The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches

Downtown Issue # 25 – January, 2015

Posted by admin on January 17, 2015

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 #25– January, 2015

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. DEDICATED  IN  LOVING  MEMORY
  5. ARE YOU RUNNING???
  6. DID YOU CATCH IT??
  7. NEW ORLEANS GATHERING REPORT
  8. HELP EXPAND OUR REACH
  9. REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON LONG BEACH, CA
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK
  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 Ronald F. Fink.  Prior to his retirement, Ron served as Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran in downtown Orlando, FL.   In that position, Ron served as host for the Third Gathering of the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches in April, 1999.  Ron also served as Gathering Chaplain for the Association, developing and leading a wonderfully in-depth study of the Book of Jonah.  Prior to his years in Orlando, Ron served parishes in Denver, IA; Vestal, NY and Flushing, NY.  He also served as District President / Bishop of the Atlantic District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

Ron was unexpectedly granted eternal rest from his labors on Saturday 27 December 2014, at the age of 77.  God’s peace and joy is being provided to his wife Millie, two daughters and their husbands, a son and daughter-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and ten grandchildren.

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  DowntownChurches@aol.com .


ARE YOU RUNNING???

All the way back in 1959, Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Portland, OR participated in a study of Portland Lutheran congregations sponsored by the National Lutheran Council.  A fascinating comment was included in the final report: “Downtown churches need to run to stand still.”


DID YOU CATCH IT??

As reported in the 24 November 2014 issue of “Time,” a new study by the non-profit City Observatory, a think tank funded by the Knight Foundation, recently found that college-educated people ages 25 to 34 are migrating to city centers in places like Detroit at twice the pace of any other demographic group.  A new urban model is emerging.  Young knowledge workers want to live, work and play in cities.

Are you ready for this migration?  Are you already involved in also giving young knowledge workers  someplace to worship in the city?  Email your stories to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


NEW ORLEANS GATHERING REPORT

The first weekend of October, 2014 saw a very small but dedicated group of downtown Lutheran church pastors gathered at Historic St. Paul Lutheran in the Marigny neighborhood of downtown New Orleans for the 7th Gathering of the Association.  There was wonderful food!  There was wonderful fellowship!  There was a reflective and vision-casting “State of the Downtown Church” address.  There was a thought-provoking, challenging keynote by urban missionary Deacon Ben McLeish.  There was wonderful worship, including evening prayer at a public park right along the “Mighty Mississippi!”  A new feature was an afternoon “think tank” / consultation between the gathered pastors (representing many years of downtown ministry experience) and key leaders of Historic St. Paul’s.  And evenings found the group convened at restaurants, jazz clubs and hotel courtyards throughout The French Quarter.

Gathering evaluations commented how powerful, refreshing and important was this time together. We’re sorry not more of you were able to attend …. which leads us to the question, “Should these gatherings continue?”  Please take a moment to share your thoughts to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


HELP EXPAND OUR REACH

Every electronic distribution of “Downtown” elicits comments of thanks for this avenue of sharing, encouraging, resourcing and challenging downtown churches!

When did you last share “Downtown” with your staff and leadership?  When did you last make your congregation aware of the existence of “Downtown”?

You are invited and encouraged to make copies of “Downtown.”  You are invited and encouraged to forward “Downtown” to your members via email.  You are invited and encouraged to send a link to the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches website (www.downtownlutheranchurches.org) to all your contacts where ALL past issues of “Downtown” may be viewed.  You are invited and encouraged to include blurbs about “Downtown” and the Association in your bulletins and newsletters.  Most of all, you are invited and encouraged to encourage your staff and leaders and church members to request inclusion in our e-dis list.  All anyone needs to do is send an email request to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

Thanks for whatever you can do to help us expand our reach!


REPORTING VARIOUS CELEBRATIONS

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento, CA honored Bob Scheffel for 50 years of service as its organist on Sunday 2 November 2014.  It was Martin Luther who said something like “Next to Theology, Music is Closest to the Heart of God.”  We celebrate with Bob and thank him for using his gifts and talents to glorify God!

The Reverend Paul D. Rees-Rohrbacher was honored by the members of St. John’s Lutheran in downtown Albany, NY for his 15 years of ministry at St. John’s on Sunday 14 September 2014.  A memory book was assembled, sharing thoughts, letters, pictures, memories and special Scripture passages.   We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!

