The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Downtown Issue # 29 – May, 2016

Posted by admin on May 7, 2016

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 #29– May, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. REVISITING THE GATHERING IDEA
  4. IN OUR PRAYERS
  5. WELCOME
  6. MISSION STATEMENTS
  7. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  8. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THRIVENT FREE MONEY!
  9. AN UNUSUAL MISSION: RESTROOMS
  10. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
  11. 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.  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.”

 

REVISITING THE GATHERING IDEA

There was very minimal response to last issue’s question about whether or not there was support for another “gathering” of downtown ministries.

Pastor Brian Evans from First Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh, PA offered to serve as a host.  This would be the second time a gathering would be hosted by an ELCA congregation and the first time we have ventured to the East Coast.

A suggestion was also received to “double up” our gathering with another conference (specifically noted was the LCMS Best Practices conference held every winter in Phoenix).  The only problem is that we are pan-Lutheran and finding a Lutheran conference attended by LCMS, ELCA and Wisconsin Synod representatives would be rare.  Plus we don’t want to be limited to one city every year – part of the power of the gathering is being able to witness a local congregation function over a weekend.

A similar suggestion to “double up” our gatherings was discussed at our last gathering in New Orleans in October, 2014.  Suggested there was doubling up with a non-Lutheran conference such as the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) which meets annually in different cities around the country.

What are your thoughts?  What’s your pleasure?  To what are you willing to commit?  Please send an email to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


IN OUR PRAYERS

Please include in your personal and corporate prayers the following vacant, calling downtown ministries:
Augustana Lutheran / La Comunidad de Santa Maria (ELCA), downtown Washington, DC  (pastor)
Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown St. Louis MO (senior pastor)
Trinity Lutheran (LCMS), downtown Orlando, FL (senior pastor)
St. John Lutheran (ELCA), downtown Albany, NY (pastor)

If you would like your vacancy added to our prayers, please email DowntownChurches@aol.com .


Welcome

Zion Lutheran (LCMS) in downtown Portland, OR is happy to welcome Pastor Dan Hues as its new pastor.  “Pastor Dan” (as he likes to be called) was installed on Sunday 1 May 2016 at 4:00 p.m. with LCMS Northwest District President Rev. Paul Linnemann preaching.  We welcome “Pastor Dan” to the exciting mission and ministry in the “great downtown!”


MISSION STATEMENTS

It’s fascinating not only to see what downtown churches are up to in mission and ministry but also just as interesting how they define their mission in their respective communities.  Each month we share a few stated mission statements of different downtown churches:

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches: “In the Heart of the City with a Heart for the Hearts of the City.”

Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA: “Our Mission here at First Lutheran is to welcome “all people” into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and into responsible church membership through the power of the Word and prayer, followed by action of faith.”

Historic Grace Lutheran, Springfield, IL: “As disciples in Christ, we support our faith community, encourage spiritual growth in everyone and serve all creation with Christ-like love.  We accomplish this by spreading God’s Word, building relationships, serving the community, reaching out to those in need.”

Zion Lutheran, Akron, OH: “Grace is a people committed, generous, relational.  Zion is all people, from all walks of life and all areas of Akron and beyond, gathered in downtown, seeking to affect change within our city, by the power and grace of God.”

Zion Lutheran, Portland, OR: “Celebrating the Presence of God in the Heart of the City.”


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

Historic Grace Lutheran in downtown Springfield, IL is gearing up for a year-long celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the congregation during 2016.  Historic Grace was founded 19 September 1841 by Reverend Francis Springer, a neighbor and friend of Abraham Lincoln.  This year of celebration will include several organ concerts to feature the recently refurbished organ which has had its capabilities doubled.  For more information, check out gracelutheran-springfield.com .  (As an interesting side note, Historic Grace is the only Lutheran church of which we are aware to be located within the boundaries of a national park.)


DON’T FORGET ABOUT THRIVENT FREE MONEY!

First English Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh, PA recently reminded its members about “Thrivent Action Teams.” Twice a year each Thrivent member can invite others to join them in a fund-raiser, service activity or educational event, receiving a $250. VISA credit card to fund the event.  Thrivent members can apply online at Thrivent.com/actionteam .   For further details, contact your local Thrivent representative.

 

AN UNUSUAL MISSION: RESTROOMS

Getting downtown people into church seems an even bigger challenge than is faced by our suburban  siblings.

Once they arrive, we are ready for them with reserved parking for visitors, parking lot greeters, great music, great history, great preaching, great architecture and hopefully a congregation full of people reflecting the love of Jesus Christ.  When they don’t return we are heartbroken and often ask ourselves “Why?”

Have you checked your public-area restrooms lately?  Yes, that’s correct!  We insiders might be willing to accept less-than-attractive restrooms but your restrooms might be the reason your downtown neighbors aren’t returning!

Bathroom rehab projects are admittedly usually big money projects.  If you’re not able to rehab your public-area restrooms (and sometimes it IS just impossible due to the cost, the age of the buildings and / or building code restrictions or stipulations), are they are least “inhabitable?”  Cleaned regularly (even between services)? Well stocked with soap, toilet paper, paper towels, air freshener, disposable toilet seat liners?  Has the trash can been emptied this year?  Is the lighting attractive and adequate?  Has the restroom been painted this century?  Is there any space for a baby changing table?

Here’s a good question to ask some of your members (especially women): “If I were to walk into a new restaurant for the first time and experience the kind of restroom I find in my church would I return?”

Better mission results might be as simple as a thorough and regular cleaning of your restrooms!

 

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Have any of our downtown ministries invested the time to produce “What to Do?” polices and procedures for any and all emergencies that may arise while people are in your buildings or on your property?  Unexpected natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes)?  Fires?  Gas leaks?  Downed power lines?  Chemical smells?  Medical emergencies?  Terrorist threats?  Police  lock-down in close proximity?  Active shooter situations?  Others?

If your congregation has such policies and procedures and would be willing to share or if your congregation would be interested in seeing what others have produced, please send an email to DowntownChurches@aol.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

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