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What Lutherans believe: A faith founded on good news


Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 - 1546). Luther was a German theologian who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic church at that time. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University, titled "95 Theses" (to debate 95 theological issues). His hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible.


What started as an academic debate escalated into a distinct separation between the Roman Catholic church of the time and those who accepted Luther's suggested reforms. "Lutheran" became the name of the group that agreed with Luther's convictions.


Today, nearly five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and still hold to the basic principles of Luther's theological teachings, such as Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone. These comprise the very essence of Lutheranism:


We are saved by the grace of God alone -- not by anything we do;


Our salvation is through faith alone -- we only need to trust God made known in Christ who promises us forgiveness, life and salvation; and


The Bible is the norm for faith and life -- the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.


Over the years, different Lutheran church bodies have been established and organized to meet the needs of Lutherans in communities and nations all over the world. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the largest Lutheran group in North America, founded in 1988 when three North American Lutheran church bodies united: The American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in America. Learn more about the History of the ELCA.


Lutherans are part of a reforming movement within the whole Christian church; as a part of practicing their faith, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its predecessors have engaged in ecumenical dialogue with other church bodies for decades. In fact, the ELCA has entered into cooperative "full communion" agreements (sharing common convictions about theology, mission and worship) with several other Protestant denominations, including:


- The Moravian Church
- The Episcopal Church
- The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- The Reformed Church in America
- The United Church of Christ


The ELCA has an ongoing dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, and in 1999, representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. This represented a historic consensus on key issues of faith and called for further dialogue and study together. To learn more about these ecumenical relationships, visit Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations.


Lutheranism is a faith tradition that is open to all, regardless of background. The ELCA alone is almost five million members strong, with nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We welcome you to learn more about our church and find out how we can help you along life's path.


For more information about the ELCA, please visit their website at https://www.elca.org/

Mission and Values

OUR MISSION: Who we are, and what we do.

Marked with the Cross of Christ forever,
We are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world.

VALUES: Why we are who we are, and why we do what we do.


We are a church:

• that belongs to Christ. ere is a place for you here.
• whose unity is in Jesus, who gathers us around word and sacrament.
• that believes Jesus is God’s “Yes” to us. Our lives can be a “Yes” to others.

• that believes God is calling us into the world – together.
• that rolls up our sleeves and gets to work.
• that is a catalyst, convener, and bridge builder.
• that is energized by lively engagement in our faith and life.
• that is deeply rooted – and always being made new.


OUR VISION: How we do things.
We, Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, are disciples of Jesus Christ; a community of faithful people who, by God’s gift of grace alone, are free to orient our lives around Jesus’ commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind; and to love our neighbors as ourselves.


  • With love for our neighbors WE SERVE compassionately by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, strengthening the weak, and defending the vulnerable in e­fforts
    of justice and peace.
  • With our hearts WE CARE genuinely. Providing comfort and support to those who feel sick, lonely, broken, excluded, bullied, or ashamed.   
  • With our soul WE WORSHIP joyfully. With roots in tradition, we are made new in our experience of God’s presence among us in music, preaching, prayer, communion and baptism.
  • With our minds WE LEARN purposefully; …finding direction for our lives and support for our moral values as we grow in discipleship of Jesus.


Centered on God’s love for all people we endeavor for our church to be a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven where imperfect people are perfectly loved, welcomed and where all people matter to God. In consort with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we are doing God’s Work with Our Hands.

We Serve, Care, Worship, & Learn: Our vision

OUR VISION: How we do things.

We, Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, are disciples of Jesus Christ; a community of faithful people who, by God’s gi of grace alone, are free to orient our lives around Jesus’ commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind; and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

  • With love for our neighbors WE SERVE compassionately by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, strengthening the weak, and defending the vulnerable in e orts of justice and peace.

  • With our hearts WE CARE genuinely. Providing comfort and support to those who feel sick, lonely, broken, excluded, bullied, or ashamed.

  • With our soul WE WORSHIP joyfully. With roots in tradition, we are made new in our experience of God’s presence among us in music, preaching, prayer, communion and baptism.

  • With our minds WE LEARN purposefully; nding direction for our lives and support for our moral values as we grow in discipleship of Jesus.

    Centered on God’s love for all people we endeavor for our church to be a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven where imperfect people are perfectly loved, welcomed and where all people matter to God. In consort with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we are doing God’s Work with Our Hands.


Our Church History


1812 Began meeting under Henry A. Muhlenberg in private homes.

1818 Lutheran congregation was granted permission to use the existing Reformed Church in Sinking Spring for worship and its burial ground.

