A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
10 years after Hurricane Katrina
On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States, causing damage and destruction that stretched from Florida’s panhandle to western Louisiana. One million homes and buildings were destroyed, and 1,833 people died. Hurricane Katrina is on record as the most destructive and costliest disaster in U.S. history. After the storm, Lutherans from all corners of the world started offering their time and skills to volunteer in the areas hit by the hurricane, and Lutheran Disaster Response collected more than $35 million to directly assist those whose homes and livelihoods were affected by Katrina.
A home in St. Bernard Parish, La., suffered significant damage from Hurricane Katrina. Through Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutherans rebuilt 2,686 homes.
Camp Victor, a volunteer camp started after Hurricane Katrina by Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Ocean Springs, Miss., housed more than 50,000 volunteers from all 50 states and 20 countries.
Students from Valparaiso University carry out damaged carpet from a home as part of Lutheran Disaster Response’s “What a Relief!” alternative spring break program to help in Katrina-affected areas. More than 800 students from 34 U.S. colleges and universities volunteered through the program during spring 2006.
ELCA mission developers help paint the exterior of a home that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
A volunteer hauls away debris after the storm. In coordination with Lutheran Social Services of the South (now Upbring), Lutheran Disaster Response coordinated 40,256 volunteers for a total of 1,787,432 service hours.
YAGMs conclude a year of service
In July, 63 young adults from the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program returned from a year-long mission opportunity. Each year, young adults from the ELCA travel to locations that include Africa, Asia, Mexico, the Middle East and South America, where they serve with ELCA companion churches and partner organizations. The participants, between the ages of 21 to 29, volunteer 35 to 40 hours a week at a variety of placement sites including churches, schools and hospitals. Earlier this month, 79 young adults embarked on their year of service.
“We ask God to bless these hands" was the prayer offered by the Young Adults in Global Mission program in Rwanda at an end-of-year service of praise and thanksgiving with leaders and friends from the Lutheran Church of Rwanda.
The Young Adults in Global Mission Southern Africa participants met together at their close of service retreat in July and had the opportunity to take in the majestic beauty of the Drakensberg Mountains and do some hiking.
Young adult volunteers in Argentina-Uruguay spend their last few days in retreat to celebrate and reflect upon a year of growth and transformation. The volunteers served with ELCA global partners including the Lutheran Church in Argentina and Uruguay.
Kaley O'Donnell, the young adult volunteer in England, says goodbye to her host congregation, St. James Church in Streatham, England, and is sent in prayer and love.
Former Young Adult in Global Mission volunteer Michael Dickson, now a short-term recruiter for the program, is shown with a friend from Al-Mahaba Kindergarten/PreSchool in Jerusalem. (Photo/Danae Hudson)
2015 ELCA Youth Gathering
Clad in candy-colored shirts, some 30,000 Lutherans met July 15-19 in Detroit for the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering under the theme, “Rise Up Together.” The triennial event aims to enrich youth in their faith journeys through worship, music, presentations, recreation and community service. Youth and their leaders worked with Detroiters to paint 1,847 mural boards for vacant buildings, board up 319 vacant homes, clear 3,200 vacant lots of debris, distribute 1,425 backpacks and build 99 picnic tables. They also experienced Detroit’s restaurants and culture, spent time learning and playing in the Cobo Center, and dancing and worshiping at Ford Field. (Photos/Chris Ocken for The Lutheran)
Members of Edgewater Congregations Together Youth, a joint youth ministry in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, pose with Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton outside of the racial justice booth in the Cobo Center. “Lutherans are taking over Detroit,” said Caleb Miller, a member of the group from Immanuel Lutheran Church, Chicago.
There were 32 students from the ELCA’s global companion churches who attended the Gathering as part of an exchange program coordinated by staff from the ELCA churchwide organization. International students were paired with youth groups from their companion synods for activities at the Gathering.
Bishop John Stanley Macholz of the Upstate New York Synod (right) prepares to zip-line in the Cobo Center while members of his synod cheer him on below. He challenged his synod to raise $5,000 for ELCA World Hunger’s Walk for Water – they exceeded the goal so he agreed to face his fear of heights and zip-line.
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton presides over closing worship on Sunday and prepares elements for serving communion. Youth and adult leaders received communion at several stations in Ford Field.
Youth serve each other communion on the main stage floor in Ford Field before departing home to their congregations. The next Gathering will be held in Houston in 2018.
On opening night, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton stands on stage at Ford Field and welcomes youth and leaders to the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering. “This is holy ground; let’s expect God to be at work in us and among us,” said Eaton.
Youth gather in Hart Plaza prior to departing for their service projects around Detroit.
Maggie Perry (left), Taylor LaPine (middle) and Kari Dettorre from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Harrisburg, Pa., help beautify a Detroit neighborhood by clearing debris in front of abandoned homes.
