The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Archive for September, 2011

Downtown Issue # 13 – September, 2011

Posted by admin on September 6, 2011

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 #13– September, 2011

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. THANKS
  4. NEW MEMBER WELCOME
  5. SPRING GATHERING REPORT
  6. A REMINDER ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION
  7. SIXTH GATHERING IS IN THE PLANNING STAGES!
  8. THEY SEEM TO BE GETTING IT
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON NORFOLK, VA AND SAN DIEGO, CA
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON ST. LOUIS, MO
  12. CLOSING

WELCOME!

A warm welcome to this issue of “Downtown,” a 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 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.”


THANKS

Since the distribution of our last newsletter, the following downtown ministries have graciously added the Association to their newsletter mailing lists or have added the Association to their electronic distribution list, listed here in alphabetical order:

“St. John’s Eaglet,” St. John Lutheran, Albany, NY;
“St. John’s Spokesman,” St. John Lutheran, Sacramento, CA;
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Seattle, WA

That leaves only about 400 of you out there still to share your news with the Association.  Please rest assured that every single newsletter received IS INDEED READ, with information often gleaned to be included in future issues of “Downtown.”

If you’ve not yet added the Association, won’t you please do so today?  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 make sure we subscribe.


NEW MEMBER WELCOME

It is with much joy that the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches welcomes The Reverend Dr. Thomas R. Johnson as pastor of First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in downtown Chicago.  A founding congregation of the Association, First St. Paul’s also served in 1847 as the host congregation for the organizing convention of what is today The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.  Welcome, Pastor Johnson!


SPRING GATHERING REPORT

The Fifth Gathering of the Association was held the end of April, 2011 at Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA.  Forty-five people registered for the gathering and enjoyed two-and-a-half  FULL days of insightful greetings and presentations by speakers from The City of Pasadena, The Tournament of Roses Association, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Concordia University Irvine, Lutheran World Relief and Fuller Seminary.  The Hispanic Mission of Historic First Lutheran even provided an overabundant authentic feast for lunch on Saturday.  Positive results were received on participant evaluation forms.  The optional Monday add-on event, a full day urban hike of the diverse neighborhoods of downtown Los Angeles, was enjoyed by twelve participants.


A REMINDER ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

Following our Spring Gathering, some less than complimentary comments were posted on the world wide web by non-participants of the gathering, bemoaning the fact that the Association is practicing syncretism by involving ALL Lutheran denominations and wondering why presenters from the ELCA and Fuller Seminary were included.

A reminder about the Association.  We are not sponsored by any Lutheran denomination.  We are an independent association of Lutheran pastors and congregations who find themselves carrying out Christ’s Great Commission in the downtown areas of our great American cities.  We have discovered a camaraderie and a mutual support among ourselves that seem to be much more cohesive than our associations with other “urban” ministries.

The purpose of our gatherings is not to discuss theology since we are already painfully aware of the doctrinal differences that divide us along denominational lines.  Instead, the purpose of our gatherings, as is indicated in our mission statement, is to celebrate “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.”


SIXTH GATHERING IS IN THE PLANNING STAGES!

The Sixth Gathering of the Association will be hosted by Historic Grace Lutheran in Springfield, IL from Friday 12 October through Sunday 14 October 2012.  Please mark this on your calendars!

Historic Grace, founded in 1841, is the only Lutheran congregation of which we are aware to be located within the boundaries of a national park, the Abraham Lincoln National Historical Site.  Historic Grace’s  founding pastor was a neighbor and friend of Abraham Lincoln and Historic Grace had its start in the pastor’s home.

Formal registration packets will be mailed after Easter, 2012.


THEY SEEM TO BE GETTING IT

Many downtown churches have long felt that denominational and seminary leaders didn’t quite know what to do with “downtown” churches.  Most leaders have long lumped “downtown” churches into

the generic categories of “urban” and “inner city.”  And while “downtown” churches certainly are “urban” and “inner city,” they are also often very distinctive in personality.  Many downtown churches have also long felt that denominational and seminary leaders view “downtown” churches as “the past” while viewing suburban and megachurches as “the future.”

