The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Archive for August, 2009

Downtown: Issue #6 – August 2009

Posted by admin on August 24, 2009

A Quarterly Publication of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches
c/o Historic First Lutheran Church, 808 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104
Issue #6 – August, 2009



A warm welcome to this issue of Downtown, a quarterly newsletter full of interchange and exchange between downtown Lutheran churches across 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 directed to


“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.”


As our total transition to electronic format is just months away (these paper copies will largely disappear by the end of this year), please take a moment right now to send an email to requesting your email be added to our e-distribution list.  Please include your name and church that you represent in your email.

Please note that the above request is different from the past.  Due to the revamping of the Center for U.S. Missions, they will no longer be distributing “Downtown” for us.  If you have previously registered with the Center, there is no need to re-register as we have all your information already.


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  If your e-news requires an email address to subscribe to receive your newsletter, please send notice of that fact to and we will make sure we subscribe.

This favor will enable us to know better what’s going on in our downtown Lutheran ministries and include spotlight features in future issues of “Downtown.”  Thanks!


Information about the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches’ fourth gathering is found included with this issue of DOWNTOWN.  Please note that registrations must be postmarked by Thursday 1 October 2009.  At this time, online registration and payments are not possible (maybe next gathering…………).


Our last newsletter included a blurb about the struggles and successes of downtown ministries in reaching out to their cross-cultural neighbors.  That blurb caught the attention and merited the appreciation of The Reverend Dr. Larry Merino, Associate Pastor of Outreach at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN and Executive Director of Harvest Mission International, Inc., “a cross-cultural education and consultancy group committed to equipping and mobilizing God’s people for the cross-cultural mission field in their own backyards.”  Harvest Mission International has provided consultation to LCMS World Mission, LCMS congregations, districts and mission organizations located in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, Colorado and California.  They sponsor Biblically-based and adult-oriented training workshops recognizing “The Four Jolts of Culture Shock:” Tensions about Time; Risky Relationships; Conquering Communication; Vaulting Vulnerability.

Readers of DOWNTOWN are encouraged to check out their website at and contact them to help you with your cross-cultural mission development.


It was the poet John Donne who once wrote “No man is an island.”  Proving that fact at Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Sacramento (founded 1915), the July issue of “Trinity Tidings” announced that its educational partner, Lutheran High School in Elk Grove, saddled up to join the fun of the Elk Grove Western Festival this year with their first ever float entry, never dreaming that it would not only win first place in the Senior School category, but also best overall float.  The school’s stagecoach theme titled ‘Delivering Quality Christian Education in Elk Grove,’ designed by sophomore Emily Ames, highlighted Elk Grove’s place as an historical stop on the stage line.  The math department calculated the dimensions and materials needed for the float while the art department created the luggage decorations.

A member of the LCMS, with it’s mission statement “Our mission is to serve God by outreach through spreading the Gospel of Christ by spirit-filled worship, education, fellowship and service,

more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to Sacramento can be found at


Referred to us by The Reverend Stephen Bouman, Executive Director of Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission at the ELCA International Headquarters, St. Peter’s Church, at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 54th Street in Manhattan, is indeed truly worthy of note.  In addition to its notable, exciting downtown mission and ministry, St. Peter’s served as “Miss January” of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ 2009 calendar (if you didn’t see it, you will want to find the calendar and check it out!).

Pastored by The Reverend Amandus J. Derr (hopefully a presenter at one of our future gatherings of the Association), St. Peter’s prominently provides easy, detailed directions to the church on its web site via the subway, as well as bus lines (the major way New Yorkers get around).  They make it very clear that St. Peter’s is wheelchair accessible and that large print bulletins are available.  They even go further to invite a telephone call during which they will endeavor to help all with questions.

St. Peter’s Church posts on its web site prayer requests, summer hours, directions for downloading bulletins and sermons, as well as directions for accessing its wiki site.

Weekly events include two morning “masses,” an afternoon “mass” in Spanish, evening Jazz Vespers, a Jazz Supper, daily lunchtime “masses” at 12:15 p.m. (each day with a different focus), an art reception and a festival of dances, featuring Latin Folklorica.  There is also an open invitation for all who are seeking community and purpose in New York City.

A member of the ELCA, more information about St. Peter’s  Lutheran’s outreach to New York City can be found at


Living out a typical characteristic of many downtown Lutheran churches, First Lutheran Church of Boston has dedicated itself to be a public repository and sharing facility of the finest music and worship traditions entrusted to God’s people.  Their Minister of Music, Bálint Karosi, won first place for organ at the Bach Competition in Leipzig in July, 2008, besting the other 16 competitors in attendance.

In June, 2009, First Lutheran hosted the Boston Early Music Festival.  The world-renowned festival attracted highly acclaimed musicians, early music experts and music aficionados from all over the world.  Spread over multiple days, the festival featured mini organ festivals as well as special presentations including the harpsichord, the forte-piano, the clavichord, and chorales.  Professors from the Eastman School of Music, Boston University, Westminster Choir College, University of North Carolina, Greensboro and  Oberlin Conservatory of Music participated in the festival.

Of course, its dedication to fine music and worship is only a small part of First Lutheran’s overall mission and ministry to downtown Boston.  A member of the LCMS, more information about First Lutheran’s outreach to Boston can be found at


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
Senior Pastor, Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA