WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe in God
We believe in One God revealed to us in Father, Son and Spirit or Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier. This belief is expressed and explained through the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. We believe the mysterious nature of the Trinity attests to beauty and power of God.
We are followers of Jesus
Christianity is following the teachings, actions and miracles of Jesus Christ so we strive to love and serve both God and our neighbors. Fully God and fully human, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, and died on a cross, and then was resurrected from the dead to new life by the power of God. Jesus’ resurrection means that each of us and all of creation may experience new life in God.
We are Church connected with other Christians
As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we are connected with other Lutheran churches as well as Christians of all types throughout the whole world. Through Christ, we worship and serve alongside other Christians with the hope of one day reuniting all people together as one, holy and apostolic Christian church.
We are sacramental
The Lutheran Church has two main sacraments: baptism and holy communion (sometimes called The Lord’s Supper or The Eucharist). These sacraments are sacred promises from God and ways that we can use our senses of touch, taste, and smell to experience the real presence and grace of God. We practice an open table where all Christians are welcome to take communion. First Communion begins when the pastor, parent and child are ready. Baptism, likewise, is a free gift from God for all ages, infants to adults.
We are biblical
Lutherans Christians see the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as the inspired Word of God and shapes our faith and our lives. Through an ongoing dialogue with God revealed in scripture, we are called to a living faith.
We are saved by grace through faith
We believe that we are saved by grace alone, not by anything we do. Our good deeds bring more goodness to the world but it is through faith and trust in Jesus that we are saved. This type of faith is the work of the Holy Spirit in us through the scriptures and sacraments.
We are liturgical
Even though our modern worship forgoes some of the traditional liturgy in favor of more contemporary elements, Lutherans are shaped by liturgy. This means our worship follows a Biblical pattern where we gather as a community, hear God’s promises in scripture, receive God’s grace in the sacraments and then are sent into the world to love and serve both God and neighbor. Additionally, our church follows a liturgical calendar, experiencing God grace through seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German priest and theologian who wrote and spoke about some major differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic Church of his day. On October 31, 1517, he posted his “95 Theses” on the door at Wittenberg University. His hope was to stir up academic debate and help bring the preaching and practices of the church to be more consistent which what he found in the Bible. Over 500 years later, “Lutherans” still hold to Luther’s main theological teachings: we are saved by grace through faith and not by works and that scripture alone is the standard by which teaching and doctrine should be judged.
We are a reformation church and will always wrestle with what we believe and practice
We believe that each person is being called to be a co-worker with God as God’s Kingdom brings love, grace, and hope to this world. Each of us has a calling—each has been given gifts, talents, resources and passions and are being called to love and serve the world. ELCA social statements are teaching and policy documents that provide broad frameworks to assist us in thinking about and discussing social issues in the context of faith and life. They are meant to help communities and individuals with moral formation, discernment and thoughtful engagement with current social issues as we participate in God’s work in the world. Social statements also set policy for the ELCA and guide its advocacy and work as a publicly engaged church. They result from an extensive process of participation and deliberation and are adopted by a two-thirds vote of an ELCA church-wide assembly.
There are many social statements in our church on science, healthcare, creation, education, and social justice. Social Statements - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (elca.org) such as:
Faith and Science
We believe that faith and science are not at odds. The Bible is not a science textbook—nor does it claim to be. Scripture, especially Genesis, is primarily focused on the “who” rather than the “how.” Science is a tool in which we can love God with our minds and encounter how great, creative, intelligent, and intentional our Creator is.
Creation Care and Economic Justice
We believe that we are stewards of God’s creation—God has created this earth and has called us to care for it. Therefore, we strive for justice for creation. Likewise, our economies have a direct impact on people and families when it comes to sufficient sustainable livelihood for all. (Economic Life - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (elca.org)
Equality and LGBTQ+
In 1832 Jehu Jones Jr was the first African American ordained in the Lutheran Church. In 1970 the first woman, Elizabeth Platz, was ordained in the Lutheran Church. In 1991, the ELCA stated that "Gay and lesbian people, as individuals created by God, are welcome to participate fully in the life of the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” We strive to make our church a place that is safe and welcoming for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We realize that this is not always the case and we, both the Church universal and our own congregation, need repentance to make sure that all of God’s children know they are welcome in worship and ministry.
We are grounded in the conviction that the love, grace, and freedom of in Christ is for all, equality. Too often our church has silently participated in structures of racism. We repent and strive to celebrate God’s diverse kingdom. Throughout scripture, God calls God’s people to care for those who are oppressed and to enact justice. Read: Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture social statement