What is our congregational mission?
We understand our purpose as OUTREACH:
O : Opportunities for worship, prayer and fellowship
U : Uniting in ministry, rooted in Word and Sacrament
T : Teaching God's word
R : Reaching out to others, healing and helping
E : Empowering all to use their gifts
A : Accepting of everyone
C : Christ-centered and caring community
H : Holy Spirit-guided
We are a church together
We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in common mission with almost 10,000 congregations across the United States and the Caribbean: "Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world. This is the mission statement of the ELCA. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus’ name throughout the world."
We are a congregation in the Lower Susquehanna Synod, one of 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The word “synod” comes from the Greek and means “walking together.” This is exactly what our Lower Susquehanna Synod does as more than 96,041 baptized disciples in 238 worshiping communities.
What does it mean to be a Lutheran Christian?
We are not made right with God by the things we do, but simply by trusting what God has already done for us. The fancy phrase for this is “justification by grace through faith”.
We are saved by grace, not by our works. In other words, you can’t earn or buy your way into heaven. Salvation is a free gift.
We are freed from sin and freed for the neighbor. In other words, God loves us first so that we can love one another and serve others.
The church is not the building, but the community of believers “in which the gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments are rightly administered.” We are the church together!
The main ways we receive God’s grace are through the Word and Sacraments (that is, through preaching, baptism, and communion). These are called “means of grace”.
Another means of grace is in “mutual conversation and consolation” among fellow believers. This means that we can be messengers of God’s grace to each other!
The words of the Bible were written by humans, but inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is holy because it reveals Jesus Christ and points to Christ.
The Bible is not just for experts, but for everybody. Martin Luther thought it was important for the Bible to be translated into peoples' everyday language.
One of Luther’s most famous sayings is “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Lutherans value the importance of individual conscience--not in the sense of “anything goes, as long as I believe it strongly enough”, but conscience that is informed by faith and scripture.
The Holy Spirit still works today to reform and renew the Church.
The church is made up of both saints and sinners. In this life, each of us is both simultaneously saint and sinner (in Latin, “simul justus et peccator”). The church is not so much a club for saints as a hospital for sinners!
Every Christian has a calling in the world. The fancy word for this is “vocation”. To be a faithful Christian, you don’t have to be a monk or nun or priest or pastor or some “super-holy” person. God calls us to be teachers, students, parents, musicians, plumbers, mechanics, athletes, scientists—all sorts of things. All these everyday callings are ways that we can serve God and serve our neighbor.
For five hundred years, Lutherans have studied and prayed with a little book called The Small Catechism. Martin Luther wrote the Catechism as a tool for parents to teach the essentials of the faith to their children. Young Lutherans (and adults) still turn to the Catechism today for a simple (yet profound) summary of the faith. The Catechism explains the basic meaning of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, and the sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism.