You are welcome here!
St. Paul’s is a lively gathering of God’s people around the Gospel-centered promise of grace, a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in NW Washington, DC.
Here in the Lenten time, we are together exploring what it means to increase our prayer for the world, our works of love for the sake of others, and our focus on making the world a more merciful place for everyone. Join us Sundays *\(8:30 or 11am) or Wednesday evenings for evening prayer (7:30pm) – we would love to have you with us on the journey.
We are located between Ellicott & Everett Streets NW, between Murch Elementary School and the Fire Station.
"Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words."
These words, attributed to St. Francis, committed us to multi-faceted and multi-media methods of communicating the Gospel.
Jesus was God's word made visible, so we believe that bread and wine also preach. St. Paul's community of faith preaches with its feet and hands, too. And with voices.
In the Midweek Soup and Sacrament sessions, we are surrounded by images of Jesus Christ, as he has become known among us over time. This evening, it is as King of Kings and Prince of Peace, remembering the way early Christians saw themselves as citizens of the kingdom of this world and another, not of this world. This dual citizenship has made our faith and our loyalty to the nation complicated over the centuries. And it exposed the defensiveness of early Roman emperors who were threatened by this higher faith and grasp of divine sovereignty. And it made it easier for Christians to be globally minded.
St. Paul's seeks to be a congregation that holds the world in prayer, and today we add the victims of floodwaters to our prayers, be they in Nebraska or Iowa, or Mozambique. And we pray for victims of gun violence in our own country and in New Zealand. Hatred has no place in our kingdom, and so we say no to hatred as we say yes to God's good news.
A wise preacher once told me that the minute we cease to have one foot outside the scope of the institution we serve, we are no longer of use to the institution. And so this dual citizenship, this loyalty to God above all the other loyalties, becomes an important gift to the smaller and lesser kingdoms. Ultimately, the king of kings imagery, and the Prince of Peace role of Jesus Christ helps us be even more valuable preachers of God's word, and the kind of congregation that preaches the Gospel at all times!
John R. Spangler, Interim Pastor
PS: Watch the facebook page "St. Paul's Lutheran Church (ELCA) in DC" for a devotional word during the 40 day Lenten time. If you haven't, please "like" our page.
St. Paul's Congregation Meets, Elects Leaders and
The congregation of St. Paul's English Lutheran Church met in its 176th year for its annual meeting Sunday January 27th, engaged in a lengthy discussion about finances and conducted elections of leaders for the new year.
Treasurer Rod Larson provided an overview of the 2018 year, responding to numerous questions about the capital campaign for the HVAC system, other capital improvements, and regular giving. One key observation was that actual giving for 2018 ($463,423) fell approximately $200,000 short of planned giving. Giving to the ELCA wider ministries (benevolence) was $31,497 short of the congregation's commitment of $69,500. Several capital expenditures, including payments to reduce the principal on the HVAC loan ($364,712), a new sanctuary sound system ($80,259), roof repairs to the education wing ($43,000), and 2018 investment losses ($40,254), resulted in significant reductions in the value of St. Paul's dedicated funds.
Several commenters indicated that this pattern and scope of deficits needed to be better understood by St. Paul's members. "Members spoke to the issues in healthy ways," said Pastor Spangler, Interim Pastor. "This was the kind of conversation that is important after a major focus on big projects, the 175th anniversary and farewell to Pastor Tom." Mike Charlton, Stewardship chair, noted that only 38 of 210 giving units in the congregation made pledges in 2018, although many more members gave generously. Mike expressed hope that many more will fill out giving "intention" cards for the new year. Those cards and statements of giving were placed in the mail January 30th. In an Epiphany temple talk, Mike asked members and friends to consider increasing their giving this year by at least $300. He asked members to indicate their giving targets by returning their intention card to the Church. This information will greatly help the Council plan appropriately.
The congregation adopted a 2019 budget of $887,309, 6.5% lower than 2018, but still roughly $150,000 more than the total income received in 2018.
There was a general consensus that the congregation accomplishes a lot of great work, reaches out in support of the world's needs, and should celebrate its excellent ministries. And, at the same time, St. Paul's needs more transparency and more interpretation of its finances. "We are working on a better format for reporting on our finances" said Larson, "so that it is easier to understand the sources of income, the use of dedicated funds, the cost of maintaining the Church and the costs of the Church's ministries."
