Missouri Synod Church in Downtown Memphis

News & Notes

Empowerment Center, Including Lutheran Hope Center, Opens At Ferguson’s ‘Ground Zero’

Shoulder to shoulder under a huge tent, sitting on folding chairs and standing five deep in spots, some 400 people witnessed a symbolic — and even “historic” — event here July 26: the grand opening of the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center, a resource for hope and healing nearly three years after the violent protests that sparked a fresh look at racism nationwide.

The new, two-story facility — debt-free, thanks to corporate donations — stands on the grounds of the burned-out QuikTrip gas station that served as “ground zero” for authorities responding to weeks of unrest following the police shooting death of teenager Michael Brown Jr. on Aug. 9, 2014. (click for more)

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Call Committee Asks Again For Nominations From Congregation

The Call Committee, led by Dave Chester, is again asking the members to help find a suitable candidate to call as Trinity’s next pastor. Mid-South President, Roger Paavola provided an initial list to Trinity, however after prayerful consideration, none of the names met the committee’s criteria. Last month, the Committee brought in Rev. Neil Vanderbush and his wife from Texas for a visit and a series of interviews however the process did not go as smoothly as one would have hoped. Rev. Vanderbush respectfully withdrew his name from consideration shortly after. “We are going to proceed a bit more slowly,” says chairman Chester. “I want to gather a many more names as we can so that we can have the best chance of finding a candidate that will be the best match. “We currently have six names before us. Two of them are from the previous list, two are from member nominations, and two are additional names provided by Roger Paavola.” It would be extremely helpful if every member of the congregation that has friends or family outside of the Memphis area to contact them and ask them if they know of a minister who may be in a situation where there current ministry is winding down, or perhaps they are looking for a new mission opportunity, or just in need of a change to a new location. One never knows where the Holy Spirit will lead you in a search, but it is very hard to find such a candidate

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Bethesda: Enhancing Lives, Sharing Jesus

  In one of several Bethesda Lutheran Communities group homes nestled throughout Watertown, Wis. — and much like Bethesda homes in other areas across the country — Annie Egan and her housemates receive necessary medical care. All are nonverbal and in wheelchairs; some use feeding tubes. Such physical needs helped convince Cathy Egan to allow Annie, 38, to move to Bethesda when her daughter was 16. Back then, Cathy had no idea how much Annie would enjoy singing songs like “Jesus Loves Me.” She never envisioned six women — all considered low-functioning — taking part in their group home Bible study and how they “really respond” when the topic is Jesus. Integrating rather than segregating Bethesda programs empower people with developmental disabilities to live, play, work and worship in their local communities. (Bethesda Lutheran Communities)A century ago, families took their children by train to Bethesda, where the youngsters grew up with classes in reading, religion and penmanship. “We literally began as an orphanage, a home started by German Lutherans for families who didn’t know how to best care for their children,” said Mike Thirtle, president and CEO of Bethesda, a name from the Bible for the pool where the disabled came for healing (John 5:2-4). While its mission to “enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through services that share the Good News of Jesus” remains the same, the LCMS Recognized Service Organization (RSO) has changed dramatically. Bethesda’s many programs include working with congregations to enrich the

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US Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Trinity Lutheran Church – Columbia Mo.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling June 26 in the case of a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod church preschool, determining 7-2 that the state of Missouri’s barring of the church from a government aid program was unconstitutional. While the LCMS was not a party to the litigation, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys represented Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., in Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) v. Comer (formerly Pauley). The case came about after Trinity was invited to apply for the 2012 Playground Scrap Tire Surface Material Grant Program to resurface its playground with recycled tire products to be provided by the supposedly neutral state program. The grant program was offered to Missouri nonprofits as a means to recycle scrap tires, in an attempt to reduce the amount of tires in landfills and to foster children’s safety. “The government should treat children’s safety at religious schools the same as it does at nonreligious schools,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman in his statement after the ruling. “The Supreme Court’s decision today affirms that common-sense principle and the larger truth that government isn’t being neutral when it treats religious organizations worse than everyone else.” “The Supreme Court’s decision today demonstrates the support of the principle that the government cannot treat religious organizations differently than other organizations just because of what we believe,” echoed LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison. “Despite this case being about a preschool playground, a seemingly mundane and simple matter, this is a very big win for

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Phil Schmidt Dies After Battle With Cancer

It is with deep sorrow that we announce that Trinity’s Pastor Emeritus, Phil Schmidt was called to his heavenly home Wednesday evening. Phil had been battling cancer. Phil came to Memphis with his wife Jean and their two small children, Missy (Caroline Schmidt) and Stephen in the 1980’s to serve as Trinity’s associate pastor. He also served for decades as the Chaplin for the Shelby County Courts and served as Circuit Councilor for the Mid-South District. Rather than be allowed to retire peacefully, Phil served time and again as vacancy pastor for area churches who were without pastoral care. Many young people know him today for his annual work with the Lutheran Summer Camp where he instructed children in various craft projects. We praise God for allowing Pastor Phil into our lives and thank Him for all of the blessings that were worked in our lives by means of this faithful servant. Service for Pastor Phil Schmidt will be on Wednesday, June 7th at 7:00 pm at Trinity. Visitation will be at 6:00 pm.

