Philadelphia is Extraordinary in January: We hear from highly reliable sources that a date has been set for the ordination extra ordinem of Pr. Steve Keiser (pictured, right) at Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. The ordination is scheduled for 4PM Sunday January 25, 2009 at Holy Communion Lutheran.
Our sources could not say who will preach or who will preside at the rite of ordination. It is not known at this time if Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Bishop Claire Burkat (pictured, left) will attend.
Avoid the rush: book your flight now.

Gender Identity and Human Rights: On December 18, 66 members of the United Nations signed on to a declaration reaffirming the universality of human rights and calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. The declaration on Human Rights, sexual orientation and gender identity was co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union. Its presentation at the U.N. was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Rama Yade (pictured), French state secretary for human rights, declared that it is not acceptable that people continue to be victims of violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation:
How can we accept the fact that in nearly 90 countries, homosexuality is punishable by law and in at least 6 countries punishable by death?
A group comprised mostly of African and Muslim nations rejected the declaration. The United States, Russia, China and the Roman Catholic Church also withheld approval. Comments from various perspectives were included in the December 18 Press Release, GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS 52 RESOLUTIONS, 6 DECISIONS RECOMMENDED BY THIRD COMMITTEE ON WIDE RANGE OF HUMAN RIGHTS, SOCIAL, HUMANITARIAN ISSUES.

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano: According to an ELCA News Service report, in 2008, more than 11,000 ELCA leadeers (pastors, church workers and spouses) participated in the Mayo Clinic Health Assessment


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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    . The ELCA report summarizes the results of the assessment:
    76 percent are at risk for poor nutrition
    67 percent are at risk of being overweight
    60 percent are at risk for poor emotional health
    57 percent are at risk for high blood pressure
    50 percent are at risk for lack of exercise
    23 percent are at risk for high cholesterol

    The ELCA press release did not say how the health of ELCA leaders compares with the health of the general population.

    Beluga Revolution, Last Saltie: In the early evening of December 19, after a number of last minute delays and changes of schedule, Central Great Lakes Synod (CGLS) Bishop Thorvald "Wally" Noe-Effingway with other members of the synod's clergy boarded the tug boat North Carolina in Duluth harbor for the annual CGLS ritual of blessing the last saltie.
    Moments later, in spite of poor visibility, light snow, and single-digit temperatures, the tug boat pulled alongside the cargo ship Beluga Revolution (pictured), the last salt water vessel to depart from Duluth in the 2008 shipping season. Beluga Revolution is reported to be carrying spring wheat to England.
    Protected from the weather by a thick wool cape and a fur cap with the ear flaps down, Bishop Noe-Effingway dipped an evergreen branch in a bowl of warm, salted water and sprinkled the passing ship while reciting Ezekiel 47:9:
    And it shall come to pass, that every living creature which swarmeth, in every place whither the rivers come, shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish: for these waters are come thither, and the waters of the sea shall be healed, and every thing shall live whithersoever the river cometh.

    Correction: More than one reader was kind enough to point out that we misspoke last week in saying that Pr. Bradley Schmeling (who will preach at this year's observance of the Feast of the Expulsion at St. Francis (SF) on December 28) is rostered with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. He is not. At least, not yet.
    Pr. Schmeling reports that his congregation, St. John's (Atlanta), has approved his application, and he has written about half of it, but the application has not yet been submitted or approved.
    We apologize for any confusion we may have caused.

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