Re-elected to the Congregation Council for second terms were Beth Van Hanswyk, Jane Cramer and Tina Schendt. In addition, Laura Denardis was elected to serve her first term on the Council. Lynn Adkins was returned to the role of Secretary and Rod Larson as Treasurer. Jay Guerber was elected as a Trustee.
In other actions, the congregation:
First Communion Instruction
Wednesdays, March 27th & April 3rd at 5:30 pm
The next First Communion Class is set to begin March 27th at 5:30 pm. All children and youth of any age are invited to be a part of first communion instruction. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Pastor Spangler.
Meeting on Sunday, March 24th at 9:45 am.
New Member Orientation Session
We invite all those visitors and friends who would like to know more about becoming a member of St. Paul's to meet with the Pastor Sunday at 9:45 am.The one hour session will explore the Lutheran tradition and St. Paul's ministries.
SPLC Food Pantry Toiletry Drive!
Did you know that people on public assistance cannot use their benefits to purchase toiletries? We're trying to lighten that burden for people so as this year's Lenten Service Project, the Social Ministry Committee is collecting full-sized toiletries for patrons of the SPLC food pantry! Please place donations in the labeled boxes in the Narthex or Portico between Ash Wednesday (March 6) and Easter Sunday (April 21). We're collecting:
For questions about the drive, please contact Emily Foley.
Major Matching Gift Opportunity for St. Paul's College Scholarship Fund
Thanks to the generosity of a member, your gift to the St. Paul's Scholarship Fund will be matched up to $4,000 between now and May 1st. Please mark your gift for the Scholarship Fund Match and we will be able to expand our support for education efforts! Thank you in advance for your special gifts.
Now accepting College Scholarship Applications!
As you know, St. Paul's has a college scholarship fund and we are now accepting applications! So, if you have a daughter or son planning to enter college this fall, and are in need of financial assistance, we would like to hear from them by May 1st. Please have them contact Pastor Spangler in writing (by email or letter) stating briefly where they plan to attend school, when, and a brief reason why they need this scholarship. Your family financial data is not necessary, just basic reasons. Priority will be given to students beginning their first year but we may consider those starting their second, third or fourth year. Please contact Pastor John email@example.com if you have any questions.
Adult Sunday School Resumes This Sunday, March 24th.
Please join a group of curious, inquiring adult learners around the circle as they study how the Bible became a book, looking at the history of the making of the canon and related issues to the way God's story emerged in story, in text and in print. Between services in the lower level auditorium. Questions? Contact Ted Wackler .
Update on St. Paul's Men's Shelter
For many years St. Paul's has operated a shelter for homeless men to provide assistance as they work to find employment and permanent housing. Our shelter is located on the ground floor of our education building, and operates throughout the year. The men have a place to gather, sleep, and shower, and meals are provided by volunteers from St. Paul's and the surrounding community. Friendship Place (https://friendshipplace.org/) is the housing service provider for the men, and they help them to identify and pursue their options.
While the overall numbers of homeless seem to be falling in the District, the issue of permanent housing for our most vulnerable citizens continues to be a problem. Demand for housing is high, and supply is low. The search for housing can be a long and complicated process. And when coupled with other problems such as physical or mental health issues, lack of employment or education, or barriers such as language or transportation, the problem can seem insurmountable.
How can you help? We are always looking for people who are willing to take an active interest in the shelter, and might be able to provide feedback to the men as they navigate their paths away from homelessness. Meals are also appreciated, and volunteers can sign up to bring in dinners on a one-time or recurring basis. Meals do not have to be dropped off-if you would like to sit and share the meal with the men, that can be a powerfully rewarding experience and helps remind us and the men that we are part of a community. Too busy to cook? That's OK... sign-up to send a check for a specific night and St. Paul's will see to it that a hot meal is delivered to the men.
To volunteer for meals, please contact Debra Fried Levin.
If you have questions about the shelter, or would like to help, please contact Kate Belinski.
Parents of College Students:
Please make sure that the church office has your son's or daughter's college address so we can reach out to them periodically.
If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Wackler.
