New Year News
Wow – so much is happening in the life of Cross of Life, it’s difficult to know what to highlight! But here goes!
Service of Hope
For those who were unable to attend, this time of worship and remembrance was a beautiful experience for all who participated. Recognizing that for many, the Christmas season is a time of increased grief, struggle and loneliness, this service used the candles of the Advent wreath to recognize our common grief, pain, struggle, and fear. The gathered congregation supported one another in song and prayer, lit candles in remembrance of loved ones and then gathered around a full Christmas meal provided by the Stephen Ministers and Fellowship Team. If you’ve had a hard time this Christmas, don’t miss this service next year.
COL Music Concert
Once again, Jon Arnold brought together our diverse and talented musicians for a joint Christmas musical celebration. Each ensemble, The Chancel Choir, Bells and Contemporary Band, shared individual performances and then joined their voices for numerous total group pieces. It was truly a joyful song before our Lord. This is certainly a “don’t miss” for next year!
From Diaconal Minister to Deacon
As of January 1st, we will have a new staff member! Well, sort of. Mary Houck, who works as our Director of Youth and Children’s Ministry, will have a new title. As the result of a vote at the 2016 Churchwide Assembly, all lay rostered ministers (Diaconal Ministers, Associates in Ministry, and Deaconesses) will be united under one title: Deacon. From Biblical times to modern times, deacons have carried out the ministry of Word and Service: caring for the widows and orphans, working in the community, providing education for our children and youth. Deacon Mary will continue that tradition in her work at Cross of Life. Please congratulate Deacon Mary on her new title and use it as often as you can!
Joint Commemoration of the Reformation 500
Plans are underway for our commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation! Our Lenten Small Groups and Devotions will focus on Luther’s Small Catechism. We will have a special commemorative dinner with members of St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church in Roswell in April. There will be a special worship service on April 30th to highlight the journey of Lutheranism to North America, and more! Watch for more details!
Plans for the study portion of my upcoming sabbatical are underway. During January/February, I will be sending an online survey to numerous pastors about their work practices. Out of that quantitative analysis, questions will be formulated for my summer site visits and focus group conversations. Please pray for this study, that God would open our eyes to learn the most effective ways to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our hurting world.
+ Pastor Terri +
Reformation 500 – it’s almost here!
Nearly 500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany. As a Roman Catholic priest and Augustinian monk, Luther so loved his God and his church that he called the church to reformation, to return to the most basic truths of scripture and to be transformed within by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. His 95 Theses called his academic brothers to debate – but due to the power of the printing press, his writings spread quickly throughout Europe, sparking a firestorm of controversy which ultimately led, not to reform, but to the establishment of a new church.
On Reformation Sunday, October 30, 2016, Cross of Life will kick-off a year-long commemoration of Reformation 500 – culminating in the 500th anniversary of this historic event on Oct. 31, 2017. Through a variety of special courses, events, worship services and concerts, we will grow in our faith as we
- learn about the courageous faith of a man who risked his life to stand up for what he believed,
- repent of the wars and suffering caused by years of conflict within the body of Christ,
- celebrate God’s triumphant grace which sustained God’s people and God’s church throughout the ages.
What will Reformation 500 look like at Cross of Life? Well, there are numerous plans underway, but to kick-off this historic year, here are a few dates.
October 30, 2016: Reformation Sunday
Pastor David will preach, bringing his perspective as a Presbyterian pastor serving in a Lutheran congregation. He will also teach a special class at 10:00 in the Fellowship Hall, focusing on Reformation history in the Reformed/Presbyterian traditions. This Reformation of the Church didn’t stop with Luther – let’s come hear the rest of the story!
Oct. 31, 2016: Joint Commemoration Prayer Service of the Reformation by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation
On Reformation day, Pope Francis and representatives of the Lutheran World Federation will share a joint service of prayer and commemoration in Lund, Sweden. This historic event follows 50 years of ecumenical dialogue between the two churches, seeking greater unity and recognition of one another’s powerful impact on our world as brothers and sisters in Christ. Since the live-streaming of this event takes place at 4:00 am, we are trying to secure a video to be viewed at a later date. Watch for more details.
Join the Reformation 500 Planning Team as we orchestrate this year-long commemoration. Initial plans include:
- A series of classes/discussions on Luther the Man, The Women of the Reformation, The Emerging Church (looking at the church in 500 year cycles), Lutheran Theology, Ecumenism, and more!
- Joint commemorative events with St. Andrew Catholic Church, Riverside Drive, probably in Winter 2017.
- Visits to see the Kessler Reformation Collection at Pitts Theological Library, Emory University which houses over 3,600 Reformation documents and writings (all dated pre-1570), and over 1,000 original publications by Luther himself. Original artwork from the period is also on display.
- Lent 2017 – a series on Luther’s Small Catechism
- An art and poetry contest/exhibition focusing on Reformation themes
- October 29, 2017 – A Sunday afternoon joint choral and worship event with other north-metro Atlanta Lutheran congregations (think a mass choir, lots of Lutherans and a great reception!)
- October 31, 2017 – A formal commemoration between the ELCA-Southeastern Synod and the Arch Dioses of Atlanta to be held in downtown Atlanta.
- Summer 2020 – A possible COL trip to Luther sites and the Passion Play in Oberammergau Germany!
As you can see, there are many exciting events to come! Watch the newsletter and bulletins as details unfold and don’t miss commemorating this historic event!