The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Downtown Issue # 24 – July, 2014

Posted by admin on July 26, 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 #24– July, 2014

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. HOW DOES “DOWNTOWN” COME TOGETHER?
  4. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  5. NEW ORLEANS GATHERING
  6. WHAT IS A DOWNTOWN CHURCH? – A REMINDER
  7. A CASUAL NOTICE
  8. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO, IL
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON ORLANDO, FL
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON SARASOTA, FL
  13. SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN TX
  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.”


HOW DOES “DOWNTOWN” COME TOGETHER?

It must be admitted that your editor does spend some time doing random internet searches for information about downtown churches.  MOST of the information, though, comes from YOU, gleaned from YOUR newsletters, as you make the decision to include your editor on your snail mail or email distribution lists (see brief article below).  If your congregation has never been spotlighted in “Downtown,” it’s likely because you’re not communicating information!


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!

The keynote speaker is phenomenal!  Deacon Ben McLeish is a Christian community developer with 12 years experience working in the 8th and 9th Wards of New Orleans.

Registration packets (with a very minimal registration fee) will be mailed by 15 August 2014.  Information will also be available on the website – www.downtownlutheranchurches.org .

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


WHAT IS A DOWNTOWN CHURCH? – A REMINDER

1.   Location is important.
Obviously, a downtown church is located in or right next to the downtown area of a city.  It need not be a real large city.  A downtown church is not primarily a “neighborhood” church.  A downtown church is not usually  identified by a residential area.  Because of location, these churches are often involved in some sort of cross-cultural ministry, or at least facing those needs and challenges.  They are often committed to their location and building.

2. Downtown Churches  have a vision and sense of mission that flows out of their location and history.
They often have a strong sense of their own history.  They played an important part in their denomination’s beginning in the city and they affirm that as important.  They deal with a wider socio-economic range than most churches.  They will have very wealthy and very poor folks in their ministry.  Again, they often face or need to face cross-cultural ministry issues.  Importantly, they have often planted, or their members have formed, a core group for all the rest of their denominational congregations in the city.  They are the “Mother Church” of the city.  They have a real heart for the city and want to be a positive influence in the city.

3. Their staff members are unique.
Downtown church staff members are often risk-takers.  It is common to see the love for the city and its people in them.  They are open to leadership development.  They are hungry for support from a team and / or others in similar ministries.  Those with schools see the need for a strong principal and strong team work between pastor and school.

4. Their membership / ministry circle is unique.
Members of downtown churches often come from very non-traditional backgrounds and lifestyles.  These churches have considerable variety in their ministry.  These non-traditional people challenge traditional approaches of these congregations.  For example, boards, committees and evening activities are handled very differently.  Their members come from all over the city.  Their members have often made a conscious decision to attend that type of congregation.  It would be more convenient to belong to a church in their neighborhood, but these folks want to be there and they want to make a difference.

5. Resources are an issue.
Downtown churches face building maintenance challenges because of older buildings.  Sometimes they are located in designated historic areas so they cannot change much.  They face parking shortages.  They face security issues, especially for evening events.  They face financial stress, often due to the age or socio-economic level of many members.


A CASUAL NOTICE

Does your newsletter include ALL the important information someone who is not a member needs to know?  Things like website address, email address, street address, worship time, telephone numbers, simple directions and parking instructions are often missing.  Since newsletters are often an information source for members, many details a non-insider needs to know are not included.

Even if you think all the information necessary is contained within the pages of your newsletter, ask a random non-member to evaluate your information and offer suggestions as to how to better connect with your mission and ministry.


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

The Reverend Tyrus Miles, actively serving pastor of Zion Lutheran in downtown Portland, OR, celebrated his 50th Anniversary of Ordination on Sunday 22 June.  LCMS Northwest District President Paul Linnemann officiated at the service, which was followed by luncheon.  Congratulations to Pastor Miles!  We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!

