Table of Contents
The Lutheran Church, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Of New Hartford, Connecticut, The First Half Century, Our Next Half Century
The Lutheran Worship Service, The Altar, The Paraments, Vestments, The Sacraments, The Church Year
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of New Hartford, Connecticut, The Worship Services, Our Pastor, The Sunday School, St. Paul’s Community Nursery School, The Sunday School Staff & Community Nursery School Staff, Confirmation Class, The Voters’ Assembly, The Church Council, The Trustees, The Elders, The Ladies Aid Society, The Altar Guild, The Youth Group, The Church Library, The Choirs, Stewardship Committee, Webmasters Internet Group, Missions & Education
ST. PAUL’S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
New Hartford, Connecticut
How did the St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran church in New Hartford, Connecticut, come into being? Why does it exist? Why does the congregation worship the way it does, believing as it does? How does it carry on its corporate life in these beginning years of the 21st century, and with what purpose?
To provide the shortest and most direct answer to all of these questions, we could simply say that our church is here by the glory and grace of God, to worship Him and carry out His mission. That may well be a valid and all inclusive answer. But, if we were to forego any further attempts at finding the easy answers, we would for one thing eliminate the basis for this booklet.
In this age of technology, we cannot help but be aware of the complex interrelationships that the divergent parts and forces take to create a whole. A tree can be used to symbolize this idea. It grows and develops by drawing on a myriad of nutrients in the soil, sunlight, and water. Its cells multiply and together take form as roots, branches, twigs, and leaves. Each part performs a service to some other part and to the tree as a whole.
Let us look upon St. Paul’s as a leaf upon the tree of the Lord, remembering that even each leaf is made up of its own vital parts…. in this case, the people of our congregation. If we as Christians, are to be, to bear fruit, we must be of the tree of God. Christ speaks to us and John 15: 4-5 “Abide on me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me,….. For without me you can do nothing.”
The beginnings of the tree which we, as a Christian body, rest are with Christ.
The Lutheran Church
From these roots in Christ, the church went forward as a single entity through the medieval period before the first major branch developed during the Reformation. The works of Martin Luther are synonymous with the Reformation. His famous stand against the established church of his day is now a part of history.
As can often occur when authority is challenged, rebels cannot agree among themselves as to how far their challenge should go. So it was among the Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century….. the Lutheran church was not the only Protestant church to emerge from the Reformation…. There were other branches of the tree to be formed.
By comparison with some of his fellow rebels, Luther was conservative. He held a high esteem for the church against which he stood and sought to change only those things which he believed were expressly forbidden in the scriptures. He left it up to other reformers to cast out everything that was not expressly commanded in the Bible. Thus, we find many of the early Christian liturgical forms, the music and art prevailing in the Lutheran Church today. Basing their beliefs in the Bible as they do, the Lutherans acknowledge these symbols to be nonessential, but still listing them as a matter of personal preference. Such a libertarian attitude toward these man–made elements of worship has spared the Lutherans of the disruption encountered by other branches of the Christian Church with their blue laws and proscriptions.
That branch of Christianity known today as a Lutheran church is most often said to have had its beginning on a day in June 1530 in Augsburg, Germany. In those days religion was closely entwined with politics. At a typically medieval pageant in Augsburg, the returning Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, attempted to order the reformers to cease preaching their divisive words. Martin Luther was not present at Augsburg but, indicative of the force and breadth of his teachings, a group of lay princes stood up to the Emperor requesting to be heard in defense of Luther’s teachings. The deep conviction and sincerity with which these men pleaded was sufficient to make the Emperor relent. He permitted them to state their case formally. Thus the Augsburg Confession came to be written by Phillip Melanchton, an intellectual of the day from the faculty at the University of Wittenburg. Luther and Melanchton had had some disagreements over their past work in the Reformation, but Luther acknowledged he could not have stated their common cause any better.
The presentation of the Augsburg Confession brought about a rebuttal by the adherence to Rome in the form of the Roman Confutation, likewise presented formally to the emperor at Augsburg. Melanchton, in response to the Roman confutation, wrote and presented his apology of the Augsburg confession. At first regarded as a private publication of Melanchton, it was later made a part of the Lutheran confessions and a conference in Smalcald in 1537. It is now, as it was then, important as a contemporary commentary on the Augsburg confession.
Not all protestant groups accepted the Augsburg confession. Other groups did, but later for one reason or another, separated from the original Lutheran groups who retained it. The Lutheran church itself spread northward through Germany into the Scandinavian countries. Such diversity of thought seemed to accelerate in the days following Luther’s death in 1545. Sensing that such schisms could permanently damage Christian unity, lay leaders and nobleman gathered a number of prominent theologians at Torgau, Saxony in 1576 to seek harmony among the Christian teachers. From his conference developed the publication of The Book of Concord in 1580 which tied together the vital elements of Lutheran beliefs and doctrine with the Augsburg Confession.
The three creeds of the ancient churches were placed at the very beginning of The Book of Concord. This was done to identify the Lutheran reformation with the ancient church so as to counter any charge of doctoral innovation. The Apostle’s Creed stems from New Testament days although the form we now know dates specifically to the eighth century. Although the creed did not come from the apostles themselves, its roots are apostolic. The Nicene Creed is traced back to AD325 but has undergone revisions from time to time. Its origins were in the east but by the seventh century had spread in use to the west.
The Athanasian Creed, the longest of the three creeds, dates from the fifth or sixth centuries. The Book of Concord contains several works of the reformation which are truly the sum and substance of the Lutheran doctrine. These works are the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Luther’s Smalcald Articles, Luther’s Small Catechism, Luther’s Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord.
