PRAYING FOR UKRAINE: HOW CAN WE PROCESS GLOBAL EVENTS WITH OUR KIDS?
By Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
In the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine my family continued to take part in the usual plans and activities. We ate together, played games, read books, loved one another, talked with our neighbors. The kids went to school, I wrote and answered emails, and my husband planned our congregation’s Lenten services. Yet I was aware that war raged across the world.
In spare moments I refreshed my screen for the latest news, scanned social media and reached out to friends who might be impacted. I didn’t initially address what was happening in Ukraine with my children (aged 7 and 4), but I did offer prayers for the country, for the world and for peace to reign.
“What’s Ukraine?” my daughter asked one night. We gathered at the globe in our living room, and I showed them the country. We talked about the bad choices being made and how people needed prayers for peace, healing and comfort. Our conversation didn’t go much deeper, but we did lift up the people of Ukraine and ended our prayer time with the Lord’s Prayer.
From the ELCA SC Synod
From the SC Synod
St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn.
Partner, co-owner of Hansen Tree Farm; member, Minnesota Christmas Tree Association; retired research forester, U.S. Forest Service; volunteer, University of Minnesota forestry research; volunteer, Boy Scouts
My most favorite memories of church are from high school youth group wilderness trips. I still remember every detail of a canoe trip I went on in 1968. Our leader shared about being closer to God and about spirituality in nature. As an adult, I’ve been a trip leader with a youth minister or associate pastor from my church. We went to a camp called Christikon in Montana, hiking and backpacking there. We have also done canoe trips to the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior.
One thing I’ve tried to emphasize when we’re on a backpacking or canoe trip: the wilderness is not just something to conquer. It’s a place of meditation or being alone and bringing yourself closer to those you’re there with, because you’re in a more primitive situation and you need to rely on each other. The whole concept of being at one with yourself and others and nature and God is important to me.
I wanted a career that got me outdoors. I was also very good at math and computers and statistics and was very much into that end of forestry. It was a career path that allowed me to use my talents tied to the outdoors.
A lesson from forestry is that change is not instant. In forestry, you measure small changes. You’re looking at and seeing trees that change very slowly, but inevitably, they change. Now I see trees that I helped plant years ago that are huge. The same is true in life: The things we do now, we may not see the changes for a long time or the impact we want. Change will come.
My father started planting Christmas trees when they were becoming sort of an industry in Minnesota. He bought our property in 1950—bare farmland on the outskirts of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. It was a hobby and part-time endeavor. He was a forestry professor at the University of Minnesota and involved in Christmas tree planting and research, too, but it wasn’t a major part of his work. By the time I was in high school, all the trees we’d planted were either old or overgrown.
“I see trees that I helped plant years ago that are huge. The same is true in life: The things we do now, we may not see the changes for a long time.”
In the mid-’80s, after both my brother and I were established in our homes and families, we decided to reactivate our property as a Christmas tree farm. We decided to leave some areas to grow back to forest. Of the 40 acres of land we now have, about half is Christmas trees and the other half is old Christmas trees from the ’50s and forestland. We’ve been doing this work on a part-time basis—weekends and holidays—year-round, with 90% of the business coming Thanksgiving weekend and the weekend after.
A lot of people are shocked by how much work there is to grow trees—the unpredictability of it, that you can’t be guaranteed anything. It’s very dependent on the weather.
I’m a firm believer that we need to move to carbon neutral and do something about global warming. I’m not out there protesting—that’s not my biggest concern—I try to conserve gas and do this and that to effect change.
I’m a Lutheran because it was the way I was born and raised. I find Lutherans to be open and caring, loving and concerned but not overbearing or pushy about it. I’ve been a member of St. Anthony Park my whole life, except for a year when I worked in Louisiana. The church has been very important to me.
I do a lot of bike riding and touring. I spend a day riding 50 to 70 miles and then touring that way. When I’m alone on a bike—especially a road I’ve never been on—I feel God’s presence.
“A lot of people are shocked by how much work there is to grow trees—the unpredictability of it, that you can’t be guaranteed anything.”
