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By the staff of The Lutheran, ELCA News Service and Religion News Service

bowling alleys are left, according to a USA Today article. One ELCA congregation, Trinity Evangelical in New Haven, Conn., was featured, but the popularity of its lanes is fading too. The last time Trinity organized a bowling night at the four lanes in its basement nobody showed up. Doug Schmidt, author of They Came to Bowl: How Milwaukee Became America’s Tenpin Capital (2007), said that city once had at least 13 church bowling alleys. “They came with German immigrants in the 1860s,” Schmidt said. “Most closed in the 1980s or ’90s.”

Signing the merger agreement between Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, N.C., and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., are Marcus J. Miller (left), Southern president; William B. Trexler, chair of the seminary’s board of trustees; Charles M. Snipes, chair of Lenoir-Rhyne’s board of trustees; and Wayne B. Powell, university president.

ELCA college, seminary merge O

n July 1, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., and Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, N.C., will merge. The first merger of an ELCA

seminary and university, it means that Southern will become part of the School of Theology of Lenoir- Rhyne. The seminary will retain its historical identity as well as its campus, where it prepares mostly Lutheran (but also Baptist, Method- ist and Episcopal) ministers. “This merger shows the kind of

trust that developed among the lead- ers of each institution,” said Southern Seminary President Marcus J. Miller.

$19.1 million for World Hunger ELCA members, congregations, syn- ods and others can celebrate giving a total of $19.1 million to ELCA World Hunger in 2011—surpassing the $18.5 million goal. In 2012, the goal remains $18.5 million. Visit www.

8 The Lutheran •

“Before we had compatible missions. Going forward we have the promise of a vibrant, singular mission.” Lenoir-Rhyne President Wayne Powell called the merger “a win-win for both institutions. As one univer- sity, we will be both broader and deeper, and that makes it a win for students, faculty and alumni as well.” ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson added, “Both institutions will be enriched with a greater diver- sity and an increased capacity to serve both church and society.” This fall, Lenoir-Rhyne will also launch the Center for Graduate Stud- ies in Asheville, N.C. for worship helps, activities, youth curriculum, videos, a map showing where donations go and more.

Church lanes not spared Probably fewer than 200 church

Divided on religion A Gallup Poll says 59 percent of Mississippi residents consider them- selves “very religious.” Vermont residents consider themselves quite the opposite, with 23 percent identi- fying as very religious and more than half (58 percent) considered nonreli- gious. The most religious states are in the Bible Belt, including Alabama (56 percent), Louisiana (54 percent), Arkansas (54 percent) and South Car- olina (54 percent), but heavily Mor- mon Utah logged 57 percent as very religious. New England and the West scored at the bottom of those on the religious scale: New Hampshire (23 percent); Maine (25 percent); Mas- sachusetts (28 percent); Alaska (28 percent); Oregon, Nevada and Wash- ington (all 30 percent); Connecticut (31 percent); and Washington, D.C., New York and Rhode Island (all 32 percent).

Growth in forest burials With 41 friedwald (peaceful forest) burial sites, Germany expects to add at least five more this year, accord- ing to FriedWald, the company that helps local governments manage the sites. Trees are used as grave mark- ers, with or without a plaque attached to the trunk. Ashes of the deceased


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