Being Lutheran today is much different than your father's
Lutheran church. Yes we still hold many of our worship formalities as an
important part of our worship. But we at Christ Lutheran also practice a
much more informal worship today than maybe was associated with Lutheranism in
the past. Our worship format is largely controlled by our worship
committee and we constantly thrive to keep it exciting and meaningful to our
The Four Church Farm is a property in Licking
County near to Flint Ridge Park. We share use and care of this wonderful
facility with three other churches in Heath. We have both worship and
fellowship events scheduled there during the church year. One of the pictures on
our Flash plug in was taken at the Easter Sunrise Service there in Spring of
2005. Here is how you get to the Four Church farm.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a faith-based membership organization called
to improve the quality of life of its members, their families, and their
communities by providing unparalleled solutions that focus on financial
security, wellness and caring for others.
Our vision is to be the organization that Lutherans, Lutheran congregations and
Lutheran institutions seek first when pursuing their financial goals. More than
creating financial solutions, we add the unique capability of enabling Lutherans
to demonstrate their care and concern for others.
Thrivent Financial was founded to help Lutherans care for and support one
another in time of need, guided by the principles of the Christian faith. We
remain committed to this rich fraternal heritage as we strive to achieve the
highest possible good for members, staff and society. We hold these values to be
essential as we work to fulfill our mission, vision and strategies.Thrivent
membership is strictly voluntary for and not associated with Christ Lutheran
membership. We do as a congregation work with Thrivent on fund
raising activities to leverage funds we collect for worthy needs.
For More information on Thrivent Programs,
click. If you are interested in serving on one of our Thrivent Fund Raising
activities, sign up on the Thrivent e-mail list.
Here is a picture taken at our Car Show Fun
Raising Event in 2005.
ROOTS of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
ELCA, along with other Lutheran churches, can trace its roots
directly to the Protestant Reformation that took place in Europe in
the 16th century. Martin Luther, a German monk, became aware of
differences between the Bible and church practices of the day. His
writings, lectures and sermons inspired others to protest church
practices and call for reform.
By the late 1500s the Reformation
had spread throughout Europe. Followers of Martin Luther's teachings
were labeled "Lutherans" by their enemies and adopted the name
themselves. Lutheran beliefs became widespread, especially in
Germany and the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
Iceland and Finland), later spreading throughout the world as early
explorers took their faith with them on their voyages. Lutheranism
came to the Americas that way; some of the earliest settlers in the
Americas were Scandinavians, Dutch and German Lutherans. The first
permanent colony of them was in the West Indies, and by the 1620s
there were settlements of Lutherans along the Hudson River in what
are now the states of New York and New Jersey.
As people migrated to the New
World they continued to speak and worship in their native languages
and use resources from their countries of origin. Europeans from a
particular region would migrate to a particular region in America
and start their own churches. As the number of these congregations
grew, scattered groups would form a "synod" or church body, and as
the nation expanded so did the number of Lutheran church bodies.
By the late 1800s the 20 or so
Lutheran church bodies that would eventually merge to become The
American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America had been
established. Massive immigration from traditionally Lutheran
countries had started, and between 1840 and 1875 alone 58 Lutheran
synods were formed in the U.S.!
There were "revivalist" and
"confessional" movements within Lutheran churches in Europe and in
America, and as Lutherans migrated to this country they were
influenced by the "fundamentalist" movement here. Consequently,
there developed a wide variety of expressions of Lutheranism in
North America. Nineteenth century Lutherans still looked to their
homelands to supply pastors and worship materials, but as second and
third generation Americans spoke English more than German, Norwegian
or Danish, a need arose to provide formal theological training,
hymnals, catechisms and other materials.
As early as 1812 the North
Carolina Synod had inquired about the possibility of better
intersynodical cooperation, and that synod worked with Pennsylvania
publishing houses and the new theological seminary at Gettysburg
rather than set up its own support systems.
Cooperative Work Begins
Immigration of Lutherans continued
to be heavy through the first two decades of the 20th century, and
the first significant mergers of church bodies happened in 1917 when
three Norwegian synods joined to form the Norwegian Lutheran Church
of America (NLCA) and in 1918 when three German synods joined to
form the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA). With World War I
taking place, the next logical step in denominational consolidation
was to form a joint agency of these two large synods and other
smaller ones in order to provide relief.
