Photo blogs

A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.


The power of art

May 06, 2013

St. Luke Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Chicago, mirrors the artistic neighborhood of which it has become a part.

St. Luke Lutheran Church has stood at the corner of Schubert and Francisco avenues for more than 100 years.

An interpretive dancer performs in St. Luke’s sanctuary.

Fire jugglers perform at St. Luke’s 2012 Easter Vigil.

St. Luke members don balloon hats at a Logan Square street festival.

A singer performs with an autoharp during worship.

One net at a time

Apr 29, 2013

The ELCA Malaria Campaign sees the fruits of its efforts on a trip to Africa.

In this “open clinic” in Zambia, people are tested for malaria using a rapid diagnostic test in a make-shift medical center beneath a tree. Patients have their blood tested via a finger prick similar to how people with diabetes check their blood sugar. The test then makes a diagnosis much like a pregnancy test: one line means the person has tested negative. Two lines indicate they have tested positive.

Those who test positive via the rapid diagnostic test can receive anti-malaria medication immediately. Trained personnel give them the medication and instructions on how to complete the full dose.

This is Innocent. Before Innocent was born, his mother took anti-malaria medication and slept under a net provided by the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Had Innocent’s mother not learned about these important prevention and treatment methods, Innocent might not be here today.

Many pastors in Zambia are trained to educate members about malaria and how to prevent it. At this worship service, members of the community learned about important preventive measures to keep them from contracting the disease.

At the same worship service, community members who are trained in malaria prevention instruct the congregation on the proper setup of an insecticide-treated bed net and how to safely sleep beneath one.

Children in Zambia receive nets, thanks in part to the generous gifts that ELCA members have made to the ELCA Malaria Campaign!

Volunteers for the environment

Apr 22, 2013

We take a look at how ELCA volunteers contribute to the stewardship of the environment.

Members of St. Luke Lutheran Church, Portland, Ore., joined other community organizations in an effort to keep hundreds of pounds of recyclable materials from going to a local landfill.

Volunteers sorted a day’s worth of waste in Pacific Lutheran University’s campus-wide Garbology event. The idea was to demonstrate what could be diverted from landfills. (Photo by Dean J. Koepfler)

First English Lutheran Church of Columbus, Ohio, participates in the Energy Stewards Initiative of Lutherans Restoring Creation, a national grassroots program that encourages ELCA congregations to care for creation. Congregational volunteers are shown installing energy efficient lights in the sanctuary.

A team of volunteers from Hosanna Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn., helped plant and harvest the Hosanna Community Garden for Channel One Food Bank.

Confirmation camp attendees volunteer part of their time to working in the Metigrowshe Garden. Located in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, the Metigoshe Ministries offers year-round opportunities to connect with God through nature.

Members of Ballard First Lutheran Church, Seattle, Wash., have been involved in creation care for many years. Volunteers are shown working on landscaping, which includes a variety of native plants and improves the habitat for a host of native wildlife species.

Moments in time: Lutherans and music, Part 1

Apr 15, 2013

The rich Lutheran tradition of liturgies, choral works, hymns, songs and instrumental music has added to the worship experience throughout the centuries.

Baroque period organist and composer Dieterich Buxtehude is pictured here in “Musical Party” by Johannes Voorhout (1674). Buxtehude’s organ works represent a central part of the standard organ repertoire and are still performed at recitals and worship services to this day. He composed a wide variety of vocal and instrumental pieces and his work is acknowledged to have influenced Johann Sebastian Bach.

Composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is acknowledged as one of the most famous, if not the most famous, and gifted of all composers past and present in the western world. Bach, a staunch and devoted Lutheran, is known for his music that was written primarily for the liturgical life of the church, to the glory of God.

The jazz ministry at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church at 54th and Lexington in Manhattan was founded by John Garcia Gensel, pastor of the congregation. He began the Jazz Vesper Service for those musicians who couldn’t attend Sunday morning services after playing gigs late into Saturday night. St. Peter’s became the home for many musicians including the legendary jazz artist Duke Ellington, pictured here with Gensel. Ellington called Gensel “The shepherd who watches over the night flock.”

Paul Manz (May 10, 1919 — Oct. 28, 2009) pictured here with his wife, Ruth, was a Lutheran composer of choir and organ music. He received a master’s degree in music from Northwestern University and as a Fulbright scholar he studied with Flor Peeters in Belgium. His musical compositions are internationally known and his organ works are extensively used in worship services, recitals and in teaching. His motet, “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” is regarded as a classic.

The Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival has been produced by the Lutheran Music Program for over 30 years. The program consists of a four-week residential training and performance regime for gifted high school students. Picture is courtesy of Lutheran Summer Music Program.

Fiddling at the global sing-along at the 2008 Global Mission Event, La Crosse, Wis.

The heart of Los Angeles

Apr 08, 2013

Angelica Lutheran Church has been \"serving the needs of the community at the heart of Los Angeles in multiple languages since 1888.

Angelica Lutheran Church has been serving Los Angeles for 123 years with services in English and in Spanish.

Angelica’s Worship Band at their Spanish-language worship service.

Carlos Paiva, Angelica’s pastor.

Worship at Angelica.

Angelica’s pews have Bibles in both English and Spanish.

Children play at Angelica’s post-worship lunch.

Christ is risen!

Mar 31, 2013

Here is a sampling of how ELCA congregations throughout the U.S. celebrate these most holy days.

Lighting the paschal candle at the Easter Vigil at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, West Los Angeles. Calif. The presiding minister lights the paschal candle from the new fire and sings or says: “The light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.” (ELW p. 267)

Martin Lettow, pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (Gunbarrel) led Easter worship at the reservoir in Boulder, Colo., early Easter Sunday, 2012.

Children’s service at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Woburn, Mass. In 2011, Keith Anderson, pastor, used a funeral pall and taught about the symbols on it. Said Keith, “When we see it we are often sad, but like the cloth that was left in Jesus’ tomb it reminds us of new life.”

The altar at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines, Fla. Photo by Keith Spencer, pastor..

Decorating the Easter cross at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Whittier, Calif.

The Easter choir at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis.

Olin Sletto, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, Ill., leads the Gospel procession during the 2011 Easter service.