The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

OUR MISSION STATEMENT:

Posted by admin on March 6, 2016

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord
through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by
communicating, networking and encouraging one anoth
er.”

What is a Downtown Church?

Posted by admin on March 5, 2016

Downtown churches are unique.  A group of pastors from downtown churches has identified these five general characteristics.  Very few churches will match all the attributes, but some might apply to your ministry.

Downtown Issue # 32 – February, 2017

Posted by admin on February 27, 2017

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #32– February, 2017

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. HELP EXPAND OUR REACH
  4. RESOURCES OFFERED
  5. IN OUR PRAYERS
  6. WELCOME!
  7. AND FAREWELL…
  8. CELEBRATIONS
  9. MISSION STATEMENTS
  10. 2017
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON DETROIT, MI
  13. SPOTLIGHT ON LAS VEGAS, NV
  14. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches around our great country.  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”

 

HELP EXPAND OUR REACH

Every electronic distribution of “Downtown” elicits comments of thanks for this avenue of sharing, encouraging, resourcing and challenging downtown churches!

When did you last share “Downtown” with your staff and leadership?  When did you last make your congregation aware of the existence of “Downtown”?

You are invited and encouraged to make copies of “Downtown.”  You are invited and encouraged to forward “Downtown” to your members via email.  You are invited and encouraged to send a link to the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches website (www.downtownlutheranchurches.org) to all your contacts where ALL past issues of “Downtown” may be viewed.  You are invited and encouraged to include blurbs about “Downtown” and the Association in your bulletins and newsletters.  Most of all, you are invited and encouraged to encourage your staff and leaders and church members to request inclusion in our e-dis list.  All anyone needs to do is send an email request to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

Thanks for whatever you can do to help us expand our reach!

 

RESOURCES OFFERED

Our mission is stated above.  That mission is fulfilled in the following ways: 1) the quarterly electronic newsletter “Downtown” shares stories of joys and challenges of downtown ministry as well as “spotlight” ideas of creative outreaches adaptable for local use; 2) the leader of the Association is available for conversations and consultations with downtown pastors, church leaders and congregations; 3)  referrals are provided to other pastors, congregations and groups that might be of assistance; 4) when there is adequate interest and support, “gatherings” have been sponsored by the Association.

 

IN OUR PRAYERS

Please include in your personal and corporate prayers the following vacant, calling downtown ministries:

First Good Shepherd Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Las Vegas, NV (pastor)
First Lutheran (ELCA), downtown San Diego, CA
St. John Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Albany, NY (pastor)
St. Paul Lutheran (ELCA) and Roman Catholic Community of Faith, downtown Denver, CO   (Lutheran pastor)
Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Orlando, FL (senior pastor)
Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Memphis, TN (pastor)

If you have a vacancy you desire added to our prayers please send notice to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

WELCOME

Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis, MO, installed The Reverend Joshua Hatcher as its new senior pastor on Sunday 8 January 2017.

Augustana Lutheran / La Comunidad de Santa Maria (ELCA), downtown Washington, DC, installed The Reverend Cathy Rosenholtz as its new senior pastor on Sunday 12 February 2017.

We welcome Pastor Hatcher and Pastor Rosenholtz to the exciting mission and ministry in the great downtown!

 

AND FAREWELL…

Pastor Wendy Moen, after 13 years serving at First Trinity Lutheran (ELCA) in downtown Washington, DC, has announced acceptance of a call to Grace Lutheran in Washington, DC.

We thank Pastor Moen for her faithful service at First Trinity Lutheran and wish her God’s richest blessings at Grace Lutheran!

 

CELEBRATIONS

Trinity Lutheran (LCMS) in downtown Springfield, IL celebrated its 175th Anniversary on Sunday 20 November 2016 with guest preacher The Reverend Dr. Dale A. Meyer, President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and former Speaker of “The Lutheran Hour.”  Located kitty-corner across from the Illinois State Capitol, the founding pastor of Trinity, Pastor Francis Springer, was a neighbor of Abraham Lincoln.

And it’s never too early to start planning!  Trinity Lutheran in downtown Orlando, FL, has begun to plan for its 100th Anniversary in 2019 with brainstorming centering around service, education, outreach and Trinity family fun.

 

MISSION STATEMENTS

It’s fascinating not only to see what downtown churches are up to in mission and ministry but also just as interesting how they define their mission in their respective communities.  Sometimes, in addition to formally adopted mission statements, churches have catch-phrase tag lines that just as much describe their perceived mission.  Here are a couple of those:

  • First Good Shepherd Lutheran, downtown Las Vegas, NV: “Connecting People to Christ and One Another.”
  • Mount Calvary Lutheran, downtown Milwaukee, WI: “Bringing Christ’s Hope to the Heart of the City for 90 Years.”
  • St. John Lutheran, downtown Sacramento, CA: “A Church for the City.”

 

2017

What is your congregation doing to celebrate Reformation 500 during 2017?  Special services?  Special service projects?  Special trips?  Special offerings?  Special joint events?  Send your plans to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA

First English Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh recently participated in “Open Doors Pittsburgh.”  Thirty-five buildings throughout downtown Pittsburgh participated, providing an opportunity for people to enter buildings they have walked past but have never been able to go in and look around.

An overwhelming number of people (1,322 people over two days) toured First English Lutheran!  First Church staff and members, along with volunteers from Open Doors, led the tours and provided a brief history of the church.  Four places were specifically shown guests: 1) the organ chamber; 2) the Nave from the Parish House door; 3) the Nave from the Narthex; 4) the Columbarium (with the option of ringing the bells).  A number of those attending stated they would be back!

What “side doors” do you use to get downtown residents and visitors into your church?  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the ELCA, more information about First English Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Pittsburgh can be found at www.flcpittsburgh.org .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON DETROIT, MI

A truly joyous Christmas!

Historic Trinity Lutheran in downtown Detroit comfortably seats 300 before chairs need to be added to aisles.  This year a prayerful decision was made to expand to four Christmas Eve services, hoping attendance would somehow spread evenly among each service.  The attendance results show God at work – 308 attended the 5:00 p.m. service; 265 attended the 7:00 p.m. service; 254 attended the 9:00 p.m. service and 250 attended the 11:00 p.m. service.  Historic Trinity reports the highest Christmas Eve attendance in 5 years – all without ANY chairs!  Praise the Lord!

What joys did your congregation experience at Christmas?  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Historic First Lutheran’s outreach to downtown St. Louis can be found at www.historictrinity.org .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON LAS VEGAS, NV

First Good Shepherd Lutheran in downtown Las Vegas recently reached out to neighbor families by hosting a Community After Christmas Movie Night.  A movie appealing to children was shown while hot chocolate and popcorn were served.  This outreach seems especially appropriate to bring attention to First Good Shepherd’s parochial school.

How has your congregation reached out to neighborhood families?   Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Good Shepherd Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Las Vegas can be found at www.fgsls.org .

 

CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

Downtown Issue # 31 – November, 2016

Posted by admin on November 6, 2016

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #31– November, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. DEDICATED IN LOVING MEMORY
  4. IN OUR PRAYERS
  5. WELCOME NEW MEMBER
  6. CELEBRATIONS
  7. MISSION STATEMENTS
  8. SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON ALBANY, NY
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN, TX
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON ST. LOUIS, MO
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON PASADENA, CA
  13. HOMELESS HELP IN THE DOWNTOWN
  14. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches around our great country.  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”

 

DEDICATED IN LOVING MEMORY

While not a downtown pastor for most of his long ministry, The Reverend Vernon Gundermann (1937-2016) spent the last years of his life and ministry serving as the interim / vacancy pastor at Historic Trinity Lutheran in downtown St. Louis, MO.  Vern recently succumbed to the ravages of ALS.  This issue of “Downtown” is lovingly dedicated in his memory.

