Photo blogs

A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.

'God's work. Our hands.' day of service, Part I

Sep 16, 2013

We asked ELCA members from across the country to submit their photos from their “God’s work. Our hands.” day of service. Here is but a very small sample of what we received. Stay tuned to Living Lutheran; more photos to come in the near future!

At Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Long Beach, Calif., approximately 30 members of the congregation went into the community for a neighborhood cleanup.

Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, Fuquay-Varina, N.C., sent 84 disciples of Jesus out into the community to use their hands to do God’s work. They delivered 350 grocery bags inviting residents to fill them with non-perishable food items to be donated to the local emergency food pantry. The team also packaged produce and delivered the parcels to a home for the elderly. Some disciples spent their afternoon helping organize a store front and warehouse area for a local thrift store that funds an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Fifty members of three New Jersey Shore congregations — St. Paul Lutheran Church, Beachwood; Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, Manahawkin; and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Brant Beach — joined together to participate in a cleanup project in the Beach Haven West section of Stafford Township, N.J., an area that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

More than 70 members of Hope Lutheran Church, Temecula, Calif., participated in five projects. One team cleaned a bike path; another packed food boxes and prepared hot meals to take to 26 units of transitional housing for the homeless, while another team visited residents at an assisted-living facility. Still others went to a local park and refurbished playground equipment. And last but not least, a home team prayed for those out in the field.

One of the parish nurses at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, offered blood-pressure checks and heart-healthy info.

Along with the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Messiah Lutheran Church and School, Mechanicsville, Va., celebrated “Gods work. Our hands.” Sunday with several service projects benefiting the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Adopt-A-Senior Program, the Hanover County Humane Society, Lutheran Family Services, the local food pantry and the local clothes closet. Members of the congregation even had time to spruce up the church property and building. Together, they served more than 150 hours in the afternoon.

Creatively generous

Sep 09, 2013

ELCA members and congregations have a reputation for their generosity. And for some, that means getting creative about their fundraising efforts. Check out these creative ways ELCA members and congregations have given of their time and talents to some important causes.

For the past 15 years, Norm Peterson, who was pastor of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rhinelander, Wis., until 2013, has taken the youth of his congregation on a World Hunger Bike Tour. Supported by pledges, the students ride between 240 and 275 miles in five days to raise funds for ELCA World Hunger. In the years that the youth have biked, they have raised more than $114,000 for ELCA World Hunger relief!

Madeline, Noah and Benjamin Parker and Amy and Jonah Velnoskey hosted a donation-only lemonade stand during their families’ garage sale in May 2013. They donated all of the proceeds from the lemonade stand to Lutheran Disaster Response to support relief efforts after a series of tornados decimated the town of Moore, Okla., this past spring.

ELCA members Scott Van Daalen and Brad Wylam and their friend Ethan Wise, who attends a United Methodist congregation, raised money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign and the United Methodist Church’s own malaria campaign by running across the state of Iowa in the summer of 2013.

In the ELCA Northeastern Iowa Synod, 28 congregations in the Upper Iowa River Conference have worked together since the 1970s to sponsor Lutheran missionaries. Since 1996 (the first year for which records are available), the congregations have raised $274,500 to support ELCA missionaries. From left, Bishop Steve and Ruth Ullestad of the Northeastern Iowa Synod; the Rev. Mike Massa, dean of the Upper Iowa River Conference and pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Cresco, Iowa; Mary Beth and Bayo Oyebade, ELCA missionaries in Nigeria.

All who labor

Sep 02, 2013

In honor of Labor Day, take a break and a visual tour of how ELCA congregations celebrate the day and the winding down of summer.

Mt. Horeb Lutheran Church, Chapin, S.C., is hosting a Country Fried Steak Dinner to benefit St. Paul Lutheran Church (Pomaria, S.C.) Restoration Fund — the congregation lost their buildings in a January 2013 fire.