What do you do with a Civil War-era pipe organ that has needed repairs for decades?  Well, if you are Historic Trinity Lutheran in the Soulard neighborhood of downtown St. Louis, MO, you rebuild it and add to it!  You would then host a big party to celebrate the rebirth of an organ played by The Reverend Dr. C. F. W. Walther (2nd pastor of Historic Trinity and founding President of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod) himself.  On Sunday 16 November 2014, Historic Trinity hosted internationally recognized organist Dr. Fred Swann (formerly of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries and “Hour of Power”) for the formal dedicatory concert.

First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Chicago IL celebrated its 160th Anniversary on Friday 21 November 2014 at the Chicago Midway Marriott under the theme “Blessed to Be a Blessing.”

Lauren “Elyse” Scott began service as Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry at First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA on Sunday 5 October 2014.  We wish her welcome and God’s blessings in this new ministry challenge!

The Reverend Tyrus H. Miles retired from Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Portland, OR on 31 December 2014 after 50 years in the Holy Ministry.  Pastor Miles came out of his first “retirement” ten years ago to provide leadership to Zion.  We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!

The Reverend Jennifer R. Peters McCurry will be installed as Associate Pastor of First English Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA on 25 January 2015.  The Reverend Marie C. Jerge, former Bishop of the Upstate New York Synod of the ELCA, will be the guest preacher.  For more information, please call the Parish Office at 412.471.8125.

The Reverend Dr. Jeffery Moore retired from Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Orlando, FL on 31 December 2014.  A special celebration honoring his 11 years of service at Trinity Downtown was held on Sunday 28 December 2014.  We are grateful for his many years of faithful ministry!

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Sacramento, CA will celebrate its 100th Anniversary throughout 2015.  “How Great Thou Art” is the selected theme.  On Sunday 18 January 2015, The Reverend Robert Fickenscher, son of the first called pastor at Trinity (who served more than 40 years), will preach.  A gala dinner and auction event to benefit Lutheran High School will be held on 7 March 2015.  The major celebration is scheduled for 14-15 November 2015.  For more information, please contact 916.456.8701 or www.tlc-ms.com .


SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA

Every year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sponsors a “Day of Service.”  This time of year the newsletters of ELCA congregations are filled with plans for carrying out this special event.  They are ALL to be complimented for being the hands and feet of Jesus in the communities around them, living God’s Love in the World.

Of all the events spotlighted in so many newsletters, special kudos to St. John’s Lutheran Church in downtown Sacramento, CA!  It’s “Day of Service” events called for the participation of over 200 people!  Here’s the breakdown of St. John’s “Day of Service” events:

Midtown Neighborhood Cleanup (40 people) – hitting the streets to clean Midtown and hand out resource packets to homeless brothers and sisters.

American River Parkway Cleanup (50 people) – cleaning up trash accumulated along the walkway adjacent to the American River.

Yardwork & Home Repairs (12 people) – aiding homebound members of the congregation.

Backpacks for Lutheran World Relief  (100 people) – assembling school supply backpacks to be sent to children around the world.

First English Lutheran Yard Cleanup (15 people) – cleaning the property of a neighboring congregation.

Planter Building & Beautifying (20 people) – building and filling planter boxes on St. John’s property.

It’s great to note that less than  10% of the efforts were directed toward St. John’s itself.   Another 5% directed toward St. John’s members.  Another 6% directed to another local church.  A whopping  80% of the efforts were total outreach to the greater community.

A big congratulations is offered to St. John’s and to all ELCA parishes that participated in this “Day of Service!”

A member of the ELCA, more information about St. John Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Sacramento can be found at www.stjohnslc.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON LONG BEACH, CA

In Long Beach, California, it is illegal for homeless people to sleep in their cars parked on the street.  So the Ministry Council of First Lutheran Church has decided to revive its overnight parking ministry so that the homeless can sleep in their parking lot in peace and safety during the night.  The Long Beach Community Action Network is a partner in this ministry project.

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Long Beach can be found at http://firstlutheranlongbeach.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK

On Tuesday 25 November 2014 (yes…two days before Thanksgiving), the “rubber hit the road” at  Grace Lutheran Church in downtown Tulsa.  One of Grace’s area neighbors, who has children attending adjacent Kendall Whittier Elementary School, needed help moving.  Volunteers with trucks and trailers were rounded up.  A morning’s worth of work proved Jesus’s command: “love your neighbor as yourself.”