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
In the early nineteenth century, Pastor Martin Stephan of a Lutheran church in Dresden, Saxony emerged as a controversial figure in opposing the rationalist movement of the day within the Lutheran Church. He began to publish his sermons and to gain followers throughout Saxony among clergy and layman alike. He came under attack for his zealousness in evangelical activities and for this strict adherence to the basic Lutheran confessions. Under the stress, much of what was politically inspired, he and his followers resolved to leave Germany for America.
The first ship of four left Bremerhaven for New Orleans on November 3, 1838 carrying the Saxons who were loyal to Stephan. From New Orleans they traveled by star steamer to Saint Louis, and by the spring of 1839 had purchased land in Paris County, Missouri. All was not comfortable, however, in these early years. Stephan, who had assumed the title of Bishop, was found to be unworthy of his trust. He was removed from office and defrocked on June 1, 1839.
This destruction in the course of their affairs, coupled with the privations of American frontier life, cause considerable misgivings on the part of the Saxon immigrants. It fell on Pastor Corel Ferdinand Walther to step into the breach to dispel these doubts, as a step in taking over the reins of leadership he was called from Paris County to the ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church in Saint Louis by some of the Saxon immigrants who stayed on in that city. He rapidly became the man the Saxons respected as their new leader without assuming the trappings of episcopacy that Steven had been so fond of. Unofficially, at least, Trinity of Saint Louis is often referred to as the Mother Church of the Missouri Synod. By 1844 Pastor Walther had issued the first number of his publication, Der Lutheraner, which soon began to attract the attention of other Lutherans in America.
In the states to the east of Missouri, Lutheran teaching was being spread through the efforts of Pastor Johann Loehe who, from Germany, directed and furnished men and materials for the furtherance of Lutheran missionary work in the new world. In 1845 the followers of Loehe in America severed their affiliation with the Ohio and Michigan Synods over doctrinal differences and were entertaining thoughts of forming a new standard.
Through correspondence and by meetings held after tortuous travel through the American wilderness, the Loehe men and the Saxons of Walther got together plans for a new synod. The convention held by representatives of the two groups in a small Lutheran church in Chicago in April, 1847 marks the formal beginning of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Pastor Walther was elected the first president of the new district which was then called the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States.
The first 25 years coincided with that period in American history that saw large scale immigration of Germans into America, and as a result, the new synod grew rapidly. Throughout this period and on into the twentieth century, the leaders of the synod have endeavored to establish unity with other synods and the end result of such mergers added even further to Synod’s growth. It became necessary to organize the Synod along district lines to facilitate administration. By 1890, at least ten separate districts had been spawned from an original four.
The German language was virtually proscribed in the original constitution and was used in worship almost exclusively in the early years. Pastor Walther was eager to promote the work of the church in the English language. In 1888, the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri Ohio, and Other States was established. At the time of formation of the English Synod, it received two valuable gifts: the Lutheran Witness, an English publication started six years previously by the Cleveland Pastoral Conference; and a manuscript for an English Lutheran Hymnal.
The Walter League was organized at a convention of representatives from twelve synod wide youth societies at Buffalo in 1893. The growth of the Synod continued unabated with more new districts being formed, one of which was the Atlantic District in 1906 to serve eastern New York, New Jersey, and New England. The word “German” was dropped from the original name of the Synod, indicative of the assimilating influences at work on the German immigrants and their progeny. The year 1911 marks the merger of the English Synod and the Missouri synod, and the English District of the Missouri Synod was formed. An attempt in 1944 to change the name of the Synod to Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod failed to win support in the synod wide referendum, but such a name change was finally adopted several years later. But still much later, the New England District was spun off from the Atlantic district.
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Of New Hartford, Connecticut
Just as the story of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod has roots in Europe, so too the story of St. Paul’s begins there. The latter part of the nineteenth century witnessed the huge influx of immigrants to the shores of America, many of whom were of Germanic, Austrian, and Scandinavian descent. A good number of these settled in the region of New England and towns like New Hartford, Connecticut received their share of the same. With them came their religious roots, Lutheran included, which in the free land of America found a soil for planting. Perhaps the word “transplanting” might be better terminology.
As that century drew to a close a number of German speaking immigrants found kindred spirits and one another around New Hartford. Informal gatherings occurred and clusters of Lutherans bonded together in Collinsville, Unionville, and the aforementioned New Hartford. Some space was secured in the Congregational Church of New Hartford and services were held for a while. This informal association continued for a number of years.
The First Half Century
However, at the turn of the twentieth century an interesting development presented itself to the Lutherans of this area. The Baptist church in town became available for purchase, a structure located on Prospect Street in New Hartford, Connecticut. No one quite knows the reason that motivated the Baptist believers to sell their building. They themselves had earlier relocated the structure to begin a strong ministry in New Hartford. Originally constructed in 1840 in Pleasant Valley, on a site that is still currently debated as to its actual location. In the year 1870 the Baptists decided to literally relocate to New Hartford. The famous local story describes the dismantling of the church structure piece by piece with appropriate numerical codes carved on the wooden beams. With it being wintertime, a team of oxen then dragged materials of the church down the frozen Farmington River. After the five mile trek and the reaching of the summit of Prospect Street, the church was then built again as it had been at its former location.
Whether a myth, legend, or a true tale with a touch of local folklore attached for good measure, when the church became available circa 1900, the Lutherans quickly purchased it and found themselves with a permanent home at least in which to worship God and pass on the message of Jesus to the next generation of believers.
Then came the installation on December 4, 1904 of the Reverend John A. Kavasch as Pastor of Christ Church in Hartford. Pastor Kavasch had come to our area from Kampsville, Illinois. Less than a year after his arrival in Hartford, he organized the Sunday School here in September, 1905, with just 22 children. Then, secondly in October, 1905, 14 voting members officially organized the “German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s Church.” Among the 80 baptized souls were some 50 communicant members.
