Missouri Synod Church in Downtown Memphis

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Service Project Sunday was a Success!

We wanted to extend a big THANK YOU to all our volunteers who helped with Service Project Sunday this past Sunday (April 8th). We had a group who passed out Homeless Survival Kits to homeless people around the area and ran out of bags pretty quickly. The ladies of our Naomi Circle packed them all in assembly line style and we are truly grateful for their help and support. Another team went outside around Trinity and the jail to pick up trash and make our immediate community a little bit cleaner. Thank you so much to those who helped brighten up the area! A third group went over to Tom Lee Park and Mud Island Park to pass out water bottles to anyone they came in contact with. Thank you for participating in a small act of kindness to our neighbors. Yet another team stayed behind at Trinity to prepare lunch for all our hard workers. Thank you for your support, too! To everyone who helped out:  You planted seeds of hope around a cause you care about. You stepped up, took the lead, and challenged others to take action. And together, you made a positive change. That’s not just awesome–it’s awe-inspiring! Thank you for sharing your God-given gifts to make the world a better place. You are truly a blessing… to your family, your friends–and the countless people you’ve touched through your generosity.  

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“God Connects” – new study!

"God Connects" - new study!

God, are You there? Everyone, at some point, asks this question. It can come at moments of sterile reflection or in times of deep despair. “God, if You are there, why don’t You show Yourself to me?” In this confusing world where authenticity is so elusive, it seems like we cannot connect to God. We could not connect to God, but the good news is that God connects with us. He has been doing this from the beginning in amazing ways. The most direct way God connected to us is when He became one of us in Jesus Christ. When Jesus was on this earth, He was the very revelation of God as He taught and healed and loved. Then to restore our connection to God, which had been shattered because of sin, on the cross, Jesus willingly paid the penalty for our sins—in His own death! This is the most authentic, startling and determined love the world could have ever imagined. Now God connects to us by revealing Himself in the Bible. This God-given book has an amazing story. It tells of God’s constant and compassionate work to restore our relationship with Him. God Connects wants to share that story with you. God Connects is a course that tells this unique, unequaled story. Whether you do not believe in Christ as Savior or want to deepen your faith in Him, as you delve into God Connects you will explore what the Bible says about this remarkably loving God, and

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Service Project Sunday

In the book, Irresistible Evangelism, by Steve Sjogren, a working definition of kindness is suggested as “demonstrating God’s love by offering to do humble acts of service, in Christ’s name, with no strings attached.” (Irresistible Evangelism p.91) The authors go on to say, We’ll never shine brightly in the kingdom of God until we can sign up for activities that bring us no immediate, tangible, specific gain. We need to learn the lesson Jesus taught in Luke 6:35 about giving without expecting to get anything back, not even gratitude. The only reward we need is knowing that we’re acting like sons of the Most High. The watching world will never be genuinely interested in our message as long as we come across as self-seeking promoters of our little piece of the kingdom. However, the world hungers for generosity in Christ’s name when those expressing it don’t care who gets the credit. If we don’t take seriously the phrases In Christ’s name and with no strings attached, we’re just using a manipulative marketing strategy. (Irresistible Evangelism p.94) When we serve another, with no strings attached, we are operating in a way that is counter-cultural. Doing something for nothing is unheard of these days. A posture of a servant can easily be drowned out by the “me, my, and mine” slogans of Madison Avenue. But let’s remember…it is the kindness of God that has drawn us into a saving relationship with Him. Through His kindness, God has rescued us from the kingdom

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Olive Wood Crosses

This Sunday (Palm Sunday) we will be passing out 2 (or more) olive wood crosses to everyone who attends worship.  The idea is to keep one for yourself and to give the other to a friend, coworker, neighbor, or even a stranger.  Of course, giving someone an olive wood cross also gives you a wonderful opportunity to tell that person about the meaning of the cross and invite him/her to join you in Easter worship at Trinity! What makes this even more special is the unique origin of these crosses.  Here is a little background information about these olive wood crosses: Carved from Olive Trees grown in Israel around Bethlehem. In a shop on Manger Square beside the Church of the Nativity built over the historical site where Jesus Christ was born. By two native Christians that have been doing so for nearly 30 years. Over 1.8 million crosses now in circulation. Distributed through a ministry in Connecticut run by Laird and Ann Mortimer for the past 30 years. They have visited the shop in Bethlehem many times and are good friends with the owners and carvers. You can order your own supply if you want. Pick up one of the postcards in the entryway at church for instructions on how to do so. They are not expensive in dollars (100 for $40 delivered) but priceless in their meaning and effect on the giver and the recipient. How many crosses can you hand out this week?  With how many people

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Did You Know The Easter Bunny Is A Lutheran?

