A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
Caring for creation
"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.
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.
Creation care team members of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Houston, at Luther Hill Campground clean up outdoor worship spaces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In honor of International Women’s Day, which was celebrated Saturday, March 8, we lift up the following inspirational Lutheran 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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 sunshine at First Lutheran Church in Bothell, Wash.
Since 1952, Penny Timmerman, a member of Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church, West Columbia, S.C., has attended Ash Wednesday services.
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.
The imposition of ashes at a traditional setting for members of St. Mark’s Lutheran in Aurora, Colo.
Hope, healing and renewal
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Supporting our future leaders
The future of the ELCA depends on its future leaders, who will help ground us in God’s love and forgiveness and send us out to do God’s work in the world. Ministries and programs like ELCA Fund for Leaders enable our church to attract men and women of tremendous promise to become pastors and rostered lay leaders and to study at an ELCA seminary.
The fund serves as the ongoing promise of this church that candidates for ministry will have the opportunity to pursue a path toward informed faith and passionate discipleship. Today, more than 200 seminary students receive scholarship assistance every year, thanks to the generosity of ELCA members.
Through Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA — a five-year campaign approved by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly — you can help support and expand programs like ELCA Fund for Leaders beyond your regular weekly offerings.
Here are some of the current and past scholarship recipients, who are answering the call to leadership for this church!
Kari Reiten, pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Renton, Wash., with young members of her congregation. Kari received a scholarship in 2003.
ELCA Fund for Leaders 2013-2014 Scholarship recipients
Jacqueline Pagel, pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Phoenix, Ariz., welcomes worshipers to the 2013 Palm Sunday procession. Jacqueline was a recipient of the 2004 ELCA Fund for Leaders Scholarship.
Mission Developer Scholarship recipient Raymond Kolison with Tracie Batholomew, bishop of the ELCA New Jersey Synod. Raymond is from Ewing, N.J.. and is a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Trenton, N.J.
Kevin Baker, a 2008 scholarship recipient, delivers the invocation at the 2013-14 ELCA Fund for Leaders Annual Scholarship Awards Banquet. Kevin is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Elmwood Park, Ill.
Trinity Lutheran College, Everett, Wash., campus pastor, Erik Samuelson, (back row, right) was a 2001 scholarship recipient.
Souper Bowl of Caring 2014
On Super Bowl Sunday – Feb. 2 – ELCA congregations participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring. The Souper Bowl of Caring is a national movement of young people working to fight hunger and poverty in their communities. Of the 3,921 groups participating this year, churches make up more than 77 percent.
Children from Luther Memorial Church, Syracuse, N.Y., amassed a tower of soup to feed the hungry in their community.
Members of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Bozeman, Mont., collect cans of soup and other non-perishable food.
Youth from Christ Lutheran Church, DeForest, Wis., collect cans of soup for the local food pantry. They also accept cash donations, which are given to the DeForest Area Needs Network.
Young people at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks, Calif., collected $536 and 50 food items for ELCA World Hunger.
The Souper Bowl of Caring is a huge event at Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, Iowa. The dream of this congregation is to restock the shelves of every food bank in central Iowa. Last year the members collected more than 150,000 pounds of food.
Teens of the Spirit Together at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, Lincolnshire, Ill., collected $1,226 for PADS.