Missouri Synod Church in Downtown Memphis

News & Notes

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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A New Beginning – Understanding the Divine Call

In initiating the process of calling our next pastor, we at Trinity Lutheran Church have entered into a season often marked with anxiousness, excitement, and uncertainty.  It is our hope and fervent prayer that it will ultimately lead to a time of joyful renewal for our congregation.  In this endeavor, we are not attempting to replace Pastor Hatcher, but to seek and discern the person that God sees fit to continue this wonderfully vibrant ministry in downtown Memphis, TN.  Indeed, Josh came to us and took up a baton that was passed on by those who came before him, and our next pastor will follow in that same line as we move forward. The Divine Call Part 1  – God’s Will and Plan for Us In the Lutheran tradition, there are two elements to consider when seeking to understand the meaning of a Divine Call.  First, there is the obvious divine nature of the call itself.  God has given us the Office of the Holy Ministry as a gift of his abundant grace.  In this earthly realm, God always works through means.  Think about it.  We are loved and served by Him through our neighbor and earthly vocations, while water, written word, bread and wine serve as a his vessels of mercy towards us.  We as a congregation need to hear forgiveness preached into our ears as we are fed, nourished, and sustained by his true body and blood.  That is why the Office of the Ministry is primarily a

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Pastor Josh Accepts Call to St. Louis

It is with deep sorrow that Pastor Josh Hatcher announced to our congregation of Trinity here in Memphis that after much prayer and fasting, he has come to realize that God is guiding him to accept the Call to be Sr. Pastor at Trinity Lutheran in St. Louis, Missouri. Pastor Hatcher says that telling a congregation goodbye is one of the worst duties a pastor is called upon to do, and adds that he loves the Memphis congregation deeply, will miss us greatly, and that we will always have a special place in his heart. Pastor Hatcher came to Trinity with his wife Melissa and son Thomas in October of 2011. During his time with us, Pastor Josh has touched many lives and has been a friend, a councilor, and an advocate for a great number of people both within the Trinity congregation and without. We have seen the Holy Spirit work through him to bring faith and witness to a countless number of people. While serving as Trinity’s pastor, Trinity has been blessed with a significant increase in membership and attendance. Pastor added that he will remain with us through Christmas, after which time he will assume his duties in St. Louis. Congregational President, Dave Chester has started to form a Call Committee go through the process of finding a new pastor for Trinity and the Board of Elders is meeting to work out details for pastoral care in the period after Pastor Hatcher’s departure. We give heartfelt thanks

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Trinity Constitution and Revised By-Laws

As promised at the last voter’s meeting. Here is a download of the Trinity Constitution and the revised By-Laws

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Lessons From My Sister

Lessons From My Sister

“Two are better than one; for they have a good return from their labor.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9 Her name is Gwen and she lives on the streets of downtown Memphis in the neighborhood of Trinity. I’ll be honest, when I hear her tapping at the front door and I look up from a cluttered desk to see her peering through the glass, my first response isn’t “Great! My sister is here!” But it should be. In the months that she has allowed me a small glimpse into her hard life, I have heard the voice of Jesus whispering to my oh-so-cleaned-up heart, “This is you, beloved.” Gwen doesn’t have a home, a place to bathe, store her belongings, or lay her head at night. She carries all of her possessions with her in a bag, including the thin blue blanket that is her bed. I asked her once how she stays safe on the streets and she replied, “I just keep moving.” I have no idea what she does or where she goes in between her visits to the church, and yet when I open the door to her, she greets me each time with a cheerful “Hey girl! What you been up to?” When I didn’t see her on stormy days, I realized that she was probably sheltered somewhere waiting for the rain to stop, so I picked up an umbrella. I was pleased to be able to give it to her and she seemed genuinely happy to have

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NYG 2016 Day 5 – Are you an ECHO that points to Jesus?

  Good morning dear brothers and sisters! It’s hard to believe, but today we begin our last full day of events before tomorrow morning’s worship service closes out the National Youth Gathering of 2016. As we were walking towards the Superdome last night Amara turned to me and said, “it’s weird, but I feel like a part of me really wants to be home but at the same time I never want to leave.” I echo her sentiments exactly. We are in the thick of things now and it feels like we’ve been going 100 miles an hour since last Thursday without stopping. But the rewards and benefits have been worth every second. I feel as though a typhoon of love started building on that train ride out of Memphis last week and we are now in full throttle as we barrel towards the finish line. Trinity’s youth, and the youth of the LCMS at large, have been doing some amazing things down here that I want to take the time to share with y’all this morning. Yesterday afternoon Trinity’s boys elected to forego the option of attending a fun improv presentation and decided instead to pack meals for the homeless of New Orleans and the poorest of the poor in Kenya. Tony, Eli, and Jasen donned “fashionable” hairnets and decided to get their hands dirty in the precious name of Jesus. We teamed with our brothers and sisters from Baltimore and packed over 2,000 meals together while jamming to

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Latest Updates From New Orleans.