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Free Conference For Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Trinity’s Chairman of Social Ministry, Vernetta Eddleman, reminds us that The Mid South Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will be presenting their 6th Annual Caregiver Conference Tue, June 20, 2017 from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM CDT There will be presentations from local senior industry leaders dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia aimed at those who provide care and support for friends and loved ones suffering with these afflictions. Location for the Conference will be: Bartlett Station Municipal Center 5868 Stage Road Bartlett, TN 38134   The conference is free and includes a complimentary lunch, but you must register. Here is a link to the registration and directions to the event.   Additional information is available from Vernetta Eddleman

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Beautiful Savior in Olive Branch Joins MidSouth District

It is a fact of life that, while Lutherans number about 90 million members world wide, there are not that many to be found in the southern regions of the United States. Our friends of the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian persuasions far out number us in both members and in numbers of congregations. As a result, a Lutheran congregation in, say, Olive Branch Mississippi might have to drive a good piece to find another LCMS congregation within their own Southern District which covers Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. A congregation so situated might have to drive a great many miles just to join in activities with another congregation in their circuit. With that in mind, we rejoice and welcome the newest congregation to in the Memphis Circuit of the Mid-South District, Beautiful Savior Lutheran in Olive Branch, Mississippi. While still officially within the Southern district, Beautiful Savior will now join with its fellow Lutherans in the Memphis area in circuit wide support and activities. The West Tennessee zone of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League will step over the state line to hold their Spring Zone Rally at Beautiful Savior April 29th. Directions to Beautiful Savior    

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Call Committee Works To Find A New Pastor For Trinity.

Trinity’s Call Committee is moving forward in the process to secure a new pastor to fill the vacancy created when Rev. Josh Hatcher left to accept a call to Trinity Lutheran in downtown St. Louis. Names were solicited from members of the congregation and friends as to who might be likely candidates to call. In addition, District President Roger Paavola has created a list of his own to share with us. These names were submitted to the District President who in turn contacted the individuals to see if they are open to a call and if so, to ask them to fill out a survey detailing their views of and approaches to the ministry in the Lutheran church as well as a brief personal assessment of their strengths and areas of interest. These surveys have been returned and are being distributed to the members of the call committee for their evaluation. Although the committee is moving into the evaluation stage of the process, it is not too late to submit names for consideration. Members and friends of Trinity are still encouraged to contact family and friends in other parts of the country to ask them if they have the names of anyone they think would be suitable for Trinity’s unique ministry or if they know of someone desiring a call to a new location. These names should be shared with the committee chairman, Dave Chester or any other member of the committee. Just a reminder. Unlike other denominations or even

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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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Five Very Simple Things To Make Lent More Meaningful

Five Very Simple Things To Make Lent More Meaningful

A season spent in fasting and meditation is good for your soul, but many of us don’t have the time or energy to undertake such a commitment. That doesn’t mean our Lenten season should be without meaning. Here are some simple things that you can do to make this season more meaningful to you. 1. Be Watchful “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.  ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” Jesus’ pleading words to his disciples might just as easily apply to us today. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” We are surrounded by temptations of every kind. Sometimes we just give up the fight and give in to our weaknesses. Remember, we can’t resist temptation on our own. Jesus, who knows about temptation first hand, is always there to give us strength. 2. Be Faithful On Palm Sunday, the crowd praised Jesus as the Messiah, the one to restore the kingdom of David, but in a few days, they lost their zeal. Before, they shouted His praise, now they shouted for His execution. Do we flip-flop that easily? Do we sing God’s praises one day and shame His name the next? Use your time this season to examine your actions. Has everything you have done been a witness to Christ? Everything you said? Every action you took?

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What If We Told Them

We know two things: (1) The U.S has become one of the greatest mission fields in the world as the number of “unchurched” grows. (2) Jesus commanded His disciples to proclaim a message of repentance and forgiveness, starting from the heart of the local city. But what about me in my daily life? Does the thought of making a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you, send chills down your spine? Take heart. You have been equipped to tell others the Good News of Jesus Christ. You know how to confess your faith, and you practice it every week. On a regular basis, the whole Christian Church confesses the creeds that have been handed down to us. Yep, those very creeds and the confession of faith that you vowed to confess, are at the very core of bearing witness to Christ. I met a 6-year-old boy once in West Africa who could recite all six chief parts of Luther’s Small Catechism in one sitting. The young man couldn’t read, so every single day he spent time with a catechist who read the catechism to him. At first, I thought, “Well, that’s a really cool thing that he worked so hard to learn this.” But by the third chief part, I had broken into tears. My pastor friend who invited me said, “He loves God.” And he did. He loves God so much so that he spent hours every day to learn about

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Heroes of Faith

Who is your hero? As a child, I might have named a TV actor, a star athlete or famous musician. Somewhere along the line I started to recognize the heroic qualities in ordinary people, like teachers and even parents. Nowadays, I’m more impressed with spiritual heroes, people who have modeled Christ for me. While we all are saints by virtue of our baptism into Christ, some have proven to be outstanding “Heroes of Faith” for the church community as a whole. Back in 2002, Trinity came up with a way to acknowledge our congregation’s spiritual heroes. Originally called the “Tree of Life” and now renamed “Heroes of Faith”, it is located in Trinity’s Fellowship Hall, near the front door. It has some 59 gold-colored leaves inscribed with names of families or individuals. The guidelines for selection of names (as adopted by Trinity’s Church Council), are that they should be Christian men and women who: were at one time members of Trinity Lutheran, Memphis, TN; died with faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord since 1975 when Trinity congregation made the decision to remain downtown Memphis;and made a significant contribution to Trinity’s mission and ministry through their dedicated personal ministry and/or through their estate. These people are remembered for their generosity, for their leadership, for their service, for the example they set. A Nominations Committee meets periodically to consider who might be added to our “Heroes of Faith” display. The current committee of Mary Henderson, David Brugge, Paula

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