A member of the LCMS, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Tulsa can be found at http://glctulsa.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

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

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

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

Downtown Issue # 21 – August, 2013

Posted by admin on August 16, 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 #21– August, 2013

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS ARE STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. NEW ORLEANS GATHERING
  5. PASTORAL RETIREMENT
  6. WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS
  7. 100th  BIRTHDAY CONGRATULATIONS
  8. SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO, IL
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON MUSKOGEE, OK
  12. SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK
  13. SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR
  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

We are still hopeful that the next Gathering of the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches will be hosted at Grace Lutheran in downtown New Orleans soon after Easter, 2014!  The weekend initially  announced turns out to be the annual New Orleans Jazz Festival, meaning hotel rooms are at a high premium, both in terms of availability and pricing.  We hope to have alternate dates to announce soon!


PASTORAL RETIREMENT

The recent issue of “First Things” of First Lutheran (LCMS) in Long Beach, CA announced the retirement of Pastor Doug Johnstone sometime later this year.  Pastor Johnstone has enjoyed a wonderful 8-year ministry at First Lutheran and will be long remembered for his insistent  urging to be actively involved in the downtown Long Beach community.  Pastor Johnstone led the “Urban Hike” of downtown Los Angeles when the 5th Gathering of the ADLC met in Pasadena in April, 2011.  Prayers are requested for First Lutheran and for Pastor Johnstone and family..


WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches is proud to introduce and welcome the following new pastors to great downtown churches across the country:

The Reverend Brian A. Evans as 19th Senior Pastor of First English Lutheran (ELCA) in downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

The Reverend Amanda Zentz-Alo as Pastor of Central Lutheran (ELCA) in downtown Portland, OR.

The Reverend David Nevergall as Senior Pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran (ELCA) in downtown Akron, OH.

We hope each of these new pastoral members will be a blessing to their congregations and that the ADLC will be a blessing to them!


100TH BIRTHDAY CONGRATULATIONS

God’s richest blessings are sent to The Rev. Dr. Clarence W. Knippa, Pastor Emeritus of Grace Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Tulsa as he celebrated his 100th Birthday on Saturday 17 August!

The Tulsa Historical Society states that Pastor Knippa has been at the center of many causes, such as improving race relations, preserving neighborhoods, addressing homelessness and creating understanding among people of different religions.  He is recognized by his peers as someone who offers sympathy but also always pushes forward for a solution to community problems.

Pastor Knippa, Happy Birthday!  And God’s richest blessings always!


SPOTLIGHT ON CHICAGO, IL

Many downtown churches at one time or another struggle with the pressure to cancel ministry programs due to a lack of volunteers (as downtown church members age) or due to a lack of finances to support such programs.

Historic St. Matthew’s Lutheran in downtown Chicago struggled with how to maintain an annual Vacation Bible School, seen as being a vital outreach in a community filled with children.  Like the man of Macedonia (Acts 16), Pastor Julio Loza issued the clarion call: “Come to Chicago’s Pilsen and help us.”  Pastor Matthew Troester and the members of St. Paul Lutheran in suburban Matteson heard and responded.

This summer, St. Paul Lutheran again provided about 25 volunteers and all the VBS material for students.  Historic St. Matthew’s dedicated workers aimed to recruit 250 students from the community.  The link between St. Paul’s and Historic St. Matthew’s is the common faith and love they share in Christ to help the poor, to touch their hearts with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to change lives and enhance faith in Christ.

A member of the LCMS, more information about Historic St. Matthew Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Chicago can be found at www.stmatthewchicago.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA

Summer is the time to focus upon Vacation Bible School, so here’s yet another creative, unique approach to VBS in the great downtown.

For many years now, the Downtown Pittsburgh Ministerium has jointly sponsored an annual VBS.  This year’s theme was “Parables on Parade.”  In addition to the obligatory games, crafts, study and snacks, lunch is provided each day at one of the downtown churches and then every afternoon is spent exploring downtown Pittsburgh through excursions or service opportunities.  And there’s the standing promise for plenty of time to splash in the downtown fountains.

A member of the ELCA, more information about Camp Downtown and First English Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Pittsburgh can be found at www.flcpittsburgh.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN

Education matters at Trinity Lutheran in downtown Memphis!

