August 2017
News and Notes

Luther’s Legacy:  Public Education and Bible Study for All

August is Back to School time in Georgia (and some of our students even start on July 31!); it is also ‘back to Sunday School time’ at Cross of Life!  Not all of us are affected by the school year schedule.  Our adult Sunday School classes continued to meet over the summer, and even grew in attendance.  But fall is always a time when we celebrate our community and kick off another year for many of our programs, including those for youth and children.  By the time Sunday School starts (on August 20th), our students will have been in school for one or two weeks, and will still be getting used to new teachers, new classmates, new subjects, and even new schools for some.  Our college students will moving into their rooms, buying textbooks, reconnecting with friends, and negotiating with roommates.  Your prayers for them will be welcome the next few weeks, as this time of transition for students of all ages can cause both excitement and anxiety. Little do they realize in the midst of shopping for supplies and packing lunch boxes that they have Martin Luther to thank for some of this!

As we prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it is a good time to acknowledge one of Luther’s major legacies- public education.  When Luther was alive, only the privileged could afford school, and illiteracy was extremely common.  This ignorance was exploited by those in power, including, unfortunately, the church.  Most people at the time didn’t even have access to a Bible, and even if they could read German, the Bible was only available in Latin and Greek (at the time, a Latin translation was used for the Old Testament rather than the original Hebrew).  They relied heavily on priests and other church officials to mediate God’s word for them, which created opportunities for abuses like the sale of indulgences.

Luther was having none of this.  He believed that the Bible should be accessible, people should be trained to read it for themselves, and it should also be available in the language people spoke on an everyday basis.  About the church’s position

at the time that people didn’t need to read the Bible because the church would explain it, he says, “…it was also a stupid undertaking to attempt to learn the meaning of Scripture by reading the expositions of the fathers and their numerous books and glosses.”  Luther wanted more people to know Latin and Greek so that they could read the Bible in it’s original languages, but he also wanted to actually put the Bible into the hands of the common people.  Even then, however, they needed to be literate in their own language.


Luther’s solution was a treatise called “To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools”.  In it, Luther laments the state of education in Germany and advocates school for everyone free of charge- even for girls!  People listened, and public schools started cropping up all over Germany.  To this day, Luther is recognized as one of the founders of public education in Germany.  The idea spread in Europe, and was also brought to America by German immigrants who established schools all across the country.

Luther’s whole reason for promoting education, however, was to proclaim the Gospel.  He reasoned that “it is a sin and a shame not to know our own book nor to understand God’s speech and words”.  Learning about the Bible and delving into God’s word is a life-long endeavor.  For Luther, it was the logical goal of all other education- that we could use those skills to grow in our relationship with God.  The act of studying together can also deepen relationships and grow new friendships for kids and adults alike.  This fall, come check out our opportunities for all ages to study the Bible, and if you haven’t been attending Sunday School, try thinking of this as your ‘back to Sunday School’ season.

Deacon Mary


Upcoming in Worship

 August 6
Matthew 8:1-13
Quilt Blessing
Deacon Mary – Preaching

August 13
Colossians 1:1-12
Connections Sunday
8:00 Hymn Fest & Worship
9:00 Brunch
10:00 Worship Led by
Steel Dreamin’
Backpack Blessing followed by
Pot-Luck Lunch and Carnival

August 20
Colossians 1:15-23
Sunday School Starts

August 27
Colossians 2:6-14



Becoming a Disciple Through Bible Study
“Disciple Fast Track” class to be offered at COL

What is Disciple Fast Track?
It’s a thorough introduction to the Bible as a way of increasing our knowledge of scripture and growing in our faith.  During this study, you will be introduced to the full scope of the Bible, will learn about its main themes and stories, and will talk about how the Bible applies to living today.  It provides a great foundation for further study and practice.

When will it meet?
12 Wednesday evenings in the Fall (Old Testament)
August 23 – November 15*
* Will not meet on Oct. 25 to allow participation in the Reformation 500 event at St. Andrew Catholic Church

12 Tuesday evenings in the Winter/Spring (New Testament)
January 23 – April 24*
* Will not meet March 27 or April 3 during Holy Week & Spring Break

How long will each meeting last?
We will meet at COL from 7:00-8:15 p.m.

What commitment am I being asked to make?
To make participation and attendance a priority.
$15 each semester for an Old Testament and New Testament Study Guide.
To read 3 – 5 chapters of the bible each week and complete daily assignments in the Study Manual

Who will be the facilitators for this study?
COL member Bill Barbour, Pastor David, and Pastor Terri will be co-leading the weekly meetings.

To view a brief video description of Disciple Fast Track, click here.

To sign up for the Disciple Fast Track Bible Study, or if you had questions, contact either Pastor David or Susan Hofer.



Cross of Life’s 8th Annual International Dinner
Red and Yellow, Black, Brown and White
We are all Precious in HIS sight

Saturday, August 26, 2017
5:30 View Silent Auction Items
6-8:30 Dinner and Program

Cross of Life’s International Dinner is a fun opportunity to sample International foods (and American too!), to enjoy fellowship, and to support our global outreach ministries. Entertainment this year is provided by the Ling Girls, a renowned Irish folk trio, that features Beverly and Paul Ling’s granddaughters. Funds raised through the dinner go to support:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi
The Galing Foundation in the Philippines
The Padhar Mission School in India
Sus Hijos (His Children) in El Salvador

Donations of food as well as items for the Silent and Live Auction are needed and appreciated! However, we need to know what you are bringing. Sign up by August 20 on Sign Up Genius for food and the bulletin insert for auction items.

Tickets will be on sale between services on Sundays, on line at our church website, or at the door during the event.  Child care will be provided by the Youth Ministry’s Parents Night Out.  Click here for more information.


Reformation Dinner Triumph!

A huge thanks to all who worked tirelessly to make our Reformation 500 Dinner and Dialogue a wonderful success!  On April 26, we hosted a sit-down dinner for about 140 members of COL and Saint Andrew Roman Catholic Church. Along with the meal, we shared music, prayer, conversation, and a Q/A session with Father Dan and Pastor Terri.  Through this event, we brought together local folks from Lutheran and Catholic traditions to see how far we’ve come back together in our central message of Jesus’ forgiveness and redemption through grace, 500 years after Luther first nailed the 95 theses to the church door.

None of this would have been possible without the vision and hard work of many. Especially to our Fellowship team led by Donna Snyder and Donna Moore and the 18 volunteers plus staff who helped throughout the day — thank you — we couldn’t have done it without you!

Our ecumenical commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation doesn’t end here.  On Wednesday, October 25th, we will gather at St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church where we will share a Common Prayer service, with homilies (short sermons) by both Father Dan and Pastor Terri.  That a Lutheran woman pastor would be invited to preach in a Roman Catholic Church is a historic event — of for which we give thanks to God!  May our increased witness to our unity in Christ be a beacon of hope in this world of division!