We are looking for people interested in volunteering for this very important church function. It consists of a two member team that works on Sundays after church or Monday for about 1 or 2 hours collecting, counting and recording the offering. The teams are assigned a month at a time, usually 3 or 4 months a year (depending on how many teams we have). Sundays can be switched with other teams. Training and written instructions are provided. Please contact Paula Stewart 410-956-7117 or the church office to volunteer.
Are you or someone you know looking for an enriching, life-giving summer job experience? Our 2019 summer staff application is now live! Spend the summer with us building your leadership skills, connecting with children and youth, and developing your faith. Full-time and part-time positions available. Click HERE for more info.
Are you ready for summer camp 2019?! Our brochure is now available online. Take a look at the programs offered for 2019, including a brand-new "Extended Stay" program for senior high youth! Online registration is now open. Click HERE for more info.
And don't forget! The church nursery is available every Sunday 10:30 am--12:30 pm (or until the last child gets picked up). Let us give you a break when you need it!
"God was made visible in Christ, so Who is Jesus?"
During the Lenten season, you will find cloth covering crosses and other images of Jesus, where it is possible/practical to do so. We cover those things to signify the fact that Jesus' true identity is hidden from us until he is revealed as God's saving son upon the cross at Lent's end.
In the meantime, we will be exploring who Jesus is across the span of his own time to the present. Our midweek Wednesday evenings will focus on
I. Seeking the Truth: Rabbi and Teacher (3/13)
II. King of Kings, Prince of Peace (3/20)
III. Jesus is the Prophet, the Bringer of Social Change (3/27)
IV. Jesus is the Logos, the Cosmic Christ (4/3)
V. Jesus as the Liberator: Free Indeed (4/10)
VI. The Crucified One: Jesus is the Cross (4/17 Wed. of Holy Week)
God was made visible in Christ, and so Jesus occupies a critical center of our faith. But who was Jesus? Mirror, model, Metaphor, mystery? Jesus has become known to us from many angles of vision: as rabbi, as king, as liberator, lamb of God, as prince of peace, and more. On Wednesday evenings this Lent, we will explore these and other angles of vision through a simple supper, a little learning time, and an evening prayer.
Join us for seeing Jesus through the lens of words, images, and song.
John R. Spangler, Interim Pastor
PS: Check our facebook page "St. Paul's Lutheran Church (ELCA) in DC" for a devotional word during the 40 day Lenten time. If you haven't, please "like" our page.
Year- end statements of giving were mailed to households on January 30th. In that same envelope was a letter from stewardship chair Mike Charlton along with an intention card to be returned to the Treasurer indicating your intentions for giving to the church in 2019. To date, 60 households have responded. Please take the time to return your card!
Discernment Continues around Table Talks - Final Event is March 17th! Sign-up now!
The three Table Talks have gathered important observations and visions for St. Paul's future. It is important that we capture ALL voices and visions.
During these Table Talks, the transition team leads discussions focused on: (1) the core ministries of St. Paul's, (2) our vision for the future of our church, (3) important qualities we'd like our next pastor to have, and (4) what important information pastoral candidates and the call committee should know during the selection process. This data will be used to create a profile that the call committee will employ to select candidates for St. Paul's.
You can sign up to attend in several ways: (1) online here: (2) via the Sunday insert, or (3) by calling the church office at 202.966.5489! If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled sessions please speak to a member of the Transition Team so we can find another time to get your feedback.
Please sign up for one session to attend. Childcare will be provided during all sessions. If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled sessions please speak to a member of the Transition Team so we can find another time to get your feedback.
Our Transition Committee members are eager to hear from everyone in the Congregation about your thoughts and ideas about the ministries of St. Paul's and what we should be looking for in a new pastor. Contact information for the committee members is below:
DID YOU KNOW is a weekly feature in observance of St. Paul's 175th Anniversary.
DID YOU KNOW that after the merger of Epiphany and St. Paul's in 1926, there was a difference of opinion as to the type of architecture for the new church building?
Dr. John T. Huddle, pastor of St. Paul's from 1904 to 1929, and Dr. Harry Domer, son of Dr. Samuel Domer, preferred Colonial architecture. Reverend William C. Waltemyer, pastor of Epiphany from 1923 to 1926, and others on the Building Committee preferred Gothic. After a lengthy and friendly discussion, all agreed on a church of Gothic architecture.
The story of the merger of Epiphany and St. Paul's is one of friendship, negotiation, compromise, and shared faith.