My doctorate research was incorporating a computer model into how the U.S. Forest Service did our tree inventory. We have inventory plots that we measure periodically. Our whole system measured a plot. They are randomly laid out over the course of the country. They get measured every so often dependent on funding. Then we go back and see how the trees have changed. We used computer growth modeling to optimize how often to measure the plot and get more information out of them.
I’m very active with the neighborhood scout troop. Some of the kids in the church youth group are members. We go on campouts and wilderness trips. Before Christmas, they sell wreaths from our tree farm as a fundraiser.
I pray that people understand each other. That we as people get over our petty differences and realize that we are all different, but we need to accept that.
Just this year I donated a kidney. It was something I thought about for a long time. What prompted me to do it at this time was learning that a friend was in need of one. There’s a need out there, and I felt that it was something I could do at my stage in life.
Many of our friends are part of the same congregation. I really appreciated their support following the deaths of my parents and my brother. We did both memorial services at St. Anthony.
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From Living Lutheran magazine.
By: Erin Strybis
December 9, 2021
Lutheran F.A.Q is a new video series for anyone who wants to dig a little bit deeper into the Lutheran faith. Each video will be about five minutes and answer one Lutheran question. Videos will come with a study guide linked in the description. The videos will be available on our YouTube channel and our website's Teaching Resources page.
The first video in the series asks "What are the 95 Theses?"
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and other members of the Circle of Protection coalition recently met with senior officials at the White House. Eaton and other heads of Christian denominations and organizations are working together to urge passage of the economic bills the U.S. Congress is considering now, along with voting rights legislation this fall. Today's meeting will focus on the family support bill currently being debated in Congress.
In a letter the Circle of Protection is presenting to President Joe Biden and Congress today, the coalition affirms that these pending bills "would strengthen the physical and social infrastructure of our society, cut family and child poverty more than any time in our lives, and ensure the precious right to vote for all people made in God's image.
Reflecting on the early church, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton writes: “They were one body. We are one body. We are the body of Christ.” Despite cultural and political differences, she reminds us that we can’t dissolve this bond
Sept 16, 2021
Lutheran Services Carolinas is opening new refugee programs in Charleston and Greenville , South Carolina. The new programs will serve legal refugees from around the world including Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders from Afghanistan, the allies who supported U.S. troops.
LSC will begin providing services as soon as new teammates are hired and office space is secured.
The expansion of services requests were approved by the U.S. Office of Population, Refugees, and Migration. In collaboration with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), LSC has a long history of supporting refugees on their journey to self- sufficiency in this country, including welcome at the airport upon arrival, food and shelter, transportation, medical care, school enrollment, employment services, and cultural assimilation.
“LSC is excited to be able to expand to welcome and serve more refugees,” said LSC President and CEO Ted Goins. “We appreciate the hard work of our LSC Refugee and Immigrant Services team in putting together a winning application to expand our services.”
“It couldn’t come at a better time, as people are desperate for a safe home at the same time as the United States is suffering the greatest workforce emergency in modern history. South Carolina needs workers and refugees are eager to participate in the American dream.”
Based in Salisbury, NC, LSC currently operates refugee services programs in Columbia, South Carolina, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
“There has been a tremendous outpouring of support, especially for our allies from Afghanistan,” said Goins. “People are stepping up to love and serve our neighbors.”
1-800-HELPING is LSC’s help line for people who would like to help.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am writing to you with a heavy heart and I ask that you join me in prayer. These have been incredibly challenging times for so many reasons, but I’m convinced that we will get through this season of challenge only as we work together and support one another. Please check on each other; listen to one another and pray together.
This weekend we will bury two of our Synod Pastors. Pastor James W. Campbell and Pastor Rick Inman, both beloved children of God and faithful servants to Christ’s church here in the South Carolina Synod. Our hearts break for their families & friends and for the congregations they have served, and for their colleagues across the church who are grieving.
Pray for all those who grieve. Ask God to send us comfort and strength with the hope of the Resurrection so that we can entrust our brothers, Jim and Ricky into God’s eternal arms. Ask Jesus to help us care for one another with the same passion and self-giving love that he models for us from the cross. Ask the Holy Spirit to send us a spirit of gentleness and kindness as we live together in Christ’s beloved community.
