A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
ELCA outdoor ministries
ELCA Outdoor ministries offer a wide variety of programs that provide growth and faith formation experiences for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities – summer and year-round. They represent: 132 outdoor ministry sites, 300 full-time directors, 3,500 summer staff, 30,000 acres of land, 175,000 summer campers, and 275,000 fall/winter/spring campers and retreaters.
Whether you are interested in youth or adult programs, finding a place for a group retreat, or need assistance with a program in your congregation, discover what Lutheran outdoor ministry opportunities and resources are near you.
Outdoor ministry programs and their leaders are committed to creating experiences that deepen the faith of campers across the United States and in Puerto Rico – in rustic cabins and in high-comfort retreat centers, on mountaintops and prairies, city streets and ocean shores, in conference rooms and canoes. (Luther Point Bible Camp, Wisconsin.)
The unique gifts of an outdoor ministry experience include living with others in an intentional Christian community, the presence of trained and caring staff, and being in a place where you feel free to open up to God’s Spirit, creation and the people around you. (Camp Kinard, South Carolina)
Summer programs include youth camps, adult and family camps, travel and adventure camps, day camps, leadership training, urban day camps, service learning experiences, and more. (Lutherdale Ministries, Wisconsin)
Young people, in particular, can benefit through camp experiences that encourage growth in faith and spirituality, self-confidence, independence, making friends, creativity and learning new skills. (Luther Point Bible Camp, Wisconsin)
Through worship, Bible study, games, group building and challenging activities, participants discover how active and vibrant their faith can be by learning to live and work together in an intentional Christian community. (Lutherdale Ministries, Wisconsin)
For many youth and young adults, outdoor ministry experiences are a starting point for becoming leaders in the church and their communities. Pastors and other church leaders often connect their first thoughts of serving in fulltime ministry with the experiences they had at camp while growing up. (Camp Kinard, South Carolina)
Most camps, retreats and conference centers provide programs throughout the year. Weekend retreats, outdoor schools, conference meetings or older adult programs all strive to minister to the whole person in every season of life. (Lutherdale Ministries, Wisconsin)
The stereotype of camp used to be young kids sitting around a campfire with their Bibles roasting marshmallows and singing “Father Abraham.” It’s still that – and much, much more! Outdoor ministries have grown to serve all ages, year-round, in a variety of settings. Learn more about how and where you can get involved or use outdoor ministries as a resource for your congregation. (Lutherdale Ministries, Wisconsin)
Catch the Buzz!
The vacation Bible school program at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Minn., featured Catch the Buzz! – a resource of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. More than 50 kids spent a week this summer learning how they can be part of ending malaria in Africa through the campaign, which supports Lutheran companion churches and partners in their efforts to educate, prevent and treat malaria. The campaign is committed to raising $15 million by 2015 to support work in 13 African countries.
Preventing malaria involves protecting yourself against mosquito bites and taking anti-malarial medicines.
As part of Catch the Buzz!, the making of mosquitoes helps raise awareness of how malaria is spread. Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, yet more than 600,000 people die from it each year, many of them children under 5.
Mosquitoes become infected by biting an infected person and drawing blood that contains the parasite. When that mosquito bites another person, that person becomes infected.
“Marla” is the mascot for St. Andrew’s vacation Bible school program, Catch the Buzz! – a resource of the ELCA Malaria Campaign.
The ELCA Malaria Campaign is uniquely positioned to help provide mosquito nets, education, testing, medication and more to help eliminate deaths from this disease for good.
Children attending St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church’s Catch the Buzz! vacation Bible school program, dress up as mosquitoes. Malaria is caused by a bite from a mosquito infected with parasites.
The children participating in Catch the Buzz! learn how they can help put a stop to malaria.
ELCA congregations and members participating in the ELCA Malaria Campaign are striving to eliminate malaria for future generations.
Women of the ELCA gather
The Ninth Triennial Convention of Women of the ELCA took place July 22-24, 2014, at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. More than 360 delegates at the convention considered memorials from synodical women’s organizations and recommendations from the organization’s executive board to further the group’s mission and ministry. The convention preceded the organization’s Ninth Triennial Gathering, July 24-27, during which more than 2,400 women from across this church gathered under the theme “of many generations.”
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton shares the Presiding Bishop Cross with a young woman who hopes to become the next female presiding bishop.
Jennifer Michael, Women of the ELCA outgoing executive board president, greets delegates Melissa Holden, left, and Mary Ann Patterson, right.