A recent issue of “The Candle” reports that The Martens Scholarship Committee recently awarded three academic scholarships: two to support third-year students at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and one to support a graduate student at Concordia University in St. Paul.  Special thanks were offered to all those who have contributed to the fund in order to bless those preparing for careers as ministers and teachers in the Church.

The same issue of “The Candle” also advertised two fine Lutheran elementary schools in Memphis, with the encouragement for Trinity members to enroll their children in those schools.  As extra incentive, Trinity offers to pay the difference between the “member” and “non-member” tuition rates at those two schools.

What does your congregation do to support lifelong Christian education?   Please send your story to

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Memphis can be found at www.trinitymemphis.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON MUSKOGEE, OK

Thrown at every church – including downtown churches – is the temptation to turn in upon itself, to focus almost exclusively upon its own continued existence, to “build bigger barns” instead of planting God’s seeds [Luke 12:13-21].

A relatively small downtown church currently celebrating its 100th Anniversary, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) of First Lutheran in downtown Muskogee has decided to support the LCMS Lutheran Malaria Initiative in 2013.  A bake sale held in conjunction with a rummage sale took place during July, with a second bake sale scheduled after worship on Sunday 11 August.  A special offering will also be collected after worship on Sunday 25 August.  The LWML issued this reminder: one child in Africa dies every 60 seconds from malaria; over 1,400 die from malaria in every single 24-hour-period.

What does your congregation do to keep from being turned in upon itself, to be in active mission around our globe?  Please send your story to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Muskogee can be found at www.firstlutheranmuskogee.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK

Early in the evening of 23 July, newscasters warned of severe thunderstorms later that night.  They were correct!  Over 100,000 residents of Tulsa lost power.  A clean-up crew gathered at Grace Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Tulsa the next morning at 6:00 a.m. to head to Moore, OK to assist tornado victims.  As they gathered, Pastor Christopher Hall stated, “Why drive all the way to Moore when we’re needed right here?”
Boots were on the ground in Tulsa at 6:00 a.m., clearing large trees and debris from neighborhoods.  One entire intersection was cleared by the Grace crew.  Clean-up also took place on Grace’s property and at the home of Pastor Hall, removing a tree from his pool.

How prepared is your congregation to immediately respond to tragedy in your community?  What plans are already set?  How have you responded to community tragedies in the past?     Please send your story to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Grace Evangelical Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Tulsa can be found at www.glctulsa.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON PORTLAND, OR

First Immanuel Lutheran in downtown Portland has some wonderful business neighbors who have been kind enough to allow use of their parking lots for anyone attending worship.  Parking permission has been granted from four local businesses, all of which get identified by name and map location in  “The Immanuelite.”  The same parking directions are also easily located on First Immanuel’s website.

In addition, using proceeds from a bequest, First Immanuel has negotiated an arrangement with a local cab company to provide  vouchers to members who regularly need rides to church.  When no volunteer driver from the church is available, church members may call for a cab, pay with a voucher and the church directly pays the cab company.

What creative solutions has your congregation developed to deal with the dual challenges of downtown parking and transporting homebound members to worship?  Please send your story to DowntownChurches@aol.com .

A member of the ELCA, more information about First Immanuel Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Portland can be found at www.firstimmanuelluth.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

Downtown Issue # 20 – May, 2013

Posted by admin on May 25, 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 #20– May, 2013

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS ARE STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. IN LOVING MEMORY
  5. SPOTLIGHT ON ALBANY, NY
  6. SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH
  7. FOCUS ON MEMPHIS, TN
  8. SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA
  10. 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.


IN LOVING MEMORY

This issue of “Downtown” is dedicated in loving memory of JulieAnn Hartburg and Jill Massey, two women who loved and supported ministry in the great downtown.

At age 56, JulieAnn Hartburg, wife of Pastor Mark Hartburg of Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran in downtown Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, went home to be with her Savior Jesus the day after Easter after a long battle against cancer.  She is survived by Pastor Mark and their daughters, Charissa and Kirsten.

At age 50, Jill Massey, wife of Pastor Steve Massey of St. Paul Lutheran in downtown Phoenix, AZ, went home to be with her Savior Jesus on 15 April after a sudden debilitating stroke.  She is survived by Pastor Steve and their son, Marco.