The National Lutheran Commission
had been formed in 1917 because the churches were concerned about
the spiritual well-being of U.S. service personnel being sent into
combat. In a short time 60,000 laymen were involved in the effort,
which proved a vast and complex enterprise. The laymen stayed active
in the relief and ministry of the commission, but formed their own
organization, the Lutheran Brotherhood, which supported the work of
the commission by building facilities and supplying equipment. After
the war the Lutheran Brotherhood continued to develop lay leadership
and to foster intersynodical relationships.
The various Lutheran churches,
with the exception of the Synodical Conference, continued to work
together closely, but were limited to soldiers' and sailors' welfare
efforts. There was a growing need to provide missionaries to
America's expanding industrial centers and to render aid to
Lutherans in Europe, and by September 1918 the National Lutheran
Council (NLC) was formed to meet those needs. Representation on the
council was proportionate, based on membership figures of
participating church bodies.
The Early 20th Century
For the first 12 years of its
existence, the NLC concentrated on overseas relief programs, then
from about 1930 through the entry of the United States into World
War II it developed its domestic programs. In 1945 it reorganized
and expanded the work it did on behalf of the participating
churches. In addition to the refugee and chaplaincy work, the
council provided coordination of establishing new congregations,
town and country ministry, student services, public relations and
uniform statistical reporting, among other services. In 1930 three
churches with German origins had merged to form the American
Lutheran Church, which had become one of the eight member churches
in the NLC, along with the ULCA.
As cooperative work proved
beneficial to all the participants, and as the 32 councilors
continued to meet on a regular basis, other areas of commonality
naturally surfaced. In the late '40s and '50s there were proposals
by the ULCA and Augustana to merge all the member churches of the
NLC, and although they failed, in 1952 the American Lutheran
Conference Joint Union Committee presented the document The United
Testimony to its member churches, agreeing they were in "essential
agreement" with the positions of the ULCA and the Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod. The next round of mergers occurred in the
The '60s and '70s
In 1960 the American Lutheran
Church (German), United Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish) and the
Evangelical Lutheran Church (Norwegian) merged to form The American
Lutheran Church (ALC). The Lutheran Free Church (Norwegian), which
had dropped out of merger negotiations, came into the ALC in 1963.
In 1962 the ULCA (German, Slovak
and Icelandic) joined with the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church
(Swedish), Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church and American
Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish) to form the Lutheran Church in
Meanwhile, the Lutheran World
Federation's (LWF) 1957 resolve to study contemporary Roman
Catholicism with the possibility of entering "interconfessional
conversations," and the reforms proposed by the Second Vatican
Council, led to a series of theological dialogues. Lutherans also
accepted the invitation of Reformed churches (Presbyterian) in
America to begin discussions of possible pulpit and altar
fellowship. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), not a member
church of the NLC or the LWF, participated in these ecumenical
dialogues at the national level, and joined the NLC churches in 1967
to form the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. (LCUSA).
A New Player Takes the Field
The LCMS, firmly rooted in
confessional conservatism and relatively unchanged since its
organization in 1846-47 as "The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of
Missouri, Ohio, and Other States," stood firmly on its belief in the
inerrancy of the Bible. "A Brief Statement" had been adopted in
Since the Holy Scriptures are
the Word of God, it goes without saying that they contain no
errors or contradictions, but that they are in all their parts
and words the infallible truth ...
"Historical criticism," an
understanding that the Bible must be understood in the cultural
context of the times in which it was written, was gaining ground in
both Europe and America. Trouble was brewing in the LCMS as some
seminary professors began to adopt historical critical methods in
their classrooms. A new seminary president with experience in
inter-Lutheran and ecumenical affairs was challenged by the new
conservative synodical president. Athree-year investigation ensued
and the 1972 convention voted to censure the faculty. In 1974 the
seminary president was suspended and many seminarians and faculty
left the seminary to continue their work in another setting, forming
"Seminex," a seminary-in-exile. Meanwhile, a moderate movement in
LCMS called Evangelical Lutherans in Mission (ELIM) was formed.