For more than 50 years Pastor Kavasch poured his efforts into the building of the Hartford church, and also increased the attention given to the New Hartford mission. Seeing New Hartford as a good mission opportunity and as a mission with the need for pastoral care, he with the blessing of his Hartford congregation began regularly coming to New Hartford to lead this small flock of German immigrants in worship.
Little did his church in Hartford nor do St. Paul’s of New Hartford realize that the Lord would bless this situation for the next 52 years! Coming out at first by train and then later by car, many of the first members of St. Paul’s were baptized, confirmed, married, and then triumphantly “transferred to the Church in Heaven” at the end of earthly light by Pastor Kavasch. Services were at first in the German language, then later in both German and English, with a German service preceding an English service. Those who were children in these days recall the unique challenge of worshiping twice on a Sunday afternoon, and often a hot summer afternoon, and hearing the worship and sermons in two languages! But whether it was the time of World War I, the great depression, or World War II, the word “faithfulness” would certainly applied to this flock and her dedicated itinerant Pastor.
Our Next Half Century
The 1950’s brought with them the end of an era. After 51 years of loyal service, Pastor John A. Kavasch retired in 1956 due to advanced age and deteriorating health. He was given his eternal reward by a gracious Savior on December 1, 1959, almost exactly 55 years after his installation in Hartford. And, it became time for St. Paul’s to think about her life and her future in New Hartford.
One step taken toward the future was to state St. Paul’s purpose. Its purpose can best be identified in the opening lines of its constitution: “We, the Lutherans in and about New Hartford, Litchfield County, Connecticut, who have given our signature to this document, have herewith gathered together as an orthodox evangelical Lutheran Church, and desire to form such a congregation. Our congregation shall be called St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, New Hartford, Connecticut.”
A later statement of purpose would read, in part, “Believing that the call of God to make disciples as the greatest privilege and responsibility the Savior has entrusted to His Church, it is our purpose, through a word and sacraments ministry, to reach those who do not know Christ in New Hartford and the surrounding communities with the message of salvation.”
Another need was felt after Kavasch’s retirement, that being for someone here locally to lead us in the ministry of word and sacrament. Supervised from our church in Cheshire, St. Paul’s was served by Vicar Raymond Sheehan during the 1956-1957 school year. Following his ordination, Pastor Sheehan served as Pastor from 1958 through 1961. During his term of service, the parking facility opposite the church was acquired. In September 1962, Pastor Daniel G. Reuning became Pastor until 1968. During his tenure, the Community Nursery School was established which was in operation until 2015.
From 1969 to 1974 Pastor Louis Beyer served as Pastor. It was in the course of his ministry here that the congregation felt itself cramped with inadequate facilities for education and Christian fellowship. The decision was then made to proceed with the construction of an additional building to be directly connected to the church structure. This addition included fellowship rooms, a youth room, Pastor’s study, nursery rooms, a sacristy, and restrooms. Soon after the dedication of this addition on Sunday, May 5, 1974, Pastor Beyer accepted a call from another congregation. Pastor Karl Kramer served as Pastor from 1975 -1978 during which time the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was in great theological turmoil when numerous congregations left the synod. During this stressful time, St. Paul’s remained as a witness to Christ in New Hartford, with dedicated leaders of the church council and wonderful saints of the Ladies Aid Society, among others showing the way. During 1978 -1979 we were served by Vicar Allan Fjordbotten for a one year colloquy vicarage.
In 1979 St. Paul’s again found itself without a shepherd. The pastoral staff of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Bristol agreed to provide worship services. Most of the pastoral calling work was done by the Rev. Martin C. Duchow of West Harford, who often assisted us during our other vacancy periods over the years.
The 1980’s saw major growth commence in the congregation. Blessed by a vibrant Pastor, the Rev. Timothy Quill, the church grew in numbers and prospered. Under Pastor Quill’s leadership and inspiration the church began to draw many new members who did not have Lutheran much less Germanic roots. A new balcony was added for the choir and organ. It is to the credit of the members of St. Paul’s that they adopted a generous open door attitude to the newcomers and welcomed them into the church family with heartfelt appreciation for their presence. A new hymnal was adopted at this time and new forms of worship became part of the weekly celebration in the Lord as well.
From 1985-2012, Saint Paul’s was served by the Rev. Timothy Yeadon. The Reverend Timothy R. Yeadon was born on Long Island, New York where he grew up. His college years were spent at Cornell University where he graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor’s Degree Magna Cum Laude after fulfilling the requirements for three majors. His seminary years were spent at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, one year of which was spent as his vicarage year in Castle Rock, Colorado, before graduating with a Master of Divinity degree. On June 23, 1985 he was ordained into public ministry. On July 1 of that same year he was installed as Pastor of St. Paul’s here in New Hartford. On June 26, 1982, Pastor Yeadon married Ruth Schumacher of Syracuse, New York, a fellow graduate of Cornell University. They have been blessed with two sons, Jonathan and Daniel.
Like Pastor Quill, this “Second Timothy” was a graduate of the seminary and began his ministry at our church. It seems that like her first Pastor in Rev. Kavasch, St. Paul’s entered a period of long term Pastoral care as Pastor Yeadon served from 1985 to 2012. Then, during 1994 and 1995, after the 1974 mortgage was retired, another major building expansion took place. The sanctuary was enlarged with wings added on each side of the original building. More office and classroom space was afforded by enclosing the vacant space between the sanctuary and the 1974 edition. This period witnessed dynamic growth in the congregation as we topped 400 members and approached 200 worshipping on the average during the week.
