A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
Life after Typhoon Haiyan
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013. More than 14 million people were affected and about 4 million people lost their homes. About 6,200 people died and more than 1,000 remain missing. An estimated 5.6 million people lost their livelihoods.
In June 2014, on behalf of Lutheran Disaster Response, Stephen S. Talmage, bishop of the ELCA Grand Canyon Synod; his wife, Barb; Carl Stecker, director of Diakonia for the ELCA; and others visited the Philippines “to view,” the bishop said, “how our initial and recent million-dollar gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response are doing God's work with our hands.”
Bishop Stephen Talmage and his group traveled to the Sitio Fermina neighborhood of Barangay Maya. In this neighborhood, Lutheran World Relief was intentional in collaborating with Habitat for Humanity in how best to organize resource and implement the rebuilding of a whole neighborhood.
A little bit down the road Bishop Stephen Talmage’s group stopped to view the home of Delia. She and her grandchildren, during and after the storm, used their dining table for cover and as a temporary roof over their heads until her new home could be built.
The group’s final stop was in Daanbantayan and a visit with Mayor Corro. The mayor – visiting here with Bishop Stephan Talmage, left, and Carl Stecker from ELCA Global Mission – said he is deeply appreciative of non-governmental organizations, such as Lutheran World Relief, a partner with Lutheran Disaster Response, which have responded faster than the national government.
All with whom the group visited affirmed their gratitude to God and the generous aid from around the world that is helping restore their communities. The group also met a symbol of hope and restoration – a baby born during the storm whose name is Yolanda, the local name for Typhoon Haiyan.
“Our baptism is a significant part of our faith journey as we come from the baptismal waters to live a new life as children of God. … Our baptism sets us out on a lifelong journey that is characterized by our relationship to God, our relationship to our faith community, our relationships with various parts of our neighborhood and community, and our relationship to the wider world.” (“The Baptismal Covenant and the ELCA Faith Practices,” ELCA)
Infant baptism involves the parents, sponsors and congregation answering questions and making promises on behalf of the child. They promise to help the child know and believe these promises as they grow. Infants are often brought to be baptized within the first months of their life.
Nicole Zhang, from St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Ill., holds a candle after she is baptized. “Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 231)
Nicole Zhang, from St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Park Ridge, Ill., is baptized by the pastor in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign and testimony of God’s grace, awakening and creating faith. Pouring suggests cleansing from sin. We believe that it is not the water that does such great things, but the word of God connected with the water.
Shelley Wickstrom, bishop of the ELCA’s Alaska Synod, sprinkles the congregation with water during the Thanksgiving for Baptism service at the Churchwide Assembly in Orlando, Fla. “Pour out your Holy Spirit, the power of your living Word, that those who are washed in the waters of baptism may be given new life.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship p. 230)
At the beginning of the baptism service, during the gathering song, the pastor may sprinkle the crowd with this brush and water from the font. "The location of the font within the church building should express the idea of entrance into the community of faith, and should allow ample space for people to gather around." (Lutheran Book of Worship: Ministers Desk Edition, p. 30)
Baptism at any age involves being washed and clothed with God's love in Christ. Baptism may be by either sprinkling or immersion, which is to be fully submerged in a tub of water such as this young boy is. Immersion symbolizes our dying and rising with Christ.
In honor of Father’s Day, take a pictorial tour of what some of the male members of the ELCA and our partners are doing with their congregations, families and ministries.
The Troesters are an ELCA missionary family living in Africa. Deborah Troester (center), an ELCA pastor, and her husband, Joe, (left) are the East Africa regional representatives for the ELCA.
Brian Beckstrom, campus pastor at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, spends some time enjoying nature with his children.
Darryl Thompson Powell, an ELCA pastor, puts his trust in God while with his children at an amusement park.
Lutheran World Federation President Munib Younan pictured with his granddaughter on Palm Sunday. He is also the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
Jon Leiseth is the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission associate country coordinator for Southern Africa. Among his duties is running the regular retreats for the young adults serving in the Southern Africa region. Jon, spending some time here with his children in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, also teaches English.
Day of Pentecost in the ELCA
Sunday, June 8, 2014, was the the Day of Pentecost, coming 50 days after Easter. ELCA congregations across the country celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Decorah, Iowa, celebrated the Day of Pentecost last year with new paraments. The design woven into the cloth suggests movement; red is symbolic of the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Keeping the spirit of Acts 2:1-21, the choir at Faith Lutheran Church, Marysville, Wash., donned “flames of fire” headbands signifying the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.
At last year’s Create in Me Retreat, Living Lutheran blogger Kristin Berkey-Abbott focused on the Holy Spirit — more specifically, on the fire aspect of the Spirit as inspiration for preparation for Pentecost.
Jim Lindus, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, Wash., celebrates the spirit of the day with red paraments (altar cloths) and vestments (what the pastor wears).
Red is the color of the day liturgically. Los Altos Lutheran Church, Los Altos, Calif., uses a swath of red cloth draped over the cross to designate the descending of the Holy Spirit.
ELCA graduations, 2014
Congratulations, grads! It is graduation season for the 26 ELCA colleges and universities and eight seminaries. Here is but a sampling of what is going on in our various institutions of higher education.
Four hundred degree candidates crossed the stage at Wittenberg College’s 169th commencement exercises on May 17 in the university’s “Commencement Hollow.”
The 179th commencement at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa., was on May 18. The college is noted for its strong academic reputation. Since its founding in 1832, the college has upheld a rigorous commitment to the liberal arts in all their breadth.
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago held its commencement on May 18. The ELCA has a long history of educating and preparing pastors and other rostered leaders to participate in God’s work in the world.
Wartburg Theological Seminary honored 46 degree and certificate candidates at commencement exercises on May 18 at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Dubuque, Iowa.
Memorial Day 2014
On this Memorial Day we remember the members of the armed services, both past and present. We give thanks for all who have lost their lives and pray for the safety of those who are now on active duty.
Harold Jacobson, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Clarion, Pa., delivers the invocation at the town’s Memorial Day service.
In front of Jacobs Lutheran Church in Pine Grove, Pa., is a stone memorial to the early settlers who were members of this Revolutionary War-era congregation and who are buried in the cemetery adjacent to the church. In front of the stone are bronze emblem flag holders representing all the wars in which Americans have fought.
Young members of Christ Lutheran Church, Floral Park, N.Y., hold signs at the community’s Memorial Day parade.
May God protect those who served, who serve and who will serve. May God give us the courage and wisdom to work for peace so that no more lives need be sacrificed. May we reach out with compassion to all returning veterans that they may feel welcomed, loved and appreciated. (Photo/Krista Mendoza, pastor Bethany Lutheran, Elmira, N.Y., Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira.)
World War II veteran Stanley Lesniak, who is now a resident of Wittenberg Village: A Lutheran Life Community, Crown Point, Ind., took part in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. The mission of an Honor Flight is to thank and pay tribute to veterans, especially from World War II, with a day of honor and remembrance at no cost to them.