ELCA Worship Jubilee
Meeting under the theme “Called to be a Living Voice,” more than 800 ELCA members gathered in Atlanta July 19-23 for the ELCA Worship Jubilee and the biennial conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. The event offered worship, presentations and discussions that centered on vocation, mission and reformation, with an emphasis on preparing to observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
Gordon Lathrop, retired professor from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, presides at the table during closing worship with assisting minister Jennifer Baker-Trinity, a church musician from Beaver Lutheran Church in Beaver Springs, Pa. (Photo/John Joseph Santoro © 2015)
Stephanie Burke creates the image of Christ during a morning prayer service, while Roosevelt Credit leads the assembly in song. (Photo/John Joseph Santoro © 2015)
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton responds to questions from Martin Seltz, publisher for worship, music and congregational life at Augsburg Fortress, and Kevin Strickland, ELCA director of worship, regarding the ongoing renewal of worship in the ELCA.
“Called to be a Living Voice” participants had the opportunity to help create the paraments for the closing worship service.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and William Flippin Jr., pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran in Atlanta, lead opening worship at the Cathedral of St. Philip.
Jonathan Rundman and other members of the event’s core musicians team lead singing at the Wednesday evening program titled “The Church’s Journey in Art and Song.” (Photo/John Joseph Santoro © 2015)
MYLE and DAYLE highlights
More than 30,000 Lutherans came together for a week of service, worship and fun July 15-19 at the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit. What you may not be familiar with are the two pre-events of the Gathering that took place just days earlier. The Definitely-Abled Youth Leadership Event (DAYLE) and the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE), both designed to empower participants through worship, educational activities and leadership development, took place July 12-15 in Detroit. “Love Does” was the focus of MYLE, which brought together 500 young people of color and/or whose primary language is other than English. DAYLE participants — youth who live with a wide range of physical, cognitive and emotional abilities — came together under the theme “Crossing Together.” (Photos/Chris Ocken for The Lutheran)
ELCA youth participating in MYLE have some fun creating graffiti art during a visit to the Alley Project, a Detroit organization offering safe, positive space where youth who are at-risk can engage in artistic and cultural activities. MYLE youth were broken into various groups and visited a variety of local organizations for experiential learning.
MYLE youth toured Detroit’s Eastern Market as part of their experiential learning visit at Detroit Food Academy. “I love it here. So far Detroit is bringing better experiences to me and opening up my horizons,” said Dequam Baker, New Hope Lutheran Church in Jamaica, N.Y. (second from left). “(At MYLE), I’ve learned how to be fair with other races and people of other ethnicities.”
Sara Alexis gave an energetic and confident lip-sync of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong to Me” at the DAYLE talent show. “Each young person came in (to DAYLE) completely shy and closed off,” said Rachel Bouman, ELCA director of disability ministries, “But they bonded so quickly that within half a day everyone was so free to be themselves. It was so fun to watch them grow into leaders.”
Morgan Schenz, from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sedro Woolley, Wash., talked about the prayer stations at a DAYLE event. Participants created clay art, wrote messages and did other activities to “remember people who you would like to pray for and you pray out loud or softly.” Morgan said her favorite part of DAYLE was playing “Peace Like a River” at the talent show.
Speaking at a joint service, Steven Bouman, executive director of ELCA congregational and synodical mission, said: “You are the light of the world. We are here to be provoked by Detroit. We are here to be provoked by each other. We are here to be provoked by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ calls us from Detroit to provoke the world in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
A ride to remember
Betsy Hoium, associate pastor of faith formation at Peace Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., completed a 350-mile bike ride across South Dakota just before summer to raise funds and awareness for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. She rode alongside eight other cyclists who were accompanied by a five-person support crew. “Part of this trip was about personal challenge,” said Betsy. “Another part was about raising money and awareness for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Because of this church, the ELCA is now over 95 percent of the way to its goal of raising $15 million by [the end of] 2015.” The six-day ride ended at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City for the South Dakota Synod Assembly. (Photos/Betsy Hoium)
Grain bins are silent sentinels on the ride from Hayes to Philip. The next day they came to Wall, home of the tourist-popular Wall Drug.
There were big smiles as the riders arrived in Rapid City to a cheering crowd that had gathered for a workshop before the Synod Assembly. Front row, from left: Betsy Hoium with Flat Jesus, Pat Eidsness and Michael Mortvedt. Back row, from left: Durk Thompson, Daryl Schubert, Jim Steen and Terry Knudson.
The cyclists are ready to ride! From left to right: Pat Eidsness, Roe Eidsness, Daryl Schubert, Betsy Hoium, Jim Steen, Marla Hawes, Arlen Hawes, Rubin Phillips, Joan Phillips, Durk Thompson, Gary Williams, Terry Knudson and Voni Durant. Their first day was a 75-mile ride along Highway 34 from Madison to Wessington Springs.
Betsy Hoium on the 350-mile ride. The group’s second day was a 104-mile ride from Wessington Springs to the state capitol of Pierre. The third day they climbed out of the river valley, riding from Pierre to Hayes.
The group’s support team – from left: Joan and Rubin Phillips, Marla and Arlen Hawes – are members of WestSide Lutheran Church, a new congregation in Sioux Falls, S.D.
On day four, the group set out from Grace Lutheran Church in Hayes. Bikers, ready to roll, from left: Voni Durant, Jim Steen, Durk Thompson, Betsy Hoium, Roe Eidsness, Pat Eidsness, Marla Hawes, Rubin Phillips, Gary Williams, Michael Mortvedt, Terry Knudson and Daryl Schubert.