The issue of whether or not to
ordain graduates of Seminex led to the removal of four district
presidents at the 1975 convention, and by 1976 the moderates had
gathered forces to form the Association of Evangelical Lutheran
Churches (AELC). Approximately 300 congregations and 110,000 people
moved into the AELC from LCMS with a stated goal from the beginning
of promoting unity with the ALC and LCA.
In 1977 the LCMS decision to place
fellowship with ALC "in protest" along with the AELC's "Call to
Lutheran Union" nudged the three church bodies, ALC, LCA and AELC,
toward merger. The 1978 ALC and LCA conventions adopted resolutions
aimed at the creation of a single church body. The AELC joined them,
and the ALC-LCA Committee on Church Cooperation became the Committee
on Lutheran Unity (CLU) in January of 1979.
Presiding Bishop David Preus (ALC),
Bishop James Crumley (LCA) and President and later Bishop William
Kohn (AELC) met with the CLU over the next 16 months, and the 1980
conventions of all three church bodies adopted a two-year study
process. Documents were in the hands of congregational leaders by
November of that year, and by 1982 all the pieces were in place for
the three churches to have simultaneous conventions so that, on
September 8, 1982, with telephone hookups so each could hear the
others' votes, all three church bodies voted to proceed on the path
toward a new Lutheran church.
The ELCA Takes Shape
The CLU proposals included the
structure and operating procedures for a new group, the Commission
for a New Lutheran Church (CNLC), and a timetable for the churches:
The 1984 conventions to
discuss, review, and respond to a statement of theological
understandings and ecclesial principles, and a narrative
description of the new church;
The 1986 conventions to
discuss, review, and respond to the articles of incorporation of
the new church, the constitution and bylaws of the new church,
and be able to take action to cease functioning by Dec. 31,
The 70-member CNLC, its members
deliberately chosen to be widely representative of the membership of
all the merging bodies, met 10 times over the next five years,
making full reports which were widely disseminated to church
By August 1986 the CNLC had
completed its work and again the three church bodies met in
simultaneous conventions, again with telephone hook-ups, and voted
overwhelmingly to accept the constitution and bylaws of the new
church as well as the proposed agreement and plan of merger, thus
creating the fourth largest Protestant body in the United States.
William Kohn had retired, and the
new AELC bishop, Will Herzfeld, steered that church body through its
final vote and the months of transition to follow. The 10-member
Transition Team met 15 times in the process, hiring a coordinator
and settling issues such as specific location, staffing and budget
for the new church.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America was finally born at its constituting convention in Columbus,
Ohio, April 30-May 3, 1987. The three churches had "closing
conventions" the day before, taking care of constitutional matters
and saying good-bye. In the four days of the first convention of the
new church delegates finalized legal details and elected the ELCA's
first bishop, Herbert Chilstrom, other officers and 228 other people
to various boards, councils and committees.
At 12:01 a.m., Central Standard
Time, January 1, 1988, the ELCA became the legal successor to its
predecessors, a mosaic reflecting not only the ethnic heritages of
traditional Lutherans through its original churches, but also the
full spectrum of American culture in which it serves, proclaiming
the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
ELCA is an outgrowth of the merger of
several Lutheran Churches in 1987.
It basically includes all Lutherans in the USA
with the exception of Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin
Synod who have chosen to remain independent.
4. What does the word
"Evangelical" mean in context with your church name?
In Europe Evangelical (evangelisch from
German) is a general designation for CHRISTIAN churches adhering to beliefs of
Evangelical Lutheran Church, Evangelical Reformed Church, or Evangelical
Methodist Church, in contrast to
Roman Catholic or
churches. In this sense, it comprises everything from a liberal state church to
a conservative free church in the
In mainstream America, unfortunately the term
is being linked more and more with far right wing political agendas and
activities which we do not identify with as a group at all.
To us at Christ Lutheran, this important part
of our name reminds of the the Great Commission in the Book of Mark.
Simply put, to us Christian evangelism
is when we share our faith with others in all we do and in our outreach
attempts. ELCA has chosen to keep this important tag as
part of our synod and we put it first too.