Did You Know The Easter Bunny Is A Lutheran?

Among the things introduced to America by early Lutherans is Saint Nicklaus, Christmas Trees, Hot Dogs, Easter Eggs, Easter Baskets, and the Easter Bunny.

Actually the Easter Rabbit started out in German folklore as the Easter Hare.

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Let’s Go Prayer Walking

Let's Go Prayer Walking

What is Prayer Walking?  Praying while walking (or driving).  Can be done in groups or alone.  Walkers pray for various needs in the community. They can pray silently or aloud as they walk, whichever they feel most comfortable with. Allow the following words that start with “P” to be your prayer guide. Pray for People Pray for Pain Pray for Problems Pray for Places When will we start?  This Sunday, March 4, beginning at 9:15 am and lasting 1 hour.  We will assemble in the Fellowship Hall at Trinity for a brief training orientation and assignments, prayer walk for 20-30 minutes and then return to Trinity for debriefing and an opportunity to put together your own personal prayer walking plan, prior to our regular worship service. What if I am not able to walk far?  You can prayer drive or pray at church while the group goes out into the community. In hundreds of cities across the globe, ordinary believers are prayer walking through the streets of their communities. They pray while walking, with eyes open for the spiritual awakening God is bringing. There is no set pattern or proven formula. Prayer walkers have set out with every imaginable style. There’s nothing magical about praying while walking. God’s Spirit is simply helping us to pray in the midst of the very settings in which we expect Him to answer our prayers. We instinctively draw near to those for whom we pray. Getting up close to the community focuses our prayer.

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Motivation for Mission

What is the mission of the church?  What kind of impact can your church and your life have on your community?  What does the Bible say about a local church’s calling to influence a lost world? Motivation for Mission is a new five-week study to help our congregation focus on our purpose as individuals and as a church. It seeks to answer the question, “Why are we here?” This study covers the following: Why is the Church on Earth? Lost In America Change? You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me The Search The Power of a Team The series begins this Sunday, February 18 and concludes March 18.  If you like to talk in class, this is a great group for you, because it is totally interactive! We will meet in the Fellowship Hall @ 9:15 a.m. on Sundays. God does not want anyone to perish, and God is looking for people who share his heart for those who are perishing.  This study lays a strong foundation for each of us to minister to people who need the Gospel.  It will help launch us on a great adventure that will change the world around us. Get ready to impact people with God’s love! Pastor Tieman

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LCMS’s Only Historically Black College Slated To Close

Concordia College in Selma Alabama, the Missouri Synod’s only historically Black college, is slated to close its doors at the end of this semester. This is according to Concordia’s Chief Transition Officer, Dr. James Lyons, who was brought on board last May to help the troubled college. “For the past two and a half years probably, there has been what I call this closure cloud sort of hanging over the college,” Lyons said Monday. “Are we going to close? Aren’t we? When I arrived eight months ago, I had students ask me, ‘Are we really going close? We hear this every semester.’” Lyons is quoted as saying in the Selma Times Journal. The article goes on to say, “Lyons was brought in when the school was looking to find new ownership. Lyons said an investor was lined up and even made a substantial contribution to the school, but the deal fell through. “It was so bad that when I arrived in May, I made contact with a donor that had not sent us money because the word was that the college had already closed,” Lyons said. “I spoke with the donor and said no, we’re open. I’m here. Here’s the mailing address. But that’s how bad it has gotten.” You can read the entire Selma Times Journal article here.