1854 Lutheran and Reformed congregations formally agreed to joint use of the building, sharing all expenses equally. Congregations met on alternate Sundays.

1896 Lutheran and Reformed congregations terminated the agreement and separated. Lutheran congregation received $2,500 and a parcel of land to the west.

1899 Consecration of the first organ.

1906 Electrical fixtures replaced gas lights.

1912 Steam heating system installed.

1925 Extensive interior renovations resulted in the removal of the central pulpit and communion table in favor of the) current arrangement. Also, a Tellers-Kent pipe organ was presented to the congregation by W.W. Webber in memory of his mother.

1959 Ground breaking held December 20th for educational building.

1960 Christian education buildings constructed to the rear of the church. Cornerstone laid on September 18th and dedicated on December 18th. A chancel rail and kneeling facilities added to sanctuary.

1961 St. John’s celebrates 150th anniversary in October.

1973 Schlicker organ dedicated June 3rd.

1987 Celebration of 175th anniversary on October 18th.

1988 Summit Avenue parking lot dedicated.

2011 Casavant organ is installed.

2012 St. John's celebrates 200 years!

2014 Pastor Richard Moore is called

Pastor's Letter

Dear SJLC friend,


Grace and peace to you.


Nearly 500 years ago, a small-town priest disrupted the entire religious, economic and political landscape of the world. The founder of our faith, Martin Luther, believed in a living Word of God, a daring confidence in God’s grace, and the rest is history.


For us, as members of the ELCA here at Saint John’s in Sinking Spring, God’s Word is just as alive, and empowers us with the same daring confidence in God’s grace. This grants us the freedom to orient our lives around Jesus’ command to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. In short, God’s grace frees us to worship, learn, care and serve.


Our church has a lot of work to do in 2017, but the good news is we don’t have to do it alone. Your help and support to Saint John’s Mission 17 provides our church with the opportunity to extend the love of God through a re-envisioned list of ministries—ministries that will grow our congregation; ministries that will be faith forming for children and youth; ministries that will care for our elders, ministries that will reach out to serve our neighborhood and our world; and ministries that will develop current and future leaders of our church.


By joining together as a congregation with a common vision, I believe we can accomplish far more than we ever could alone. Our mission strategies for 2017 are designed to grow our church and lay a foundation for further growth in the future.


And, THANK YOU to all who have turned in a pledge of financial support for Mission 2017. If you haven’t yet pledged, you can still do so at our website under Online Giving. You can also submit or mail the enclosed pledge form to the church office. In recognition of your support every financial pledge will receive a Saint John's Mission 2017 Cling for your car.


With everyone’s generous support, our mission of Christ’s love will continue to strengthen faith as we worship together, learn together, serve and care together. And, with God’s living Word freeing us to a daring confidence in God’s grace we will be around to reach out to the world with God’s love for the next 500 years!


In God’s abundant grace,


Pastor Rich

President's Letter

As we look forward to 2017, you now see an emphasis on “Mission 2017”, which is St. John’s Ministry Plan for next year. This plan is the result of the brainstorming and planning that the staff, Council, and Ministry Teams have been working toward over the past year. It is exciting to see this come to fruition and the goals in front of us for 2017. For those of you who were not able to attend the Forum on November 13 that discussed Mission 2017, please read the information that has been prepared so that you are informed and ready to participate in the new year.


As we prepare for 2017, the Council has also been reviewing and approving a responsible budget. On December 4th a special congregation meeting will be held after both services to approve the 2017 budget. The budgeting process has required some difficult decisions to be made regarding expense reductions. While we hope and expect our church to grow, we have created a budget based on where we are today. Copies of the budget are available in the church office and sanctuary. We look forward to feedback and support from members of the congregation.


Sincerely,


Patrick Velekei


Congregation Council President

Staff Members

  • Allen Artz

    Organist and choir director


  • Jodi avanzato

    office administrator


  • Karen Peiffer

    Preschool Director

    Additional Staff: Tracy Arena, Elaine Levkoff, Susan Nagle, Tracy Reed,

    Stefanie Steffey, Kim Swartz, Tracey Trout, Mary Ann Weihrer, and Betsy Wright


  • Custodial staff

    Terry Pearson, Michelle Brossman, Greg Kline

Church Council Members

Patrick Velekei, President


Jim Roth, Vice President


Gail Hauseman, Treasurer


Scott Winkleman, Secretary


Charles Coleman, Care Team Council Representative


Dale Whitehead, Serve Team Council Representative


Jan Velekei, Learn Team Council Representative


Russell Lis, Worship Team Council Representative


Pastor Rich Moore


As of July, 2016

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