Christ is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Hallelujah!


SPOTLIGHT ON ALBANY, NY

Like so many of our downtown churches, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran in downtown Albany owns and operates a historic parish cemetery.  Their cemetery, though, is much more than just a repository for the physical remains of saints transferred to the Church Triumphant.

On Saturday 25 May, St. John’s will hold its Second Annual “Mass on the Grass.”  Worship will be held out-of-doors in St. John’s cemetery, followed by a picnic at the chapel.  What a unique idea!

A member of the ELCA, more information about St. John Evangelical Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Albany can be found at www.stjohnsalbany.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH

The day before Ash Wednesday many public servants with uniforms went to the gym of Zion Lutheran in downtown Akron to receive a big “Thank You” in the form of a large variety of food.  Many smiling volunteers were present to offer thanks and encouragement along with the main dishes, salads, desserts and drinks that made up the fare for the day.

The Chief of Police, issuing words of thanks, commented “the Police Officers are reminded from time to time of the real kindness in the community and this is one fine example.”

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


SPOTLIGHT ON MEMPHIS, TN

Trinity Lutheran in downtown Memphis participated in “Prayer for the City” on Palm Sunday.  Members of all downtown churches were invited to walk together from their respective house of worship to City Hall for a brief service of prayer, with intercessions offered for all who love and serve the community and city.

A member of the LCMS, more information about Trinity Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Memphis can be found at www.trinitymemphis.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON TULSA, OK

So many churches today – including too many downtown churches – simply stand as monuments to what used to be, reminders of a time when the church was the center of a neighborhood and community.  So many downtown churches see people weekly travel into the city for one hour of worship, largely abandoning the church neighborhood the other 167 hours per week.

For several years now, Grace Lutheran in downtown Tulsa has been building “Bridges of Connectivity” with some of the disenfranchised of Tulsa by offering a weekly Bible study at the Yale Apartments and also by serving on the board of an organization called “Abba’s Family,” which is connected to the Mental Health Association of Tulsa.  Grace’s Upper Room and Thrivent are cooperating with these two organizations as well.  The primary goal is to reconnect people – most of whom are to various degrees mentally ill and formerly homeless – with society by helping them back into the church.  A survey has shown that 82% are interested in spiritual matters and most of them grew up Christian yet are afraid to return to the church because they feel like outcasts.

Grace is also working with these organizations to further reintegrate people into society by helping them secure part-time jobs, such as at Altamont Bakery.  These “societal outcasts” have learned to bake cookies so tasty and so popular that they are popping up all over Oklahoma and were recently requested as snacks at the National Governor’s Conference in Washington, D.C.

How is your church building “Bridges of Connectivity?”  We can all probably learn a lot from Grace Lutheran!

A member of the LCMS, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Tulsa can be found at www.gracelutherantulsa.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON SACRAMENTO, CA

Many of our neighbors in downtown communities are artists who sometimes feel at odds with the perceived morals of “Christians.”  How do they get reached with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ?
For 38 years now, St. John’s Art Festival is an open competitive art show, integrating faith and art in the life of the church.  This year’s competition, held in April, was themed “And It Was Good.”  Artists were invited to enter a piece in the show.  Art lovers were invited to attend.  Entry guidelines, show times and more information were posted on St. John’s website.
A member of the ELCA, more information about St. John’s Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Sacramento can be found at www.stjohnslc.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

Downtown Issue # 19 – March, 2013

Posted by admin on March 15, 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 #19– March, 2013

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS ARE STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. A TIME TO SAY “THANKS”
  5. ENCOURAGE YOUR MEMBERS TO READ!
  6. UPDATES ON DOWNTOWN MINISTRIES
  7. FOCUS ON PHOENIX, AZ
  8. SPOTLIGHT ON DETROIT, MI
  9. SPOTLIGHT ON LONG BEACH, CA
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH
  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.”


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.


A TIME TO SAY “THANKS”

“Downtown” comes electronically to you free of cost thanks to the efforts of Brian Hooper, an Elder of and one of several  resident “tech gurus” around Historic First Lutheran, Pasadena, CA.  Brian is the one who programs all the links into the newsletter and also updates the Association website – www.downtownlutheranchurches.org  It’s time to formally thank Brian for his labor of love!.


