Story Contributors: Ed Retzer, Concordia Lutheran, Crosby and Rev. Carol Wendel, Metigoshe Lutheran, Bottineau
Two synod congregations have launched Teddy Bear Ministries. Both Concordia Lutheran of Crosby and Metigoshe Lutheran of Bottineau were inspired by a Thrivent Magazine article about this type of ministry in Florida.
Concordia has been involved in this ministry for over a year. It has become a project of their outreach team. Members donate the bears who worship with the congregation in the very front pew on Sunday and then are moved to the Narthex after the service where any member can pick one up and take them to someone who may need a little comfort.
At Metigoshe, one of the members decided to order teddy bears and see what happened. Each Sunday a number of bears are set on chairs before worship. People sitting close to the bears are encouraged to bring them forward for a blessing during communion. After worship, people who choose may take a bear to share with/send to someone who could use a reminder of God’s love and care.
A sign attached to the bear reads:
“This bear has been among the congregation of Metigoshe Lutheran Church. It has heard the Word read, prayers prayed, praises sung, and sermons preached. It has been loved by Metigoshe Lutheran and has soaked in God’s love. Now it comes to you with blessings of worship and love.” A similar note is attached to the bears from Concordia.
Members of Metigoshe and Concordia have shared the bears well beyond their local communities. Bears have been shared locally, sent to Minot, to Minnesota, to Wisconsin, and even as far as Japan. Both congregations are excited to see how far God’s love will reach out and how many lives will be touched through these Teddy Bear Ministries.