St. John’s Lutheran Church in downtown Des Moines, IA will open its 150th Anniversary Celebration on Sunday 2 November with an All Saints’ Gospel Brunch.  Other aspects of this year-long celebration will include a display of photos of St. John’s families at Christmases past and present; pictures of weddings that have taken place at St. Johns; photographic and written reflections about the mission and ministry impact of St. John’s; and a spotlight of ministries that help care for members.  More information can be found at http://stjohnsdsm.org .

Matthew Peters, a long-time member and ministry leader at Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento, CA, has completed his studies for the Holy Ministry and was ordained at Trinity on Sunday 13 July.  A second-career minister, we wish Pastor Peters many blessings upon this new chapter in his life!

The Reverend Dr. Mark S. Nuckols, Senior Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran in downtown Austin, TX, celebrated his 25th Anniversary of Ordination on Sunday 22 June. Congratulations to Pastor Nuckols!  We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!


SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO, IL

“Mission” is often considered something someone does in some foreign country.  We know that’s not true anymore – and probably never has been true….

Resurrection Lutheran in downtown Chicago recently celebrated the Fourth of July in a truly missional way – welcoming a young Bhutanese family to the United States and into their own one-bedroom apartment in downtown Chicago.

Partially funded by a $1,600. grant from Thrivent Financial, the members of Resurrection sought congregational volunteers to welcome the family at O’Hare Airport, clean the apartment, shop for pantry items, donate home furnishings (everything from a covered trash can to a rice cooker), prepare a typical Bhutanese vegetarian meal (menu provided) and provide daily transportation for the young son to attend Resurrection’s preschool.

What does your congregation do to help people see that mission is something that happens around them every day?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

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


SPOTLIGHT ON ORLANDO, FL

Reminiscent of Jesus’ comments about “The Sheep and the Goats” [Matthew 25:31-46] – “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink” – a dedicated  small group of members from Trinity Lutheran in downtown Orlando faithfully spend every Wednesday morning standing on a corner down the street from the church.  Considered an evangelism ministry, the volunteers pass out free cups of coffee to anyone walking or driving by to share the love of God through this very simple gift of friendship.

What does your congregation do to engage those who pass by your property on a daily basis in the course of their daily lives?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Orlando can be found at http://trinitydowntown.com .  More information about this specific coffee ministry can be obtained from leader J. J. Alexander at jjalexa@gmail.com .


SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN

Sometimes we grow blind to the needs immediately around us.

That’s not the case at Trinity Lutheran in downtown Memphis!  Literally surrounded by government buildings – including a jail – the members of Trinity have collected and personalized over 100 Bibles for the “Library of Hope” project, which have been given to prisoners who hear the church bells of Trinity every Sunday morning.

What does your congregation creatively do to minister missionally to those within earshot of your “church bells?”  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 http://trinitymemphis.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON SARASOTA, FL

Concordia Lutheran in downtown Sarasota is in the midst of building an addition to its “Willer Hall.”  Over $94,000. of the estimated $120,000. has been donated.  Groundbreaking has taken place.  Building additions are usually not something that get spotlighted in “Downtown,” but what makes this project worthy of mention is that the members of Concordia, in addition to dedicating themselves to this project, have also dedicated themselves to raising an additional 10% to benefit a mission field.  Now THAT is worthy of duplication!

What does your congregation do to encourage support of world-wide missions?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Concordia Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Sarasota can be found at www.ConcordiaSarasota.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON AUSTIN TX

“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours!”  So goes the old saying.  It’s a good saying and also a good practice in downtown mission and ministry.

As reported in “Downtown” a couple issues ago, St. Paul Lutheran noticed new apartments being constructed adjacent to its property.  Representatives from St. Paul met with representatives from the apartment management team and struck up an agreement that they would work together for the good of the greater community.  Each set of representatives toured the other’s facility.  The management team agreed to include information about St. Paul’s church and school  in its new tenant welcome packets.  And, scratching their back in return, St. Paul advertises the new apartment complex in its newsletter, just in case anyone is looking for a new home close to St. Paul.

What does your congregation do to partner with local businesses?  Email your stories 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 .


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

Add A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About Me

    About

    Some details about you.

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

Recent Comments