By the end of the century yet another new wing was added to the church structure to provide office space and more classrooms. The end of the century also saw another leap of faith as St. Paul’s added a vicarage ministry. Each academic year, a student from the synod’s seminary came to live among us and spent a year working with us as part of his training for his future ministry.
In 2011 a new ministry was begun, Hands of Grace is a mercy mission of St. Paul’s that seeks to fill community needs in body and soul by providing food, clothing, household goods, and Christian care to local residents who have these needs.
After a 28 year pastorate at St. Paul’s, in 2012, Pastor Yeadon was elected by the New England District in convention to serve as District President, a full-time call. St. Paul’s entered a time of pastoral vacancy that was presided over by Rev. Michael Coons, first vicar of St. Paul’s and now pastor in Enfield, CT. Assisting and overseen by Pastor Coons during the 12 month vacancy were Vicar Timothy Martinal who lived onsite in St. Paul’s parsonage and Vicar of the Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) program Kevin Mongeau who regularly serves Hands of Grace mercy mission.
On September 9, 2013 a new under-shepherd of Christ was installed as St. Paul’s pastor. Rev. Jonathan Manor, who formerly served as the 5th vicar of St. Paul’s in 2003-04, moved his family from a congregation in the midwest to serve the Lord’s people in New Hartford.
For the first time in her history St. Paul’s called a second man to add to the pastoral staff. On January 18, 2015 Kevin Mongeau was ordained and installed as Specific Ministry Pastor to serve the Hands of Grace mission.
Bookshelves have been lined with volumes in dealing with this extensive subject. Yet, perhaps we can here at last point to where laymen may find certain pillars of Lutheran doctrine.
Lutherans find their doctrine in the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures became all sufficient to Martin Luther because in the Scriptures he found Christ. Therein is the true basis for his beliefs. The doctrine of the Divinity of Christ and the Triune God are firm stanchions of Lutheranism. The doctrine of justification through faith is another vital concept. When the Lutheran proclaims the Apostles Creed, he proclaims his faith and beliefs in the Triune God, the Divinity of Christ, and the redemption powers of Christ. However, mere proclamation is not of itself, faith. There must be true recognition and heartfelt belief.
The Book of Concord, as discussed in the historical section, would be the best single source aside from the Bible itself, to which the interested layman could be directed for a thorough presentation of Lutheran Doctrine. If one were inclined to seek out the kernel of this rather voluminous book, he would best be directed to Luther’s “Small Catechism”. Here, in the Small Catechism, Luther finds the radical difference between the Law and the Gospel. He reveals man’s utter sinfulness and the impossibility of his attaining salvation by the works of the Law alone……witness….. “Through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20….. “The law was custodian until Christ came.” Galatians 3:24….. “Christ is the end of the Law that everyone who has faith may be justified.” Romans l0:4.
Many Lutherans believe that Luther’s explanation of the second article of the Apostles Creed is the finest that anything he wrote: “I believe that Jesus Christ, True God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, Son of the Virgin Mary is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, even as He has risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”
The Book of Concord is a common pillar of doctrine for every Lutheran body today. It is not under the sole ownership of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod just as the Holy Bible is not the sole property of the entire Lutheran Church to the exclusion of other Christian denominations. What then, doctrinally distinguishes the Missouri Synod from other Lutheran bodies? To cite but a single area of difference would be the debate over the increasing rationalism of the early 19th century which precipitated the emigration and separation of those Lutheran Saxons opposed to rationalism.
There were considerable political overtones involved in those early days and the political Establishment appeared to favor the rationalists. In retrospect, the position of the early Missouri Lutherans seems most valid when related to the alleged deviations from scripture to which the rationalists strayed at that time. The fact that rationalism persists to this day among some Christian theologians is well publicized. Whether it persists in other bodies of the Lutheran Church is a matter for the theologians of our Synod to evaluate in context with present ecumenical dialogues.
Most Missouri Lutherans would appear to want to believe that their current stance is with the confessions of Scriptures as it was in the beginnings of the Synod. Some will argue that an anti-rationalistic approach is not in keeping with modern ecumenicism and therefore in error. At one point, a significant Lutheran body in this country had charged the Missouri Synod with straying from confessionalism toward rationalism after an unsuccessful attempt at merger. In any event, the long history of the Missouri Synod belies the charges of anti-ecumenicism from any source. It has joined in communion and full fellowship with many separate Lutheran bodies whose basic doctrines they could agree with. Although all members of the Synod, clergy and lay alike, are sinners in the eyes of the Lord, it is difficult to observe any substantial shift from confessionalism as charged at least in the majority of the Synod’s many parts.
We have recalled that Luther was a conservative reformer. He did not set out to form an entirely new Church, nor was he guilty of being preoccupied with the philosophy of ‘change for the sake of change.’ He only instituted those changes he believed the scriptures demanded. He appreciated the continuity of the Church through the centuries, and it was this sensitivity of what was of abiding value that caused him to want to keep everything that could be kept according to the sacred Scriptures. This would include such ceremonies as were not contrary to the Word of God.
The Lutheran Worship Service
In the Lutheran worship service there is a relatively fixed order of progression called a “Liturgy”. In the liturgical service of the Lutheran Church a structure to worship exists which serves as a basis for the weekly worship celebrations. A non-liturgical Church has less structured worship and varying forms from service to service. In the liturgical service of the Lutheran Church two elements run through it with a beautiful alternation. God speaks to the people, represented by the Pastor when he faces the people. This theme continues when God speaks to us in the hymns, the readings of the Scriptures contained in the Old Testament Lesson, the Epistle Lesson, and the Gospel. It is found in the words of absolution and in the dual message of Law and Gospel that form the basis for every sermon. The counterpart to God’s speaking to us in worship rests in the people speaking to God, portrayed by the Pastor facing the altar with the people. The people in worship speak to God in their confession of sins, their prayers, their singing of praise to God in hymnody, and in any moment of Thanksgiving.
