Photo blogs

A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.


The voice of one calling in the wilderness

Jun 24, 2013

On June 24 we celebrate the life of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Jesus who preached of the Messiah's coming.

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“The Visitation” from Chartres Cathedral, before 1260 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:39-42).

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“Zacharias Writes Down the Name of His Son” by Domenico Ghirlandaio, fresco 1486-1490, Santa Maria Novella, Florence Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John” (Luke 1:62-63).

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“Infant Jesus and John the Baptist” by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1600s, Museo del Prado All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him (Luke 1:66).

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“St. John the Baptist” by Leonardo da Vinci, The Louvre, Paris Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:6-8).

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“Baptism of Jesus” by He Qi Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matthew 3:13-14)

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“Beheading of Saint John the Baptist” by Caravaggio But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison (Luke 3:19-20).

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“Salome Receiving the Head of John the Baptist” by Bernardino Luini But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter” (Matthew 14:6-8). His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus (Matthew 14:12).

The great outdoors — Lutheran style

Jun 17, 2013

Lutheran Outdoor Ministries has shaped the summer for generations of young people with a wide variety of programs and locations.

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Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp is an outdoor ministry of the ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod. The main site is 55 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo.

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Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center, Bemus Point, N.Y., is directly across the water from the world-famous Chautauqua Institution. The facility is open year-round and offers programs for a wide range of people and groups.

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Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center, Port Murray, N.J., is an ecumenical retreat center and camp of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark and the ELCA New Jersey Synod.

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Lutherhaven, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has been a sleep-away camp for more than 65 years. Last year nearly 4,000 children and youth from across the region and around the country headed to Lutherhaven for summer camp.

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Summer staff members at Stony Lake Lutheran Camp, New Era, Mich. This camp is part of Living Water Ministries, a shared Mission of the Lower Michigan Synods, ELCA.

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A camp counselor interacts with campers at Carol Joy Holling Camp, Ashland, Neb.

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Hallowood Retreat & Conference Center, Comus, Md., has been a ministry of Saint Luke Lutheran Church, Silver Spring, Md., since 1979. Pictured here is Holm Worship Center, prior to evening vespers.

Summer Lutheran Style

Jun 10, 2013

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Outdoor worship service at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Catonsville, Md.

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Ministries, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. One of the summer camps and retreat centers affiliated with the ELCA.

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Members of St. John Lutheran Church, Madison, S.D., gather around the fire pit on Wednesday evenings June through August. The ingredients for smores are provided!

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Cooling off with members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Granbury, Texas.

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Youth canoe trip on the Escambia River, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Pensacola, Fla.

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Vacation Bible school at Calvary Lutheran Church, Federal Way, Wash.

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Lutheran Church of the Abiding Presence, Burke, Va. (Metrodcelca flickr)

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Fun at the congregational picnic. Does this count as a three-legged race? Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, Loganville, Wis.

Summer in the garden

Jun 03, 2013

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Hephatha Lutheran Church in Milwaukee built their community garden on a plot of land across the street from the church. The land had formerly been home to an abandoned and roach-infested home. The congregation worked with the city to acquire the land where they now grow flowers and vegetables. Read more about Hephatha Lutheran Church and their ministries here.

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Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Wash., received a grant from ELCA World Hunger to establish their community garden as a part of the congregation’s “Earthkeeping” ministry. The congregation has both a garden and an orchard where they grow apples, pears and plums. Holy Cross also keeps a blog with advice for other gardeners about when and how to plant crops for the best results. You can read their blog here.

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Trinity Lutheran Church in Palmer, Alaska, also received an ELCA World Hunger grant to support their potato garden. The congregation partners with the Next Step Day School, a school for young adults with disabilities, to maintain the garden and to donate the potato harvest to local organizations that can distribute the potatoes to those in need. Read more about Trinity’s potato garden here.

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St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Racine, Wis., built their garden on the site of a former onion farm. The fruits and vegetables they grow are donated to local families and food pantries and sold at a weekly farmers market hosted in the congregation’s parking lot. “We make our own soup, jams, jelly, pickles, pickled beets,” says Mark Trinklein, the garden coordinator. “If somebody comes in a wheelchair and can’t shop on their feet, we give them a bouquet of flowers.”

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The Garden of Hope at Salem Lutheran Church in Flint, Mich., was awarded an international award for being a place of peace from potential violence. Located in a rough, inner-city neighborhood, the garden is open to the public, and anyone is welcome to go inside and take home as many vegetables as they need. Read more about the Garden of Hope here.

How do you remember Memorial Day?

May 27, 2013

Many people attend prayer services at cemeteries and memorials in honor of those who have died in military service.

A moment of prayer at the 2012 Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

Taps is sounded to honor Civil War veterans buried in the cemetery next to Zion (Spies) Lutheran Church, Reading, Pa. The congregation was established in 1774.

Veterans and active duty service members bow their heads in prayer during the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint Avold, France, burial site of 10,489 American service members who died during World War II. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Regan).

A color guard with members of Chaska American Legion Post 57 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1791 visits the cemetery at East Union Lutheran Church, Carver, Minn.

A young man places a flag at the grave of a fallen soldier at the St. John’s Lutheran Church cemetery in Hamburg, Pa., on May 23, 2012.

Memorial Day evening at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Happy birthday! In celebration of Pentecost

May 19, 2013

On that first Christian Pentecost, the Holy Spirit — the helper Jesus promised to send — descended upon the disciples and other followers of Jesus.

Jhon Freddy Correa, pastor, celebrates Pentecost at the Sunday service at Emmaus Lutheran Church, Racine, Wis.

Red confetti falls upon the congregation at Faith Lutheran Church, Bellaire, Texas.

Mary Janz, pastor, preaches beside the flame of Pentecost at Emmaus Lutheran Church, Racine, Wis.

Food is in order at the Pentecost Picnic at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston.

The winds of Pentecost begin to blow though the worship space at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Fairview, N.C.

Fire, representing the Holy Spirit, at the Pentecost service, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Berkeley, Calif.

Balloons fly on Pentecost at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Bellevue, Wash.

A mural commissioned by Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chapel Hill, N.C.