Photo blogs

A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.


Observing the season of Lent

Mar 31, 2014

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.

Observing the season of Lent

Midweek Lenten worship at Ascension Lutheran Church, Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Observing the season of Lent

Shepherd of the Hills, Stevenson, Wash., observes contemplative prayer around the cross.

Observing the season of Lent

Young members of Grace Lutheran Church, Hendersonville, N.C., prepare for a Lenten service of healing.

Observing the season of Lent

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.

Observing the season of Lent

The season of Lent at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, Reading, Pa.

Observing the season of Lent

First Lutheran Church in Stoughton, Wis., hosts a weekly Lenten supper.

Domestic Hunger Grants

Mar 24, 2014

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.

Domestic Hunger Grants

Harold is a cook and a participant of Grace Feast, a ministry of Gift of Grace Lutheran Church, Seattle.

Domestic Hunger Grants

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.

Domestic Hunger Grants

An ELCA Domestic Hunger Grant established the rooftop garden at Trinity Lutheran College, Everett, Wash.

Domestic Hunger Grants

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.

Domestic Hunger Grants

The food pantry at the Peoples Resource Center, Wheaton, Ill., offers fresh produce, meats, dairy, canned goods and household staples.

Domestic Hunger Grants

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

Mar 17, 2014

"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.

Caring for creation

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.

Caring for creation

Creation care team members of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston, at Luther Hill Campground clean up outdoor worship spaces.

Caring for creation

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.

Caring for creation

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.

Caring for creation

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.

Caring for creation

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.

Inspirational women

Mar 10, 2014

In honor of International Women’s Day, which was celebrated Saturday, March 8, we lift up the following inspirational Lutheran women.

Inspirational 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.

Inspirational women

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.

Inspirational women

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.

Inspirational women

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.

Inspirational women

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.”

Inspirational women

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

Mar 03, 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.

Ash Wednesday

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.

Ash Wednesday

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

Ash Wednesday sunshine at First Lutheran Church in Bothell, Wash.

Ash Wednesday

Since 1952, Penny Timmerman, a member of Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church, West Columbia, S.C., has attended Ash Wednesday services.

Ash Wednesday

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.

Ash Wednesday

The imposition of ashes at a traditional setting for members of St. Mark’s Lutheran in Aurora, Colo.

Hope, healing and renewal

Feb 24, 2014

When disaster strikes Lutheran Disaster Response is there to help! Around the corner or around the world, Lutheran Disaster Response recognizes that every disaster is local, and we work to accompany communities from immediate relief to long-term recovery. Lutherans are the first to respond and the last to leave.

Here are some of the ways that Lutheran Disaster Response is helping.

Hope, healing and renewal

Lutheran Disaster Response volunteers were there to help when the Red River crested in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., at 38.75 feet. In rural areas north and south of Fargo/Moorhead, flooding of fields, roads and homes reached unprecedented levels.

Hope, healing and renewal

On May 22, 2011, an EF5 tornado destroyed Joplin, Mo., and leveled Peace Lutheran Church. Thanks in part to Lutheran Disaster Response, the congregation celebrated the dedication of their newly completed building on June 23, 2013.

Hope, healing and renewal

Record-breaking September rains caused flood waters to rise in Colorado destroying over 18,000 homes and businesses. Through ELCA congregations, pastors and social ministries, Lutheran Disaster Response is working to serve those most affected.

Hope, healing and renewal

Lutheran Disaster Response is still responding in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. Through partners in the Caribbean, Lutheran Disaster Response is providing basic needs — food, water and shelter. In the U.S. the work continues through ELCA synods and ministry organizations.

Hope, healing and renewal

The day after Typhoon Bopha raged through the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, Maravic Tinhay cleans up the rubble of her home. With its partners, Lutheran Disaster Response helped rebuild livelihoods, provided shelter and created financial assistance.

Hope, healing and renewal

Volunteers work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Since 2005, millions of dollars and countless hours of hard work have been donated.