If you have suggestions for future issues of “Downtown” to be dedicated in memory of other great veterans of downtown ministry, please contact DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

IN OUR PRAYERS

Please include in your personal and corporate prayers the following vacant, calling downtown ministries:
    Augustana Lutheran / La Comunidad de Santa Maria (ELCA), downtown Washington, DC  (pastor)
    First Lutheran (ELCA), downtown San Diego, CA
    First Good Shepherd Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Las Vegas, NV (pastor)
    Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis MO (senior pastor)
    Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Orlando, FL (senior pastor)           
    St. John Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Albany, NY (pastor)
    St. Paul Lutheran (ELCA) and Roman Catholic Community of Faith, downtown Denver, CO (Lutheran pastor)

If you have a vacancy you desire added to our prayers please send notice to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

WELCOME NEW MEMBER

St. Paul Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Raritan, NJ, is happy to welcome Pastor Joseph Weatherell as its new pastor.  His installation was on Saturday 1 October.  We welcome Pastor Weatherell to the exciting mission and ministry in the “great downtown!”

 

CELEBRATIONS

Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Detroit, MI, recently  honored Mr. Karl Osterland for his 25 years of service as Music Director.  The choir remembered him with a surprise party after rehearsal on Wednesday 28 September.  The congregation remembered his 25 years of service with prayers and a reception on Sunday 1 October.  Reflecting on his ministry at Historic Trinity, Karl commented: “The people are super.  The building is gorgeous.  And Skinner Opus 808 is truly lovely.  Soli Deo Gloria!”  Karl has now dubbed himself the “Historic Organist at Historic Trinity!”

Thanks, Karl, for your ministry of music!  Wishing you many more years of fruitful, inspirational ministry!   
Historic First Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Pasadena, CA, will celebrate its 125th Anniversary, as well as the 80th Anniversary of its historic landmark church building, during 2017.  Events begin on 31 December 2016 as The Reverend Dr. Dale A. Meyer, President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, preaches to ring in the New Year.  The Reverend Dr. Larry A. Stoterau, Bishop / District President of the Pacific Southwest District, preaches on Sunday 22 January 2017.  Other events are scheduled on 26 February, 30 April, 4 June, 15 October and 3 December, each featuring a former pastor or son of the congregation in the pulpit.  For more information, contact Firstpasa@aol.com or check out historicfirstlutheran.org .

 

MISSION STATEMENTS

It’s fascinating not only to see what downtown churches are up to in mission and ministry but also just as interesting how they define their mission in their respective communities. Here are a couple more mission statements of different downtown churches:

Bethlehem Community Church (LCMS), downtown Euclid, OH: “Joyfully Celebrating and Passionately Sharing Life in Jesus Christ.”

First Good Shepherd Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Las Vegas, NV: “Connecting People to Christ and One Another.”

Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis, MO: “A Loving, Christ-Centered Community Actively Reaching Out to All People.”

St. John Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Des Moines, IA: “In the City for Good.”

St. Paul Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Austin, TX: “The Mission of St. Paul is to spread and model the Good News of Jesus with our members, the community, and the world.”
2017

What is your congregation doing to celebrate Reformation 500 in 2017?  Special services?  Special service projects?  Special trips?  Special offerings?  Special joint events?  Send your plans to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

fSPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK

The good folks at Grace Lutheran in downtown Tulsa recently did something to remind the rest of us of the need to always be forward-thinking.  Like almost every downtown church, Grace struggles with the chronic downtown problem of parking.  So, when a home across the street fell into decline and became available for purchase, Grace moved into action.  The property has been purchased.  The now-eyesore, potentially dangerous house will be demolished.  Eventually expanded parking will occupy the space.

What creative solutions has your congregation developed to remedy your parking problem?  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com

A member of the LCMS, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Tulsa can be found at www.glctulsa.org .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON ALBANY, NY

We all have too much “stuff.”  We all have people in our communities much less fortunate who could use our “stuff.” 

Combining those two statements, St. John Lutheran in downtown Albany hosted a “Come and Get It” event during October.  Church members were encouraged to clean their closets, bringing their fall and winter clothing, as well as toys, books, and household goods for people of their community to take at no charge.  Yes….think rummage sale with no money exchanging hands.  It cleans the closets while creating connections with the community!

A member of the ELCA, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Albany can be found at www.stjohnsalbany.dreamhosters.com .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN, TX

“Let the little children come.”  “Feed My Sheep.”  “Unless you receive Me like a little child.”  “Go.  Baptize.  Teach.”

These words of Jesus are all very clear! They are words taken seriously around St. Paul Lutheran in downtown Austin.  They are words that are also celebrated joyously!

Featured top and center in the October issue of “The Word,” the monthly newsletter of St. Paul, was the headline “Welcome, Presley and Taylor!”  These 7th and 6th Grade sisters have attended St. Paul’s School since last year.  With strong support from friends, teachers and classmates they were baptized during school chapel services on Holy Cross Day, 14 September!

The editor of the newsletter comments: “This is a wonderful example of how St. Paul Church and School are fulfilling its mission to share the Gospel and bring others to saving faith.  St. Paul congregation is to be encouraged and gratified, lifting prayers of thanksgiving for Presley and Taylor.”   Can I hear an “Amen”?

A member of the LCMS, more information about St. Paul Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Austin can be found at www.stpaulaustin.org .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON ST. LOUIS, MO

Jesus made it clear: servanthood defines the life of His people.

So many call children and youth the “future” of the Church.  In reality, children and youth are the “present” of the Church from the moment of their baptism into the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

That’s why Historic Trinity Lutheran in downtown St. Louis is planning a return visit in July, 2017 to be part of Idaho Servant Adventures (www.lutherhaven.com/idaho-servant-adventures).  Besides lots of fun (a MUST for all youth events), servanthood is modeled and practiced.  Through the years, tens of thousands of hours of volunteer service has been provided to the under-served people, organizations, and communities as the hands and feet of Jesus.  As ISA advertises, it is a “Simple, significant and outrageous outdoor adventure for youth groups from around the country!”

What does your congregation do to confirm that children and youth are the “present” of the Church?  What opportunities does your congregation provide your children and youth to develop servant leadership for the present and future?  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Historic Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown St. Louis can be found at www.trinitystlouis.com .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON PASADENA, CA

One of the basic definitions of the downtown church is not only that it is located in the greater downtown but that it serves as the “Mother” or “Grandmother” church to the local region.  As such, downtown churches often become the repositories of sacred history.
That’s why Historic First Lutheran in downtown Pasadena recently jumped into action when it heard that the 91-year-old steeple Cross from the former Bethany Lutheran in downtown Hollywood had been removed as part of a developer’s re-purposing of the building into office space.  All the other sacred “stuff” had already been long removed – the altar, pulpit, lectern, organ, pews, capstone Cross and – sadly – the gorgeous 1925-vintage stained glass windows.  But when Historic First Lutheran was notified the steeple Cross had been removed and was standing alongside the building (probably destined for the dump or metal recycler), it jumped into action and secured permission from the developer to obtain the Cross for historical preservation and display.  The 8′ tall Cross is destined for prominent positioning in “Holy Cross Hall,” a large room already displaying more than 50 Crosses from around the world.  A memorial plaque will be installed recognizing the 91-years the Cross stood high over Sunset Boulevard, making it clear why Bethany Church was there.

How has your congregation become the repository of sacred items rescued from daughter or sister churches?  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Historic First Lutheran’s outreach to downtown St. Louis can be found at www.historicfirstlutheran.org .

 

HOMELESS HELP IN THE DOWNTOWN

(The following article was submitted to us.  Recognizing there is a divergence of opinion and
 practice on this topic, we welcome your responses to DowntownChurches@aol.com).

Explanation received when this article was submitted – “Like many downtown churches, we are the haven or target for men and women who call the streets ‘home.’  It is unfortunate that many of our church goers throughout the city consider the people who live in cars, hotels, temporary shelters, wooded lots, sleep behind abandoned buildings or in the shelter of a highway underpass, nuisance “thems” or “panhandlers.”  Because we are a city where outdoor elements are not too extreme, the population of homeless people looking for a handout is quite large.  In a recent edition of our weekly newsletter, I published the following article that may be exactly what other downtown churches experience and can use or at least a sharing of the way we choose to share what we have – as Peter shared with the lame beggar: the Name of Jesus and the Word of God.”

