WELCOME!

Peace be with you.  We’re glad you’ve come to visit our website, and we hope you’ll visit us in person sometime soon. Here are answers to a few of your questions.

ARE LUTHERANS CHRISTIAN?

Most definitely: Lutherans worship God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Lutherans are named after Martin Luther, a priest in the Roman Catholic Church of sixteenth century Germany.  Luther was a university professor and biblical scholar who noticed that some of the church’s teachings were in conflict with the New Testament’s message of God’s free gift of salvation in Christ.  Eventually, he was excommunicated by the pope.  The movement to reform the church could not be contained, and the Lutheran church (and other Protestant churches soon after it) came into being.

WHAT IS LUTHERAN WORSHIP LIKE?

Sunday worship tends to have four key elements: gathering, word, meal, and sending.  We gather to hear the good news that our sins are forgiven: we can make a fresh start every day, thanks to God’s love given to us in Jesus.  We share the meal that Jesus instituted, receiving his body and blood in bread and wine to nurture our ongoing journey of faith.  (This meal goes by many names: the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, and the Sacrament of the Altar.)  Finally, we are sent into the world to share the good news in word and deed.

WHAT IS DISTINCTIVE ABOUT LUTHERANS?

Lutherans keep returning to Luther’s rediscovery of St. Paul’s teaching that we are saved not by anything we do, but by what God has done for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (cf. Romans 3:21-28).  This is the gospel, the good news.  Since almost all Christians affirm this truth, it is not a distinctively Lutheran teaching, but Lutherans tend to emphasize it a lot.  Because God in Christ has saved us, we are free to give of ourselves as Christ gave himself for us, living lives of gratitude, love, and service to others.

HOW DO YOU BECOME A LUTHERAN?

New membersThere’s no secret handshake.  In the sacrament of Baptism, water is poured on the head of a person (or the individual is immersed) three times: in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  If someone has been baptized previously in the name of the Trinity there is no need to be baptized again.  Newcomers to St. Andrew attend a seven-session class on Sunday mornings to learn more about the Lutheran Church in general and St. Andrew in particular.  Those wishing to join affirm their faith at a Sunday service, are introduced to the congregation, and welcomed at a reception between services.



WHAT ARE ST. ANDREW'S CONNECTIONS?

St. Andrew is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States with 4 million members.  The ELCA is composed of 65 geographic synods.  Our congregation belongs to the Southeastern Synod, which includes 160  congregations in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The ELCA is the only Lutheran denomination in the United States which is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 145 member churches in 79 countries representing more than 70 million Lutherans around the world.

The ELCA is in full communion with the Episcopal Church, Moravian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist Church.