We welcome all to worship with us
baptized or not. If you desire to be baptized as part of formally joining
our congregation ( which we hope you will) , contact the pastor to sign up for
one of our new member classes.
7. I was baptized in
another denomination? Am I welcome?
We welcome all to worship with us
Lutheran baptized or not. We honor other Christian baptisms. Contact
the pastor to sign up for one of our new member classes where you will simply
publicly re-affirm your Christian faith when we periodically receive new
8. I think I am a
Christian. Am I welcome at your Holy Communion.
We celebrate Christ's gifts of baptism and the
Lord's Supper with joy. All are welcome to Christ's table at our church. We
welcomed un-confirmed children to the table where they will received a blessing
in lieu of the Lord's supper.
We try to receive new members at Christ
Lutheran about twice a year. You will be asked to attend 3 or 4 short classes
after regular services to find out more about our Ministry and Congregation
structure and see opportunities to share your talents with the church as
part of this training. Until that time, you are welcome to participate in all
church activities other than voting and we welcome you with open arms during
that period. Contact the pastor or watch for the next new members class on the
-- reprinted here without
his permission ....but what the heck
I have made fun of
Lutherans for years - who wouldn't if you lived in Minnesota? But I have
also sung with Lutherans and that is one of themain joys of life, along
with hot baths and fresh sweet corn.
We make fun of
Lutherans for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving
offense, their lack of speed and also for theirsecret fondness for macaroni
and cheese potlucks. But nobody sings like them.
If you ask an audience
in New York City, a relatively "Lutheranless"place, to sing along on the
chorus of "Michael Row The Boat Ashore" they will lock daggers at you as if
you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among
Lutherans, they'll smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And
down the road!
Lutherans are bred from
childhood to sing in four-part harmony. It's a talent that comes from
sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the
harmonic intervals by putting your littlehead against that person's rib
cage. It's natural for Lutherans to sing in harmony. You're too modest to be
soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C
and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an
emotionally fulfilling moment.
I once sang the bass
line of "Children of the Heavenly Father" in a room with about three
thousand Lutherans in it; and when we finished, we all had tears in our
eyes, partly from the promise that God will not forsake us, partly from the
proximity of all those lovely voices. By our joining in harmony, we some how
promise that we will not forsake each other. I do believe this: People,
these Lutherans, who love to sing in four-part harmony are the sort of
people you would call up when you're in deep distress.
If you're dying,
they'll comfort you. If you're lonely, they'll talk to you. And if you're
hungry, they'll give you tuna salad. If you laughed while reading this you
must be a Lutheran.
The following list was
compiled by a 20th century Lutheran who, observing other Lutherans, wrote
down exactly what he saw or heard:
1) Lutherans believe in
prayer but would practically die if you asked them to pray out loud.
2) Lutherans like to
sing except when confronted with a hymn with more than four stanzas.
3) Lutherans believe
their pastors will visit them in the hospital even if they don't notify them
that they are there.
4) Lutherans believe in
miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship
visitation programs or when passing the plate.
5) Lutherans drink
coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.
6) Some Lutherans still
believe that an ELCA bride and an LCMS groom make for a mixed marriage.
7) Lutherans feel
guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the
8) Lutherans still
serve Jello-O in the proper liturgical color of the season.
9) Lutherans believe
potlucks are a church requirement.
10) Lutherans believe
that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too
6. How can I download
prior service audio files to my IPOD or other MP3 player?
Our e-ministry committee has developed a system that records each of our sundary services as an MP3 file on our
office computer. We keep about 1 year of services on line. We keep older
services on CD or DVD. Contact the Webmaster for older services.
8. How can I be
informed about all Women's Activities via e-mail?
We have several sub groups you can sign up
with on the email list. If you sign up for the women's activity list, all
relative correspondence will be routed to you. You will also be given a
special email code for sending to that group without having to know individual
addresses. More information is on the e mail sign up form page.
10. How can I upload
information to update the website for others to see?
Fill out the web feedack form on the Contact
Us page. This information will be routed to the webmaster who will review it and
post it where and when appropriate. If it is of an urgent nature, use of
the master email group "ALL" using the email groups . This will notify all that
opted in to Christ Lutherans email group immediately.