The new president of Women of the ELCA, here with her husband, Hilton, and granddaughter Savannah, is Patti Austin of Decatur, Ga.
Jennifer Michael, outgoing Women of the ELCA executive board president, calls the Ninth Triennial Convention to order.
Delegates used electronic voting devices to cast votes.
Women stand and pray at the opening worship of the Ninth Triennial Gathering. More than 2,400 women gathered from across the country.
The new Women of the ELCA executive board will serve from 2014 to 2017.
Fighting malaria in Burundi
Although malaria is preventable and treatable, every year more than 200 million people worldwide become infected with the disease and more than 600,000 people die, many of these children under 5. Through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, ELCA congregations have joined with companion Lutheran churches and partners in 13 African countries to prevent and treat malaria, educate communities about the disease and more. Here’s an illustration of how this church is partnering with Lutherans in Burundi.
A woman holds her child outside the Mwiruzi health center in Burundi.
Two women walk from their homes to the central market in the Cankuzo province of Burundi.
Two children watch the malaria message and performance competition in the Cankuzo province of Burundi. They learn about ways to prevent malaria, the signs and symptoms of the disease and how to treat it.
A woman sings and dances during a performance and malaria message competition. In Burundi, this is a fun way to educate communities. During the competition, teams from three neighboring villages came together to share the songs, performances and dramas that they use to educate people about malaria prevention and control.
The ELCA Malaria Campaign is working with The Lutheran World Federation in Burundi, training leaders like Pastor John in the province of Cankuzo, who in turn helps the members of his congregation. “I now have training in ways of fighting malaria, which is a very serious illness since 60 percent of people here suffer from malaria,” said Pastor John.
People gather in the lobby of the Mwiruzi health center in Burundi.
Bahiga Euphrasie says, "Once we received training and instruction related to malaria, we could recognize malaria symptoms on a child or adult. When [my child] got sick, I took her to the health center. They examined her and found it [malaria]. Thanks to the training we received, we know the kind of symptoms we should look for.”
Men on a mission
The 2014 Lutheran Men’s Gathering, “Guys, Guts and God’s Glory,” takes place July 18-20 in Nashville, Tenn. Lutheran Men in Mission – the ELCA’s men’s ministry – is committed to making “men bold, daring followers of Jesus Christ.” Inside the framework of what appears to be a traditional national men’s gathering, men of all ages will encounter a passion for discipleship, a hunger for the word, and opportunities to be taught and equipped by men who have a desire to see the men of our congregations transformed through drawing closer to God.
“One Year to Live” retreats encourage men to take a serious look at their faith, lives and relationships.
Mentoring and helping young men through their life journeys and faith formation bridges generations in congregations.
Service and volunteering is at the heart of many men’s ministries and is an effective way to engage the skills and interests of men of all ages.
Some Lutheran men’s events – like "High, Wide and Deep" near Lake Tahoe, Calif. – mix games, challenge activities, fun and competition with worship, Bible study, small-group discussions and inspiring speakers.
Lutheran Men in Mission has used its “Master Builders Bible for Men” to engage more men in studying the Bible together and developing confidence to lead Bible study groups.
Joy and peace
The children of Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope and Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour have found joy and safety in their studies as they graduate from kindergarten. The schools are a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. The church has been instrumental in helping kindergarteners graduate and find peace through their school ministry. The photos were taken by ELCA missionary Danae Hudson, communications coordinator for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
Parents watch and take photos of their children as they participate in the kindergarten graduation of the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah. The Evangelical Lutheran Schools in the Holy Land are co-educational, with boys and girls and Christians and Muslims studying together.
A graduate straightens his cap before receiving his diploma at the kindergarten graduation at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope in Ramallah.
Imad Haddad, pastor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope in Ramallah, sits with his youngest daughter, Yara, and visitors at the kindergarten graduation of the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah. The five major Christian churches in Ramallah have a joined fellowship in which they partner in worship, education, community projects and social activities.
Kindergarten graduates from the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah perform “Little Red Riding Hood” in English during their graduation ceremony. The Evangelical Lutheran Schools in the Holy Land teach children in multiple languages, including Arabic, English and German.
Kindergarten graduates fool around for the camera before their graduation ceremony from the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour.
Students of the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour participate in their graduation ceremony in June 2014.
Students stand at attention during the Palestinian national anthem during the kindergarten graduation of the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah.
A kindergarten graduate receives his diploma from the Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope’s principal, Michael Abu Ghazaleh, in Ramallah.