God's Work, Our Hands
St. Paul Lutheran Church is a
Community of Christian Believers.
Built upon Word and Sacrament (God's grace), we are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). We are here as a servant congregation, interested in sharing the Gospel in word and deed. You are invited to be a part of the corporate body of Christ with us.
If you do not have a church home, or would like to know more about St. Paul and our ministries, we invite you to contact us and join us for worship.
8:30 AM on Sunday -- Traditional Service
10:30 AM on Sunday -- Contemporary Service
5:30 PM on Saturday -- Saturday Service
During Advent and Lent, we offer a Wednesday evening worship service at 6:30 PM.
We provide a free nursery to take care of children during services, as well as having a cry room available.
Our facility is adapted for the physically challenged.
We practice "open" communion. This means the Sacrament of Holy Communion is open to all who have been baptized and who believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in, under, and through the bread and wine, given for the forgiveness of sin, for life and salvation.
How to Join
If you are a Lutheran, we simply need to request your Letter of Transfer. If you come from another tradition or have not been baptized, then you will need to attend new member classes. These classes are offered quarterly. Look for an announcement in the Sunday bulletin or call the church office for more information.
What is a Lutheran?
“How would you explain who Lutherans are to someone who has never heard of the Lutheran Church?” That was the question that someone put to me a few weeks ago. (That’s a good question. Lutherans are not very well known in this part of the country. It’s not uncommon for people to ask whether Lutherans are Christians.) My immediate answer was to compare the Lutheran Church to churches most people already know. Here is how I describe our church.
In Common with All Christians
First of all, let’s start with what Lutherans have in common with all other Christians. Very simply, there are three things that all Christians have in common. They are: the Canon, the Trinity and Christology.
What is the Canon? Canon is a Greek word for what we today would call a measuring stick. It is the standard for everything the Church says and does. What is this standard? It is Holy Scripture, the Old and New Testaments. Lutherans reaffirmed this standard in the principle known as Sola Scriptura, which says that the Bible is “the only rule and norm” against which everything else must be “appraised and judged.”
The doctrines of the Trinity and of Christology are affirmed in the Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. We affirm with all Christians that there is only one God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We deny that there are three Gods, but at the same time we affirm that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. In a similar manner, we affirm that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. He is not half divine and half human, but fully divine and fully human.
In Common with All Protestants
Secondly, we share in common with all Protestants the central teaching of the Reformation on Justification. This states that we are saved by grace, through faith, apart from works of the Law. The principles of Sola Gratia and Sola Fide summarize this teaching. Article IV of the Augsburg Confession states in a clear manner what the doctrine of Justification is about.
It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.
One thing that distinguishes the Lutherans from many other Protestants is our use of the Liturgy. The Liturgy is a pattern of worship that goes back to the days of the early Church, and before that to the Jewish synagogue and family meal. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches use the Liturgy, as well as Lutherans, Anglicans and other “Liturgical Protestants”.
Someone once called the Lutheran reformation “the conservative Reformation”. This is because we do not oppose tradition in and of itself. We only oppose tradition when it contradicts the Word of God and hinders the preaching of the Gospel. We believe that the Liturgy does no such thing. Instead, it assists us in proclaiming God’s Word faithfully and in our response of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. We also point out that most of the Liturgy consists of quotations from Scripture.
Some Unique Features
Finally, let’s address some things that distinguish us from other Christians. It is in this final area that some of our unique features become most evident. These unique features have to do with Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
While all Christians agree that Baptism was instituted by Christ, and follow his command to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” we do not agree about what this means. Some Christians believe that only people old enough to make a confession of faith should be baptized. Lutherans, like Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists, baptize infants. This is because we believe that in Baptism God promises forgiveness of sins, life and salvation to the one baptized. All who believe this promise will be saved. (Mark 16:16) It is not the level of faith that you have when you are baptized that matters, but God’s faithfulness to his promises. Just as parents love their children before their children can return that love, so God’s promise comes to us first. We need only to trust that promise.
Lutherans believe that in the Lord’s Supper we receive the “true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine.” Our understanding of the true presence of Christ is unique among all Protestant churches. We do not teach the doctrine of Transubstantiation, as the Catholic Church does. Instead we simply affirm that if Jesus says, “This is my body. This is my blood,” then so it is. He does not lie. Furthermore, we teach that with the body and blood of Christ, we receive the promise “for you” and “for the forgiveness of sins.” Whoever believes this promise has forgiveness, life and salvation.