ELCA member awarded the 2012 Caldecott Medal

Chris Raschka, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan, an ELCA congregation in New York, has been awarded the American Library Association’s 2012 Caldecott Medal for his children’s book, “A Ball for Daisy.” Raschka, author and illustrator, also won the medal in 2006 for his illustration of “The Hello, Goodbye Window” and earned the Caldecott Honor in 1994 for “Yo! Yes?”

According to St. Olaf College’s news service, Raschka, named Chris Durnbaugh while a student at St. Olaf, dabbled in art while majoring in biology. St. Olaf is one of 26 colleges and universities of the ELCA.

“I would not have dreamed in a thousand and one years that 25 years hence I would be writing and illustrating children’s books,” Raschka said in a 2008 profile story in St. Olaf Magazine. “My education there prepared me perfectly for what I do now.”

Portland Monthly magazine honors ELCA pastor

W.J. Mark Knutson, pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Portland, Ore., was named one of “The 50 Most Influential Portlanders” in the January 2012 issue of Portland Monthly magazine. The magazine noted the congregation’s growth in membership and that it’s a multiethnic, multicultural congregation dedicated to justice and peacemaking.

“I’m always glad to see faith leaders lifted up in the context of the wider community, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, which are all vital in weaving just and fair communities where all have life. It’s why faith communities exist,” said Knutson in response to the acknowledgement.

Knutson has been pastor of Augustana since 1996. In 2009, he was honored as Ecumenist of the Year by the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and received the Distinguished Ministry of Parish Pastor Award by Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, an ELCA seminary in Berkeley, Calif.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to be celebrated Jan. 18-25

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be observed Jan. 18-25. ELCA congregations are encouraged to participate using liturgical resources and materials prepared and published by The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and The Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. Worship resources, biblical reflections and prayers for each day of the week are available at http://www.elca.org/ecumenical.

The week “has the blessing of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant Churches,” according to Donald McCoid, executive assistant to the presiding bishop, ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations. He said the week “is a time for common prayers for unity. The ELCA supports this week, as well as continued prayers for the unity of Christians throughout the world.”

The theme for 2012 is taken from 1 Corinthians 15: “We will all be changed by the Victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Many Christians become aware of the great diversity of ways of adoring God,” according to the ELCA website. “Hearts are touched, and people realize that their neighbors’ ways are not so strange. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity enters into congregations and parishes all over the world. Pulpits are exchanged, and special ecumenical worship services are arranged.”

The week covers the days between the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul in the northern hemisphere. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated during Pentecost in the southern hemisphere.

A common international text was initially developed in 1968 by the Vatican’s Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. The forerunner of the week was known as the Church Unity Octave developed by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in 1908.

Memorial service for ELCA member, first female park ranger killed on duty

A memorial service is being held Jan. 10 at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., for Margaret Kritsch Anderson, ELCA member and the first female law enforcement ranger killed while on duty. U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is scheduled to speak at the service.

Margaret was killed when trying to stop a speeding vehicle from entering Mount Rainer National Park on New Year’s Day. The driver, who died the next day, was a suspect in a shooting of four people Jan. 1 in Skyway, Wash.

Margaret, 34, is survived by her husband, Eric Anderson, also a law enforcement ranger at the park, and their two daughters. They are members of Bethany Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Spanaway, Wash.

The memorial will be shown live at 1 p.m. (Pacific) at http://www.komonews.com/live.