“For the past couple of Sundays, one or two of  Orlando’s chronic homeless men and women came to church.  Unfortunately, their desire was to pull the heartstrings of Trinity members rather than feel God’s heart touching them.

After you park your car and begin to exit the garage or cross the street, you may come face to face with a person asking for bus fare.  Her feet are sore; she is only $2.00 short; he asked at the other church; he can’t find anyone who acts like a Christian should.  You are the one person God is using to touch certain lives as His witness. Always be aware of the opportunity to connect someone to Jesus with compassion and mercy.

Please DO NOT give money.  It is tempting to pull the couple of dollar bills out of your pocket and hand it over so “that panhandler” or “they” will go away, but do not give money.  There is no such thing as a one time gift.  If you have it the first Sunday, then you will have it the second Sunday and the third and the fourth, etc.

DO listen actively.  You will likely hear the same story over and over and over again.  Be sympathetic, especially when you say you cannot give any cash.  Be firm but gentle when you say “I am sorry, but I do not give cash.  Our church financially supports Christian Service Center, Compassion Corner, and IDignity to offer you the help you need.”

DO invite the person to come inside.  Help him or her find a seat, hand them a worship folder and open the hymnal to the worship order of service.  But, do not promise money or offer anything other than peace of mind for an hour.

DO offer directions to the Christian Service Center on Central Blvd. for a FREE meal. Sunday’s the meal is served beginning at 11:00 a.m.  The Daily Bread program was established at the Christian Service Center in 1975 with a goal that no person in Central Florida would struggle with hunger.  Daily Bread has offered a free nourishing noontime meal to anyone in the community who is hungry.  On the usher table in the narthex, you will find a basket with pocket cards that are distributed by Homeless Services Network.  Carry some in your wallet or purse.  DO give this card to someone who approaches you with his or her story.  There is a listing of where to find shelter, where to find meals, and where to locate agencies that might be able to help.

DO learn how Trinity is working in our community to help our Lord’s hurting and poor people on the edges of society.  There are brochures in our tract rack in the narthex for all the following:

IDignity – Trinity Church was one of five founding churches to address the difficult process that poor and homeless persons struggle through in obtaining a necessary federally approved identification card.  Without an ID, no social services are available.

Christian Service Center – Again, Trinity congregation participated in establishing an organization that now serves families and individuals who truly want a hand up.  Case workers meet clients every day to help with plans for a fresh start.  There is a food bank and clothing store available for anyone who will meet with a caseworker and qualifies for the hand up.  SIX DAYS a week, Daily Bread serves hundreds of people FREE lunch.  An intentionally high protein and carbohydrate meal is served free to anyone who comes Monday through Friday noon until 1:00 p.m. and on Sunday 11:00 a.m. to noon.

Compassion Corner – This is a ministry begun by First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.  Trinity offers a discounted rent for the small building located at 425 N. Magnolia.  Monday through Thursday, Compassion Corner shares daily Bible study classes, a hot cup of coffee, and listening ears and guidance from trained volunteers. Donations of clean socks, reading glasses, and small toiletries are made available to anyone in need.  Compassion Corner does not offer services or funding on a regular basis.

Good News Breakfast and Worship – Organized by Central Care Mission and First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, The Good News Breakfast is an outreach ministry of Central Care Mission and an opportunity for community volunteers to make a difference to the homeless and at-risk of downtown Orlando.  Service time begins at 4:45 a.m. and ends at 8:00 a.m. with clean up.  In between there is a hearty meal and message of hope during a worship service for 150 or more men and women who have probably slept outside the night before.

– Deaconess Liz Borth
Trinity Lutheran Church & School, 123 East Livingston, Orlando, Florida  32801.

 

CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

Downtown Issue # 30 – September, 2016

Posted by admin on September 25, 2016

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #30– September, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. RESOURCES OFFERED
  4. ALL SHAPES AND SIZES AND LOCATIONS
  5. SELF-INCLUSION
  6. IN OUR PRAYERS
  7. MISSION STATEMENTS
  8. THE FIRST “FIRST”
  9. OTHER INTERESTING DOWNTOWN FACTOIDS
  10. SUMMER SUCCESSES?
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON PEORIA, IL
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON MILWAUKEE, WI
  13. SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR
  14. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches around our great country.  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”

 

RESOURCES OFFERED

Our mission is stated above.  That mission is fulfilled in the following ways: 1) the quarterly electronic newsletter “Downtown” shares stories of joys and challenges of downtown ministry as well as “spotlight” ideas of creative outreaches adaptable for local use; 2) the leader of the Association is available for conversations and consultations with downtown pastors, church leaders and congregations (either technologically or in person); 3)  referrals are provided to other pastors, congregations and groups that might be of assistance; 4) when there is adequate interest and support, “gatherings” have been sponsored by the Association.

 

ALL SHAPES AND SIZES AND LOCATIONS

There is no one descriptive picture of a downtown church.

Downtown ministries come in all shapes and sizes.  There are some extremely large and complex downtown ministries with hundreds of people in weekly worship and multi-million dollar budgets and endowments.  There are also some extremely small downtown ministries involving just a handful of faithful worshipers being led by a part-time pastor.  What unites these diverse congregations is a passionate love for the downtown and its residents.

And, speaking of downtowns, they also are just as diverse.  Some downtown ministries in places like New York City and Pittsburgh are literally dwarfed by high rises next door.  Some downtown ministries in places like Orlando and New Orleans are in the first residential ring of the city.  And some downtown ministries stand sentinel on Mayberry-like town squares in seemingly sleepy communities with one stop sign. What unites these diverse downtown congregations is a passionate love for the downtown and its residents, whoever and wherever they may be.

 

SELF-INCLUSION

While there is a list of characteristics of “downtown” churches (check out downtownlutheranchurches.org) the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches allows pastors and congregations to self-include themselves without question.  Very few member congregations fit ALL the characteristics.  A few even fit NONE of the characteristics.  And there have been a couple congregations that fit ALL the characteristics that didn’t like being labeled a “downtown” church and asked to be removed.

What we find most important among members of the Association is a desire to stand together, to support one another, to learn from each other and to celebrate the mission and ministry of the Lord in downtown neighborhoods.

 

IN OUR PRAYERS

Please include in your personal and corporate prayers the following vacant, calling downtown ministries:

    Augustana Lutheran / La Comunidad de Santa Maria (ELCA), downtown Washington, DC  (pastor)

    First Lutheran (ELCA), downtown San Diego, CA (pastor)

    Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis MO (senior pastor)

    Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Orlando, FL (senior pastor)            

    St. John Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Albany, NY (pastor)

If you have a vacancy you desire added to our prayers please send notice to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

MISSION STATEMENTS

It’s fascinating not only to see what downtown churches are up to in mission and ministry but also just as interesting how they define their mission in their respective communities. Here are a couple more mission statements of downtown churches:

The Gathering Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Long Beach, CA: “Connecting Hearts to Christ.  Restoring Neighbors to Community.” (based upon 1 Thessalonians 2:8) 

First & Zion Lutheran Churches (ELCA), downtown Canton, OH: “ Shedding Light on our Life Together in Christ.” 

First Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Albany, NY: “Our mission is to live as a community in Christ engaged with the surrounding community.”

 

THE FIRST “FIRST”

As a nod to history, First Lutheran Church (ELCA) in downtown Albany, NY is the oldest Lutheran congregation in North America, founded in 1649!

 

OTHER INTERESTING DOWNTOWN FACTOIDS

Historic Grace Lutheran in downtown Springfield, IL (ELCA) is the only downtown church known to be located within the boundaries of a National Park – the Lincoln Home National Site.  Do you know of any others?  Please send notice to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

First Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Galveston, TX (ELCA), the oldest Lutheran church in Texas, appears to be possibly the only downtown church on an island. Do you know of any others?  Please send notice to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

SUMMER SUCCESSES

Do you have any exciting success stories from your summer Vacation Bible Schools or Day Camps?  We’d love to celebrate with you and also learn from you!  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON PEORIA, IL

Ever wonder if having a Lutheran school in the downtown truly makes any difference?  Maybe you should ask Trinity Lutheran in downtown Peoria, IL …….

