A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.
College students from Chicago’s South Loop are meeting their neighbors in a most unusual way: each Sunday night, they walk a shopping cart through the streets and hand out sandwiches and clothes to people in need. The program, called “Takin’ it to the Streets,” is part of South Loop Campus Ministry, a join initiative of the ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. (Photos/Chris Ocken)
Mary Strickler, a junior at Roosevelt University (middle, in black), talks with Renaldo Webb and a neighbor from the streets after giving him a bag meal.
Mary and Renaldo pass out bag lunches to a couple sheltering themselves from the rain. The group hands out food and clothing every Sunday, rain or shine. “We go because we know that people will be on the streets in any condition,” said Ben Adams, campus pastor.
Nick Bruenning, a senior at Roosevelt, connects with a man at the corner of State and Madison Streets. Since he started volunteering with the program, he says he’s learned the names and stories of a few of his neighbors while sharing dinner at Grace Place’s monthly community meal.
Led by Ben Adams, campus pastor, in collaboration with volunteer student leaders, “Takin’ it to the Streets” started in 2012. Here, a student prepares peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Grace Place Episcopal Church, Chicago, is the home base for the program. Renaldo Webb (middle), a member of Grace Place, assists with sandwiches. “Takin’ it to the Streets” distributes an average of 60 meals each week to people on the streets.
Next phase of recovery in Nepal
Six months ago two earthquakes struck Nepal within weeks of one another, leaving millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance. The earthquakes triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and another in the Langtang Valley. More than 8,500 people died as result of the earthquakes. With the monsoon season now over, the ELCA and others have resumed earthquake reconstruction efforts and are preparing for the winter season.
Some of the destruction in Nepal’s Bhattendandan area. (Photo/Antti Helin)
Residents of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, make their way through rubble. (Photo/ACT Christian Aid/Yeeshu Shukla)
Nima Chong Tamang, 45, a resident of Goljung-3, Rasuwa district, received relief materials from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal near her residence. (Photo/LWF Nepal)
Mektang Tamang, 35, a resident of Goljung-3 Rasuwa, smiles after collecting a tarp, a bucket hygiene kit and pipes for constructing a toilet. (Photo/LWF Nepal)
Karshang Futi, 80, of Goljung-3 Rasuwa, rests after receiving relief materials from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal while her husband carries a toilet pan. (Photo/LWF Nepal)
A family’s story
Heidi Neumark, an author and ELCA pastor, recently discovered her Jewish heritage. Included in her new book, “Hidden Inheritance,” are a number of photos that help tell her family’s story.
Her father, Hans Neumark, is shown in his U.S. Army uniform after he arrived in the United States.
The Wittmund memorial commemorates the Jews from Wittmund, Germany, who died in the Holocaust.
Heidi Neumark’s Oma (grandmother) and Heidi’s cousin, Peter.
Heidi Neumark left a rose on the windowsill of the house where her grandparents were imprisoned.
Heidi Neumark stands between her parents, Hans and Barbara.
Hans Neumark and his mother, Ida, who nearly starved to death in a concentration camp before she was miraculously rescued.
A young Heidi Neumark and her Oma (grandmother).
Heidi Neumark’s grandfather, Moritz Neumark, died in a concentration camp.
Blessing of the animals
Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Seattle, celebrated the feast day of Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, during its Sunday, Oct. 4, worship service with a special pet blessing. During the service, members thanked God for the creatures that gladden their lives and for the earth that we share.
Homer with her loving human, Laurel.
Lola the pit bull shares love.
Pastor Joanne blesses Sophie and her human, Vickie Gassman.
Molly, a border collie, shares peace with Pastor Joanne as Ru and Liz wait.
Babette, a French bulldog, readies to go in peace to share love with the world.
Pastor Kari rejoices in life with Flossy, a sheltie who is beloved companion to Susan Christiansen. Pastor Kari’s message from the day’s service is available here. Learn more about Kari and her ministry here.
South Carolina flooding
Heavy rainfall that began Oct. 1 has caused severe flooding in South Carolina. The recent storm has brought the heaviest rainfall the state has seen since Hurricane Hugo struck in 1989. ELCA congregations and members have come together to support and pray for their neighbors who are in the midst of the devastation. In coordination with Lutheran Services of the Carolinas, Lutheran Disaster Response is addressing the needs of those affected by the flooding and is ready to provide long-term recovery efforts. To help, click here. (Photos: Neal Fischer, director of communications, ELCA South Carolina Synod)
Blossom Street Bridge (pictured) in Columbia, S.C., is one of the few bridges in the area that has not been washed out. More than 160 bridges in the state have been closed.
National Guardsmen prepare sandbags to be moved by helicopter to drop in a breach of the Columbia canal. There are 5,000 National Guardsmen in South Carolina who are helping with rescue operations and disaster response efforts.
Members of Good Shepherd Lutheran in Columbia, S.C., are collecting materials for the officers of the Forest Acres Police Department and members of the South Carolina National Guard who are using the church as its center for operations.
Columbia is one of the hardest hit areas in South Carolina with more than 20 inches of rainfall in a two-day period.
More than 26,000 homes are without electricity, and more than 40,000 homes are without running water as a result of the flooding.
The amount of rain that South Carolina received equates to 1.2 million gallons of water for every person in the state.
More than 70 miles of highway in South Carolina have been closed due to the flooding.
Furry friend brings cheer to seniors
In many ELCA congregations, the blessing of animals is celebrated on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, or on a Sunday near that date. In honor of this day, we’re highlighting the blessings Rusty the dog brings to everyone he meets. The comfort dog brings cheer to seniors at Trinity Place in Albemarle, N.C., one of Lutheran Services Carolina’s homes for seniors.
Jaynata Haldar enjoys sitting with Rusty. “It’s really amazing how much happiness (Rusty) brings and what a difference he can make in residents’ lives,” says Courtney Adams, Trinity Place administrator.
With a gentle nuzzle and the wag of a tail, Rusty creates a sense of normalcy and helps make Trinity Place feel like a home rather than an institution. Audine Page, a resident at Trinity Place, pets Rusty.
Increasingly, science backs up the idea that dogs make us feel better. Interacting with dogs can help reduce stress, according to research from Kean University School of Nursing in Atlanta.
Rusty, 2, is from the Humane Society. He loves receiving treats from the Trinity Place seniors he greets.
“He’s a sweetheart,” says resident Sarah Blalock. “(Rusty) helps us. He makes me laugh.”