeeshu Shukla)
Nima Chong Tamang, 45, a resident of Goljung-3, Rasuwa district, received relief materials from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal near her residence. (Photo/LWF Nepal)
Mektang Tamang, 35, a resident of Goljung-3 Rasuwa, smiles after collecting a tarp, a bucket hygiene kit and pipes for constructing a toilet. (Photo/LWF Nepal)
Karshang Futi, 80, of Goljung-3 Rasuwa, rests after receiving relief materials from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal while her husband carries a toilet pan. (Photo/LWF Nepal)
A family’s story
Heidi Neumark, an author and ELCA pastor, recently discovered her Jewish heritage. Included in her new book, “Hidden Inheritance,” are a number of photos that help tell her family’s story.
Her father, Hans Neumark, is shown in his U.S. Army uniform after he arrived in the United States.
The Wittmund memorial commemorates the Jews from Wittmund, Germany, who died in the Holocaust.
Heidi Neumark’s Oma (grandmother) and Heidi’s cousin, Peter.
Heidi Neumark left a rose on the windowsill of the house where her grandparents were imprisoned.
Heidi Neumark stands between her parents, Hans and Barbara.
Hans Neumark and his mother, Ida, who nearly starved to death in a concentration camp before she was miraculously rescued.
A young Heidi Neumark and her Oma (grandmother).
Heidi Neumark’s grandfather, Moritz Neumark, died in a concentration camp.
Blessing of the animals
Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Seattle, celebrated the feast day of Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, during its Sunday, Oct. 4, worship service with a special pet blessing. During the service, members thanked God for the creatures that gladden their lives and for the earth that we share.
Homer with her loving human, Laurel.
Lola the pit bull shares love.
Pastor Joanne blesses Sophie and her human, Vickie Gassman.
Molly, a border collie, shares peace with Pastor Joanne as Ru and Liz wait.
Babette, a French bulldog, readies to go in peace to share love with the world.
Pastor Kari rejoices in life with Flossy, a sheltie who is beloved companion to Susan Christiansen. Pastor Kari’s message from the day’s service is available here. Learn more about Kari and her ministry here.