ENCOURAGE YOUR MEMBERS TO READ

“Downtown” is not intended to be a private newsletter.  When you receive this issue, please feel free to include a mention about “Downtown” in your weekly bulletins and / or newsletter.  All members of all downtown churches are highly encouraged to read “Downtown” on the Association website – www.downtownlutheranchurches.org – and / or subscribe to receive it electronically by sending an email request to DowntownChurches@aol.com .


UPDATES ON DOWNTOWN MINISTRIES

First English Lutheran (ELCA) in downtown Pittsburgh, PA is searching for a new Senior Pastor following the retirement of The Reverend Dr. David Gleason in January.  Potential candidates are encouraged to follow the church’s usual order in submitting his or her name for consideration.  Prayers are requested during this time of transition.

The recent issue of “Trinity Times” of Historic Trinity Lutheran (LCMS) in St. Louis, MO announced the retirement of Senior Pastor, The Reverend David B. Marth, effective 31 December 2013.  Pastor Marth has enjoyed a blessed 20+ year run as Senior Pastor (40 years in the Holy Ministry) and desires to spend more quality time with his family.  Prayers are requested for Historic Trinity and for Pastor Marth and family.

As reported in “Downtown” Issue #18 (January 2013), the members of Zion Lutheran in downtown Portland, OR approved the construction of a Christian Home for Children in Kenya as part of the celebration of its 125th Anniversary.  A recent issue of “The Zion Star” proudly announced that $14,000.00 of the $83,000.00 construction cost has already been donated.  Zion hosted Pastor David Chuchu from Kenya on Sunday 24 February.


SPOTLIGHT ON PHOENIX, AZ

Grace Lutheran in downtown Phoenix annually offers “Heat Respite” in its Hope Hall.  This is a chance for community members who live on the street to find respite from the nailing heat of Phoenix summers.  This year’s “Heat Respite” outreach runs from 17 June through 30 August.

During “Heat Respite” a host of other churches throughout Phoenix support Grace by supplying  volunteer staffers, sack lunches, funding for air conditioning, bottled water and providing services like teaching yoga or giving haircuts.

A member of the ELCA, more information about Grace Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Phoenix can be found at www.graceinthecity.com .


SPOTLIGHT ON DETROIT, MI

It is certainly no understatement that there is always A LOT going on around Historic Trinity Lutheran in downtown Detroit.  Here are four recent things to inspire us all:

Historic Trinity has begun a billboard ministry, very publicly informing the community that Historic Trinity is alive and well in downtown Detroit.  Members and friends have been encouraged to watch for the billboards popping up in different locations around the city.

Challenging the notion that “city ministry” is dead, Historic Trinity has founded a new mission start, known as “Lutheran Church in the City” (LCC).  Under the leadership of Vicar Mark Doede, LCC is presently meeting every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. at the “Traffic Jam and Snug” restaurant in midtown Detroit for discussion and prayer.

Web sites?  Yes!  But how about Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flicker, Vimeo and YouTube?  Historic Trinity has dedicated volunteers who keep all those social media sites current, greatly increasing the possibility of people “discovering” Historic Trinity!

To assist worshipers during these economic down days, Historic Trinity offers a “Coupon Box” in Luther Lounge for people to donate coupons and / or sort through and take coupons they can use.

WOW!  All great ideas for the downtown church!

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


SPOTLIGHT ON LONG BEACH, CA
It has long been noted – and sadly so – that Lutheran schools of  higher education (both collegiate and seminary) have done a poor job preparing future workers for the challenges of downtown and city / urban ministry.  But, thankfully, things appear to be changing.

For a week in February, Pastor Douglas Johnstone and First Lutheran in downtown Long Beach sponsored an intensive “exposure to ministry in the urban setting” experience for a group of students (accompanied by a professor) from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, including one doctoral student whose name has been on the “wait list” for this experience for two years!

While in Long Beach, the students lived with a Vietnamese family, a Muslim family and the Johnstones, changing residences every three days.  They dialogued with community leaders working in the multi-ethnic environment.  They were exposed to at least seven different language / ethnic communities and at least four different non-Christian faith communities.  One day even included a seven-mile urban hike through a variety of neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles.

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Long Beach can be found at www.FirstLB.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON PITTSBURGH, PA

First English Lutheran in downtown Pittsburgh opens its doors to the community every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. for “Music at Midday,” twenty minutes of beautiful music in the nave performed by gifted young musicians from Duquesne University’s Sacred Music Program.  Current music offerings vary from the organ to the oboe to vocal.  What a wonderful lunch break for employees from the high rise offices surrounding First English Lutheran!