The beginning of the Lutheran service prepares the worshipper for the service in
that he confesses his sins and hears the declaration of grace.
The Introit (Latin: to enter) sounds the keynote and sets the tone of the service. Originally a psalm during processionals, the Introit does contain portions of a psalm with appropriate antiphons and it concludes with the singing of the Gloria Patria. The Gloria Patria, which is an ascribing of Glory to the Holy Trinity, was added to the Psalms by early Christians to distinguish them from their use in Jewish worship.
The Kyrie follows which is a prayer or plea for mercy and also dovetails as a welcome to the presence of Christ in the midst of the worshipers. The word “Kyrie” means “Lord”, and is a liturgical reminder in our service of the time when the early Church worshipped in the Greek language. It is not a cry for mercy in the sense of an asking of forgiveness. That plea occurred in the confession of sins. But it is a plea for the Lord’s blessing on His worshipping people in all their needs. As in all things in worship, the address to God implies an address to all three Persons of the Holy Trinity, namely Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
A Hymn of Praise follows which gives God the adoration which Christians rightly ascribe to Him. Followed by the Salutation, the Pastor at this point greets the congregation and wishes them the presence of the Lord. The congregation in turn greets the Pastor by assuring him that they join their hearts with him in worship and fellowship.
The Collect follows, which is a short prayer to ask the particular gift which God would bestow in keeping with the theme of worship which the Church celebrates on that particular day in the Church calendar. In the age-old prayers are “collected” the petitions of all supplicants in summary form.
After this prayer-oriented portion of the service, the worshipper is ready to hear the Word of God. The first reading is from the Old Testament. The second reading, called the Epistle Reading, is taken from any book of the New Testament other than the Gospels. Custom calls for the congregation to remain seated during these reading since they are regarded as instruction. Choirs may accompany the readings with the signing of the Gradual or appropriate musical selection.
The Gradual gets its name from the fact that the Scriptures were read from an elevated reading desk, and the Gradual was sung during the time the reader of the Epistle was descending and the Gospel reader was ascending to the desk. A frequent refrain heard at this time centers on the word “Hallelujah” (sometimes spelled “Alleluia”) which is a Christian inheritance from Judaism. The word “Hallelujah” means “Praise the Lord” in Hebrew.
At this point the Gospel is announced to the people. It is bracketed by two responses: “Glory to you, Oh Lord” is a liturgical shout of joy in anticipation of meeting the Savior in His Word; the second, “Praise to you Oh Christ” is a voiced thanksgiving for the spiritual food He has shared. For the most part the Gospels carry the dominant note of the day. They weld the Sundays of the Church year into a unified whole.
The creeds and the sermon follow at this point in the worship. In various liturgical settings the sermon precedes the confession of our faith found in the reciting of the creeds; in some circles the creed precedes the sermon. The Apostles’ Creed, usually spoken in non-communion settings, and the Nicene Creed, usually reserved for the Sundays in which Communion is celebrated, states the basic truths which Christianity professes.
The Sermon, rooted in this confession of faith, is an explanation of God’s Word reflective of the theme for the day. Sermons strive for relevancy, and in that sense may touch upon current topics in the lives of the hearers. However, they are above all spiritual teachings and center on a Law-Gospel message of man’s sinfulness and God’s grace founded in the cross of Jesus Christ.
The giving of our offerings to God follows these parts of the service, accompanied by a musical offertory. General prayers, where the needs of the flock are spoken to God. The people pray the Lord’s Prayer and receive a final Benediction from the Pastor, again Triune in nature and reflective of the Lord’s blessing upon His people. Services at which the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated contain all of these elements of worship together with additional liturgical forms in keeping with this sacrament.
It should be noted that Lutherans do not rigidly adhere to this structure for its own sake. Rather, it is a root, and a well established root in history and theology, upon which the tree of worship flourishes. Throughout the years various hymnals may be used as they come into use in the Church body as a whole. Each hymnal may, moreover, have some facets within it unique to its own publication. But Lutherans of any age will find common themes and parts listed above timelessly bound to the manner in which they receive from God and give to Him in their worship life.
The worship of the Lutheran Church centers around the altar, which in most but not all of our Church sanctuaries, occupies a central place. It is the focal point of a properly constructed Lutheran Church. It reminds us of the table around which our Lord and His Apostle’s sat the evening before He died. It reminds us of the great sacrifice which He made and that peace might be established between God and man once again. The symbolic sacrifices on the altars of the Old Testament pointed to this great sacrifice the True Lamb of God. To some the shape of the altar suggests the crypt in which Christ lay after yielding His Life that we may live. It is for this reason and others that the altar always remains the focal point of the celebration of Holy Communion, as the pulpit remains the focal point for the preaching of God’s Word, (likewise the lectern for the reading of the Lessons appointed 20 for the day.)
Candles usually adorn the altar to indicate the presence of Jesus, the Light of the World. Empty crosses are placed near the altar to remind us of the cross as the greatest Symbol of Christ’s redemptive work. The fact the cross is empty serves to remind us that Christ is not dead, but that on the third day after His death, He arose victoriously from the grave. We believe He lives and reigns forever, guiding his believers; and that some day He will receive all believers into His heavenly home. The painting of the ascended Lord above the altar, particular to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, reflects this theme.
Colored tapestries and altar cloths, jointly identified by the word “Paraments” display during the Lutheran service the special meaning of worship in the lives of the believers. Hanging on the altar, the pulpit, and lectern, they reflect in their colors and artwork the message of the Church.