In some of our downtowns, there was a Lutheran parochial school before there was a Lutheran church.  In some of our downtowns those schools have closed through the years.  In other of  our downtowns cooperative schools jointly operated by a couple downtown ministries or by a coalition of downtown and suburban ministries have stood the test of time.  This is a story about one of those schools.

When you watched the 2016 NBA Finals earlier this year, you may not have known that Shaun Livingston, the 6’7″ guard of the Golden State Warriors, is an alum of Concordia Lutheran School in Peoria, IL, a ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Peoria.  His former teachers and pastor fondly remember not only Shaun’s athletic abilities but his positive faith that led him to attend church on his own initiative, waiting in the narthex for a classmate to arrive so he didn’t have to sit in worship alone.  And you may not know that Shaun thinks just as highly of his church and school, his pastor and teachers.  Shaun recently made a $1 million contribution to the building expansion of Concordia Lutheran School! 

What success stories can your Lutheran school tell?  What examples can you provide that a Lutheran school in the downtown indeed makes a difference?  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Peoria can be found at www.trinitypeoria.com .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON MILWAUKEE, WI

Your editor spent a week this summer in downtown Milwaukee.  On one of his morning walks he stumbled across a coffee house that also served delicious cranberry bread.  It turns out he had stumbled (without planning) upon GRACE PLACE COFFEE, a ministry of Grace Lutheran Church.  Grace Place Coffee is open for business daily, staffed by church volunteers.  The atmosphere is safe, comfortable, clean and inviting.  In addition to the standard tables and chairs and couches, Grace Place Coffee also sells Christian books.  There’s also information available about Grace Lutheran Church.  Because of his visit to Grace Place Coffee, your editor attended worship the next morning at Grace and found a warm, welcoming, diverse congregation, even at 7:45 am Sunday morning.

What “side doors” do you use to get downtown residents and visitors into worship?  Send your stories to  DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the WELS, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Milwaukee can be found at www.gracedowntown.org .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR

Zion Lutheran in downtown Portland, OR, recently co-hosted the first “Lutheran Timbers Alliance” get-together.  There was pre-game tailgating in Zion’s parking lot (across the street from Providence Park).  Bottled water was passed out with labels that said “We love you at Zion.”  There was also a Sola Victoria post-game party back at Zion, with food, refreshments, games and prizes.  The challenge given was that all the Lutheran attendees would invite someone they met at the game to the post-game party.

What unique ideas do you employ   to invite “outsiders” inside your buildings?  Send your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Zion Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Portland can be found at www.zion-portland.org .

 

CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

Downtown Issue # 29 – May, 2016

Posted by admin on May 7, 2016

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #29– May, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. REVISITING THE GATHERING IDEA
  4. IN OUR PRAYERS
  5. WELCOME
  6. MISSION STATEMENTS
  7. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  8. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THRIVENT FREE MONEY!
  9. AN UNUSUAL MISSION: RESTROOMS
  10. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
  11. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches around our great world.  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”

 

REVISITING THE GATHERING IDEA

There was very minimal response to last issue’s question about whether or not there was support for another “gathering” of downtown ministries.

Pastor Brian Evans from First Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh, PA offered to serve as a host.  This would be the second time a gathering would be hosted by an ELCA congregation and the first time we have ventured to the East Coast.

A suggestion was also received to “double up” our gathering with another conference (specifically noted was the LCMS Best Practices conference held every winter in Phoenix).  The only problem is that we are pan-Lutheran and finding a Lutheran conference attended by LCMS, ELCA and Wisconsin Synod representatives would be rare.  Plus we don’t want to be limited to one city every year – part of the power of the gathering is being able to witness a local congregation function over a weekend.

A similar suggestion to “double up” our gatherings was discussed at our last gathering in New Orleans in October, 2014.  Suggested there was doubling up with a non-Lutheran conference such as the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) which meets annually in different cities around the country.

What are your thoughts?  What’s your pleasure?  To what are you willing to commit?  Please send an email to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


IN OUR PRAYERS

Please include in your personal and corporate prayers the following vacant, calling downtown ministries:
Augustana Lutheran / La Comunidad de Santa Maria (ELCA), downtown Washington, DC  (pastor)
Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis MO (senior pastor)
Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Orlando, FL (senior pastor)
St. John Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Albany, NY (pastor)

If you would like your vacancy added to our prayers, please email DowntownChurches@aol.com .


Welcome

Zion Lutheran (LCMS) in downtown Portland, OR is happy to welcome Pastor Dan Hues as its new pastor.  “Pastor Dan” (as he likes to be called) was installed on Sunday 1 May 2016 at 4:00 p.m. with LCMS Northwest District President Rev. Paul Linnemann preaching.  We welcome “Pastor Dan” to the exciting mission and ministry in the “great downtown!”


MISSION STATEMENTS

It’s fascinating not only to see what downtown churches are up to in mission and ministry but also just as interesting how they define their mission in their respective communities.  Each month we share a few stated mission statements of different downtown churches:

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches: “In the Heart of the City with a Heart for the Hearts of the City.”

Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA: “Our Mission here at First Lutheran is to welcome “all people” into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and into responsible church membership through the power of the Word and prayer, followed by action of faith.”

Historic Grace Lutheran, Springfield, IL: “As disciples in Christ, we support our faith community, encourage spiritual growth in everyone and serve all creation with Christ-like love.  We accomplish this by spreading God’s Word, building relationships, serving the community, reaching out to those in need.”

Zion Lutheran, Akron, OH: “Grace is a people committed, generous, relational.  Zion is all people, from all walks of life and all areas of Akron and beyond, gathered in downtown, seeking to affect change within our city, by the power and grace of God.”

Zion Lutheran, Portland, OR: “Celebrating the Presence of God in the Heart of the City.”


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

Historic Grace Lutheran in downtown Springfield, IL is gearing up for a year-long celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the congregation during 2016.  Historic Grace was founded 19 September 1841 by Reverend Francis Springer, a neighbor and friend of Abraham Lincoln.  This year of celebration will include several organ concerts to feature the recently refurbished organ which has had its capabilities doubled.  For more information, check out gracelutheran-springfield.com .  (As an interesting side note, Historic Grace is the only Lutheran church of which we are aware to be located within the boundaries of a national park.)


DON’T FORGET ABOUT THRIVENT FREE MONEY!

First English Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh, PA recently reminded its members about “Thrivent Action Teams.” Twice a year each Thrivent member can invite others to join them in a fund-raiser, service activity or educational event, receiving a $250. VISA credit card to fund the event.  Thrivent members can apply online at Thrivent.com/actionteam .   For further details, contact your local Thrivent representative.

 

AN UNUSUAL MISSION: RESTROOMS

Getting downtown people into church seems an even bigger challenge than is faced by our suburban  siblings.

Once they arrive, we are ready for them with reserved parking for visitors, parking lot greeters, great music, great history, great preaching, great architecture and hopefully a congregation full of people reflecting the love of Jesus Christ.  When they don’t return we are heartbroken and often ask ourselves “Why?”

Have you checked your public-area restrooms lately?  Yes, that’s correct!  We insiders might be willing to accept less-than-attractive restrooms but your restrooms might be the reason your downtown neighbors aren’t returning!

Bathroom rehab projects are admittedly usually big money projects.  If you’re not able to rehab your public-area restrooms (and sometimes it IS just impossible due to the cost, the age of the buildings and / or building code restrictions or stipulations), are they are least “inhabitable?”  Cleaned regularly (even between services)? Well stocked with soap, toilet paper, paper towels, air freshener, disposable toilet seat liners?  Has the trash can been emptied this year?  Is the lighting attractive and adequate?  Has the restroom been painted this century?  Is there any space for a baby changing table?

