Who are the Covenant Lutheran Churches of Oklahoma City?
Ascension Lutheran of Del City, Redeemer Lutheran of Oklahoma City and St. Mark Lutheran Church of Midwest City, Oklahoma are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and are in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod. The three churches have formed a covenant to work together to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in the Oklahoma City area and beyond. Each church hold its own worship services on Sundays, but there are several joint services are held during the year, especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Each church has a church council that governs their ministry, but a Covenant Council works to coordinate those things they do together.
The Covenant Churches called Pastor Brian Robert Campbell, who began his service here in April, 2018. He had been serving as the pastor to a three-church parish in Wisconsin.
What is the Lutheran church?
The Lutheran church is named for the 16th century German monk Martin Luther. Luther was a Catholic monk troubled by the corruption and greed he saw permeating the church. His concerns and objections were widely publicized. Luther was challenged by church officials and excommunicated by the Pope, but he continued studying, writing, teaching, and preaching. Luther’s work spawned a time of church renewal called the Reformation.
The Lutheran church in America has several denominations, each of which differ on what they believe are key theological points. The largest Lutheran denomination is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, followed by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Notably, the ELCA Lutherans allow the ordination of women as well as the ordination of LGBTQ individuals in lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships, while the LC-MS prohibits both.
Ascension, Redeemer, and St. Mark are member churches of the ELCA.
What is CLOKCdotChurch?
CLOKCdotChurch is a shorthand used to refer to all three of the Covenant Churches. It is hopefully an easy to remember address to find us on the web. We use it for our website (www.CLOKC.church), as well as our address or handle on various social media sites (@CLOKCdotChurch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube – so far.)
What are Covenant Churches?
Covenant means a coming together. A covenant is best known as the conditional promises made to humanity by God, as revealed in Scripture, such as those God and Abraham and Sarah, Noah, Moses and David. In the church or ecclesiastical communities, it also means a solemn agreement between the members of a church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the Gospel.
For us, it is an agreement for these three different churches, coming from the three different Lutheran traditions that came to make up the ELCA, made up of people from different backgrounds to set aside what makes them different, and focus on what makes us one. That we have all been saved by the grace of God and called to share the Good News of love through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Our relationship as Covenant Churches is known as a multi-church arrangement, a parish agreement, or shared ministry in different areas and different traditions.
Like a family, there are some things we do together, such as share the services of our Pastor. There are some things we do separately, such as plan our worship services, each with a different style and feel. There are some programs in ministry that we come together to do, while there are some that each church does independently. Each of the Covenant Churches also work with other churches of other traditions in their neighborhoods.
What do Lutherans believe?
Lutheran theology is particularly centered around the concept of “grace.” In its traditional meaning, grace is the gift of God in which Christians are justified, not by their good works, but by God’s loving work for them in Jesus. Lutheran theology teaches that it is impossible for a person to work their way up to God, and so to restore the lost relationship between God and humanity, God became incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ.
Lutherans highly value the Bible and consider it a source and norm for faith and life.
As members of the ELCA, Our Savior’s, Nazareth and Emmanuel confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
What can I expect when I attend a Lutheran service?
Our services are around an hour long, and are a mix of singing hymns, responsive dialog & prayers (usually printed in the hymnal or bulletin), readings from Scripture and a sermon from the Pastor. Everyone is welcome to receive Communion.
As for what to wear, people will come in business attire, casual clothes, and the occasional jersey.
– Music: Our worship service may include traditional hymns dating back centuries and some more modern hymns, all sung by the congregation, or a choir, led by either an organ, keyboard or piano. From time to time, there will be a choral group, chimes, or a cappella singing. The songs usually alternate with the prayers, readings, and other parts of worship.
– Form: As do most Lutheran worship services, we follow the form of Gathering, Word, Meal, Sending:
* Call to worship in words and music
* Opening prayer and praise
* Confession and forgiveness
* Scripture reading(s), read by minister or by members of the congregation
* Sermon, usually given by a pastor
* Hymn of the day reflecting and reinforcing the message
* Prayers for the church, the community, and the world
* Passing of the peace, when the congregation greets each other with “Peace be with you”
* Communion, the remembrance of Jesus’ last supper and the giving of bread and wine to all assembled
* Blessing and sending in words and music
– Dialogue: Lutheran worship is similar to a communal call and response, where the leader or pastor speaks and the congregation responds together. The words are usually printed in a hymnal or bulletin.
– Communion: All Lutheran churches celebrate communion. This is a ritual remembering Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, and following his command “Do this in remembrance of me.” The congregation leaves their pews to come forward and receive bread and wine. However, if you would prefer us to come back to you, let an usher know and we will be happy to do so. Lutherans believe that Jesus is fully present in the act of communion. We believe that this is the Lord’s table, and all are welcome.
– Baptism: Lutheran churches recognize baptism for anyone of any age.
Who is welcome to come to a worship service or other church activities?
Everyone is welcome to join us in worship and in the life of the church. No matter what differences separate us, we are united through Christ. We invite everyone of every age, background, ethnicity, identity, orientation, status or uniqueness to share in receiving God’s love and spreading the Good News that is Jesus Christ.
We know that everyone sins, and falls short of God’s law, but through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the grace of God, our sins are forgiven. We work to remember that every day, especially on Sundays.
People from other traditions are invited to participate in the service to the extent that you feel comfortable doing so.
What is the Lutheran church’s stance on LGBTQ people?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America allows each individual congregation to decide to invite LGBTQ people to participate openly and fully in the life of the congregation. Many congregations have decided to:
- fully welcome LGBTQ people into the life and worship of the congregation;
- recognize and celebrate same-gender marriages;
- call an openly LGBTQ person as the congregation’s pastor;
- recognize and celebrate gender transition with a naming ceremony;
among many other options.
Lutheran churches that have chosen to publicly declare their welcome, acceptance, and support of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity are known as Reconciling in Christ congregations.
If you have any questions, contact us in one of the ways listed below.
Much of the material in What is the Lutheran church, and What do we believe? was created by Emmy Kegler at QueerGrace.com, and we appreciate her permission to use this information.