On Labor Day 2012 the youth from Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, Wash., labored at Helping Hand of South Whidbey. They trimmed bushes, pulled weeds and preformed general cleanup of the grounds.

Members of St. James Lutheran Church, Limerick, Pa., labor for the Lord on Labor Day weekends. The congregation takes on significant service projects.

Youth from Risen Savior Lutheran Church, McFarland, Wis., participate in a parade.

For more than 10 years, Coastside Lutheran Church, Half Moon Bay, Calif., has held an annual book sale on Labor Day weekend.

School's back in session!

Aug 27, 2013

Lutherans have a long tradition in providing education in the community. Martin Luther had a lot to say about the importance of education. He said that the role of school teacher, second only to pastor, was the “most useful, greatest, and best” — Sermon on the Duty of Sending Children to School.

Solomon Lutheran School, a kindergarten-through-sixth grade school in Woodville, Ohio, is the oldest school in the ELCA.

Students at Leif Ericson Day School, Brooklyn, N.Y., share worship and activities centered around a U.N. International Day of Peace.

Opening convocation at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., August 2012.

Fall at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., one of the ELCA’s 26 colleges and universities.

Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, answers student questions at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., on April 27, 2013.

2013 Churchwide Assembly: Deeply rooted and always being made new

Aug 19, 2013

With the election of a new ELCA presiding bishop and secretary, a celebration of this church’s 25th anniversary and the approval of the ELCA’s first major fundraising campaign, the 2013 Churchwide Assembly did indeed deliver on its theme — “Deeply rooted and always being made new.” Here is but a small pictorial sampling of the events that took place in Pittsburgh Aug. 12-17.

The consecration of the elements at the assembly worship on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Sweet hospitality — the Women of the ELCA in the ELCA Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod baked approximately 25,740 cookies to share with those attending the assembly.

Cynthia Osbourne, chair of the task force for the ELCA social statement on criminal justice, is on stage with, from left, Roger Willer, ELCA director for theological ethics; David Frederickson, a member of the task force; and Jack Munday, a member of the ELCA Church Council and liaison to the task force.

David Swartling, left, the current secretary of the ELCA, enjoys a moment with Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Bishop Madden received a standing ovation after he extended greetings to the assembly on Aug. 13.

Elizabeth A. Eaton, bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod, awaits news of the election for presiding bishop with voting members from her synod. Bishop Eaton won the election on the fifth ballot.

ELCA Southeastern Iowa Synod voting members, following instructions from Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, share with each other one person whose witness has had a strong influence on their faith life and one person to whom they are now witnessing.

Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson receives the Servus Dei Medal, which honors officers of the ELCA at the completion of their terms and continues a tradition begun in our predecessor church bodies.

Wm. Chris Boerger and his wife, Dede, embrace after the announcement of his election as the secretary of the ELCA.

Moments in time: past Churchwide Assemblies

Aug 12, 2013

We are a church that is deeply rooted and always being made new! From the first Churchwide Assembly held in Rosemont, Ill., in 1989 to the 13th assembly opening Monday, Aug. 12, in Pittsburgh, there have been many changes over the past 25 years, but we remain deeply rooted as a part of God’s new creation.

Herbert W. Chilstrom, presiding bishop, celebrates the Eucharist at the 1989 Churchwide Assembly in Rosemont, Ill.

Martin Marty, an ELCA pastor and chair of the drafting team for the Called to Common Mission proposal for full communion with the Episcopal Church, introduces the topic to the 1999 assembly in Denver.

The seventh biennial Churchwide Assembly was held in Indianapolis in 2001 — The Choir greeted assembly-goers with a rousing gospel song.

The exhibit area at the August 1995 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis.

Members of the national news media attend a news conference held at the 2009 assembly in Minneapolis.

Raphaela Moralis Rosa, pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bridgeport, Conn., presides at a morning Eucharist at the eighth assembly in Denver. The service was conducted in English and Spanish.