Epiphany Church, organized in 1909, decided in 1924 to move from their city center location and purchased land at Connecticut Avenue and Everett Street. St. Paul's was considering a move to the area of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street near where the Omni Shoreham is currently located. When Reverend Waltemyer learned of the plans, he approached Dr. Huddle, with whom he had been friends since 1910, and suggested that the two churches unite. Dr. Huddle was enthusiastic about the idea and suggested that they become co-pastors, each sharing the work of preaching and pastoral.
After several months of negotiation, the respective church councils and congregations agreed on the merger. There were still a couple of issues to resolve. Some of St. Paul's members thought that Epiphany's site was located too far out, and some members of Epiphany wanted to keep their name. A compromise was made by the merged church to accept Epiphany's site and retain the name of the older church, St. Paul's.
The plan was to divide the work equally between the co-pastors, but Dr. Huddle spent a year in Arizona and was away for a period of months later because of ill health. In 1929, Dr. Waltemyer was offered a professorship at Gettysburg College which he accepted. Dr. Huddle and Dr. Waltemyer felt that they should leave together since they became co-pastors together, and their resignations were submitted at the same congregational meeting. Dr. Huddle was named Pastor Emeritus of St. Paul's. For three decades, Dr. Waltemyer was a professor in the Department of Biblical Literature and Religion at Gettysburg College.
On April 17, 1966, Dr. Waltemyer was guest preacher at St. Paul's on the Fortieth Anniversary of the merger and reflected on the challenges of building the new church. It had been thought that the combined assets of the two churches would assure the future construction debt free.
"But finally the job has been done - or much if it anyway. Initially there was a shortage of material resources, but no lack of intangible resources: inspiring leadership, cooperating, hard work, generosity, sacrifice, patience, and faith. St. Paul's best days lie ahead!"
"Lutherans Unite Two D.C. Churches" Evening Star, April 29, 1926
"Notes on Merger - St. Paul's and Epiphany" provided by Dr. W. C. Waltemyer on the occasion of the Fortieth Anniversary of St. Paul's and Epiphany Lutheran Churches in 1966.
The theme for Shema 2019 is Friendship, and we will use the movie Shrek to explore what it means to be an authentic friend through the lives of Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona!
Spend an afternoon meeting other kids from our synod, enjoying fellowship, food, and faith-filled fun! Activities may include storytelling, music, worship, games, a service project, craft, and a snack.
The cost of the program is $10 (Checks payable to St. Paul's Lutheran Church). Space is limited, so please register by Friday, April 5th, 2019. Registration forms are available in the St. Paul's Portico, or from Lisa Wackler.
Depending on the number of interested participants from St. Paul's, we may need one or two chaperones. Please let Lisa know if you are able to help!
Sunday, April 15th, 2018, marked the actual 175th Anniversary of St. Paul's English Lutheran Church. While St. Paul's first service was actually on January 8, 1843, the complete organization of the church was not until April 15th 1843 when the first church council was elected. We had a wonderful celebration to commemorate the special day!
The day began with a festival worship service at which Bishop Graham brought greetings and presided. A brass quartet joined us and all of the choirs (the Bell Choir, Youth Choir and Adult Choir) contributed lovely music to mark the day. The congregation read Psalm 46 in unison, just as was done at St. Paul's Semi-Centennial in 1893.
Following worship, St. Paul's hosted a celebratory luncheon and program. Thomas L. Bowen of DC Mayor's Office of Religious Affairs presented a congratulatory letter from Mayor Muriel Bowser to Pastor Omholt and then led us in Grace.
There was a delicious buffet luncheon and while people were eating there was a video of the construction of the present day church accompanied by music of David Hearn playing the first organ. During dessert, we had a good old fashioned hymn sing!
Following the meal we heard comments from 2 of our Trustees (June Ericsson and David Cox) and then there was a surprise visit from Pastor J.G. Butler who served at ST. Paul's from 1849-1873! He was portrayed by Dwayne Starlin, a professional impersonator and delivered parts of Rev. Butler's famous sermon from the day following President Lincoln's Assassination and answered questions from the audience.
There was also a display highlighting St. Paul's through its 175 years in the baptistry and a new brief history of St. Paul's was available. This display will be evolving throughout the year. If anyone would like to help out with the display, please contact Joy Belew in the church office.