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The Meaning Of The Ashes On Ash Wednesday

What is the significance of Ash Wednesday and ashes on the forehead? Q: Would you please explain the significance of Ash Wednesday. I’ve seen some people in the past with black ash crosses on their foreheads. A: Lutheran Worship: History and Practice, a commentary on Lutheran Worship, one of our Synod’s hymnals, says this about ashes on Ash Wednesday: “Other customs may be used, particularly the imposition of ashes on those who wish it. This ancient act is a gesture of repentance and a powerful reminder about the meaning of the day. Ashes can symbolize dust-to-dustness and remind worshipers of the need for cleansing, scrubbing and purifying. If they are applied during an act of kneeling, the very posture of defeat and submission expresses humility before God.” The use of ashes on Ash Wednesday is a more recent custom among most LCMS congregations, although some have done it for decades. The ashes are usually derived from the burned palms from the previous Palm Sunday. Experience will show, however, that in obtaining ashes this way, it doesn’t take many ashes to “ash” a whole congregation. Like sin, they are very dirty and go a long way. One palm leaf will produce enough ashes for several years. Usually the pastor takes the ashes on the end of his thumb and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each worshiper, saying these words: “Remember: you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This follows most effectively prior (or as

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Spotlight On A Southern African American Lutheran Family

This article first appeared on TrinityMemphis.org on Feb 26, 2014 Trinity has been blessed with many African-American members who are dedicated and supportive in every way. Many are active in the various missions of the Church and many are either currently or have in the past, held positions on the Council and the Board of Elders. Many represent Trinity as public ambassadors in the community at large and in dealings with other congregations. All deserve honor. Today, I single out one family for special recognition. There have been many generations of African American Lutherans baptized, confirmed and ministered to at Trinity Lutheran Church. One family of third generation Lutherans is the that of Vienna D. Stovall, born 1924 in Natchez, Mississippi. Vienna’s parents and siblings relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in 1929. Vienna married Jesse Stovall in 1948. Memphis was still a segregated society; although, blacks and whites in the area around Redeemer Lutheran Church, lived peacefully in close proximity for years. In 1946 Calvary Lutheran Church, serving the same geographic area as Redeemer, was formed to minister to the black community. Vienna and Jesse Stovall, who were both baptized and confirmed Lutherans; and joined Calvary Lutheran Church at 1008 E. McLemore Avenue in 1949. Vienna and Jesse gave birth to their first child, Cynthia, in 1952, the second, Donna, was born in 1953, their only son, Michael, born 1958, the fourth and last sibling, Lisa, was born in 1964. In the 1940’s a private school, started to provide African-American children

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Rosa J. Young – Mother of Black Lutheranism

Rosa J. Young, the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from the Concordia University System, is often refered to as “the mother of Black Lutheranism.”

Born in the tiny farm community of Rosebud, Alabama in 1890, Rosa was exceptionally bright and excelled in school. After sixth grade, her parents sent her to Payne University, a school that had recently been created by the African Methodist Episcopal Church to serve the black community. There, she received her teaching certificate and passed the state exams.

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BHM Spotlight – Immanuel Lutheran College

BHM Spotlight - Immanuel Lutheran College

This article first appeared on TrinityMemphis.org on Feb 2, 2014 In celebration of Black History Month, TableTalk will feature a series of guest posts about the Lutheran Church’s historic and continued dedication to diversity and the Civil Rights movement. Immanuel Lutheran College Greensboro, North Carolina 1903-1961 For a majority of the twentieth century Immanuel Lutheran College was the training ground for Black Lutheran teachers and pastors. Immanuel, started by Rev. Niels J. Bakke, opened its doors in the city of Concord, NC March 2, 1903 with five young men. It was located on the second story of a school house. This second story served as both classroom and dormitory. After the North Carolina Synod pledged funding for a school to educate and train Black ministers and teachers, the school was moved to Greensboro in 1905. The school grew and in 1907 left the temporary facilities and moved into its own permanent building on a thirteen-acre campus. That same year Immanuel celebrated its first graduates. Immanuel began to regularly graduate Black teachers and ministers and, by 1927 sixteen members of the Church’s mission board were Immanuel College alumni. The school boasted a seminary, college, and high school. This school that trained Black pastors and teachers was of great benefit to the Lutheran Church. In North Carolina alone, the new leadership led to new congregations and the revival of old ones. In 1927, there were 1300 Black Lutherans in the state of North Carolina, the most ever up until that time. In

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