Here’s a good question to ask some of your members (especially women): “If I were to walk into a new restaurant for the first time and experience the kind of restroom I find in my church would I return?”

Better mission results might be as simple as a thorough and regular cleaning of your restrooms!

 

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Have any of our downtown ministries invested the time to produce “What to Do?” polices and procedures for any and all emergencies that may arise while people are in your buildings or on your property?  Unexpected natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes)?  Fires?  Gas leaks?  Downed power lines?  Chemical smells?  Medical emergencies?  Terrorist threats?  Police  lock-down in close proximity?  Active shooter situations?  Others?

If your congregation has such policies and procedures and would be willing to share or if your congregation would be interested in seeing what others have produced, please send an email to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

 

CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

Downtown Issue # 28 – February, 2016

Posted by admin on February 8, 2016

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #28– February, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. REVISITING THE GATHERING IDEA
  4. IN OUR PRAYERS
  5. ADLC  IN “THE”  PARADE
  6. MISSION STATEMENTS
  7. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  8. SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO, IL
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON ORLANDO, FL
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON ST. LOUIS, MO
  13. SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA
  14. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches across our great continent.  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”


REVISITING THE GATHERING IDEA

Just recently was asked the question, “When is the next ‘Gathering’ scheduled?”

Folks, here’s the deal.

Since 1996, the Association has sponsored 7 “gatherings” in locations from Orlando to New Orleans to Pasadena, CA, also including centralized locations like St. Louis, Detroit and Springfield, IL.  We’ve been hosted by LCMS and ELCA congregations.  We’ve had presentations by Bishops and churchmen from both the LCMS and ELCA, as well as presentations by non-Lutherans involved in downtown community development work.  The largest gatherings were in Orlando and Pasadena (both 60+ attendees), but the past two gatherings (Springfield and New Orleans) were sparsely attended (less than 15 attendees, mostly the “regulars” who have attended every gathering to date).  The attendees at the past two gatherings have wrestled with the future of the “gatherings” with the general feeling that it was maybe time to take a break.

If there is again a desire to “gather” as an Association, let’s do it!  It’s wonderful to gather at a downtown church over a weekend to learn what they are doing in mission and ministry and to support each other as we serve around the country.  What is needed is a location suggestion (with a host), a date suggestion and a good handful of people committed to actually attend!

Please communicate your thoughts to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


IN OUR PRAYERS

Please include in your personal and corporate prayers the following vacant, calling downtown ministries:
– Augustana Lutheran / La Comunidad de Santa Maria (ELCA), downtown Washington, DC  (pastor)
– Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis MO (senior pastor)
– Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Orlando, FL (senior pastor)
– Zion Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Portland, OR (pastor)
– St. John Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Albany, NY (pastor)

If you would like your vacancy added to our prayers, please email DowntownChurches@aol.com .


ADLC IN “THE” PARADE

Two founders of the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches were honored to ride on the “Lutheran Hour Ministries / Lutheran Layman’s League” float in the Tournament of Roses Parade on 1 January 2016 in Pasadena, CA.  The Rev. Dr. John Arthur Nunes (along with his wife Monique), Professor at Valparaiso University,  and The Rev. Christopher Schaar, Senior Pastor at Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA and Leader of the ADLC, rode down Colorado Boulevard in downtown Pasadena on a floral covered float depicting a First Century fishing boat and a lighthouse topped by a golden cross.

This year’s parade theme was “Find Your Adventure.”  The Lutheran Hour float was titled “Jesus is the Light of the World” and proclaimed the adventure of being modern disciples of Jesus Christ.

For more information about the Lutheran Hour Ministries float or to learn how to volunteer to become a “Petal Pusher” and help decorate floats during December, 2016 check out www.petalpushers.org .


MISSION STATEMENTS

It’s fascinating not only to see what downtown churches are up to in mission and ministry but also just as interesting how they define their mission in their respective communities.  This issue begins a regular feature sharing a few mission statements of different downtown churches:

Central Lutheran, Portland, OR: “Transformed by God’s love for the world through Christ, we are sent to Build Community, Do Justice, Make Peace.”
Concordia Lutheran, Sarasota, FL: “The mission of Concordia is to share Jesus’ harmony (“concordia”) with the heart of Sarasota.  Jesus comes to us in worship, giving to us His Good News for sharing and His love for caring!”

First Immanuel Lutheran, Portland, OR: “A Welcoming Community Centered in Christ’s Love, Joyfully Reaching Out Together”
Resurrection Lutheran, Chicago, IL: “RLC invites and welcomes all people to hear God’s Word, share our faith and celebrate the Sacraments.  Through music, liturgy and fellowship we embrace diversity, nurture children, advocate justice and praise God.  This is our response to the Gospel.”
St. John Lutheran, Albany, NY: “Worship the Lord, Serve Faithfully, Reach Out.”


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

Resurrection Lutheran in downtown Chicago, IL recently celebrated the 20th Anniversary of service of musician Gary Jensen. The actual number of years is greater as Gary has served two “tours of service” at Resurrection but this celebration gave thanks for the most recent length of service and the wonderful music Gary has provided for God’s glory and the edification of His people!


SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR

The downtown church in particular is supposed to be a refreshing stream of living water in an otherwise often dry community.  It’s the task of the downtown church to be the leader in tackling and addressing issues the greater community fails to resolve.

The “Welcome and Reach Out Committee” (WeROC) of Central Lutheran in downtown Portland recently sponsored an adult forum called “It’s (More Than) Black and White: Recognizing White Privilege” to discuss issues of race, privilege and how we can be supportive of each other.  Community members were invited to share how race affects their daily lives in ways that differ greatly from the majority culture.  The “WeROC” also sponsored a live webcast of Bishop Eaton as she continues her call to address the complexity and implications of racism.

How does your parish tackle race issues within the parish and within the immediate neighborhood community?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the ELCA, more information about Central Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Portland can be found at www.centralportland.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO

Reflective of the downtown itself, most downtown churches are surrounded by a virtual melting pot of races, colors and creeds.  Part of the missional challenge of the downtown church is to look like and minister to those in our immediate neighborhoods.

Celebrating diversity is something not foreign to First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Chicago.  On Sunday 7 February First Immanuel sponsored an “International Fellowship Event with the Super Bowl and Chinese New Year Party.”  Then on Sunday 28 February First Immanuel will sponsor “Black History / International Dress Day with a multi cultural fellowship luncheon following worship.”

How does your parish include and celebrate the diversity within the parish and within the immediate neighborhood community?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Immanuel Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Chicago can be found at www.1stimmanuelchicago.org .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON ORLANDO, FL

On Saturday 12 December 2015 a few members of Trinity Lutheran in downtown Orlando had a “Meet the Neighbors” Day.  They simply walked through their church neighborhood and talked with their neighbors.  Another day was planned for Saturday 16 January 2016, with the goal of getting 10 to 12 Trinity folks out into their church neighborhood.

How does your parish break down the invisible walls between your church building and your neighbors?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity  Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Orlando can be found at www.TrinityDowntown.com


SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR

It is always sad when age or physical limitations prevent people from participating in worship or other church events!

First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Portland has used a generous bequest to help them stay connected with elderly members and others.  Taxi cab vouchers are available to anyone who may need help getting to worship or other church events.  This service is a gift and riders are never charged.

How does your parish enable the elderly and those otherwise unable to attend to continue as vital essentials in your mission and ministry?   Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the ELCA, more information about First Immanuel Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Portland can be found at www.firstimmanuelluth.org .

 

SPOTLIGHT ON ST. LOUIS, MO

Now on its third or fourth round of calling a senior pastor (depending on who you listen to), Historic Trinity Lutheran’s call committee developed a fantastic new idea to help clearly communicate to potential candidates who they truly are as a downtown church.  A 7-page document based upon the standard candidate “Self-Evaluation Tool” (SET) was developed and is now sent in advance to those being interviewed.  The document reveals things like “Our Strengths in Ministry,” “Our Challenges in Ministry,” and “Our Current Situation as to a Parsonage.”  The document covers basically all questions normally asked, saving a lot of breath and a lot of energy.

