A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.

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.

Where in the world?

Aug 05, 2013

More than 240 ELCA missionaries, volunteers and global personnel are serving in over 40 countries, working side by side with their neighbors. They teach, preach, heal, build and grow this church.

ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson anoints the hands of missionaries at the Summer Missionary Conference held in late July at Carthage College, Kenosha, Wis.

English teachers, Morgan Dixon, Caroline Keenan and Laura Fentress don kimonos at a traditional tea ceremony in Japan. The women were invited to the home of a member of the local church who is also a tea master. Note the crucifix display in the upper right corner, a Christian adaptation of the traditional Japanese household shrine.

Martin Zimmann and his son, Seth, are shown on Palm Sunday in Jerusalem. Martin and his wife, Angela, are special assistants to Munib Younan, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and are co-pastors at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, the English-speaking congregation in Jerusalem.

Megan Ross plants an avocado tree in Indonesia. Megan is a teacher at the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Deaconess School in Baliage, North Sumatra.

On a recent visit to Tanzania, Clifton Eshbach (left), assistant to the bishop in the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA and Kurt Strause, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Pa., met with ELCA missionary Barbara Robertson in the city of Morogoro.

Justin and Kari Eller serve as missionaries in La Paz, Bolivia. Justin is a pastor of Iglesia Evangelica Luterana Boliviana and a pastoral team educator who helps educate national Bolivian missionaries. Kari works with Justin in translation, curriculum development and education methodologies. Before moving to Bolivia, Kari taught Spanish for four years in the Chicago Public School system.

In Nomine Jesu: J.S. Bach

Jul 29, 2013

On July 28 the church remembers its most celebrated musician, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Known as one of the greatest musical geniuses in history, Bach was also a dedicated Lutheran.

The Leipzig Bach Festival — The city of Leipzig, Germany, annually holds a large musical extravaganza in honor of the beloved composer.

The Bachhaus in Eisenach, Germany, is a museum dedicated to J.S. Bach, who was born in the city. He also spent the first 10 years of his life in Eisenach. The museum boasts 600 displays and over 250 original exhibits — including a Bach music autograph.

Autographed manuscript of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Der Herr ist mein Gertreuer Hirt “(“The Lord is my faithful shepherd”), BWV 112, Dated April 8, 1731. With permission of the Morgan Library.

Who’s buried in Bach’s tomb? Bach was buried in an unmarked grave in 1750. Because of an 1894 expansion of the church graveyard at Johanneskirsche, there was an opportunity to determine the exact location of his grave. Based on the casket type, gender and age of the skeleton there was a probability that his remains may have been found. The remains were re-interred only to be moved again to the Thomaskirsche when the first church was destroyed in World War II.

Bach statue at Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church), a Lutheran church in Leipzig. Bach was the Kapellmeister there from 1723 until his death in 1750. The statue by Carl Seffner was dedicated in 1908.

Germany issued this stamp in 1971 in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Bach’s composition of the Brandenburg Concertos.

We are a church that rolls up its sleeves

Jul 22, 2013

On Sept., 8, 2013, the ELCA will join together as 4 million members, nearly 10,000 congregations, 65 synods and the churchwide expression for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday — a dedicated day of service. Of course, the ELCA is no stranger to rolling up its sleeves and getting to work. In preparation for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday, check out what these congregations from across the country are already doing to love and serve their neighbors.

Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., celebrates Be the Blessing Sunday once a year. The congregation cancels two of its services and members take part in service projects across the community.

Peace Lutheran Church in Tacoma, Wash., holds an annual holiday bazaar to serve its neighbors. Members of the community bring low-cost gifts for people to give at Christmas. They also serve a meal that only costs one dollar.

Faith Lutheran Church in O’Fallon, Ill., hosts a weekly restaurant-style meal for anyone who wants to stop by.

The Trinity Samaritans at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kissimmee, Fla., work with local food pantries, homeless shelters and social agencies to fulfill unmet needs across their community.

Youth of the ELCA Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod took a trip to South Dakota in June 2013 to help with repair work of homes on an American Indian reservation.

VBS — Always being made new

Jul 15, 2013

Vacation Bible school, the summer event that connects children to Jesus through fun-filled activities and hands-on learning, has been a staple in many ELCA congregations for many decades. Vacation Bible school is not a new concept, but what congregations are doing with their programs this summer is new and exciting.

Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Vacation Bible school attendees at Christ the King Lutheran Church, St. Peters, Mo., having a “HayDay” at this year’s “weekend” session in June.

Day 2 of vacation Bible school at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Monona, Wis., focused on God’s creation and seeds, flowers and plants.

“And a little child shall lead them!” Children line up for a “Rip Roaring Good Time” at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio.

Children enjoying vacation Bible school worship at Grace Lutheran Church, Luverne, Minn.

St. John Lutheran Church, Fargo, N.D., had an awesome week under twinkling stars, around campfires and among tents. For four nights, participants gathered to talk about serving Jesus at God’s Backyard Bible Camp for vacation Bible School.

Young adults grow through service abroad

Jul 08, 2013

The ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program offers young people a year of service that can be life-changing.

The 2012-2013 group of ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers during the closing worship at the 2012 summer orientation in the United States. Photo taken by alumna Sarah Delap.

In preparation for a year of service as one of the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers for 2013-2014, Luke Roehl is learning to quilt with the help of the quilting club in his Seattle congregation. Through donations, members of the congregation have purchased squares of the quilt to help him raise the money he needs to contribute toward his year of service. The completed quilt will be given to Luke’s host family in South Africa.

In Fianarantsoa, Madagascar, ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer Jane Gingrich teaches English as well as pancake-making to a group of women at a seminary. The women are gathered around a traditional Malagasy charcoal stove for food and conversation.

ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer in Hungary, Ashley Debilzen, is serving at Gyerekház Lutheran Children’s Center in the Roma village of Görögszállás.

In Malaysia, ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer Patrick Cudahy teaches at the Grace Center.

On her last day at a crèche (nursery school) in South Africa, ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer Laura Castle receives a special goodbye.