The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Archive for March, 2014

Downtown Issue # 23 – March, 2014

Posted by admin on March 15, 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 #23– March, 2014

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. NEW ORLEANS GATHERING
  5. A TIME TO REMEMBER: LUTHERAN INVOLVEMENT IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
  6. EXPANDING OUR REACH
  7. WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS
  8. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  9. POSITIONS AVAILABLE
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON DETROIT, MI
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN
  13. UPCOMING  CHICAGO, IL
  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 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.


NEW ORLEANS GATHERING

The dates have been set!  Friday 3 October – Sunday 5 October 2014!

The host has accepted!  St. Paul Lutheran (LCMS) in New Orleans!  (Grace Lutheran – ELCA – will hopefully also be a co-host location).  Our host(s) will be showing us what they are doing in mission and ministry in “The Big Easy.”

Hotel arrangements are being negotiated, with the ability for participants to come a few days early or stay a few additional days.

An email blast will be sent when final arrangements are determined.  Registration packets (with a very minimal registration fee) will be mailed by 1 August 2014.

Plan now to join us and experience this exciting Lutheran flash mob of downtown New Orleans!


A TIME TO REMEMBER: LUTHERAN INVOLVEMENT IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

The Northern Illinois District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, assisted by Concordia University Chicago and funded by Lutheran Church Charities, has produced as wonderful oral history spotlighting the active involvement of Lutheran clergy and lay people in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Spotlighted in this 100-minute DVD are Lutherans across Lutheran denominational lines(AELC, later ELCA, and LCMS) in Alabama as well as LCMS clergy and lay people  in Chicago when Dr. King went there to assist efforts outside the South.  The Chicago scenes feature the active involvement of Emmaus Lutheran and First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Chicago.  First Immanuel is a member of the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches.  The DVD was researched and emceed by Pastor William Griffin, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

It is the hope that this DVD would be of use in Lutheran middle and high schools.  It’s also a wonderful resource among adults who may be unaware that our own Lutheran sisters and brothers, Anglo and African American alike,  marched right along our siblings in more traditional African American denominations.

Copies ($10.00 each) are available by contacting Ann at the Northern Illinois District Office at 708.223.3114 .


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!

In addition, would you please make your congregation members aware of “Downtown?”  You may print hard copies for members or direct them to our website – www.DowntownLutheranChurches.org .   They may also request free inclusion on our email list by sending a request to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS

The Reverend Dr. John Arthur Nunes was installed as Assistant Pastor at First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Chicago on Sunday 2 February 2014.  Former President of Lutheran World Relief, Dr. Nunes was part of the original think-tank that created the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches in October, 1996.  We welcome Dr. Nunes back into the great downtown!


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

Just one year after the founding of the State of Arizona, Grace Lutheran Church, in what is today downtown Phoenix, AZ was founded on 22 February 1914.  The oldest Lutheran congregation in the state, Grace has been “Mother Church” to 6 other Lutheran congregations in the City of Phoenix.  On Sunday 23 February 2014, Grace welcomed home former members and their families, former rostered leaders and interns and the Mayor of Phoenix for a wonderful celebration including a community pancake breakfast, celebratory worship, an open house with tours and a choir concert.  A member of the ELCA, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Phoenix can be found at http://graceinthecity.com .

Major hurdles often accompany any construction process in the downtown, especially in historic neighborhoods or designated districts.  After multiple months of delays in the permit process, on Sunday 16 February church and school family members of Trinity Lutheran in downtown Orlando, FL stood on some actual dirt, asked God to bless it and turned it over with a gold shovel.  This project, which involved relocating children’s ministries and moving houses will result in a new CDC building.  A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Orlando can be found at http://trinitydowntown.com .

