A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.

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

Oct 14, 2013

Last month we posted the photo blog “‘God’s work. Our hands.’ day of service” Parts I and II. Because of the great response with the submission of photos from congregations all over the country, we decided to post more photos. You may also want to check out our Pinterest page and Facebook albums.

Milwaukee’s Oldest Lutheran congregation is always being made new! The people of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church were eager to celebrate the ELCA’s 25th anniversary. They took worship outside, sang, prayed, listened to God’s word, communed and welcomed all as they worshiped along one of the busiest streets in Milwaukee. After worship, members went into the neighborhood to clean up litter.

Trinity Lutheran of Porterville, Calif., reports the ELCA 25th anniversary found God calling Trinity to fellowship with Olive Street School staff, parents and students in planting 17 trees at the school along with painting lines for foursquare, hopscotch and student line-up outside the class rooms.

At Living Word Lutheran Church in Arlington, Tenn., the congregation combined the service day with Rally Day and collected gifts and clothes for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

The goal at United Lutheran Church, Hampton, Neb., was to paint every fire hydrant in town. At the end of the day all of the town’s 62 hydrants had a new coat of paint. The congregation gave their town a gift of service.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Cumberland, Md., began an Intergenerational Puppet Ministry Team in August. Their first opportunity to use their hands was on Sept. 8 for the “God’s Work. Our Hands.” service day. They visited a memory-loss residence where they sang songs, danced and brought moments of joy to the residents.

The congregation of St. Paul Lutheran Church , Sarasota, Fla., gathered for a sending prayer before half of the “God’s work. Our hands.” volunteers went to a local rehab facility and offered a “mini-worship” service. Others went trash-picking on a two-mile stretch of road for the Adopt-A-Road program of Keep Sarasota Beautiful.

Installation of ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton

Oct 07, 2013

On Oct. 5, 2013, Elizabeth A. Eaton became the fourth presiding bishop of the ELCA. Bishop Eaton was installed at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel.

The congregation turns to greet the processional cross, which was followed by the presiding ministers, preacher, assisting ministers and director of liturgy. Prior to the rite of installation, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson served as presiding minister. After the rite of installation, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton served as presiding minister.

Mark S. Hanson, presiding minister, (center right) addresses the assembly during the welcome of the presiding bishop-elect. Yolanda Tanner, vice president of the ELCA Delaware-Maryland Synod (center left) is the assisting minister.

Joelle Colville-Hanson, an ELCA pastor, (left) and Anita Tubben-Nueztmen hold service folders from the service of Holy Communion and the Installation of the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA. Joelle and Anita are regular feature bloggers for Living

Vested in red and white, the ELCA Conference of Bishops is an advisory body of the church. The conference includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and secretary.

Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and vice president of the North American Region of The Lutheran World Federation, took part in a laying on of hands over ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton.

“The office of presiding bishop is now committed to you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” — Presiding Minister Mark S. Hanson

Elizabeth A. Eaton is formally presented as ELCA presiding bishop.

T. Conrad Selnick, priest of St. Christopher’s by the River Episcopal Church in Gates Mill, Ohio, reads the Gospel — Mark 4:1-9. Conrad is also the husband of ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton.

Jessica Crist, bishop of the ELCA Montana Synod and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, preached the sermon.

Elizabeth A. Eaton (left), ELCA presiding bishop, served as presiding minister after the rite of installation.

John H. Evans is the pastor who confirmed Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton when she was 12. John, now 93, is retired and traveled from Lakewood, Ohio, to attend the installation. He also delivered the prayer before the evening banquet in honor of Eaton.

The first three female synodical bishops of the ELCA pose with with Presidng Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. From left to right, Margaret Payne, former bishop of ELCA New England Synod; Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, former bishop of the ELCA South Dakota Synod; Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton; and April Ulring Larson, former bishop of the ELCA La Crosse Area Synod. Larson was the first female synodical bishop; she was installed on Oct. 11, 1992.

Angels of the Bible

Sep 30, 2013

Mentioned over 200 times in the Bible, angels have a variety of attributes. At times an angel appears to be a human with unusual features. Daniel saw an angel with arms and legs resembling polished metal and precious stones. The angel who rolled away the stone from the tomb was a dazzling light. The Angel Gabriel came to Mary in the form of a man to tell her that she was to become the mother of the Messiah. The following images represent how artists have depicted these spiritual beings as found in the Bible.

“Hagar and the Angel in the Desert” by James Tissot, 1896-1900. The first mention of an angel in the Bible was as a comforter/provider to Hagar and her son Ishmael. “The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur” (Genesis 16:7).

Archangel Michael statue at St. Michael’s Church, Hamburg, Germany. The church is one of Hamburg’s five Lutheran main churches. This large bronze statue, standing above the portal of the church, shows the archangel conquering the devil. In the book of Revelation, Michael leads God’s armies against Satan’s forces. “And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back” (Revelation 12:7).

“Archangel Gabriel Annunciate” by Fra Angelico, 1431-1433. “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David” (Luke 1:26-27).

“Jacob wrestling with the Angel” by Jacob Epstein, Tate Britain, London. “Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak” (Genesis 32:24).

Angels rolling away the stone from the sepulcher, William Blake, 1805. “And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it” (Matthew 28:2).

Trinity icon, Andrei Rublev, 15th century, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. In some traditions the three travelers represent the Trinity. In many western traditions the travelers welcomed by Abraham and Sarah were three angels. “He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground” (Genesis 18:2).

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

Sep 23, 2013

Last week we posted the photo blog “‘God’s work. Our hands.’ day of service, Part I.” As promised, here are more photos sent to us by ELCA members from across the country. For more photos, you can check out our Pinterest page and Facebook albums.

Members of St. Matthew Lutheran Church, York, Pa., during their neighborhood prayer walk.

Members from Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ankeny, Iowa, gather in front of some of the items they collected for the Reentry Clothing Closet at Mitchellville Prison.

One of the projects that 47 members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Naples, Fla., worked on was separating several thousand pounds of carrots and potatoes into family-size bags for distribution by the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Children from Augustana/East Sveadahl Ministries, St. James, Minn., sang at two assisted-living facilities and a nursing home. The children pose with Augustana’s oldest member, 100-year-old Edith Seal.

One of many projects that teams from Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, attended to for the Day of Service was yard work at several locations.

A crew from Messiah Lutheran Church, Wauconda, Ill., made dog biscuits and doggie bandanas for a local pet shelter.

At Redeemer Lutheran Church, Indianola, Iowa, approximately 100 people spent “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday on a variety of projects, from sending care packages to military personnel to landscaping the elementary school property across the street from the church. They ended the day with a time of food and fellowship.

'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.