We recently completed the LCR new member class and wanted to share some of our thoughts since this was our first time participating.
Steve: I thought attending the new member class would be interesting. Being a life-long Lutheran, I wanted to hear more about the Reformation and the protestant movement. Raised a Missouri Synod Lutheran I had learned about Luther’s disagreement with the Catholic Church. As I mentioned this past March in my mid-week Lenten service reflection, my faith has changed over the “decades”. It is interesting how so much of what was “black and white” at 13 seems to run into a lot more “gray” over the years. Questions and situations not imagined in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade have a way of popping up over the years.
For me living in a place where most people are not Lutherans can prompt an examination of beliefs and practices I previously took for granted. Toss in an array of major life events such as deaths of immediate family members; challenges to principles and ethical practices encountered in the world of work; obvious and less-than-obvious encounters of situations challenging what is legal, ethical, moral, fair and even Lutheran–and one has quite the mix to process.
I found myself thinking some of the new member discussions definitely fell into the realm of topics that my parochial school teachers in the late 60’s probably preferred not to discuss with impressionable minds. (If they even were aware of some of the issues we seem to more frequently encounter today.) It reminded me a bit of when I went to the father-son evening around the age of 13 with my dad. There was a lot of discussion about the changes young men go through entering puberty–with my dad’s final comment to me of the evening being “ask mom if you have more questions.” For those of you who can remember far enough back – the recent new member class had some discussions that to me had some of the Paul Harvey radio show “rest of the story” qualities.
As we went through the topics in new member class, I found the foundational beliefs and principles are still there – just the way I learned them. Other topics were quite informative – such as the fact there is no single published reference resource (or even a small collection of resource documents) for everything in the bible. (Oh, and by the way-how did the books of the bible get in there anyway?) Hearing the questions, discussions, and experiences of new member class attendees provided perspectives from their experiences with religion and from their faith journeys. I also acquired some additional insight into the differences within the Lutheran church itself as well as some of the issues that came out of the Reformation which are shared with other protestant faiths. The LCR New Member Class definitely helped broaden my perspective. It also gave me a renewed appreciation for my own faith journey. I would encourage others to attend an LCR New Member Class even if you are a life-long Lutheran (or if it has been a while since you had the opportunity to look at what we believe as Lutherans). You might learn something new, get a better understanding of something you weren’t familiar with, or have a renewed confirmation of what you learned way back when – at a time you may not have thought much about it.
Teresa: I wanted to attend the new member class because coming for a Roman Catholic background, I have attended Missouri Synod Lutheran adult instruction classes – at least two or three times, and I wanted to hear what Pastor Zorn had to say from the ELCA perspective.
I found the whole experience to be informative and very interesting. I like knowing what happened and why. I think the best part of the new member class is meeting the people who are thinking about joining LCR. Since Steve and I attend Saturday evening or sometimes 8 a.m. Sunday morning, we don’t get to know most of the people who join LCR. I looked forward to seeing everyone and we had some great discussions. Now I know the members of this class and I am so glad they joined our church.
Think about taking the new member class; it is informative, you get to meet new people, and there are snacks- what more could you ask for!
About the Author: Steve (a lifelong Lutheran) and Theresa (a former Catholic) have attended Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Cincinnati, OH for over 20 years. Steve and Theresa attend the 5:30 Saturday Evening Service.
About LCR: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection is a vibrant and welcoming community of faith and a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.