Copies of Historic Trinity’s “Self-Evaluation Tool” may be requested from Call Committee Chair, The Rev. King Schoenfeld, at basileus@swbell.net .

What has your parish discovered or developed as a helpful tool while calling pastors or other full-time workers?   Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Historic Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown St. Louis can be found at www.trinitystlouis.com .


SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA

As Petula Clark crooned decades ago, people are indeed going “Downtown.”  That’s especially true during the Christmas season.  And First English Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh recently capitalized on the increased holiday traffic going by its doors.

During Advent, to provide a peaceful sanctuary for visitors downtown, the church building of First English Lutheran remained open throughout Friday evenings, with luminaria, signage and publicity to welcome people.  A simplified Taizé-style Vespers, featuring their own gifted instrumentalists, was held every Friday at 7:00 p.m.  This Friday evening event began on “Light-Up Night” on 20 November when folks of all ages descended upon the city to view festive lights and holiday decorations.

Then, on Christmas Day, those gathered at First English Lutheran left the building and concluded with a Procession to the Crèche (a larger than life nativity scene, the world’s only authorized replica of the Vatican’s Crèche in St. Peter’s Square in Rome) in the U.S. Steel Plaza across the street.  What a great way to bring the celebration of the birth of Christ out into the open!

What has your parish done to engage the downtown visitors all around you?   Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the ELCA, more information about First English Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Pittsburgh can be found at www.flcpittsburgh.org .


CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

Downtown Issue # 27 – December, 2015

Posted by admin on December 16, 2015

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #27– December, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. STATUS OF ‘DOWNTOWN”
  5. DOWNTOWNLUTHERANCHURCHES.ORG
  6. DEDICATION
  7. WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS
  8. AND…..FAREWELL
  9. IN OUR PRAYERS
  10. HELP EXPAND OUR REACH
  11. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN, TX
  13. SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA
  14. SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN
  15. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches around our great world.  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”


NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT

If you’ve not yet added the Association to receive your weekly or monthly newsletters, won’t you please do so today?  It is guaranteed that every newsletter is indeed read!  If your congregation publishes a printed newsletter, would you please add us to your mailing list?  Please address them to Rev. Christopher Schaar, Historic First Lutheran, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA   91104-4317.  If your congregation publishes an electronic newsletter, would you please add us to your e-dis list?  Please send them to DowntownChurches@aol.com.  If your e-news requires an email address to subscribe to receive your newsletter, please send notice of that fact to DowntownChurches@aol.com and we will subscribe.


STATUS OF ‘DOWNTOWN”

Some of you have noticed it has been a long time since you last received “Downtown” — May 2015 to be exact.  Yes, like many of you, we took the summer (and, in this case, also the fall)  months  off.  With so many clergy away on vacation and or occupied with summer projects, we figured readership numbers might not reward the efforts of  summer edition, but eyes have been closely and carefully watching what our member parishes have been up to and look forward to sharing a plethora of great ideas!  Please pray that we can return to our every-other-month schedule in 2016!


DOWNTOWNLUTHERANCHURCHES.ORG

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches is proud to introduce and welcome the following new pastor to a great downtown church:

Have you recently been on the Association’s web site?  Have you recently referred the web site to church members, to staff members, to colleagues serving in downtown, urban, even suburban ministries?   All the past issues of “Downtown” newsletter are posted on the web site.  Most recently we have posted a collection of statements compiled many years ago attempting to define the “downtown” church.  You’re encouraged to check it out today!


DEDICATION

Since Issue #1 of “Downtown” we have reserved the dedication of this resource in loving memory of downtown ministry veterans who have been awarded their eternal Crown.  We’re breaking that tradition this month.

This issue of “Downtown” is dedicated to honor The Reverend Dr. David Eberhard’s 56 years of ministry in Detroit, Michigan, including 34 years of faithful service as Head Pastor of Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Detroit.  During these past 34 years Dr. Eberhard led Historic Trinity to become the most successful and unique ministry in the Metro Detroit area – creating a rapidly growing membership, restoring the facilities, creating the concept of ‘Cathedral Ministry,” highlighting the role of the “Mother Church,” and developing many outreach activities such as the “Lutheran Church in the City.”  Dr. Eberhard is also the visionary who first convened the gathering of downtown Lutheran pastors in October, 1996 and encouraged the development of the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches.

Dr. Eberhard: WELL DONE!  Thank You!

(As a personal note, please keep Dr. Eberhard in your prayers as he has seen a series of health set-backs lately, including cancer and now a broken foot.)

If you have suggestions for future issues of “Downtown” to be dedicated in memory or honor of other great veterans of downtown ministry, please do not hesitate to pass that information along to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches is proud to introduce and welcome the following new pastors to  great downtown churches:

The Reverend Chris  Brown was installed at Bethania Lutheran (ELCA) in downtown Solvang, CA  on Sunday 28 June 2015.

The Reverend Darryl L. Andrzejewski was installed as the 8th Pastor of Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS) in downtown Detroit, MI on Sunday 16 August 2015.

The Reverend Kyle Blake was installed at First Lutheran (LCMS) in downtown Long Beach, CA on Sunday 13 September 2015 (tasked with intentional church replanting).

We welcome Pastors Brown, Andrzejewski and Blake into the great downtown!


AND…..FAREWELL

On Sunday 25 October, The Reverend Christian Tiews preached his final sermon as Associate Pastor of Grace Lutheran in downtown Tulsa, OK.  After 7 years of faithful ministry, including leading the congregation through the calling of a new Senior Pastor three years ago, Pastor Tiews followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to become the Pastor of Trinity Lutheran in Okmulgee, OK, a Tulsa suburb. .


IN OUR PRAYERS

Please include in your personal and corporate prayers the following vacant, calling downtown ministries:
Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis MO (senior pastor)
Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Orlando, FL (senior pastor)
Zion Lutheran (LCMS) downtown Portland, OR (pastor)


HELP EXPAND OUR REACH

Every electronic distribution of “Downtown” elicits comments of thanks for this avenue of sharing, encouraging, resourcing and challenging downtown churches!

When did you last share “Downtown” with your staff and leadership?  When did you last make your congregation aware of the existence of “Downtown”?

You are invited and encouraged to make copies of “Downtown.”  You are invited and encouraged to forward “Downtown” to your members via email.  You are invited and encouraged to send a link to the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches website (www.downtownlutheranchurches.org) to all your contacts where ALL past issues of “Downtown” may be viewed.  You are invited and encouraged to include blurbs about “Downtown” and the Association in your bulletins and newsletters.  Most of all, you are invited and encouraged to encourage your staff and leaders and church members to request inclusion in our e-dis list.  All anyone needs to do is send an email request to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

Thanks for whatever you can do to help us expand our reach!


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

Historic Trinity Lutheran in downtown Detroit, MI  hosted a special “165th Anniversary Service” during all morning worship services on Sunday 15 November 2015.  This was the finale of an entire year of celebration.  During this year Historic Trinity has hosted separate special recognition Sundays for those baptized, confirmed and / or married at Historic Trinity.

Also on Sunday 15 November 2015, Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento, CA concluded its 100th Anniversary year with morning and afternoon worship celebrations, preceded on Saturday evening with a banquet and program including music and dancing.  Throughout the year, Trinity on a monthly basis welcomed back to its pulpit former pastors as well as ministry sons of the congregation (including the son of the founding pastor) and others who have been members of the congregation through the years.


SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN, TX

Many of our downtown churches in major metropolitan areas have colleges or universities nearby.   Much more than just a center of education, those colleges and universities are great mission fields! There are many chapels, ministry centers, etc. on many of those campuses, but do we sometimes forget the “beyond spiritual” needs of students?

Back in September, St Paul Lutheran in downtown Austin put out a call for “gently used beds, tables, chairs, dressers, bookshelves, dishes, pots & pans and other household items” for incoming international students at the University of Texas who arrive in our country with very little and often with limited budgets.

