Missouri Synod Church in Downtown Memphis

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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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Life Cycles and Church Vision

Life Cycles and Church Vision

Like people, all churches have a life cycle, including Trinity. It can be graphed as a bell-shaped curve starting with birth, growing toward maturity and declining through retirement to eventual death.  Also, like people, a church’s life cycle typically takes place over a period of 75-100 years. Some congregations close earlier and a few (like Trinity) have exceptionally good genes for longevity, but the point is that no congregation lasts indefinitely. The good news for churches, though, is that unlike people; churches can have more than one life cycle.  Undoubtedly, Trinity has had more than one life cycle.  The transformation that took place when the congregation transitioned from German to English as its primary worship language would be a good example.  Another would be when Trinity decided to “stay downtown for good”, rather than move to the suburbs.  In some ways, a new life cycle constitutes a “new beginning” or “starting over” for a congregation. With regard to the human aging process, all that we can really do is to live our lives as healthily as we can and hope to delay our demise as long as possible. With congregations, a proactive approach can result in much more than mere longevity. Proactive congregations can start a whole new life cycle.  In fact, that’s my plan (and prayer) for Trinity! So where is Trinity on its current life cycle?  To find out, come this Sunday to my Bible Class in the Fellowship Hall @ 9:15 am.  We will be asking everyone

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Heading off starvation in South Sudan

In South Sudan, a severe food crisis fueled by severe drought and deadly civil war has left the country on the brink of famine. The conditions are exacerbated by extreme poverty, weak infrastructure and lack of access to basic services, including health care.

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People of Passion

People of Passion

As we continue exploring “A New Season for our Church” at Trinity, we are entering a time of preparing and visioning.  To help our entire church family to gather around the dream of connecting many new people to God through faith in Jesus, we are starting a new group called “People of Passion.”* Who are people of passion?  They are baptized believers in Jesus who: Love Him (and want other people to know and love Jesus the way they do.) Have strong feelings for Trinity Lutheran Church – a deep desire for our church family to be everything God wants us to be. Have compassion and love for the people in our community and neighborhoods (especially those who don’t know Jesus and His love for them.) You do not need to be a “person of position” – a board member or elected leader or church worker.  You could be, but you’ll probably have more time, energy and passion for mission activities if you aren’t already committed to other meetings, etc. We are praying for at least 12 “People of Passion” to emerge to work with Pastor Tieman and the Board of Outreach.  We will meet approximately twice a month for the next six months, beginning around the first of March.  This will not be a Bible study group, but instead, a Bible-doin’ group.  We will learn and practice things like prayer-walking; community surveying; service projects; crafting a personal testimony; planning outreach events, etc. If you are interested in being a

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Mission Impossible?

  Your mission should you choose to accept it… God’s Word is very clear about His mission for the church.  Shortly before He ascended into heaven, Jesus told His followers to, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  (Matthew 28:19-20a) In essence, these are Jesus’ marching orders to the church and they haven’t changed in 2,000 years.  The message from headquarters is clear and precise:  Go and make disciples!  The question isn’t, “what is our mission” but rather “will we accept the mission”? Unfortunately, many in the church today think that making disciples isn’t their responsibility.  They rationalize by saying (or thinking), “that’s the pastor’s job” or “I’m not gifted in evangelism” or “I don’t have enough training” or                            fill in the blank with your own excuse.  Personally, I think the biggest reason we don’t take Jesus’ command to make disciples more seriously is because we are afraid!  We are afraid of rejection; we are afraid that people will say ‘no’; or worse, they will say ‘yes’ and then what do we do? In each episode of the Mission Impossible movies, Ethan Hunt is always given a very difficult assignment with the caveat: your mission should you choose to accept it…Of course, he always accepts it and then finds some kind of miraculous, spine-tingling way to accomplish the mission. What about you?   Will

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A New Season…at Trinity

How do you feel now that Christmas is over?  One mother says that she is always sorry when Christmas is over because she knows that after her family has hung up their stockings on Christmas Eve it will be a whole year before any one of them will hang up anything again! Most of us are sad to see Christmas pass.  For myself, it’s probably the most enjoyable time of the year.  That’s true, first of all, because of the wonderful celebration of Christ’s coming to the world in human form and all that means for us, but also because it is a special time of the year to reflect on the blessings of the previous year and the promise of the new year to come. As I reflect back on this past year, I am amazed (and perhaps you are as well) that I am the Interim Pastor here at Trinity.  If someone had predicted this a year ago, I would have inquired about the medication they were taking! Now I am excited about getting to know you and your ministry and to work together in exploring new possibilities for the future. As the calendar turns from 2017 to 2018, it is a great time to dream big dreams and plan boldly, and to trust God to “do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of” (Eph. 3:20b ERV).  Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty vivid imagination, and I can think

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Trinity Hires Terry Tieman to Serve as Interim Pastor

At the November Church Council meeting, it was decided to hire Rev. Terry Tieman to serve part time as Trinity’s pastor until such time as the Congregation is able to secure a new full time pastor. We welcome Rev. Dr. Tieman as Trinity’s new part time pastor. Rev. Tieman has lived and ministered in Memphis for the past 23 years, so he knows the area and culture very well.  Prior to his service in Memphis as the Director of Missions for the Mid-South District, Pastor Tieman served for 12 years as a parish pastor, overseeing the planting of 2 churches and the growth of 4.  Finally, he has extensive experience at Immanuel, Memphis, with past assignments as Vacancy Pastor and Director of Discipleship & Assimilation. He is currently serving (part-time) as the Executive Director of Transforming Churches Network, Rev. Terry Tieman has formed a network of over 1,000 churches across the United States and Canada that have operated as a National Learning Community for over 10 years.  This network of judicatories, congregations, pastors, and lay leaders has provided a rich learning environment for a broad spectrum of congregational ministry, especially in the areas of outreach, discipleship, leadership, and church transformation.  With this cumulative knowledge and experience under his belt, Rev. Tieman is well positioned to lead local ministry at Trinity, Memphis, as a part-time pastor. His duties at Trinity (while we are in our Call Process) will include, but not be limited to, the following: Worship & Preaching:  Pastor Tieman

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