Blue is the color for the season of Advent. Anticipating Christmas to be sure, Advent is also an anticipation of the return of Christ to earth a second time on the last day. As King of kings He will judge the earth and all who lived. Many Churches for this reason specifically appoint the color of Royal Blue as the color for Advent. Some Churches maintain the earlier color of purple in Advent as the symbol for royalty.
White is the color of purity, joy, and victory. It is the predominant liturgical color for the seasons of Christmas and Easter and is also used on Ascension Day and other days devoted to the special glory of God and His victory over sin, death, and the devil. Some symbolic lettering on these paraments may include “IHS” which are actually Greek letters signifying the first three letters of the name Jesus in that language. One may also see the Greek word “NIKE” on these paraments. NIKE is the ancient Greek word for “Victory”.
Red, the color of fire, and also the symbolic color for the blood Jesus shed for us on the cross. It is used in remembrance of the special work of God the Holy Spirit, who came in tongues of fire on Pentecost Sunday. In that sense red paraments are used at ordinations, confirmations, and on Pentecost Sunday. Reformation Sunday also takes the color red as well as a number of days during Holy Week.
Purple is the color of mourning and of royalty. It is used in the penitential season of Lent when the King of kings suffering and death are remembered. Crosses and other appropriate artwork for this theme can be found in the paraments of this season.
In Lent, specifically on Good Friday, the color black is used as the altar is bared and crosses in the altar area are draped in black. Holy Saturday as the day when the lifeless body of the Lord rested in the tomb also receives the liturgical color of black.
Green is the liturgical color for life and growth. It is used for days and seasons which stress the growth and life of the believer in Christ. The long season of Pentecost which lasts from Pentecost Sunday to Advent takes the color of green as well as other special days of the Church devoted to growth. Many of the symbols on the paraments such as three circles or a triangle reflect the Trinity.
The vestments worn by the minister and those who help him assist in covering up their own personality. The minister, after all, is not representing his own personal point of view in his service during the worship hour. He represents Christ. For that reason it is common in our Lutheran Churches for a minister to wear a long white robe called an alb. Some Lutheran Churches have an older tradition of having the minister wear a long black garment called a cassock. It is black as a reminder that each person, including the Pastor, has the problem of sin covering his life. But over the black cassock is a white surplus which, like the alb, reminds us that Christ’s perfect righteousness covers over all the blackness of our sin and therefore makes us acceptable to God. The stole is worn around the shoulders of the minister whether he is adorned in an alb or in a surplus/cassock combination. It is the badge of his office. He is a servant of God under the yoke of Christ. The stole colors change according to the various seasons in conjunction with the paraments.
Lutherans recognize two sacraments as instituted by our Lord for the strengthening of faith and the assurance of the forgiveness of sin. They are baptism and Holy Communion
Baptism involves the application of water to an infant, youth, or adult coupled with the speaking of Christ’s words “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Through the power of the Holy Spirit faith is created in the
heart of the infant. In the case of an adult who has received instruction prior to his or her baptism it is a sacrament which strengthens the faith already present in the heart. Baptism is the means whereby God comes to an individual with the gift and the assurances of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Holy Communion is the second Sacrament of our Church. We believe according to the words of Christ’s institution, that when the communicants receive the unleavened bread and the wine, they received there with the true Body and Blood of Jesus, given and shed on the cross at Calvary. Communion is given to members of the Church or those in fellowship with us to assure the individual that sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ and that fellowship with God is restored.
The Church Year
Though covered loosely in our discussion of the Paraments, the Christian year follows this general outline.
The Church year begins with the season of Advent which means “Coming”. It pertains to the arrival of Jesus Christ; His first arrival at Christmas and His second arrival on the last day when He returns to judge the living and the dead.
The season of Christmas follows. It includes Christmas Day itself and the Sundays devoted to the commemoration of the birth of our Savior.
Epiphany follows next. Epiphany means “Revelation” and reflects the acts of God whereby He showed forth His glory, primarily in the Person, Work, and Words of Jesus Christ. It begins with a remembrance of God’s revelation to the Wise men and concludes with the Transfiguration of our Lord as God’s glory was shown on the mountain top to select disciples.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The Lenten season commemorates Christ’s forty days in the desert, the struggle between Satan and Christ, and the growing opposition to Jesus culminating in His death on the cross. The season of Lent is therefore forty days in length, excepting the Sundays that occur in this season. The season ends with Holy Week. Included in Lent are the message of Christ’s triumphant Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem, the remembrance of Maundy Thursday’s gift of Holy Communion, the darkness of Good Friday, and the somberness of Holy Saturday, wherein the body of Jesus lay in the tomb. –
The Season of Easter is the season of joy celebrating Christ’s victory over death as the chief cornerstone of the Church’s faith. The forty days following Easter present our risen Lord revealing Himself alive to His disciples before His ascension on Ascension Day.
Pentecost Sunday begins the season of Pentecost, the longest season of the Church Year. Pentecost Sunday is the fiftieth day after Easter and with the arrival of the Holy Spirit truly represents the birthday of the Christian Church. Whereas all the other seasons in some way reflect the earthly life and deeds of our Savior, the season of Pentecost reflects the working of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the lives of believers.
If one were to ask a Lutheran layman of some other Lutheran body what the main difference was between his particular body and the Missouri Synod, he would more than likely refer to the emphasis placed on education by the Missouri Synod. The Synod has the largest parochial school system in America next to the Roman Catholic Church. Hundreds of Synodical Elementary and High schools dot the nation with four in New England. In addition, we have a huge preschool system in our Churches, including the St. Paul’s Community Nursery School here at St. Paul’s. A strong system of LCMS colleges and Universities the nation from the East Coast to the West Coast, with the nearest being Concordia in Bronxville, New York.
