Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church- The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
155 2nd Avenue* Westwood, New Jersey * 201-664-1325
Worship schedule: 2 services on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
Summer worship schedule begins on June 23 until September 1, one service at 9:30 a.m.
Summer office hours begins on June 24 through September 6 - closed Mondays, open 9:00 a.m. -- 3:00 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.
Dear Friends in Christ:
The month of June is a very busy time in the lives of many of our families. Actually, it seems to me every month is incredibly busy these days! However, with school ending and people attempting to plan for the summer, it does seem June is right up there with many things to do. I write this to all our members asking you to take the time to think about the ideas I am outlining below, pray about them, and plan on attending our June Congregational Voters’ Assembly so that we may make some important decisions about our ministry here at Zion. By necessity this article will be a little lengthy as I explain some of who we are as the church, some possibilities we have, and some challenges facing us. I thank you for taking the time to read through these thoughts, and I again respectfully ask that you pray over these matters.
Who Are We at Zion?
Let me begin this section by referring to our Mission Statement from our Constitution.
Mission Statement: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church is a community of people redeemed by Christ and Guided by God’s Word. We are compelled by the love of Christ to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Through our programs we seek to introduce people to Jesus Christ, strengthen their faith, discover their gifts and give each person the opportunity to serve the Lord and others.
As you can see from the statement, we are here to do more than just come to church once in a while! As I frequently say, You are the Priesthood of all Believers; You are God’s Ambassador to this world, active as a servant of Christ in your particular vocation.
So What About Church? (Sunday Worship)
Being at worship is vital to the believer. It is vital for several reasons.
· We hear God’s Word every week. We learn of God’s love for us, His forgiveness for us, and His desire for how we minister to our brothers and sisters.
· We pray for each other and for those in special need. By our physical presence, we are also witnessing to each other “I Believe”
· We receive the Real presence of Christ “in, with, and under” (Lutheran Confessional terminology) the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper.
To me, this is perhaps the most holy thing we do in worship! We receive the true body and the true blood of Christ. For what? For life, salvation and the forgiveness of sins.
It is our medicine for our soul. We need the “medicine” for our spirit, in much the same way that some one with a physical illness (like my high blood pressure) needs to always take their medication.
In short, being an active part of a worshipping community is the best way to take care of your spiritual life.
Long ago, my dentist wrote these words about caring for your teeth, “If you don’t like doing all these things for your teeth, that’s fine. Just ignore them and your teeth will go away (that is, rot away!)
Really, the same thing applies to our spiritual life. If you ignore your spiritual life it will go away.
At worship, we seek to maximize our opportunities for outreach and address the needs of our people. This past year, at the suggestion of our Board of Elders, we often used the last Sunday of the month for one worship service in an effort to bring everyone together (at times this schedule had to be adjusted.)
As we look to our June 30 CVA meeting, I would like people to consider several potential options outlined below. Please note, these are options and can be mixed and matched. Please also note that as the pastor, I am one man and only have the ability to do only so much.
· Continue our current schedule with the one monthly joint service.
· Have one Sunday worship service with traditional Lutheran liturgy (for the most part), Bible study and Confirmation class sometime before or after, Sunday School running concurrently, “Children’s Church” one half hour before the regular service begins. This one Sunday service would begin sometime between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.
· In conjunction with the above, offer a Saturday 4 p.m. or so service which would include contemporary music, Holy Communion and a more “relaxed” atmosphere. There would be times when some one other than the pastor would need to lead this service.
The possibilities listed above are ideas meant to maximize our outreach, fellowship and study opportunities. There may be more great ideas that you have in your mind. I raise them here to get your thinking started for the meeting on June 30.
We have several other important issues to discuss in June — like our school ministry and other future programming. Even as this goes to print, our Boards (Elders, Administrative and School) are studying these matters and looking for the best ways in which we can minister to our community.
Thank you for your prayers, ideas and participation in all that we do at Zion.
Pastor Thomas J. Pranschke
Below are two photos of our newly installed columbarium at Westwood Cemetary. Members, and their family members, are invited to consider this as an option for a final earthly resting place. Contact the church office for details.
Please 'navigate' our website to find out about our many programs and how you can participate.
We also urge you to make use of the 'links' we have posted. They are a gateway to a lot of good spiritual and practical information and comfort.
FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO MAKE SECURE ONLINE DONATION TO ZION
SIMPLY CLICK ON THE GIVING PULL DOWN TAB LISTED AT THE TOP OF OUR HOME PAGE.
You are always welcome at Zion!