Photo blogs

A visual tour of ELCA congregations, people and events.


Good Friday meditation

Mar 29, 2013

In following the Stations of the Cross, Christians make a symbolic pilgrimage with stops along the journey for devotions appropriate to the incident depicted.

“Ecce Homo” (behold the man), by Antonio Ciseri, 1871 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor (Matthew 27:1-2).

“Christ Carrying the Cross” by Hieronymus Bosch, between 1515-1516 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha (John 19:16-17).

“Jesus Falls for the First Time” by Peter Howson, 2003 Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).

“Jesus Meets his Mother” by Yvonne Cleaver (Photo by Rachael Kohn), 2010 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed — and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34-35).

Artist unknown “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).

Image by Engelbert Mveng , Hekima, Nairobi For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

“Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem” by Eric Gill, 1917 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:27-28).

“Jesus Falls A Third Time” brick art by James Marshal My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? (Psalm 22:1)

Artist unknown When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top (John 19:23). .

Photographic treatment of 11th Station of the Cross, Groom, Texas. Photographer unknown Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left (Luke 23:32-33).

“Christ of St. John of the Cross” by Salvador Dali, 1951 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last (Luke 23:44-46).

“Descent from the Cross” by Tim Ashkar When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (Mark 15:42-43).

“The Entombment of Christ” by Baldalocchio, 1610 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there (John 19:41-42).

The very rocks themselves will sing

Mar 24, 2013

As we enter Holy Week, many ELCA congregations have taken on the tradition of blessing and processing with palms.

For the past five years the congregation of St. James Lutheran Church, York, Pa., bought their fronds for Palm Sunday from Eco-Palms, a sustainable harvester. Pictured left to right are Brenda Ferree, pastor, Dave Smith, Norma Smith and Thomas Meckley as they unpack last year’s palms.

Maria Argueta holds palms during a bilingual interdenominational service on Sunday, April 17, 2011, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Albany, N.Y. Maria was in attendance with other members of her congregation, the Shrine Church of Our Lady of the Americas.

At St. John’s Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Iowa, the procession of the palms begins outside the church building. Congregational members join the pastors and choirs as they process into the sanctuary.

A young member of Divine Word Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, dons a donkey costume for the congregation’s Palm Sunday celebration. Photo taken by ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod communicator Tracy Apps.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks, Calif,

Lou Florio, pastor and Living Lutheran blogger, blesses the palms at Messiah Lutheran, Mechanicsville, Va.

Palm Sunday at St. Martin’s, Sugar Land, Texas. Photo taken by Michael Rinehard, bishop, ELCA Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod.

Procession at Salem Lutheran Church, West St. Paul, Minn., with Paul Erickson, pastor and assistant to the bishop of the ELCA Saint Paul Area Synod.

Worship space at First United Lutheran Church, San Francisco, on Palm Sunday, 2009.

With and among

Mar 18, 2013

The ELCA's new homeless ministry network aims to work \"with and among\" people experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Mikki Gay of Breath of Life in Blythewood, S.C., leads the group in a brainstorming session.

Leaders write down their goals and ideas for the future of the ministry on sticky notes.

Ministries share about themselves on posters around the meeting room. Redeemer Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio, introduces their staff and celebrates their greatest joys.

In addition to sharing ideas, the meeting was an opportunity for leaders to hear the stories from across the country of ministries working with and among those experiencing homelessness.

Leaders meet with Mark Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, to share their stories and discuss their ministries’ needs.

The participants gather after their work is done.

Moments in time: Lutheran missionaries

Mar 11, 2013

A sampling of the early days of mission work carried out by predecessor Lutheran church bodies.

Rosalyn Sadler helps with preparation of reading materials for use with the literacy program in Liberia (c. early 1950s). Soon after this photo was taken Rosalyn and her husband, Wesley, a missionary linguist, moved on to North Rhodesia to head the African Literacy and Writing Center.

Missionary Waidtlow at the laying of the cornerstone of a new church at Port Arthur, China, in 1934.

A missionary on a motorcycle in India, ca. 1920.

The Rev. and Mrs. Liu Dao Sheng belonged to the Honan-Hepeh-Shensi Synod in China. Pastor Liu served as a guest speaker at retreats at Gustav Carlberg, The Lutheran Theological Seminary in China.

Tsingtao Lutheran Hospital Higher Nurses Training School, graduation class, Nov. 15, 1949.

India missionaries attending Guntur Conference, October 1916. Among those present is Anna Kugler, a medical doctor who served 47 years in southern India.

Madagascar Lutheran missionary children, 1910s-1920s.

Joel Mayer, pastor, assisted farmers in India to dig wells for irrigation of rice fields, 1969.

Group of Lutheran United Mission, Augustana Synod Mission, and Lutheran Brethren Mission missionaries on their way to China in 1938, during the Sino-Japanese War. Picture taken on the coastwise steamer between Shanghai and Tsingtao.

General Council Board of Foreign Missions India — missionary group before 1882, likely in Rajhamundry.

The front lines of faith

Mar 04, 2013

Here are photos of some of our men and women who have answered the call to serve as military chaplains.

Lt. Bill Hlavin, an ELCA pastor, celebrates Christmas in Afghanistan. Bill is a chaplain with the Navy Reserve and spent a year with Marines in 2010-2011.

Lt. Bill Hlavin, chaplain, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, concludes a baptism service in prayer. Bill baptized 29 Marines under Operation Sword of the Spirit.

Bill Wiecher, chaplain, with 2nd Lt. Jasmine Tesdahl, a seminary student preparing for ministry in the ELCA. Originally from Longmont, Colo., Jasmine will continue with studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago later this year.

Soldiers on a field training exercise at Fort Sill, Okla., celebrate the Eucharist during Holy Week in 2007. Serving them is D. Erich Schwartz, chaplain and one of the ELCA pastors on active duty.

Jeremie Vore (second from the left), one of our ELCA pastors deployed as a military chaplain in Afghanistan in 2011, poses with three other chaplains at Combat Out-Post Penich in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. The chaplains represent a cross-section of religious traditions: a Southern Baptist, a Lutheran, a Churches of Christ pastor and a Romanian Orthodox priest.

“Father, bless our soldiers and send them safely home to us in the name of your blessed Son Jesus.” — prayer on the back of a camouflage stole. This photo is from Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Haymarket, Va. They, along with other congregations, bless and send stoles to deployed chaplains in Afghanistan.

Col. Michael Lembke, chaplain, sings a song with other chaplains and chaplain assistants during the Spiritual Fitness Initiative conference at the Hope Chapel in Camp Victory, Iraq, Nov. 15, 2010.

Building a future

Feb 27, 2013

Thanks to a partnership between the ELCA and the Lutheran Church in Haiti, students are learning new skills to help rebuild lives and homes after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Students learn construction skills that will not only help them earn a job after passing their courses but also help Haiti rebuild.

Built on the site of an old sugar plant, the program’s amenities include a concrete block-manufacturing facility.

Students learn all of the steps of the construction process from beginning to end. Joseph says that the program will combat Haiti’s “brain drain” problem and keep these skilled, trained workers in Haiti instead of their looking for work elsewhere.

The first class of Ateliers-École des Métiers de la Construction.