Our Synod has two seminaries training men for the public ministry and they are located in St. Louis, Missouri and in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The St. Louis seminary had its beginnings in Perry County, Missouri where Pastor Carl F. W. Walther played an important role in its earliest days. Started in 1839, the seminary continuously produced a new crop of Pastors for the Synod each year since. The roots of the Ft. Wayne Seminary, which has existed in other sites as well, such as Springfield, Illinois, began with Pastors by the name of Loehe, opening its doors in 1946. It too has continuously produced clergy for our Churches.
The Missouri Synod has always tried to be at the forefront of the technological revolution, using new and timely radio and television broadcasts to air the Gospel’s message. The Lutheran Hour radio program is beamed on network radio all over world. It is the oldest continuously broadcasted religious radio station. Broadcasts of one time TV specials are aired on a regular basis across the nation as well, following in the footsteps of an award winning “This is the Life” television program of yesteryear. In all of these presentations real-life situations are portrayed which are resolved through Christ. The shows are neither maudlin nor blatantly proselytizing. They are skillfully produced in a way to permit all but the most hardened cynic to pause in the reflections of their message.
Mission work has been a watchword of the Missouri Synod since its founding and is taking on even greater dimensions in today’s increasingly pluralistic world. The Synod has missions in over 40 nations throughout the world. Since the end of the Cold War the Synod has been a worldwide leader in sending Pastors and missionaries to former Communist nations, including Russia itself. Continents, including South and North America, Africa, and the Far East has a presence of the Lord in them via the LCMS. Moreover, such mission work is by no means limited to the remote corners of the world as new missions open continuously right here in America. Many of these missions are ethnic in nature, reflecting the multicultural aspects of American life today and the growing number of non-English speaking immigrants to our great land. Work also progresses among the deaf, the blind, the poor, prison inmates, and persons in the armed forces. Through its social agencies the aged are cared for, children from broken homes are placed and loved, and support is given to institutions for the physically handicapped.
Concordia Publishing House is respected as one of the leaders in the entire Christian publishing field, producing not only the customary literature for Church and Sunday School, but helpful literature for Christian family living and the guidance of Christian parents. Christians from other denominations often draw upon its unique resources. Monthly publications include the Lutheran Witness, a magazine styled monthly issue. The Reporter is published in newspaper format for leaders in the Church to keep the reader informed as to current activities in the Synod. A quarterly devotional booklet entitled “Portals of Prayer” provides daily devotions for the spiritual well being of our members. All of these are relevant for today.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is the second largest Lutheran body in America today. For the statistically inclined the Synod has approximately 2.6 million members and over 6,000 Congregations. Although we have thousands of faithful Pastors serving these Churches, one of the challenges for the future is to gain more workers for the harvest field as the shortage of clergy is becoming a reality in the Synod. LCMS members are among the top financial givers among Christendom. Recent annual giving to the Lord’s work at home and abroad topped the one billion dollar mark. Still, statistics serve only as a reflection of the Biblical based reality of those who proudly attach themselves to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. As a voice for traditional Biblical morals and values, and above all, the message of the Good News of forgiveness and salvation found in Jesus Christ alone, it remains unique in the world today.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of New Hartford, Connecticut
Although the day to day activities of St. Paul’s do not deal directly with the worldwide endeavors that the Synod addresses, the local Church here and elsewhere provide, in proportion, the means for these larger undertakings. As a local Church we are most certainly indebted to the men and women of the Synod down through the years who have sustained, with the help of God, the roots from which this congregation has grown.
This indebtedness is not limited to the purely spiritual, but also the earthly efforts and contributions of many who have sustained us through the years. The last two physical expansions of the facilities here on Prospect Street were made possible by loans from the Lutheran Church Expansion Fund. However, in the many years of our corporate existence we have never sought or received an outright subsidy from Synod.
St. Paul’s is also committed to giving financially a healthy percentage and tithe of our annual budget, exemplifying for our people the Biblical practice of stewardship and faithful giving.
The Worship Services
Two regular worship services are celebrated each Sunday throughout the entire year at 8:00 AM and 10:45 AM. A Wednesday night service is also celebrated each week of the year at 7:00 PM. It is preceded at 6:30 PM by a half hour of prayer open to any of our members who wish to pray or have prayers said for a loved one, themselves, or any situation of Godly concern. During the seasons of Advent and Lent the Wednesday evening worship reflect the special emphases of these times in the Christian Calendar. Special services are also held on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.
The Reverend Jonathan Manor was born in Dubuque, Iowa and grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa. His B.A. degree was from the University of Northern Iowa in the field of business management. Pastor Manor’s first career was in retail management, he owned a Dairy Queen while at the same time being employed as an area manager by Bruegger’s Bagel Bakery. In 1993 he married Tiffany, they have 4 children. He is a second career pastor having received a Masters of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 2005. His vicarage year, student internship, was spent at St. Paul’s in New Hartford. Out of the seminary he was called to serve Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church in Redford, Michigan. His next congregation was Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Illinois. In June, 2013 St. Paul’s in New Hartford extended a divine call to Rev. Jonathan Manor to serve as her pastor.
The Sunday School
The Sunday School has classes for preschoolers all the way up to High School youth. Likewise on Sundays is an Adult Bible Study. All of these classes meet at Church at 9:30 AM. A Monday night Bible Study for adults also convenes on Mondays at 7:00 PM.
The Sunday School Staff
No one group in the congregation is more dedicated to the goals of Christian education than the staff of our Sunday School. They are open to those members who have a desire to teach God’s word to children and teens. Staff meetings regularly occur to support our teachers and aides. The Sunday School appears in the Worship services at various times during the year. The holiday seasons also have special worship services for children in them to meet the needs of this important segment of the Lord’s flock here at St. Paul’s.
