The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Archive for January, 2014

Downtown Issue # 22 – January, 2014

Posted by admin on January 19, 2014

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 #22– January, 2014

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. DEDICATED IN LOVING  MEMORY
  5. NEW ORLEANS GATHERING
  6. EXPANDING OUR REACH
  7. MAKING LEMONADE IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO
  8. SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO, IL
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON WASHINGTON, DC
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN, TX
  12. UPCOMING  ANNIVERSARIES
  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 Dr. Clarence Knippa, legendary interfaith pioneer and Pastor Emeritus of Grace Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Pastor Knippa received his Crown of Glory the end of November, 2013, just three months after celebrating his 100th Birthday.

As was noted in “Downtown” issue 21, Pastor Knippa was at the center of many causes, such as improving race relations, preserving neighborhoods, addressing homelessness and creating understanding among people of different religions.  He was recognized by his peers as someone who offered sympathy but also always pushed forward for a solution to community problems.

We thank God for the long life and powerful downtown ministry of Pastor Knippa and offer our love to all who grieve his earthly death.

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 me at DowntownChurches@aol.com .


NEW ORLEANS GATHERING

We are still hopeful that the next Gathering of the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches will be hosted  in downtown New Orleans the first weekend in October!  We hope to have firm dates and location to announce soon!


EXPANDING OUR REACH

The 400+  downtown churches on our mail list (many of which are also on our email list) have been largely self-identified by member churches themselves who have come to hear about the Association.  Others have been identified for us by the Bishops / District Presidents of the ELCA, LCMS, and Wisconsin Synods.  Still others have been found by occasional internet searches.

As extensive as may be our listing of downtown Lutheran churches in North America and even in other countries around the world, we KNOW there are still many that we are missing, so we turn to you for help.

Even if you think we may already may have identified certain downtown churches, would you please take a moment (right now) and send an email to DowntownChurches@aol.com and mention the names and cities of downtown churches about which you may be aware?  We’d appreciate your help!  Thanks!


MAKING LEMONADE IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO

On Sunday 17 November 2013 emergency calls were made by many neighbors of Concordia Lutheran Church in downtown Chicago (a member of the LCMS) as its 150-foot steeple that could be seen from miles away was swaying in the same strong winds that destroyed entire communities further south.  The 120-year-old stabilizing bolts had been sheared.  City engineers and inspectors closed off streets around the church and assigned receivership to a developer to remove the steeple on the congregation’s behalf.  By early dawn on Wednesday the steeple lay in the street, being broken up into scrap metal and wood and hauled away in dump trucks.  The cross on the top of the steeple alone was saved, a reminder that the imposing historic structure had been designed by noted architect Fred Ahlschlager.  The demolition bill for $130,000. has now been presented to the congregation, which today worships 25 souls weekly.

A financial challenge like that could easily close a church.  But not Concordia!  Instead, armed with a new mission statement and the memories of a recent Concordia block party hosted just weeks earlier, the Concordia family met on Sunday 24 November for a special solidarity worship service, including student singers from Concordia University Chicago.  New church members were received by profession of faith.  The metal cross, which for generations had been visible only to eyes 150-feet below, was actually touched by worshipers, expressing hope for a future rather than an end.

A fund-raising letter relates, “This event has begun relationships that we didn’t have before.”  Local civic officials, community action groups, neighbors and shop owners have been engaged in conversation.  Talk about making lemonade!

Information about various fund-raisers can be obtained from Pastor Martin Doering or Congregational Chairman Ralph Krueger at 2645 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago IL 60618.   708.547.5453 .

(Thanks are due for this content to Jackie Bussert, Communications Director of the Northern Illinois District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.)


SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento hosted “Blanketing the Community” during the fall of 2013.  The event included collecting and passing out blankets to folks in need as it got cold during the winter months.  Chili and cornbread were also served to those receiving blankets.  Church members were invited not only to clean out their own closets of clean usable blankets but also to approach their friends, family members and neighbors.

What does your congregation do to help the homeless in your community?    Please send your story to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Sacramento can be found at their website, tlc-ms.com .


SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO IL

First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Chicago, which recently celebrated the 125th Anniversary of its current Sanctuary, has come up with a great idea to help its unemployed and underemployed members and ministry “friends.”  Through regular emails, First Immanuel notifies people about job opportunities to places like Giordano’s Pizzeria and Aramark Uniform Services.  All the pertinent information, such as positions available, requirements for those applying and how and where to apply are included in the emails.  What a great idea, recognizing that “ministry” is more than Word and Sacrament – it’s interacting with people in their daily lives!

What does your congregation do to support your unemployed and underemployed members and ministry “friends?”  Please send your story to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Immanuel Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Chicago can be found at https://filc.ctsmemberconnect.net/home-ctrl.do .

SPOTLIGHT ON WASHINGTON, DC

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, both Augustana Lutheran and First Trinity Lutheran in downtown Washington DC encouraged members to meet at their respective churches and together walk to the Lincoln Memorial.  What a great idea to make sure that the people of God are indeed “in the world,” being the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world!

What does your congregation do to connect with civic events happening in your city?  Please send your story to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

Members of the ELCA, more information about Augustana Lutheran and First Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Washing DC can be found at www.augustanadc.org and www.firsttrinitydc.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN, TX

During these days of gentrification and re-gentrification in our downtown areas, new mission fields are opening up around our downtown churches.  Where once there were only abandoned buildings and / or vacant plots of property, there is now seen a steady stream of rehabbed or new residences and businesses, each bringing new people who may or may not know Jesus as Lord and Savior.  For the downtown church, the mission field is often again right next door!

St. Paul Lutheran in downtown Austin has been witnessing the construction of new apartments adjacent to its church property.  St. Paul’s outreach committee has become proactive with those new apartments.  The outreach committee has established a mutually beneficial relationship with the management of the new apartments in which the management team will share information about St. Paul’s church, preschool and school with new tenants.  A brochure about St. Paul’s will be included in all welcome packets.  A link to St. Paul’s website will also be posted on the new community’s site.  In return, the management team will be sharing brochures with St. Paul’s.  The outreach committee will be touring the new residential community and St. Paul’s will be offering tours of the school to new residents.  What great ideas!

What is your congregation doing to recognize, welcome and involve new community residents in the mission of your congregation?  Please send your story 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 .


UPCOMING  ANNIVERSARIES

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento, CA will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2015.  Specific anniversary plans can be obtained from Pastor Jason Bredeson at revbred@gmail.com .

Zion Lutheran in downtown Portland, OR is celebrating the 125th Anniversary of its Incorporation during 2014.  “Honor the Past” will be on Sunday 12 January with The Rev. Dr. Warren Schumacher, Past President of The Northwest District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.  “Celebrate the Present” will be on Saturday and Sunday 3 – 4 May with The Rev. Tyrus Miles, Pastor of Zion since 2004, and Anthony Belluschi, FAIA, son of the architect who designed Zion’s current sanctuary 65 years ago. “Anticipate the Future” will be on Sunday 26 October with The Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick, President Emeritus of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.  More details can be obtained from 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

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