A member of the ELCA, more information about First English Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Pittsburgh can be found at www.flcpittsburgh.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON AKRON, OH

Zion Lutheran in downtown Akron operated its own post office at Christmas.  “Post Office Tables” were set up.  Members were encouraged to save postage costs by bringing cards that would otherwise be mailed to fellow church members.  Those cards that were not picked up were hand delivered by volunteers.  “Postal donations” (in lieu of what would have been spent on postage) benefitted youth activities.

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

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

Downtown Issue # 17 – September, 2012

Posted by admin on September 29, 2012

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 #17– September, 2012

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. WELCOME!
  2. MISSION STATEMENT
  3. NEWSLETTERS STILL BEING SOUGHT
  4. OUR SIXTH GATHERING: BUILD UP THE WALLS!
  5. NOTED CELEBRATIONS
  6. A WORD ABOUT LONGEVITY
  7. IDEAS FOR MISSION EXPANSION
  8. FOCUS ON CHICAGO, IL
  9. FOCUS ON OCALA, FL
  10. SPOTLIGHT ON WILLISTON, ND
  11. SPOTLIGHT ON MUSKOGEE, OK
  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.”


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.


OUR SIXTH GATHERING: BUILD UP THE WALLS!

The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches will hold its 6th Gathering at Historic Grace Lutheran, Springfield, IL Friday 12 October through Sunday 14 October 2012. Speakers include Bishop Stephen Bouman from the ELCA Churchwide Offices (“The Downtown Church: From the Kitchen Table to the Altar to the Tables of the World” and “The Downtown Church on Mars Hill”) and Reverend Carlos Hernandez from the LCMS International Center (“Planting Gospel Seeds While Serving Human Needs”).

Gathering details and registration packets were mailed in July.  In case you somehow missed the packet, it can be downloaded at www.downtownlutheranchurches.org.  Registration deadline for the gathering is 1 October. Hotel block deadline is 21 September. More information can be obtained from DowntownChurches@aol.com .


NOTED CELEBRATIONS

First Lutheran Church in downtown Long Beach, CA recently recognized the 25th Anniversary of Dr. Jerry Dahlin as church organist.  A member of the American Guild of Organists, Dr. Dahlin began playing the piano as a child, later beginning private organ instruction at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He previously served four other Lutheran churches as organist before his tenure at First Lutheran.  Some members know Dr. Dahlin not only as their church organist, but as their dentist as well!  We join in thanking God for the music ministry of Dr. Dahlin in downtown Long Beach, CA!

On Sunday 30 September, First Trinity Lutheran in downtown Washington, DC will honor The Reverend Tom Knoll’s 30th Anniversary in the Holy Ministry and his 30th year of serving Community Family Life Services and First Trinity as pastor.  First Trinity is looking to collect photos of Pastor Tom taken over the past 30 years (if you have any photos you may like to contribute to the celebration you are encouraged to contact office@firsttrinitydc.org).   We join in thanking God for the effective ministry of Pastor Knoll in downtown Washington, DC!

The Reverend Dr.  David Gleason, Senior Pastor of First English Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA for the past 23 years, has announced his retirement, effective 1 January 2013.  We thank Dr. Gleason for his dedicated leadership at First English and wish him and his family great blessings from God during his retirement.

The Reverend Frank Espegren, Associate Pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in downtown Sacramento, CA since 2007, was called to be the congregation’s new Senior Pastor on Sunday 9 September.  Pastor Frank has been a visionary leader in connecting the church with the downtown community in a variety of ways.  We ask God’s continued blessing upon him as he transitions into his new position.


A WORD ABOUT LONGEVITY

According to the Barna Group, the average pastoral tenure is between 4 years (“mainline churches”) and 8 years (“Protestant non-mainline churches”).

Over the 16 years that the Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches has been in existence, a trend has been noted.  Downtown churches that are stable and especially those that are growing and expanding enjoy pastoral tenures that far outlast the average.  Twenty years or more is not an unusual tenure for a senior pastor in a downtown church.  It’s believed that is due to the trust and commitment required between pastor and people in tackling the challenges facing the downtown in general and the downtown church in specific.