In our Church it is customary to have a special time of Christian instruction for young people prior to their becoming members of the congregation. Meeting for two years with the Pastor at the beginning of the teenage years, our children receive a thorough introduction and instruction in the basics of the faith. For adults who were never confirmed in earlier years a regular Adult Confirmation Class is held at various times throughout the year. This can lead to communicant membership for those who attend and desire membership in the congregation.
The Voters’ Assembly
Voters’ Assemblies are the governing body of the congregation and meet in the months of March, June, September, and December. They are available to all members of the congregation over the age of 18. This group is the “legislative’ body of the congregation in that they set and articulate major policies within the framework of Synodical ordinances and the constitution of the Church. They establish programs and ministries, and adopt budgets which the Church Council administers on behalf of the Voter& Assembly.
The Church Council
The Church Council meets monthly and administers the mandates of the Voters. It is comprised of Officers, namely the President of the congregation, the Vice- president, Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, the Chairmen of the Board of Elders, Trustees, Missions and Education, and Stewardship. Officers and Committee heads are elected in a democratic manner and with prayer and the seeking of guidance from the Lord.
The facilities of the Lord which have grown through the years have a consequent need for maintenance and occasional repair. It is the Trustees who are entrusted with this area of Christian service. Among the duties of the Trustees are either performing or overseeing major repairs to the Church and parsonage. Trustees execute certain legal documents on behalf of the Church such as loan applications. There are numerous opportunities for church members to volunteer to aid the Trustees by signing up for lawn care, leaf raking, snow removal, and other seasonal activities
The Elders assist the pastor in matters pertaining to the spiritual welfare of the congregation They are to consider complaints and grievances of members which they are to adjudicate consistent with Matthew 18. Elders are to make every effort to induce those members who have been negligent in their attendance of services to mend their ways and fully enjoy the rights and privileges of their membership. They support and guide the ushers as needed. Elders assist the pastor in arranging for pulpit assistance, guest pastors, lesson readings, and assure services are conducted in a manner to avoid needless disturbance.
The Ladies Aid Society
The Ladies Aid Society is available to all women of the congregation Goals of this group are to promote interest in our Church and its work, to further love for and assist in increasing active participation in every phase of the Church programs. Further goals are to foster Christian love and fellowship among our members, including visitation and cards to our shut-ins. It also serves to support the international work of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.
The specific projects successfully undertaken by the Ladies Aid Society are numerous, but one highlight is the annual Christmas Fair held in early December. Many handmade goods are offered for sale as well as tag sale items and baked goods. True to form, the Christian women of the Ladies Aid Society then take the bulk of the proceeds and give it to Synodical mission work and to local endeavors performed in the name of Christ
The Altar Guild
This group of dedicated saints is in charge of the care of the vessels and paraments found in the Chancel on Sunday morning. Their work includes the setting up for Communion when it is celebrated and the washing of the vessels at the completion of each use. It provides for special arrangements for the various seasons of the year, including the special adornments at Christmas and Easter. It provides for the floral arrangements which adorn the altar throughout the year.
The Youth Group
The Youth Group is organized to minister to the needs of our teenagers from Middle School through the High School years. This ministry continues to College students with regular mailing of sermons and information to them on a weekly basis in order to keep their connections to St. Paul’s strong. The Youth Group provides Christian growth and a time for fellowship and service throughout the year with various projects in which the youth of our Church engage. They are served by regularly appointed Youth Counselors, and the Pastor and Vicar.
The Church Library
St. Paul’s has an extensive library of Christian literature. It is available to all members and provides books and information on Biblical subjects, Doctrinal matters, and Historical themes pertinent to Christianity, It also provides fictional Christian literature for the enjoyment of readers.
St. Paul’s is blessed with choirs at Sunday Worship celebrations and special festival choirs. Traditional hymns are sung as well as new pieces of hymnody and contemporary Christian music.
This committee includes the Financial Secretary, Treasurer, their respective assistants, and a Committee Chairman. In addition, all other church members are welcome to join this committee without formal appointment or election. This committee sponsors mission and stewardship talks, discussions, and promotions. It informs the members of St. Paul’s program and opportunities to lengthen their outreach into all the world through District and Synod. They instruct the people in the grace of proportionate giving to God’s work. The committee prepares the annual proposed budget for submission, with Council concurrence, at the December Voters Assembly. It supervises the raising of all funds within the congregation.
Missions & Education
The main responsibility of this group is to plan, promote and carry out an evangelism program in the congregation and in the community. In the area of public relations, it shall endeavor to publicize the Gospel and activities of the congregation by the various modern avenues available. From the education component of their ministry they are to foster spiritual growth in the life of the individual Christian.
As we enter the 21st century only the Good Lord knows where He will take us. Using the theme that has appeared on many of the pages of this booklet, as a leaf upon the tree of His Kingdom, St. Paul’s most assuredly did not develop within a vacuum. It is the fulfillment of a task — still underway that requires selfless giving of time and talents of many men, women, and children in Christ down through the course of history … from distant shores and on into our own times and community.
FROM THESE ROOTS
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church New Hartford, Connecticut
This Booklet is a project of the Stewardship Committee of St. Paul’s– January 2002. The vast majority of the writing was composed by committee member Mr. Homer Bair. Updated 2015.
Baepler, Walter A. A Century of Grace: A History of the Missouri Synod 1847-1947. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1947.
Bainton, Roland E. Here I Stand: a life of Martin Luther. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950.
Beck, Victor E. Why am I Lutheran? New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1956.
Bugbee, Robert. St. Paul’s 75th Anniversary Booklet. (Printed by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, New Hartford, Connecticut).
The Holy Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Corporation, 1984.
Mundiger, Carl S. Government njbe Missouri Synod: genesis of decentralized government in the Missouri Synod. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1947.
Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959. Notes of
Notes of Rev. Timothy Yeadon