Last night, ELCA members from 10 different local congregations gathered together at a community center in Hartford, CT to celebrate “Lutheran Happy Hour.” On the menu were African-inspired appetizers, beverages featuring tonic water (once reknowned for its malaria-fighting abilities), a presentation about the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and a joyful musical celebration.
Participants were invited to begin the evening by gathering in small groups and creating a poem, song, or creed about global health and disease. One group broke into a rousing rendition of “Fever.” Another authored this four-word poem: “Disease divides. Christ unites.” A third group created the soon-to-be Sunday School favorite (sung to the tune of “I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner”):
“I wish I were a teeny mosquito.
That is what I really want to be-ee-ee.
‘Cause if I were a teeny mosquito,
nobody would take a bite of me!”
During the presentation, participants voiced compelling questions that invited everyone into conversation about the effects of malaria in our world and how the ELCA and our Lutheran sisters and brothers in Africa are responding. A rousing cheer went up in the room (twice) when they learned that the New England Synod had raised $150,000 so far!
After the malaria presentation, a whole boxfull of rhythm instruments was distributed and everyone–including the caterers!–joined in a joyful celebration with music that we’ve learned from our sisters and brothers in Africa. (The talented bunch fulfiled all Lutheran stereotypes by breaking out into four-part harmony!)
Event co-organizer, Pastor Lydia Wittman Grebe said, “Lutheran Happy Hour was a fun and creative way to meet other Lutherans in this area, get to know each other and learn about something that affects all of us in our world—the ELCA Malaria Campaign—and ways in which we can get involved!”
Would a Lutheran Happy Hour work in your area? We’d love to hear all of your creative ideas! Send stories and photos to Jessica Nipp Hacker at firstname.lastname@example.org.