Author Archive

December 23, 2011

The Man With No Shoes

Most people know him as the man with no shoes. He lives on the street and plays the piano. Some of us know him as Raymond, the English name he shares because most of us can't pronounce his Chinese name. I have heard Raymond speak of Communist China, and there is something about living in an institution where he was forced to wear ill-fitting shoes that tortured his feet; but Raymond speaks to us through the piano, the instrument he learned to play by developing a mathematical system to translate the notes....

December 19, 2011

Furaha ya Krismasi!

"We would like to send our warmest wishes for a Joyous Christmas and Happy New Year to all of the congregations of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod and to the Bishop and staff," missionaries Tom and Susan MacPherson write in their Christmas message from Tanzania. "Our Christmas tree (pictured) is made of pine cones, tissue paper and construction paper."

December 14, 2011

Purpose and Promise

"Christ is a purpose and a promise bigger than the troubles and trauma we encounter every day in our lives and our world," Bishop Claire S. Burkat writes in her Christmas message to the Synod. In all circumstances, but especially at Christmas, we can apply St. Paul's encouragement to express joy daily, pray as often as we breathe, and live in gratitude.

December 9, 2011

Secretary Clinton Highlights Lutheran Social Ministry

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton noted the vital work of Lutheran social ministry organizations in welcoming refugees to the United States, during her Dec. 7 address at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugee's ministerial conference in Geneva.

December 9, 2011

Gifts Overflow from Christmas Ingathering

More than 75 SEPA congregations participated in the 2011 Christmas Ingathering sponsored by Liberty Lutheran Services on Dec. 4.

November 21, 2011

SEKUCo Nears 1,600 Students

Sebastian Kolowa University College (SEKUCo) in our companion synod in Tanzania began its fifth year of operation in October with 1,584 students enrolled. What began with 138 first-year students has grown more than 1000 percent. The first group of students who graduated last December have for the most part found productive jobs as teachers, administrators, and other professionals working to improve the lives of students with special needs. Download the latest SEKUCo newsletter after the jump.

November 21, 2011

TZ Fund Request is a Scam

ELCA Global Mission staff report that a letter received in several synods from a pastor in Dar Es Salaam is a scam. The appeal from Pastor William Maheka Pamui, Senior Pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dar es Salaam, asks for financial contributions to be made to a bank account in New York to help provide 10 wells for clean drinking water. ELCA staff report that a regional representative in Tanzania confirms that the request is not genuine.

November 21, 2011

Rhawnhurst Marks Turning Point Opening

More than 85 community members, youth and volunteers turned out Nov. 12 for the grand opening of Rhawnhurst Turning Point, a youth drop-in and homework help center on Castor Avenue that grew out of Redemption Lutheran Church and Rhawnhurst Presbyterian Church. Turning Point is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 9 pm. The ELCA and Synod are partners in this new start-up.

November 21, 2011

ELCA Deeply Rooted in God’s Mission

In his report to the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson said that the ELCA is "a church deeply rooted in God's mission (and) in the belief that Christ frees us all to serve our neighbor and seek the common good." "Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to bring forth fruit from our labors. (In 2005), this church invested in a young woman's education. Leymah Gbowee wanted to study peacemaking, and we gave her an (International Leadership) scholarship," said Hanson. Today she is one of three women who earned the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

November 21, 2011

Lutherans All Over the Map Fighting Hunger

From hosting community meals and stocking food pantries to collecting cans and doing hunger simulations and other awareness activities, Lutherans in Southeastern Pennsylvania are engaged in fighting hunger in their neighborhoods all across the five-county area. Visit our Crowdmap of hunger-related programs after the jump.

