A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
Walking the talk
This is what collaboration looks like in the Heartside area of Grand Rapids, Mich., thanks in large part to a local church’s ministry. About 40 social service providers meet monthly at Bethlehem Lutheran Church as part of the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project, a 5-year-old ministry of Bethlehem, a small congregation with a big focus on social justice.
Diners enjoy a meal while a line forms outside at God’s Kitchen.
Bread fills the grocery carts at God’s Kitchen and Guiding Light Ministries in the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Mich.
In Grand Rapids, Mich., Bethlehem Lutheran Church is part of the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project that serves weekday meals, enjoyed by neighbors such as Tony.
Kiel Hamlet is able to help people with legal and financial matters, thanks to the collaboration developed through the Heartside project.
Comfort food and comfort are at the heart of the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project.
YAGM Discernment-Interview-Placement event
In April, the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program welcomed 79 young adults to its annual Discernment-Interview-Placement event. Young Adults in Global Mission, ages 21-29, serve in one of nine international settings alongside Lutheran global companions and ecumenical partner organizations. At the conclusion of the weekend, all 79 young adults were offered an international placement; those who accept will begin service with the ELCA and its companions around the world this August. (Photos/Sarah Bowers)
Closing worship at the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Discernment-Interview-Placement event was held outdoors.
Young adult participants spent time in prayer. At the end of the weekend, they received a placement offer to serve in one of nine country programs around the world.
At the event, participants spent time in conversation and learning about various country programs. Here some of the Discernment-Interview-Placement participants learn about the program in Mexico from Country Coordinators Lindsay Mack (standing) and Omar Mixco.
In April, the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program welcomed 79 young adult participants at its 2015 Discernment-Interview-Placement event.
Rebecca Hernandez-Ortiz, called to serve this coming year in Argentina/Uruguay, preached for the group on Sunday morning at Techny Towers in Northbrook, Ill.
Communion was served during worship at the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission Discernment-Interview-Placement event. At the conclusion of the weekend, the ELCA called all 79 young adults to serve internationally alongside our Lutheran global companions and ecumenical partner organizations.
ELCA Malaria Campaign is saving lives – lots of lives
The ELCA is part of a worldwide movement that is reducing the malaria mortality rate. According to the World Health Organization, malaria mortality rates have fallen by 58 percent among children in Africa and 47 percent worldwide since 2000. Through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, ELCA members and others have contributed $13.8 million toward the campaign’s goal of raising $15 million by the end of 2015. ELCA members have joined with companion Lutheran churches and partners in 13 African countries to educate communities, prevent and treat the disease.
According to the World Health Organization, malaria mortality rates have fallen by 58 percent among children in Africa and 47 percent worldwide since 2000.
Malaria costs about $3 to diagnose and treat, so every dollar committed to the ELCA Malaria Campaign makes a difference.
Through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, more than 32,000 expectant mothers have received preventive malaria treatment.
Through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, more than 50,000 mosquito nets have been distributed to vulnerable households.
Programs supported by the ELCA Malaria Campaign have educated more than 2 million people about malaria prevention and treatment.
Christians in China
According to ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, many American Christians and Lutherans would be surprised by the large Christian presence in China. In a trip to China this Easter season, Eaton, along with a group of ELCA leaders, met in Shanghai with representatives of the China Christian Council and leaders of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China. Eaton also met with Christians in Meile, a small village in northern Yunnan, where she participated in a dedication of a new church building. Meile’s Christians are from the Lisu ethnic minority.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (center) visits Holy Trinity Church in Shanghai.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton presents a gift the Rev. Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton presents a gift to Elder Fu Xianwei, chairperson of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (center) meets with representatives of the China Christian Council and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (center) visits Meile Church in Yunnan, China. She is surrounded by church members dressed in traditional Lisu attire.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton sits among Sunday school students during a three-day vigil in the Maokenju village church.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (second from right) enjoys new friendships with (from left) Li Youni, Ong Jinaai, He Wenqin and Emily Demuth Ishida. In the background is the newly dedicated Meile “Rock of Ages” church.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton visits with Yu Liang-Jun, elder of the Maokenju congregation, and Zhao Wei, evangelist at Houdu Village.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton visits the Wijihou church, dedicated in November 2013. The ELCA provided funds to support the church building.
Jackie Utley, first African American ELCA ordination in South Carolina
Jackie Utley was the first African American to be ordained in the ELCA in South Carolina. Jackie received her Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., in 2009. From 2011 to 2013, Jackie served as assistant minister at Ascension Lutheran Church in Columbia, a primarily White congregation in a formerly all-White community. Following the retirement of their senior pastor, the congregation called Jackie to be their new senior pastor, and on June 2, 2013, Jackie was ordained at the ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly in Charleston.
Jackie Utley holds Lily, a newly baptized member of Ascension Lutheran. She was Jackie’s first baptism.
Jackie Utley is ordained during the ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly on June 2, 2013. Bishop Herman R. Yoos III, of the ELCA South Carolina Synod, presides over the service.
Jackie pauses with a congregation member during the 2013 “God's Work. Our Hands.” Sunday, the ELCA’s dedicated day of service. Volunteers held a neighborhood recycling event for electronics to be safely disposed and recycled. They also collected clothes, shoes and toys for a local homeless shelter.
Ascension Lutheran church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Jackie served as assistant pastor at Ascension from 2011 to 2013.
For many years, the congregation of Ascension participated in an outreach program called Seeds of Hope, a farmers market that runs throughout the state to help promote small, local farmers. Jackie chats with Ascension member Donna Bone and a customer who lives in the neighborhood.
On Jackie’s left is Herman R. Yoos III, bishop of the ELCA South Carolina Synod. Also present are Bob Hawkins, Ascension’s music minister, and Laura Browder, Ascension’s office administrator.
ELCA members celebrate Palm Sunday
On Sunday, March 29, Christians throughout the world observed Palm Sunday. This day inaugurates the most important week of the Christian year, beginning with Jesus’ glorious entry into Jerusalem and ending with his crucifixion and death. Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, remembers Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, as crowds gathered around him, waving palms and shouting “Hosanna!”. Many ELCA congregations commemorate Palm Sunday with processions and waving of palm branches.
The Sunday school bell choir from Beckville Lutheran Church in Litchfield, Minn., performed for the first time on Palm Sunday. The group is called All God's Ringers.
The congregation of American Lutheran Church in Burbank, Calif., gathers outside before the processional into the church.
The congregation of St. Mark’s in Mooresville, N.C., gathers before processing inside for Palm Sunday worship.