How has your congregation tapped into the mission field of local elementary schools / high schools / and colleges / universities?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about St. Paul Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Austin can be found at www.stpaulaustin.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA

Being in the “downtown” often intrinsically links a congregation with civic and historical events.  Even more so when that downtown church serves the nation’s capitol!

First English Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh hosted its annual “Camp Downtown” this past summer with 36 “campers.”  More than “just” the traditional Vacation Bible School, “Camp Downtown” exposes the “campers” to downtown Pittsburgh.  This year’s Camp took “campers” around the city to learn about different ways to make joyful noises.  Special tours included the Benedum Center, Heinz Hall, a special presentation by Gemini Children’s Theater and even a venture inside First Lutheran’s organ!

A member of the ELCA, more information about First English Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Pittsburgh can be found at www.flcpittsburgh.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN

Based on Matthew 25:35-36, Trinity Lutheran in downtown Memphis responded to record heat and humidity by offering bottles of cold water on Washington Avenue on a day when the heat index reached 115 degrees!

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Memphis can be found at www.trinitymemphis.org .


CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

Downtown Issue # 26 – May, 2015

Posted by admin on May 1, 2015

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #26– May, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. DEDICATED  IN  LOVING  MEMORY
  5. WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS
  6. HELP EXPAND OUR REACH
  7. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  8. SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON WASHINGTON, D.C.
  11. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches around our great world (yes, we have “international members” not just in the United States, but also in Canada and even Hungary!)  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”


NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT

If you’ve not yet added the Association to receive your weekly or monthly newsletters, won’t you please do so today?  It is guaranteed that every newsletter is indeed read!  If your congregation publishes a printed newsletter, would you please add us to your mailing list?  Please address them to Rev. Christopher Schaar, Historic First Lutheran, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA   91104-4317.  If your congregation publishes an electronic newsletter, would you please add us to your e-dis list?  Please send them to DowntownChurches@aol.com.  If your e-news requires an email address to subscribe to receive your newsletter, please send notice of that fact to DowntownChurches@aol.com and we will subscribe.


DEDICATED  IN  LOVING  MEMORY

This issue of “Downtown” is dedicated in loving memory of The Reverend Dr. John T. Braughler, the 17th Senior Pastor of First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA.  Dr. Braughler served First Lutheran from 1966 to 1989.

Jack died on Friday 13 February 2015 at the age of 93.  A memorial service was held at First Lutheran on Saturday 11 April.  “Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.”

If you have suggestions for future issues of “Downtown” to be dedicated in memory of other great veterans of downtown ministry, please do not hesitate to pass that information along to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches is proud to introduce and welcome the following new pastor to a great downtown church:

The Reverend Kelly Faulstich, currently Associate Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, IL,  has accepted the call to serve as Pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in downtown Chicago, IL.   Her ministry at Resurrection will begin on Monday 4 May with her first Sunday in the pulpit being Mother’s Day 10 May.

We welcome Pastor Faulstich into the great downtown!


HELP EXPAND OUR REACH

Every electronic distribution of “Downtown” elicits comments of thanks for this avenue of sharing, encouraging, resourcing and challenging downtown churches!

When did you last share “Downtown” with your staff and leadership?  When did you last make your congregation aware of the existence of “Downtown”?

You are invited and encouraged to make copies of “Downtown.”  You are invited and encouraged to forward “Downtown” to your members via email.  You are invited and encouraged to send a link to the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches website (www.downtownlutheranchurches.org) to all your contacts where ALL past issues of “Downtown” may be viewed.  You are invited and encouraged to include blurbs about “Downtown” and the Association in your bulletins and newsletters.  Most of all, you are invited and encouraged to encourage your staff and leaders and church members to request inclusion in our e-dis list.  All anyone needs to do is send an email request to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

Thanks for whatever you can do to help us expand our reach!


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

St. John’s Lutheran in downtown Des Moines, IA will host a retirement gala for Larry Christensen on Saturday 23 May 2015.  Larry’s retirement celebrates his 40 years of service as Music Minister at St. John’s.  For more information, contact Ellen Fisher (ellenfisher123@gmail.com), Julie Lowe (folkerts@aol.com) or Mary Kay Frasier (mkfrasier@gmail.com).


SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN

On Palm Sunday, the members of Trinity Lutheran in downtown Memphis joined with neighboring downtown churches at City Hall to offer prayers for the people and leaders of Memphis.

What does your congregation do to partner with other downtown churches for the benefit of your city?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Memphis can be found at www.TrinityMemphis.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA

Most of our downtown churches at some time or other struggle with the challenges presented them by annual city marathons and / or other major civic events.  Previous issues of “Downtown” have included responses downtown churches have developed to creatively and positively respond to those challenges.

First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, in response to the annual Pittsburgh Marathon scheduled for Sunday 4 May, will hold an additional celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Saturday 3 May at 5:00 p.m. to accommodate those who may find it difficult to get to church on Sunday morning.  What a great response!

How has your congregation creatively and positively responded to civic events that may seemingly interrupt the life of your congregation?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the ELCA, more information about First English Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Pittsburgh can be found at www.flcpittsburgh.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON WASHINGTON, D.C.

Being in the “downtown” often intrinsically links a congregation with civic and historical events.  Even more so when that downtown church serves the nation’s capitol!

On 15 April 2015, First Trinity Lutheran in downtown Washington, D.C. observed the 150th Anniversary of the assassination and death of President Abraham Lincoln, who died just 5 blocks away from First Trinity.  The bells at First Trinity tolled for 56 minutes, starting at 7:22 a.m., one minute for each of the 56 years of President Lincoln’s life.

How has your congregation participated in civic or historical events important to the community around you?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the ELCA, more information about First Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Washington D.C. can be found at www.firsttrinitydc.org .


CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

Downtown Issue # 25 – January, 2015

Posted by admin on January 17, 2015

Downtown
A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
DowntownChurches@aol.com
Issue #25– January, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. DEDICATED  IN  LOVING  MEMORY
  5. ARE YOU RUNNING???
  6. DID YOU CATCH IT??
  7. NEW ORLEANS GATHERING REPORT
  8. HELP EXPAND OUR REACH
  9. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON LONG BEACH, CA
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK
  13. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches around our great world (yes, we have “international members” not just in the United States, but also in Canada and even Hungary!)  As your editor, it’s my hope you’ll find this a helpful, powerful resource to further equip and empower your ministry in the great downtown.  As your editor, I can only accomplish that goal when you respond to the content of this newsletter and feed me information about what’s going on with your own particular ministry.  Responses, comments, constructive criticisms, etc. can be sent to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


MISSION STATEMENT

“The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches celebrates the mission and ministry of the Lord through congregations in downtown neighborhoods, sharing and developing ideas and programs by communicating, networking and encouraging one another.”


NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT

If you’ve not yet added the Association to receive your weekly or monthly newsletters, won’t you please do so today?  It is guaranteed that every newsletter is indeed read!  If your congregation publishes a printed newsletter, would you please add us to your mailing list?  Please address them to Rev. Christopher Schaar, Historic First Lutheran, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA   91104-4317.  If your congregation publishes an electronic newsletter, would you please add us to your e-dis list?  Please send them to DowntownChurches@aol.com.  If your e-news requires an email address to subscribe to receive your newsletter, please send notice of that fact to DowntownChurches@aol.com and we will subscribe.


DEDICATED  IN  LOVING  MEMORY

This issue of “Downtown” is dedicated in loving memory of The Reverend Ronald F. Fink.  Prior to his retirement, Ron served as Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran in downtown Orlando, FL.   In that position, Ron served as host for the Third Gathering of the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches in April, 1999.  Ron also served as Gathering Chaplain for the Association, developing and leading a wonderfully in-depth study of the Book of Jonah.  Prior to his years in Orlando, Ron served parishes in Denver, IA; Vestal, NY and Flushing, NY.  He also served as District President / Bishop of the Atlantic District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

Ron was unexpectedly granted eternal rest from his labors on Saturday 27 December 2014, at the age of 77.  God’s peace and joy is being provided to his wife Millie, two daughters and their husbands, a son and daughter-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and ten grandchildren.

