A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
Spring break in the ELCA
Many ELCA campus ministries and youth organizations partake in “alternative spring breaks,” a trip where a group of people — from youth groups to colleges and seminaries — engage in volunteer service, instead of a more traditional spring break.
ELCA Campus Ministry of the Brazos Valley (ministry committed to serving students, faculty and staff at Blinn College and Texas A&M University) delivering food to day workers.
Chad Kohlmeyer, pastor for children, youth and household ministry, Atonement Lutheran Church, Boulder, Colo., writes of great memories and meaning on “our Alternative Spring Break trip to Green River, Utah. Fun Boulder area churches together. Today [March 23] scraping as painting prep, building shelving and a great hike.”
From Nicaragua to D.C., Gettysburg College students make good use of spring break. Students and faculty members are traveling to sites such as Washington, D.C.; Nicaragua and the South Carolina Sea Islands to learn, make music and volunteer.
Iowa State Lutheran Campus Ministry students assist residents of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during a spring-break mission trip. Left to right: Emma Grinde; Kevin Steel, tribal council member; Sarah Steel; Steel’s nephew, Paul; Alexandria Sveum; John Rolfe.
Students from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., during their spring break travels last year, took time to engage in a service learning project with the Second Harvest Food Bank.
More than 100 people played trivia at First Lutheran Church, Mission Hills, Kan., to raise more than $1,300 to help cover the costs of the University of Kansas Lutheran Campus Ministry. The money was donated for a spring-break mission trip to New York City. Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Kansas is a ministry of the ELCA and the Central States Synod.
Observing the season of Lent
Lent is the season of preparation for Easter and covers approximately six weeks. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is observed through sundown on Maundy Thursday. Many ELCA congregations observe this time through Lenten worship services, service projects, devotions and Wednesday suppers.
Shepherd of the Hills, Stevenson, Wash., observes contemplative prayer around the cross.
Ten children and six adults came together to learn about the Lenten journey at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Sharpsburg, Md. They made prayer beads and alms containers.
Domestic Hunger Grants
Hope and assistance are offered to thousands of people through Domestic Hunger Grants funded by ELCA World Hunger. In addition to immediate relief programs for people who are hungry, the grants also fund projects in community development and community-based organizing. The following photos are from a few of the congregations and organizations that have received an ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant.
Harold is a cook and a participant of Grace Feast, a ministry of Gift of Grace Lutheran Church, Seattle.
Navajo Lutheran Mission, Rock Point, Ariz., was notified on Valentine’s Day, 2014, that they would be awarded $2,700 for the Hozho Café program, which provides breakfast and lunch.
An ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant established the rooftop garden at Trinity Lutheran College, Everett, Wash.
The Hunger Garden at Carol Joy Holling Camp, Ashland, Neb., is supported by ELCA World Hunger Education/Advocacy grants. This photo was taken in 2010.
The food pantry at the Peoples Resource Center, Wheaton, Ill., offers fresh produce, meats, dairy, canned goods and household staples.
Volunteers from Mobile Meal Service, Spartanburg County, Spartanburg, N.C., prepare meals. Each weekday approximately 150 volunteers dedicate their time to deliver hot meals to more than 1,500 people.
Caring for creation
"The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it" (Psalm 24:1). ELCA congregations and institutions across the country are incorporating the care for God’s creation into their mission. Through the work of volunteers, Lutherans are making a difference in their communities.
Here are Sustainability Survey Team members from St. Luke Lutheran Church, Portland, Oregon. Since 2006, the congregation’s Environmental Stewardship Committee has been discussing, educating and planning events on issues related to caring for God’s creation.
Creation care team members of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston, at Luther Hill Campground clean up outdoor worship spaces.
Students of Lutheran Campus Ministry, ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod, who live in the “Corner House” commit to conserve water and electricity, compost and use green cleaning products. Last spring they installed raised garden beds to grow their own food.
Young members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Gaithersburg, Md., dig a butterfly puddle. Volunteers have also planted Echinacea and black-eyed Susans, installed a rain barrel and set up bird feeders for a wildlife habitat.
Members of the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, Davis, Calif., serve their community and care for creation through participation in an Adopt-A-Highway program. Volunteers maintain a two mile stretch of highway.
At the beginning of each school year, Green Team members at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., reach out to all students during move-in to collect cardboard and other recyclable material. Team members educate the students on campus recycling.
In honor of International Women’s Day, which was celebrated Saturday, March 8, we lift up the following inspirational Lutheran women.
Kathryn Lohre was the first Lutheran and ELCA member to serve as the president of the National Council of Churches. Kathryn is the director of ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations. She is shown here at the Jan. 22, 2013, Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is an ELCA pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. In 2013, her book, “Pastrix: The Crankey, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint,” became a New York Times best seller.
Elizabeth Eaton became the first woman presiding bishop of the ELCA. Bishop Eaton was elected at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. She is pictured here with three former ELCA synodical bishops. From left to right: Margaret Payne, Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, Bishop Eaton and April Larson.
ELCA missionary Bette McCrandall was in Liberia during the civil war in 1990. At that time she endured the same hardships as the Liberian people. Bette first went to Liberia in 1973 and later began service as a missionary in 1984.
Lutheran Leymah Gbowee was one of three women to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. She was honored for mobilizing women “across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women’s participation in election.”
Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor and is a member of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Angela was a research scientist prior to election as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union in 2000. She was elected chancellor in 2005.
Ash Wednesday 2014
On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, we are marked with ashes — a sign of our death and of our sorrow for sin. The ashes trace a cross on our forehead, where the baptismal water first marked us with the cross of Jesus, God's grace.
In Glen Ellyn, Ill., Heidi Johns, associate pastor of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, administers ashes during Ashes to Go for busy commuters at a train station.
Instead of ashes, St. John Lutheran, Owatonna, Minn., holds a “Water Wednesday” service that concentrates on the verse "remember that you are a child of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and marked with the cross of Christ forever."
Ash Wednesday sunshine at First Lutheran Church in Bothell, Wash.
Since 1952, Penny Timmerman, a member of Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church, West Columbia, S.C., has attended Ash Wednesday services.
Ashes are the primary image for the day. Since the 11th century, the ashes have been made by burning the fronds from the previous year's Palm Sunday.
The imposition of ashes at a traditional setting for members of St. Mark’s Lutheran in Aurora, Colo.