Bringing people together to worship God and serve our community while maintaining Lutheran tradition and history in an ever changing world.
At the heart of our beliefs is the God we worship: the Triune God whom we know as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the same God confessed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the historic creeds of the Christian faith.
Together with many other Christians, we joyfully proclaim the Gospel: the Good News that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are brought into a right relationship with God. Through the saving power of Jesus’ death on the cross, we are freely offered forgiveness of sin and eternal life. As we humbly receive these gifts in faith, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live lives that reflect God’s forgiving and loving grace.
As Lutherans we look for guidance from the Word of God. God’s Word is first and foremost the Living Word, Jesus himself, the one identified as “the Word” in the first chapter of John’s Gospel. For us the Bible is the Written Word of God which bears witness to the Living Word, to Jesus himself. Martin Luther, the 16th century reformer after whom Lutherans are named, liked to say that the Bible was the “cradle” which held the Christ: As the Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures to tell us about Jesus, Lutherans say the Bible becomes the “source and norm” for our teaching and practice. John’s Gospel summarizes the central purpose of Holy Scripture: “These things are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
As we listen to God’s Word, we hear it as both “Law and Gospel.” When we hear “Law,” we are convicted of our sin and brokenness, realizing that before a holy God none of us can satisfy God’s righteous standards. When we hear “Gospel,” we rejoice in Jesus’ forgiving grace which frees us from our past and offers us new life.
Together with our focus on God’s Word, Lutherans also affirm the sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion. Together with the promises of God’s Word and visible, earthly signs, the Sacraments are “means of grace” which reassure us of God’s loving mercy and call us to live faithful lives.
Our focus on “Word and Sacrament” becomes central in our Sunday worship. As we hear God’s Word read and preached, and as we frequently receive Holy Communion, we are moved to join our hearts to give praise to God, to rejoice in God’s gifts, to pray for ourselves and our world, and to commit to faithful living as servants of Jesus Christ.
For a further exploration of our Lutheran beliefs and teachings, see the links on the “faith” page of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the denomination to which St. Paul’s belongs.
Our Lutheran Connection
St. Paul’s is one of nearly 10,000 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the ELCA), the largest Lutheran body in the United States. As an ELCA congregation, we share common traditions and religious beliefs with many other Lutheran churches. At the same time we affirm the unique identity which each congregation has as it strives to be faithful to God’s call to be servants of Jesus Christ.
For more information about the ELCA, see: http://www.elca.org/
St. Paul’s is also one of 154 congregations in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (SEPA Synod), one of 65 geographical synods of the ELCA. Our SEPA Synod unites and supports the work of ELCA congregations in the greater Philadelphia area. With the assistance of her staff and local pastoral leaders, our synod is administered by our bishop, the Reverend Claire Burkat. Bishop Burkat and her staff provide pastoral care and oversight to the congregations of the synod, as well as to its pastors and lay professional leaders.
For more information about the SEPA Synod, see: http://ministrylink.org/