If you have suggestions for future issues of “Downtown” to be dedicated in memory of other great veterans of downtown ministry, please do not hesitate to pass that information along to  DowntownChurches@aol.com .


ARE YOU RUNNING???

All the way back in 1959, Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Portland, OR participated in a study of Portland Lutheran congregations sponsored by the National Lutheran Council.  A fascinating comment was included in the final report: “Downtown churches need to run to stand still.”


DID YOU CATCH IT??

As reported in the 24 November 2014 issue of “Time,” a new study by the non-profit City Observatory, a think tank funded by the Knight Foundation, recently found that college-educated people ages 25 to 34 are migrating to city centers in places like Detroit at twice the pace of any other demographic group.  A new urban model is emerging.  Young knowledge workers want to live, work and play in cities.

Are you ready for this migration?  Are you already involved in also giving young knowledge workers  someplace to worship in the city?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


NEW ORLEANS GATHERING REPORT

The first weekend of October, 2014 saw a very small but dedicated group of downtown Lutheran church pastors gathered at Historic St. Paul Lutheran in the Marigny neighborhood of downtown New Orleans for the 7th Gathering of the Association.  There was wonderful food!  There was wonderful fellowship!  There was a reflective and vision-casting “State of the Downtown Church” address.  There was a thought-provoking, challenging keynote by urban missionary Deacon Ben McLeish.  There was wonderful worship, including evening prayer at a public park right along the “Mighty Mississippi!”  A new feature was an afternoon “think tank” / consultation between the gathered pastors (representing many years of downtown ministry experience) and key leaders of Historic St. Paul’s.  And evenings found the group convened at restaurants, jazz clubs and hotel courtyards throughout The French Quarter.

Gathering evaluations commented how powerful, refreshing and important was this time together. We’re sorry not more of you were able to attend …. which leads us to the question, “Should these gatherings continue?”  Please take a moment to share your thoughts to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


HELP EXPAND OUR REACH

Every electronic distribution of “Downtown” elicits comments of thanks for this avenue of sharing, encouraging, resourcing and challenging downtown churches!

When did you last share “Downtown” with your staff and leadership?  When did you last make your congregation aware of the existence of “Downtown”?

You are invited and encouraged to make copies of “Downtown.”  You are invited and encouraged to forward “Downtown” to your members via email.  You are invited and encouraged to send a link to the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches website (www.downtownlutheranchurches.org) to all your contacts where ALL past issues of “Downtown” may be viewed.  You are invited and encouraged to include blurbs about “Downtown” and the Association in your bulletins and newsletters.  Most of all, you are invited and encouraged to encourage your staff and leaders and church members to request inclusion in our e-dis list.  All anyone needs to do is send an email request to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

Thanks for whatever you can do to help us expand our reach!


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento, CA honored Bob Scheffel for 50 years of service as its organist on Sunday 2 November 2014.  It was Martin Luther who said something like “Next to Theology, Music is Closest to the Heart of God.”  We celebrate with Bob and thank him for using his gifts and talents to glorify God!

The Reverend Paul D. Rees-Rohrbacher was honored by the members of St. John’s Lutheran in downtown Albany, NY for his 15 years of ministry at St. John’s on Sunday 14 September 2014.  A memory book was assembled, sharing thoughts, letters, pictures, memories and special Scripture passages.   We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!

What do you do with a Civil War-era pipe organ that has needed repairs for decades?  Well, if you are Historic Trinity Lutheran in the Soulard neighborhood of downtown St. Louis, MO, you rebuild it and add to it!  You would then host a big party to celebrate the rebirth of an organ played by The Reverend Dr. C. F. W. Walther (2nd pastor of Historic Trinity and founding President of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod) himself.  On Sunday 16 November 2014, Historic Trinity hosted internationally recognized organist Dr. Fred Swann (formerly of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries and “Hour of Power”) for the formal dedicatory concert.

First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Chicago IL celebrated its 160th Anniversary on Friday 21 November 2014 at the Chicago Midway Marriott under the theme “Blessed to Be a Blessing.”

Lauren “Elyse” Scott began service as Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry at First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA on Sunday 5 October 2014.  We wish her welcome and God’s blessings in this new ministry challenge!

The Reverend Tyrus H. Miles retired from Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Portland, OR on 31 December 2014 after 50 years in the Holy Ministry.  Pastor Miles came out of his first “retirement” ten years ago to provide leadership to Zion.  We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!

The Reverend Jennifer R. Peters McCurry will be installed as Associate Pastor of First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA on 25 January 2015.  The Reverend Marie C. Jerge, former Bishop of the Upstate New York Synod of the ELCA, will be the guest preacher.  For more information, please call the Parish Office at 412.471.8125.

The Reverend Dr. Jeffery Moore retired from Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Orlando, FL on 31 December 2014.  A special celebration honoring his 11 years of service at Trinity Downtown was held on Sunday 28 December 2014.  We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento, CA will celebrate its 100th Anniversary throughout 2015.  “How Great Thou Art” is the selected theme.  On Sunday 18 January 2015, The Reverend Robert Fickenscher, son of the first called pastor at Trinity (who served more than 40 years), will preach.  A gala dinner and auction event to benefit Lutheran High School will be held on 7 March 2015.  The major celebration is scheduled for 14-15 November 2015.  For more information, please contact 916.456.8701 or www.tlc-ms.com .


SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA

Every year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sponsors a “Day of Service.”  This time of year the newsletters of ELCA congregations are filled with plans for carrying out this special event.  They are ALL to be complimented for being the hands and feet of Jesus in the communities around them, living God’s Love in the World.

Of all the events spotlighted in so many newsletters, special kudos to St. John’s Lutheran Church in downtown Sacramento, CA!  It’s “Day of Service” events called for the participation of over 200 people!  Here’s the breakdown of St. John’s “Day of Service” events:

Midtown Neighborhood Cleanup (40 people) – hitting the streets to clean Midtown and hand out resource packets to homeless brothers and sisters.

American River Parkway Cleanup (50 people) – cleaning up trash accumulated along the walkway adjacent to the American River.

Yardwork & Home Repairs (12 people) – aiding homebound members of the congregation.

Backpacks for Lutheran World Relief  (100 people) – assembling school supply backpacks to be sent to children around the world.

First English Lutheran Yard Cleanup (15 people) – cleaning the property of a neighboring congregation.

Planter Building & Beautifying (20 people) – building and filling planter boxes on St. John’s property.

It’s great to note that less than  10% of the efforts were directed toward St. John’s itself.   Another 5% directed toward St. John’s members.  Another 6% directed to another local church.  A whopping  80% of the efforts were total outreach to the greater community.

A big congratulations is offered to St. John’s and to all ELCA parishes that participated in this “Day of Service!”

A member of the ELCA, more information about St. John Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Sacramento can be found at www.stjohnslc.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON LONG BEACH, CA

In Long Beach, California, it is illegal for homeless people to sleep in their cars parked on the street.  So the Ministry Council of First Lutheran Church has decided to revive its overnight parking ministry so that the homeless can sleep in their parking lot in peace and safety during the night.  The Long Beach Community Action Network is a partner in this ministry project.

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Long Beach can be found at http://firstlutheranlongbeach.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK

On Tuesday 25 November 2014 (yes…two days before Thanksgiving), the “rubber hit the road” at  Grace Lutheran Church in downtown Tulsa.  One of Grace’s area neighbors, who has children attending adjacent Kendall Whittier Elementary School, needed help moving.  Volunteers with trucks and trailers were rounded up.  A morning’s worth of work proved Jesus’s command: “love your neighbor as yourself.”

A member of the LCMS, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Tulsa can be found at http://glctulsa.org .


CLOSING

In closing, my sisters and brothers in Christ, my wish for each of you is simple: KEEP PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON FOR HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.  As you preach Jesus, may He bless you in all ways, enabling you to continue to bless those around you!

Joined with you serving Christ and His people,

The Reverend Christopher Schaar
Editor
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA

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