St. Paul Lutheran Church in downtown Austin, TX celebrated its school’s 120th Anniversary on Sunday 2 March through worship and a fiesta lunch.  School musicians, alumni activities, a Scholastic book fair and a birthday cake were all part of the celebration.  Then on Tuesday 4 March the celebration continued with a special ribbon cutting ceremony sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.  A member of the LCMS, more information about St. Paul Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Austin  can be found at www.stpaulaustin.org


POSITIONS AVAILABLE

Anyone who has spent any time in downtown ministry knows that staff members of downtown churches usually require a special heart and passion for the uniqueness of downtown ministry.  Therefore, we are always happy to help spread the news of available positions, as requested by member congregations.  Such requests can be e-mailed to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

First Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, a thriving, evangelical, catholic parish of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is in the process of calling an Associate Pastor and a Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry.  Ordained and rostered candidates interested in consideration for either position should contact the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA at 412.367.8222.  Non-rostered candidates interested in the Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry position should contact Senior Pastor, The Reverend Brian Evans, at 412.471.8125.  Detailed position information can be found at http://flcpittsburgh.org/news/seeking-associate-pastor-and-director-of-Christian-educationyouth-ministry .

SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH

For 18 years the Downtown Akron Partnership has hosted “First Night Akron,” a family-friendly alcohol-free celebration on New Year’s Eve at various venues throughout downtown Akron, including Zion Lutheran Church.  This year Zion’s sanctuary hosted the performances of the EKCO Ringers and the Akron Derbytown Chorus.  Zion hosted a Food Court serving delicious Hungarian sausage.  While waiting in line and enjoying eating, Food Court patrons were entertained by the L.I.O.N. Players, the “On that Day Band,” Johnny Cash and June Carter Tribute Show, Martha’s Mistake Band and Zion’s own Praise Singers.  Zion’s third floor was filled to overflowing as parents scurried with their children doing face painting, visiting the “Decorate and Take” area and watching an “Angry Birds” presentation.

What does your congregation do to be a player in the larger community’s civic events?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

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


SPOTLIGHT ON DETROIT, MI

The very essence of every instance of Jesus Christ defining the mission of His Church is summarized with one word – “GO!”  And that’s exactly where many churches, including many downtown churches, fail.  The Church often defines mission as “coming” – unchurched people coming to church facilities; unchurched people enrolling children in Christian school; unchurched people asking Christian clergy to officiate at weddings and funerals.  True mission is much harder.  True mission involves “going.”

And “going” is exactly what the “Lutheran Church in the City” is doing.  A mission outreach of Historic Trinity Lutheran, the LCC has opened a bold experimental outreach ministry at the Eastern Market, just a few blocks from Historic Trinity in downtown Detroit.  Market vendors and local residents alike are being engaged in talking about life’s issues and sharing faith.

What does your congregation do about “going?”  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Historic Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Detroit through the “Lutheran Church in the City” can be found at www.historictrinity.org and at www.citychurchlcc.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN

Parking is a constant challenge for the downtown church, especially for those truly downtown and not in the “first ring” commercial or residential neighborhoods.  Many times in “Downtown”we have spotlighted creative ideas dealing with parking.  Here is yet another great idea!

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Memphis has some gracious neighbors in Central Parking, which allows Trinity members to use their lot on Sundays and for special services.  There is also a parking garage across the street from Trinity.  To use the garage, people can obtain an exit token from an usher.

The token or exit pass idea is a great one – one might be able to negotiate a deal with local parking  lots or garages for discounted rates or perhaps even provide the operators with a tax-deduction.

What does your congregation do about parking?  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 CHICAGO, IL

Marathon Hospitality.  With 40,000+ Chicago Marathoners passing its church building, the members and staff of First St. Paul Lutheran in downtown Chicago decided it best not to complain about the inconveniences of this annual Sunday morning October event, but rather to practice Marathon Hospitality.

Church members running in the marathon (including senior pastor Dr. Thomas Johnson) are asked to sign up on the bulletin board so they can be remembered in prayer that Sunday.  Member volunteers are asked to come early to serve coffee and cookies for spectators lined up to cheer on the runners.  About 45 dozen cookies are distributed.  What a great outreach!

If your congregation is regularly affected by a marathon or other major community events (parades, etc.), what have you developed to engage participants and spectators in that event?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

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