A Note From Pastor Barb

As Bishop Hanson expressed so well, the ELCA is a church deeply rooted in Scripture and tradition, and yet always open to the movement of the Spirit. This month, as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America it is good to be reminded that we are a vital part of something much bigger than ourselves – not just our own ELCA, but the Christian Church throughout the whole world! We who follow Jesus are a global community, and as such, we share in a wonderful mission; God’s mission to save the world! God has called us to be active participants in his plan to reconcile all of creation to himself.

This is the vision and the purpose for which we exist as a community of faith; to do God’s work with our hands. And we at Zion have been doing it for 141 years! That is truly something to celebrate! If you stop and think about it, it is a very freeing thing to know that the good and important work that we do is not our work, but God’s work. That means we are not responsible for the outcomes; God is. God will guide us, inspire us, correct us and encourage us so that his will is accomplished, through us. God will bless our efforts and can even use our mistakes to work out his purposes. That frees us up to take some risks, to try new things, to succeed and to fail, trusting that it will all work out for good in the end.

With that in mind, one of the most important functions of the church is to pray for direction and listen to the Spirit, always striving to discern what God would have us do. If we do this, then we can go to sleep at night confident that all will be well.

As we celebrate the anniversaries of the ELCA and of Zion, we do so with gratitude for what God has done and with anticipation of what God will do, through us and for us, in the coming years. What an adventure it has been so far! We invite you to join us on our journey.

Happy Anniversary! Pastor Barb <><
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

A Message from Bishop Mark Hanson

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
hansenThe Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. We are a church rooted in Scripture, tradition, the Lutheran Confessions and the rich histories of our congregations. It is through God’s grace that we are made new day by day to proclaim Jesus Christ and boldly participate in God’s work. As Luther said, this faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we get to look back at the people and events that have shaped us as a church. We celebrate the stories that have made us vibrant and distinctive yet brought us together as nearly 10,000 congregations, 65 synods and numerous churchwide ministries freed in Christ to love and serve neighbors in our communities, our country and around the world. What God has done through us is indeed worth celebrating.
In 25 years, we have:

  • Started 435 new congregations
  • Ordained nearly 8,000 pastors
  • Sent more than 2,000 missionaries to serve around the world
  • Contributed more than $350 million toward the alleviation of hunger and poverty

The year of our 25th anniversary began Jan. 1, 2013, with the theme “Always being made new.” I invite you to join me in celebrating these 25 years together in Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

In Jesus Christ we are not unchanged. It is through our willingness as a church to boldly participate in God’s work in the world that we are made new day by day. I am grateful for your leadership, support and prayers in making the work of this church possible. Thanks be to God!
In God’s grace,
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America