Every once in a while a glimmer of assurance is seen that someone is getting it.  Such is the case in the article entitled “Signs of the Times,” written by Dr. Dale Meyer, President of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in the Winter 2011 issue of “Concordia Journal.”  Pay close attention to these words:

“A growing Lutheran church in America will see more and more small congregations.  Many of them will be ethnic.  It is estimated that by 2050 one of every four Americans will be Hispanic while the white Anglo population of America will dip below 50 percent.  Hispanic, African American, African immigrant, and Asian congregations must be a part of a growing twenty-first century Missouri Synod, not some backwater colonies of our predominant but rapidly aging white Anglo church.  We’ll have to get comfortable with churches and fellow baptized who speak Spanish, Sudanese, Mandarin, and many other languages that first-generation immigrants are speaking.  In the process, their children and grandchildren will likely learn English just as did German-speaking Grandpa Meyer’s grandchildren.  More and more of these churches will be found in larger metropolitan areas, cities we’ve pretty much forsaken as we continued to depend upon mid-twentieth century white birth rates, as we moved to the suburbs and assumed that a younger oriented demographic would continue to sustain growth, and as we continue to follow missional and economic models that reflect a no longer existent church culture.”

Thanks be to God!  They seem to be getting it!


SPOTLIGHT ON NORFOLK, VA & SAN DIEGO, CA

We’ve never before included a dual spotlight feature, but it seemed appropriate in light of the glimmer of assurance seen in the above article.  Your editor has happened upon two intentional church plants in the downtown, one in Norfolk and one in San Diego.  Both are the result of the intentional plan of suburban congregations to call and deploy a pastor to reclaim an under-served downtown region. [A similar story was told in Issue #8 of “Downtown,” available for viewing at the Association’s website]

In Norfolk, the vision of Crossway Church is to minister to the “young adults” living among the 250,000 residents found within a 6-mile radius, plus the 30,000 professionals who work downtown every day.  The goal is to connect the unchurched, de-churched, and lost young adults to a genuine faith in Christ Jesus and then to demonstrate through discipleship how to lead full, rich, Kingdom-impacting lives under the Cross of Christ.  Current mission outreaches include opening its space Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to Noon, offering free coffee and conversation for those who stop by; placing New Testaments on a table in front of their doors (finding a dozen or so taken on a daily basis!); filling a few shelves with new sneakers, socks, hats, gloves, coats and other items to help those in need; operating a small recording studio to create music that is glorifying to God while also connecting with the young adult population; personally sharing Jesus to over 300 people in a 10 month period, with 18 people committing their lives to Jesus Christ.  A mission outreach of the LCMS, more information about Crossway Church’s outreach to downtown Norfolk can be found at www.cwnorfolk.com .

In San Diego, Transform San Diego is a network of individuals who gather throughout Downtown San Diego for various reasons. The establishing principle is that God has called people into relationship, relationship with Him and relationship with others.  The goal is to see the love of Christ transform lives, and in  turn, transform the city of San Diego. Transform San Diego meets together in homes, offices, bars and restaurants to grow in relationships with God, with each other, and with others in the community. Transform San Diego is a mission outreach of the LCMS.


SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH

Emphasizing the distinct Lutheran understanding of the “Priesthood of All Believers,” Holy Trinity Lutheran encourages its members to stop by Room 202 before going to visit fellow members.  In that room is found a small freezer containing soup.  Holy Trinity also has a book and magazine lending library.  Church members are encouraged to deliver soup, books and magazines to fellow church members.  A member of the ELCA, more information about Holy Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Akron can be found at www.trinityakron.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON ST. LOUIS, MO

Historic Trinity Lutheran truly lives out a specific characteristic of being a “downtown church,” being a “Cathedral Ministry.”

As the “Mother Church” of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, the first church founded by the Saxons after their arrival in St. Louis in 1839 and pastored by Dr. C. F. W. Walther from 1841 (succeeding his brother who was founding pastor of Historic Trinity and served until dying of typhoid fever) to his own death in 1887, Historic Trinity will host a Synod-wide service on Sunday 23 October 2011 at 3:00 p.m. to celebrate the bicentennial of Dr. Walther’s birth.  A member of the LCMS, more information about Historic Trinity’s outreach to downtown St. Louis can be found at www.trinitystlouis.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

About Me

    About

    Some details about you.

    Open "about_text.txt" file in the theme folder to edit this text.

Recent Comments