The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Archive for January, 2013

Downtown Issue # 18 – January, 2013

Posted by admin on January 29, 2013

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 #18– January, 2013

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. PLEASE TAKE 30 SECONDS…..
  4. NEWSLETTERS ARE STILL BEING SOUGHT
  5. APOLOGIES FOR A DELAYED “DOWNTOWN”
  6. REPORTING ON OUR SIXTH GATHERING
  7. FOCUS ON CHICAGO, IL
  8. FOCUS ON PORTLAND, OR
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO, IL
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN, TX
  12. 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.”


PLEASE TAKE 30 SECONDS…..

Each issue of “Downtown” is the product of about 20 hours of reading and research and about 4 hours of actual writing, editing and electronically distributing.  Is anyone actually reading “Downtown”?  If you are, please take 30 seconds right now and send an email to DowntownChurches@aol.com to encourage us in our investment of time.  Thanks!


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.


APOLOGIES FOR A DELAYED “DOWNTOWN”

Some of you may have noticed a long delay between the distribution of Issue #17 (September, 2012) and Issue #18 (this issue).  You are correct!  The beginning of November is your editor’s vacation time.  Upon return from vacation, Advent and Christmas were upon us.  Realistically wondering if a December issue of “Downtown” would be read, a decision was made to postpone Issue #18 until January, 2013.  Our apologies for any inconvenience!  Here’s hoping to return to a bi-monthly distribution schedule in 2013!


REPORTING ON OUR SIXTH GATHERING

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches held its 6th Gathering at Historic Grace Lutheran, Springfield, IL Friday 12 October through Sunday 14 October 2012. Speakers included The Reverend Dr. Stephen Paul Bouman from the ELCA Churchwide Offices and The Reverend Carlos Hernandez from the LCMS International Center.  Historic Grace Church truly rolled out the red carpet for us,  being the perfect host in every way.  You truly missed out if you were unable to attend!

As the Association has avoided charging an annual membership fee (in order not to become an exclusive membership organization but rather freely including ALL identified downtown Lutheran churches), our cash operating fund has dropped to below $1,000.00.  In order to continue providing networking and resources for downtown churches, a decision was made that future “gatherings” change format a bit.  Instead of continuing with a workshop / conference format with paid presenters (a drain on already limited resources), it was agreed that future “gatherings” become more experiential.  Your editor has named it a “Flash Mob” (maybe someone can suggest a better name?) where interested participants converge upon a selected downtown.  There would be no registration fee.  All participants would continue to be responsible for their own expenses such as lodging, travel and food.  Local downtown Lutheran congregations would be approached to provide meeting space and an opportunity to meet with their leadership team.  More time would be dedicated to actually exploring the downtown landscape.  More time would be dedicated to informal discussion among participants.  It was agreed that such “gatherings” continue every 18 months, with post-Easter gatherings held in “warm” locations (the South and Southwest) and October gatherings held in Midwest or East Coast locations.

The next “gathering” is already in the planning for after Easter, 2014 in downtown New Orleans, Louisiana!  Watch for exciting details!


FOCUS ON CHICAGO, IL

The Stewardship Team of Resurrection Lutheran Church in downtown Chicago recently distributed  a very short 6 question electronic survey asking members to evaluate last year’s theme of “Stretch and Grow,” wondering if the focus of being better stewards of time, talent, money and worship  indeed helped people toward reaching the goals.  Electronic participant response was anonymous and greatly appreciated.

What a great way to evaluate ministry programs while respecting people’s busy schedules!  What a great way to use the God-given gift of modern technology!

A member of the ELCA, more information about Resurrection Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Chicago can be found at www.rlclakeview.com .


FOCUS ON PORTLAND, OR

Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Portland anticipates the simultaneous start of the New Church Year and the 125th Anniversary of its incorporation on 1 December 2013!

As part of its 125th Anniversary, the members of Zion have approved the construction of a Christian Home for Children in Kenya, to be operated by the Deaconess Ministry of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya.  The home will meet the desperate need of children orphaned by AIDS and other circumstances who are very vulnerable, especially young girls.  This project requires a great deal of financial support – $83,000.00!

A member of the LCMS, more information about Zion Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Portland (as well as its special anniversary project)  can be found at www.zion-portland.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH

All downtown churches experience the dual reality of older members who, due to age or illness, are not able to attend worship as often as in the past coupled with younger suburbanites who travel into the downtown, but who have a substantial menu of other Sunday activities from which to choose who may not attend worship often.

Pastor Josh Schoon, in his November 2012, newsletter article, encouraged the members of Zion Lutheran to accept his challenge:

1) If you worship just a few times a year, consider making a commitment to worship once a month at Zion.

2) If you worship once a month, consider making a commitment to worshiping twice a month at Zion.

3) If you worship twice a month, consider the steps to worshiping 38 times a year at Zion.

4) If you already worship regularly, consider inviting a different family member, friend, or neighbor to worship each month for the next two months.

5) If you want to worship more but need help in getting to worship on a regular basis, let me know and we’ll find a way for you to be here.

Great challenges!  Great ideas!

A member of the LCMS, more information about Zion Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Akron can be found at www.ziononthehill.org .


FOCUS ON CHICAGO, IL

It’s been said before and it will be said again!  It is vitally important to communicate whether and where your church has parking available, especially if that parking is at an off-site location.  That communication is especially important when advertising special events such as Christmas concerts that involve a wider participant base than just your own membership.  First St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Chicago reminded us of that important detail in advertising its Christmas cantata.  Right on the invitation, along with all the other important details, was a note: “Free Parking – 2 blocks west on Goethe at Franklin School.”  Not only does it say “Free Parking at Franklin School” – many people might not know where Franklin School is.  It also provides easy directions: “2 blocks west on Goethe.”

(As a side note, it is just as important to include on all advertising and on your web site if your church is located near a bus line / bus stop or subway / light rail station.  What line?  What station?  How to get to the church from that place?  It’s not that modern people couldn’t figure that stuff out on their own, but it’s just a courtesy as a good host….)

A member of the LCMS, more information about First St. Paul’s outreach to downtown Chicago can be found at www.fspauls.org .


FOCUS ON AUSTIN, TX

The Fellowship Board of St. Paul Lutheran in downtown Austin hosted a special recognition of military veterans on Veterans’ Day.  Recognition was included during both worship services and at a reception during the Bible Class hour.  A Veterans Honor Roll, for both living and fallen vets, was updated.

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