If I was baptized in another denomination, do I need to be re-baptized Lutheran?
No. We recognize any baptism that is done in the name of The Triune God. Baptism is into the one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic Church. Baptism is a gift from God and nothing we can do can take it away. It needs to be done only once.
Can I take Holy Communion at your church?
Yes. Our Communion is open to all who believe that Jesus Christ is there in the Bread and Wine (and yes, we do also offer grape juice) called the “Real Presence.” For us, Holy Communion is a gift that Jesus gave to his church at the Last Supper and is meant to strengthen the faith of all who take part.
Do I have to take classes to join your church?
No, you are not required to take classes to join the church. We do offer the opportunity to learn more about the Lutheran Church and who we are and it only makes sense to learn about any group of folks that you want to become a member of. The Pastor is available to meet with anyone individually to discuss membership or participation in New Hope Lutheran Church. Or, just show up!
Do you believe in the Bible? I’ve heard that you have ‘readings’ in worship.
It’s true, we use “readings” in our worship…. they are readings from the Bible. Each Sunday service has readings from the old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and the Gospels. We use a three-year Lectionary (call the Revised Common Lectionary) to determine what we hear. This Lectionary is common in many denominations throughout the world.
What “kind” of Lutheran is New Hope? I’ve heard there are different “kinds” of Lutherans?
New Hope Lutheran Church is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America https://www.elca.org ) ([ELCA], the largest body of Lutheran’s in North America.
The ELCA came into being in 1988 by the merger of three major Lutheran groups.
We are a part of the Lutheran World Federation https://www.lutheranworld.org which represents more than 75.5 million Lutherans worldwide.
Why does your Creed say that you believe in the Catholic Church? Wasn’t Martin Luther kicked out of the Catholic Church?
You are correct, Martin Luther, who was a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, was excommunicated from the church in 1521. The Creeds used by the Church in Luther’s time (Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed) are still in use today by Christians all around the world, Protestant and Catholic alike. The part you are referring to is the statement “we believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church…” In this use, the word “catholic” refers to the “universal” church. If it were “Catholic” (capitalized) it would refer to the “Roman Catholic” church.
Are women allowed to be pastors in the ELCA?
Yes. On November 22, 1970, Elizabeth Alvina Platz became the first woman ordained by any Lutheran denomination in America. About 1/2 of students entering our seminaries each year are women. Many of our Synods are lead for women bishops and our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton was re-elected for a second term in 2018.