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Published April 18 2010

Mission Blitz part of assembly

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Vocalists gathered around a keyboard and sang tunes like the old hymn “I Come to the Garden Alone” and the classic pop standard “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”

Meanwhile, residents at Hi-Acres Manor nursing care facility here munched on cake, sipped coffee and visited with people in town to attend the annual assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Eastern North Dakota Synod, which ends today.

The party was part of the Saturday afternoon Mission Blitz at this year’s assembly. That effort sent hundreds of people to various projects in the area, including doing yard work, building shelves, making school bags, and taking part in the prayer chapel and a hunger walk at the Civic Auditorium.

There were 39 different efforts going on during the blitz.

“I think this is exactly what the church is about,” said Elaine Larson, who attends Michigan (N.D.) Lutheran Church and is a voting member at this year’s assembly.

The synod took the idea from the denomination’s youth, Eastern North Dakota Bishop Bill Rindy said. At the ELCA National Gathering, 37,000 young people “got turned loose on New Orleans,” Rindy said.

Those young people headed out to do various missions projects in the city, and Rindy said folks are still talking about the impact.

Outside the Jamestown Civic Center, Becky Goetz was working to make things happen.

“There’s Jim,” said Goetz. “So all the Sheet-rockers go with Jim.”

A group was headed over to a home to help a family in which the husband is in a wheelchair.

Goetz is on the Mission Blitz Committee and headed up the blitz effort. The concept of the blitz is a bit of a twist on conventional convention activities, which often have everyone closed up in workshops talking about doing church work.

“We’re doing mission and not just talking about it, and that’s what’s so exciting,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734