We all continue to struggle with knowing the most faithful ways to deal with the rising numbers of COVID19 cases. I trust you to make good leadership decisions within your context and with your council leaders for the safety of your whole community. We know that there are a few people who for medical reasons have been advised by their doctors not to get the vaccine, however, we encourage those who are able, to get vaccinated. We also encourage everyone to wear their mask, especially for any indoor activities in groups.
Our chief concern is for everyone’s safety and well-being. If possible, I encourage you to lead outdoor worship or use online formats. Certainly, if you are indoors, observe social distancing. I pray we can find the way forward working together to see a significant decline in COVID19 cases.
Your Synod Staff takes this virus and rising case numbers seriously. We are once again following more cautious protocols to keep everyone as safe as possible. Our participation in all in-person events for the remainder of September and October with few exceptions, has been canceled . We will continue to monitor the case numbers to determine November activity levels. At this time we are not receiving any visitors in the office and all of our meetings will, once again, be moved back to online formats.
We hope you understand and will follow your Synod Staff’s lead by assessing your own plans and upcoming schedules. Wherever you are able we encourage you to meet using outside or online formats. Most importantly, we pray you will take good care of yourselves as well as those within your community.
My prayers surround you. Thank you for your faithful leadership, and for your bold proclamation of God’s word that we love one another.
Bishop Ginny Aebischer
Sept 9, 2021
On December 7, 1941, the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the result was 2,403 dead U.S. servicemen and civilians. America had officially joined the war.
A call to arms went out across the land and Americans responded. Americans from all walks of life answered the call. They enlisted in the military or were drafted. They went to work in factories making bombs and other war machines. They bought War Bonds and volunteered to be lookouts along our shorelines, ever vigilant for the possibility of an enemy attack. Every American sacrificed in some way. Food and materials were rationed to support the war effort. Men and women were sent to far off lands to fight and about 420,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice, they died, defending their families, their way of life, and America. Today, America is at war again, but this time it is on our own soil.
Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, has issued a pastoral message in response to a U.S. district judge ruling to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on July 19. “Jesus taught us that when we welcome the stranger as a person made in God’s image, we also welcome God,” the message read, in part.
“Our lives, ministries and congregations have been blessed by many immigrants and refugees over the years—from many of our ancestors to those we welcome among us today,” the message continued.
Community volunteerism and community passion to serve others is a powerful thing. Multi-agency collaboration is a must.
Lutheran Services Carolinas created a geo-targeted donation network so all communities in need could receive donations. The network goal is for donation distribution to strategically expedite supplies to needed areas all over. Hearts With Hands, based in Western, NC, already does this work in the Western, NC and some SC areas. Hearts With Hands teamed with LSC-Disaster Services so donation distribution could expand. Thank you FEMA Donation Management, Walmart Corporate and Hearts With Hands for allowing Lutheran Services Carolinas to be your positive teammates.
By Sherry Fowler, Martin Luther - James Island
If you are a Star Trek fan, you will be familiar with the phrase, "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before".
This year’s South Carolina Synod Assembly has adopted the theme, “To Boldly Go… To Proclaim”.
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In October 2020, timber was harvested in areas surrounding the Camp Kinard lake in preparation for construction of a new chapel, entrance, and pool. Last month, members from South Carolina Lutheran Men in Mission spent the day (Batesburg-Leesville, SC) to help clear leftover timber debris as we move forward with expansion plans.
"We give thanks to all the incredible men who came out from all across South Carolina," shared SCLRC Executive Director Dallas Shealy, "especially Randy Barnes, Larry Ricard, and Johnny Merck who helped put this event together. We look forward to gathering with everyone here in the future as we continue to make this dream into a reality!"
Want to learn more about how your group can help? We invite you to contact Dallas.
LWF leaders meet with Pope Francis in the Vatican, look ahead to 500th anniversary of Augsburg Confession
Meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican on 25 June, both the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) President Archbishop Dr. Panti Filibus Musa and Pope Francis expressed the hope that the 500th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession in 2030 can become common ground on which to strengthen the commitment of Lutherans and Catholics to unity and reconciliation.
In her June/July column for Living Lutheran, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton reflects on what we’ve learned from the Apostle Paul about the deeply spiritual act of stewardship.
As part of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted a resolution designating June 17 as a commemoration of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
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