Photos

A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.


Spring brings synod assemblies

Jun 08, 2015

It’s synod assembly season in the ELCA. Beginning in April and running through June, each of the ELCA’s 65 synods gathers for its annual synod assembly. During the assembly, voting members elect leaders, determine budgets and address topics of concern through resolutions.

Spring brings synod assemblies

The theme for the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod Assembly was “God’s Love in Action: Education, Service & Advocacy.” During the May 1-3 gathering in Tulsa, Okla., about 100 members, both youth and adults, worked in neighboring Global Gardens (science and gardening sites on or near school grounds), assisted the American Red Cross or made quilts for Lutheran World Relief.

Spring brings synod assemblies

During its assembly May 15-17, the Northern Great Lakes Synod collected $25,114.28 to help alleviate world hunger with a “Quarters for Hunger” offering.

Spring brings synod assemblies

Members of the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin Assembly wiggle their “sheep ears” as the executive director and leadership team of Crossways Camping Ministries leads them in singing a Bible camp favorite, “I Just Wanna Be a Sheep.” At its May 15-16 assembly in Green Bay, members joined in support of Crossways Camping Ministries by donating items needed by the camp.

Spring brings synod assemblies

Bishop Kevin S. Kanouse dedicates the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Mission Center at Briarwood Retreat Center as part of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod Assembly April 25. The center houses the synod offices and has state-of-the art Internet access, teleconferencing and webcast capacity.

Spring brings synod assemblies

The Eastern North Dakota Synod Assembly gathered April 18-19 in Fargo. As part of an activity to learn about the Spirit, participants blew up balloons that were released. The assembly was reminded that the Spirit is always active and on the move, often surprising us in wonderful ways, and that the Spirit is fun, bringing joy and excitement that lead to hope.

Spring brings synod assemblies

ELCA Glocal Mission Gathering musicians from around the country provide music at the Southwestern Texas Synod Assembly, May 1-3.

Churchwide assembly – Central African Republic style

Jun 01, 2015

The churchwide assemblies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Central African Republic have the same purpose as the ELCA’s, but in many ways they’re quite different. Just getting to the assembly can be a long, and sometimes hazardous, journey. Once there, the local flavor of the joyous gathering helps those attending accomplish their important work under sometimes less-than-ideal conditions. Susan Smith, an ELCA missionary in the Central African Republic, attended and helped at this spring’s assembly in Bouar. A recent entry to her blog describes the gathering. Here are some of her photos taken at the assembly.  (Photos/Susan Smith)


Churchwide assembly CAR style

Chalk, not Wi-Fi, is used to tally the votes. Chalk has never had a connection problem.

Churchwide assembly CAR style

For most attending the assembly in the building without air conditioning, seating is on benches.

Churchwide assembly CAR style

Traveling for many in the Central African Republic can be a dangerous task. Space is at a premium, and the tops of vehicles provide necessary, although precarious, seating. These people were not going to the assembly, but their mode of travel is common.

Churchwide assembly CAR style

Benches were set up outside for the overflow crowd, who could hear the proceedings thanks to the generator-run speakers inside the building.

Churchwide assembly CAR style

Besides the five voting members from each of the church’s 28 districts, many pastors attended the assembly.

Churchwide assembly CAR style

Rebecca Miminza (left) was ordained during the last day of the assembly.

Churchwide assembly CAR style

The assembly elected Ndanga-Toue, right, to be the new president. Next to him is Willie Langdji, an ELCA missionary.

Churchwide assembly CAR style

Three regional leaders were given motorcycles, an important means of transportation, purchased with money provided by an ELCA synod that partners with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Central African Republic. 

Mutual learning

May 25, 2015

A steady influx of immigrants in recent decades has paved the way for the first and second generation of Koreans to settle in northern New Jersey. In some cities, Koreans and Korean Americans comprise 60 percent or more of the population, making it possible for them to socialize, work, attend church and shop in a completely Korean world. They can easily get by without learning English or interacting with Americans – until they need to communicate with hospital workers, police, their children’s teachers or social service workers, although interpreters are sometimes available. Zion Lutheran Church in Ridgefield, N.J., saw a need for English as a second language classes and began a ministry called Morning Star. While the original goal may have been to help immigrants with English, the mission morphed into one of mutual sharing and mutual learning. Photos for this blog (taken by Krista Kennel) were taken for a story that appeared in the May issue of The Lutheran magazine.