What do you think?  What is the tenure of your senior pastor?  Why does a longer tenure seem necessary in the downtown church?  What are the blessings?  What are the curses?  Please send your ideas and comments to DowntownChurches@aol.com.  Your comments will fuel future discussion.


IDEAS FOR MISSION EXPANSION

In February, 2012, New York Times writer Stephanie Clifford wrote an article about the latest trends in large shopping malls.  Former retail space is now being occupied by gardens, churches and clinics.  The entire article can be read at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/business/making-over-the-mall-in-rough-economic-times.html .

Have any of our downtown churches explored or actualized downtown mall space as mission expansion?  Additional worship location?  Youth facility?  Office space?  Evangelistic outreach?  Please send your comments to DowntownChurches@aol.com .  Your comments will fuel future discussion.


FOCUS ON CHICAGO, IL

Resurrection Lutheran Church in downtown Chicago publishes a weekly email devotion to subscribers.  That in itself is not an earth-shaking idea, except for the fact that Resurrection’s weekly devotions are written by a whole variety of lay volunteers.  The mostly non-clergy authors of the weekly devotions start with one or more of the assigned pericopal readings, then in mostly story-telling fashion relate that pericope to daily life on the streets of Chicago.   (Editorial comment: your editor has found better sermon applications in these weekly devotions than in many professionally produced sermon resources…..)

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


FOCUS ON OCALA, FL

While not a “downtown” church, Pastor Mark Jurkowski, recently installed Senior Pastor at St. John Lutheran in Ocala, has provided a great example for all churches that sponsor school ministries!

With St. John operating a school, Preschool through Grade 12 (the only Lutheran high school in the Florida-Georgia District of the LCMS), Pastor Jurkowski has established a new tradition of inviting the athletes of each of the sports teams of each of the schools to attend worship one Sunday.  Parents of the athletes are also invited.  During worship, the teams are recognized and blessed.  Talk about  a great evangelistic idea!

A member of the LCMS, more information about St. John Lutheran’s outreach to Ocala can be found at www.stjohnocala.org .


SPOTLIGHT ON WILLISTON, ND

Also not a “downtown” church, Concordia Lutheran Church in Williston, ND has creatively responded to its city’s severe housing shortage driven by the influx of people looking for oil jobs.  Community discussions about developing an emergency shelter or some other solution seem to have disintegrated, so Pastor Jay Reinke hosts 30 to 40 job seekers sleeping inside the church on a typical night, with dozens more who stay in their vehicles in the church’s parking lots.  A total of 450 people have slept inside the church while they searched for work and housing since May, 2011.  The church has diligently worked to calm the fears of church members, community members and church neighbors.  There are rules that must be followed.   The church keeps records of all the people who stay in the building and runs background checks.  A portable toilet has been added to the rear parking lot.

Responding to this social need has become quite the ministry!  Pastor Reinke leads devotions every evening at 9:00 p.m.  He returns every morning at 6:45 a.m. to walk through the church and wake the guests by singing “The Lord is my strength and my song and He has become my salvation.”   Overnighters are welcomed guests at worship.  Two have been baptized.  Some have settled in Williston and have become church members.

More information about this ministry can be read here .

A member of the LCMS, more information about Concordia Lutheran’s outreach to Williston can be found at http://concordia.ctsmemberconnect.net .


FOCUS ON MUSKOGEE, OK

First Lutheran Church in downtown Muskogee (“downtowns” indeed come in all shapes and sizes) recently announced the first meeting of the Anniversary Committee for the celebration of 100 years of Lutheranism in Muskogee.  The Anniversary Committee is looking for a history writer, a collector of historical information, a collector of pictures, information about former pastors, vicars and teachers and volunteers to assist with building clean-up, etc.  We join with them in their planned celebration and wish them God’s continued blessings upon their mission and ministry.  Founded in 1913, First Lutheran is currently led by Pastor Wayne Schuett.

A member of the LCMS, more information about First Lutheran’s outreach to downtown Muskogee can be found at www.firstlutheranmuskogee.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

Registration materials for our “Build UP the Walls!” Gathering, Friday 12 October – Sunday 14 October, 2012, are in the mail to members and friends of The Association of Downtown Lutheran Churches.  All materials, including schedules, accommodation information, registration forms and  our roster of Presenters can be viewed and downloaded here.

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