October 27, 2011

Missionaries Blessed To Serve

“I’m sure if someone had told you even 5 years ago that you would be gladly giving away and selling your worldly possessions to serve Christ, by giving yourselves to care for infants and preschoolers and to mentor teenagers learning to be childcare workers at the Irente Children’s Home… you would have laughed -- or cried,” Bishop Burkat told Tanzania missionaries Tom and Susan MacPherson at a sending service Oct. 23. “But Our Lord, who is rich in mercy and imagination…has chosen you for this very special safari,”

October 4, 2011

Why Malaria? Why Now?

An educational event and call to action for individuals and congregations of the ELCA. This event will introduce individuals and congregations to the devastating reality of malaria around the world, and the recent action of the ELCA churchwide assembly to launch a denomination-wide campaign to help contain the disease, particularly in 10 African nations.

September 6, 2011

Fall Stewardship Resources

Thinking of Stewardship? Select Learning offers several courses to enhance your stewardship ministry, including "Biblical Stewardship: Our Duty and Delight," "EarthBound: Created and Called to Care for Creation" and "Money Leadership: Your Life with Money."

August 23, 2011

ELCA Assembly Adopts Genetics Statement

The 2011 Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a social statement on genetics and a series of resolutions from an ELCA task force charged with recommending options for the future of the ELCA.

August 16, 2011

ELCA Assembly OKs Malaria Campaign

Every 45 seconds a child dies from malaria, a preventable and treatable disease. Now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will join with Lutheran churches in Africa, to work toward a malaria-free future. This effort is part of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, officially launched by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly Aug. 15 by a 968-19 vote. A goal of the campaign is to raise $15 million over a four-year period.

August 11, 2011

ELCA Responds to Horn of Africa Drought

The situation in the Horn of Africa is continuing to worsen with now over 12.4 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti being affected. Crops are wilting, livestock are dying and people are suffering as water becomes scare and food prices skyrocket. Many have decided to leave their homes in search of water and food. The ELCA has been there from the beginning. To date the ELCA has committed $1.25 million to provide water, food, shelter and training. As the situation continues to develop we will continue to be present, working through and with companions, continuing Gods work with our hands.

May 25, 2011

Lutheran Testifies for Mercury Limits

The Rev. Leah Schade was one of a number of clergy who joined physicians and industry representatives invited to testify on proposed federal rules to limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. Mercury affects brain development and even a small exposure can be dangerous for pregnant women and children. “I firmly believe that failure to implement these regulations would cause harm to God’s creation and exacerbate the already difficult situations for millions of our most vulnerable citizens," she said.

May 18, 2011

Mennonites, Lutherans Reconcile 500-Year-Old Rift

Lutherans and Mennonites stood side by side at the communion table to receive the bread and the wine. Together, they then went out into the congregation to distribute the elements to those present at the 2011 assembly of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The unity observed at the table was further acknowledged during a time of reconciliation at the start of the assembly. Bishop Claire Burkat, representing the Lutherans, apologized to Pastor Charles Ness, a Franconia Conference pastor who has been involved in the global Anabaptist reconciliation movement, for the sins of 16th century Lutherans who persecuted and murdered Anabaptists during the Reformation because of doctrinal differences.

May 18, 2011

‘We Are Ambassadors of Reconciliation’

In her sermon during worship, Bishop Claire Burkat opened the 2011 assembly of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod reminding those present of their vocation as ambassadors of reconciliation for Christ. “Think of the implications of this in your role as a Christian,” she said. “You are, in the eyes of the Church, an official of the highest rank representing Christ himself.”

May 18, 2011

Millennials Challenge Church to Change

Ministry with the generation aged 10-30 today “looks more like the church of the 1st and 2nd Centuries” than the institution of the 1960s that many leaders fondly recall, said 2011 Assembly keynote speaker Dr. Rodger Nishioka. Instead of catering to a dwindling tribe of insiders, the church has the opportunity to reach out to religious “immigrants” who “have no experience with the church,” Nishioka said. Research shows that youth and young adults coming of age in the new millennium are hungry for spiritual experience rather than religious knowledge, and are open to the mysteries of faith when presented in ways that resonate with them.