Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
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An Aussie in Toledo

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church went “Down Under” for its senior pastor. The Rev. Peter Bowmer, who started his service in Toledo in February, moved from Australia to Oregon with his wife and four daughters.

Pastor Bowmer, born and reared in Sydney with most of his theological education in North Adelaide, studied at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus in 1988 and had returned to the U.S. for some extended vacations. He found over time that he was aligned more closely to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America than its counterpart in Australia, so he looked for a pastorate in northwest Ohio, and St. Paul’s called.

Response to Israeli killings

After three kidnapped Jewish students, two of them Israeli and one an American, were found dead in the West Bank, the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo planned a memorial service, held July 1, and issued a statement expressing “horror and grief” about the abductions and killing.

The federation’s CEO, Joel Marcovitch, called it “an unimaginable crime. Our thoughts and prayers are with their respective families.” Its president, Andy Golding, said, “The Jewish community in Toledo has an unbreakable bond with Israel. Their pain is our pain. We are shocked at the news and hope that those that perpetrated this horrific act are brought to justice.”

The discovery Wednesday of the body of an Arab teenager was being considered a possible revenge killing and escalated Israeli/Palestinian tensions. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “condemn the kidnapping and killing” of Muhammad “as we condemned the kidnapping and killing” of the three Israeli teenagers, according to WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency.

Grant helps homeless get housed

Toledo Community Foundation and the ProMedica Advocacy Fund are helping homeless families to move into permanenet housing. They have given a $60,000 grant, effective July 1, to Aurora House, Bethany House, Catholic Charities’ La Posada Family Emergency Shelter, and Family House. More than 150 of the 381 families housed in those homeless shelters last year encountered barriers for one week or more that kept them from moving into permanent housing, according to Catholic Charities. The grant will ease those difficulties by helping to fund the first month’s rent, utility costs, and other financial difficulties.

Attentive welcome

A sensory friendly service designed to welcome families, including children who might be distracting in more traditional worship, takes place the first Saturday of the month, including today, at 4 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church, 24362 W. Third St., Grand Rapids. The clergy and congregation are making a point at these services of being welcoming and accepting. Children can roam and play, computer tablets and other sensory tools and devices are welcome, and trained professionals in a quiet area are available. The Rev. Scott Carman, Calvary’s pastor, said, “I have a daughter who has autism so I recognize the hardships of a traditional service for these kids.” He noted that 90 percent of special-needs children don’t go to church, and that is often because they’re not welcomed because they make noises and don’t sit still. Calvary’s monthly sensory friendly services are shorter and promote family togetherness in community, he said.

Moving church

It’s still a united church at 701 Phillips Ave. Soon after the 190-year-old Collingwood United Methodist Church closed, the 60-year-old United Church of God moved into the building and will hold its first services there July 13 at 10 a.m. United Church of God, with its senior pastor the Rev. Dewayne Braxton, had been at 1122 Bronson Ave. until near the end of 2013, then it was holding its services at Genesis Village, a senior community in a former Holidaiy Inn on Reynolds Rd.

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