This Week, members of Trinity’s Youth are joining 25,000 other young Lutheran people from across the nation at the LCMS National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. Barbara Sharp and Jay Medeiros have volunteered their time to take them to take part in what for many is a truly life shaping event. Jay has promised us (as best he can) daily updates from New Orleans Here are the reports from the field on our own band of warriors... DAY 1NYG 22016 - New OrleansWelcome to New Orleans!!! – NYG2016 Read Jay's Post DAY 2NYG 22016 - New OrleansLutheran Invasion! Read Jay's Post DAY 3NYG 22016 - New OrleansWhere Do You Find Your Joy? Read Jay's Post DAY 4NYG 22016 - New OrleansGood Junk, Bad Junk. What's The Difference? Read Jay's Post DAY 5NYG 22016 - New OrleansAre You An Echo That Points To Jesus? Read Jay's Post Day 6NYG 22016 - New OrleansHope Is The Anthem Of My Soul. Read Jay's PostRead more

NYG 2016 Day 3 – Where Do You Find Your Joy?

Greetings once again everyone in the name of Jesus! With our first “Mass Event” occurring at the Superdome last night the Gathering has finally been officially kicked off. And WOW did they pull out all the stops! But more on that in a little bit. Our first order of business was to visit the National WWII Museum and it did not disappoint. The kids were very engaged in the history surrounding one of the most pivotal times in our nation’s history. We started with a walking tour of the premises before viewing the acclaimed “Beyond All Boundaries” four dimensional movie experience. The film is incredibly moving and so well done that it is actually impossible to put into words. We followed that with the “Final Mission”, a simulated submarine battle in which each of the kids had a battle station to man! It was SO fun to watch them take down the Axis powers and work as a team. We finished with lunch at the museum’s vintage restaurant experience to the sounds of music from the 40’s and service folks dressed in authentic garb from that wonderful era. After resting up for a few hours at the hotel, it was FINALLY time to head to the Superdome. I have to tell you folks, it was amazing to walk the streets of New Orleans and watch 25,000 Lutheran kids in a mass exodus towards the stadium. Folks were cheering, singing, high-fiving, and dancing. It put most of the major sporting events

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NYG 2016 Day 2 – Lutheran Invasion!

Lutherans, Lutherans are everywhere! Yesterday was the first official day of registration for the Gathering and our brothers and sisters in the LCMS were now arriving in full force. It was an awesome sight to see. We were so thankful for the opportunity to arrive a day early in order to start getting around the city with the kids and do some some sight seeing before the start of the convention. Our first order of the day was a tour of “Mardi Gras World”, a fantastic experience where the kids got an exclusive behind the scenes look at the massive production that goes in to all of those parades and their storied history. We were able to sample some delicious, authentic King Cake. Iyla was the lucky gal who got the small plastic baby mascot (said to represent baby Jesus) in her piece so she was the “Queen of the Day”. However, we were told this responsibility also meant that Iyla was on the hook for throwing the next party! After a smooth registration process (thanks be to God and Barbara Sharp!) we headed back out for a walking tour of the city. We had an extremely charismatic tour guide who took us all over place! We travelled from the French Market down to the banks of the Mississippi and all around the French Quarter. Our guide told us all about the rich history of the city of New Orleans. The man was a wealth of knowledge. We learned all about

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Yes You Can Find Fault, But Can You Find Glory?

The Devil is the accuser of the brethren. He accuses us to God. He accuses us to ourselves. He uses others to accuse us. We can do this to others ourselves. Two things are constantly going on in a believer’s life. God is at work. He is doing something. He is the author of our faith. He is the most skillful worker. He is doing and he has been doing great works in our lives. He is putting His glory into us as He transforms us into His image and anything He does is beautiful and glorious. The other thing that is going on is we are still struggling with sins, faults, circumstances, providences, etc. etc. The devil is constantly accusing us to ourselves and to God according to these things. The question is whose eyes we see ourselves and others through. Do we see ourselves and others thru the devils (carnal, BLIND) eyes or through God’s (Faith, spiritual) eyes? If we see through carnal eyes we will see nothing but fault in ourselves and in others. We will be fault finders. If we see through God’s (faith, spiritual) eyes we will see the glory that God has done and is doing in ourselves and in others in spite of theirs and our faults, sins etc. We will be glory finders. Example of seeing ourselves properly; the bride in the Song of Solomon says about herself. I am black but comely. (Song of Solomon 1:5) She sees the glory in spite of her

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Lutherans and Anglicans Move Closer Together

Participants in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod(LCMS) and Lutheran Church—Canada’s (LCC) ongoing ecumenical dialogue have released an interim report on their work so far. Titled “On Closer Acquaintance,” the document is the culmination of six years of regular discussions among the three church bodies and highlights the discovery of significant doctrinal agreement between the Anglican and Lutheran participants. The authors are clear that there is still much work to be done before altar and pulpit fellowship between the two sides would be possible. Nevertheless, they have found the discussions promising enough to publicly declare their prayer “that, in the time and manner of His choosing, our Lord would grant each side in our conversations to acknowledge our ‘first cousin’ to be in fact a true sister church, with the result that we would welcome each other wholeheartedly to our respective altars and enjoy the blessed situation in which our clergy and people would be interchangeable with each other as we stand under the grace of God and work for His kingdom.” In the meantime, they encourage all three church bodies to “consider the ways in which we can cooperate and come together in ways that fall short of full communion but do allow the greatest measure of cooperation while maintaining full theological integrity.” [The report can be downloaded at lcms.org/doc/acna-report.] Church leaders react The leaders of the three churches welcomed the report warmly, reflecting on the growing relationship between confessional Anglicans and Lutherans. “In

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