Mutual learning

Stephen Jang reviews the worksheet.

Mutual learning

Relationships and resources are both important.

Mutual learning

Jaeyeal Kim, with his son Joshua, participate in Bible study at Zion Lutheran Church in Ridgefield, N.J.

Mutual learning

At the end of the Bible study, everyone prays a sentence or two in English.

Mutual learning

June Jin (left) and Eunyoung Kim participate in Bible study.

Mutual learning

Stephen Jang proves that study is also filled with joy and laughter.

Mutual learning

The Sunday Gospel text is also used during the study.

Mutual learning

Janet Blair is pastor of Zion and mission director of Morning Star.

Mutual learning

Eunyoung Kim (left) and Chun Hee Kim read together.

ELCA members join Million Moms March

May 18, 2015

Some ELCA members gathered on Mother’s Day weekend in Washington, D.C., to participate in the Million Moms March, a peaceful demonstration that brought together mothers whose children have been killed by police. The march was organized by Mothers for Justice United, a group led by Maria Hamilton, a member of All Peoples Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. Maria’s son Dontre was shot by Milwaukee police in April 2014. All Peoples Lutheran was a leading partner at the march. The weekend included a march to the U.S. Department of Justice and meetings with White House officials and members of Congress.

Million Moms March

The crowd listens to speakers during the Million Moms March in Washington, D.C. (Photo/Linda Muth)

Million Moms March

Marchers hold a banner in honor of Dontre Hamilton, who was killed by Milwaukee police in April 2014. (Photo/Steve Jerbi)

Million Moms March

People came from across the country to support mothers who mourn the loss of their children. (Photo/Linda Muth)

Million Moms March

Steve Jerbi, senior pastor of All Peoples Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, said, “The most powerful moments were the testimonies of the mothers. There were threads that wove through their stories, knitting together common themes. Yet, each story was unique on its own, as unique as the lives lost.” (Photo/Mothers for Justice United)

Million Moms March

ELCA member Maria Hamilton speaks to the crowd at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Million Moms March

Members of All Peoples Lutheran Church in Milwaukee attend the Million Moms March in Washington, D.C.

Walking the talk

May 11, 2015

This is what collaboration looks like in the Heartside area of Grand Rapids, Mich., thanks in large part to a local church’s ministry. About 40 social service providers meet monthly at Bethlehem Lutheran Church as part of the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project, a 5-year-old ministry of Bethlehem, a small congregation with a big focus on social justice.

Walk the walk

Diners enjoy a meal while a line forms outside at God’s Kitchen.

Walk the walk

Bread fills the grocery carts at God’s Kitchen and Guiding Light Ministries in the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Walk the walk

In Grand Rapids, Mich., Bethlehem Lutheran Church is part of the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project that serves weekday meals, enjoyed by neighbors such as Tony.

Walk the talk

Kiel Hamlet is able to help people with legal and financial matters, thanks to the collaboration developed through the Heartside project.

Walk the walk

Comfort food and comfort are at the heart of the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project.

YAGM Discernment-Interview-Placement event

May 05, 2015

In April, the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program welcomed 79 young adults to its annual Discernment-Interview-Placement event. Young Adults in Global Mission, ages 21-29, serve in one of nine international settings alongside Lutheran global companions and ecumenical partner organizations. At the conclusion of the weekend, all 79 young adults were offered an international placement; those who accept will begin service with the ELCA and its companions around the world this August. (Photos/Sarah Bowers)

YAGM DIP

Closing worship at the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Discernment-Interview-Placement event was held outdoors.

YAGM DIP

Young adult participants spent time in prayer. At the end of the weekend, they received a placement offer to serve in one of nine country programs around the world.

YAGM DIP

At the event, participants spent time in conversation and learning about various country programs. Here some of the Discernment-Interview-Placement participants learn about the program in Mexico from Country Coordinators Lindsay Mack (standing) and Omar Mixco.

YAGM DIP

In April, the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program welcomed 79 young adult participants at its 2015 Discernment-Interview-Placement event.

YAGM DIP

Rebecca Hernandez-Ortiz, called to serve this coming year in Argentina/Uruguay, preached for the group on Sunday morning at Techny Towers in Northbrook, Ill.

YAGM DIP

Communion was served during worship at the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Discernment-Interview-Placement event. At the conclusion of the weekend, the ELCA called all 79 young adults to serve internationally alongside our Lutheran global companions and ecumenical partner organizations.