Who Are We?

elca

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is a congregation in the New Jersey Synod, an amalgamation of over 170 congregations within the Garden State. St. Paul’s is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the church-wide expression of over 10,000 congregations. St. Paul’s is also a congregation within the Lutheran World Federation. We are a part of something greater than ourselves!


Why do you baptize?

In the Bible, Jesus gives the command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19).  We baptize people because we are commanded by Jesus himself to do so.


What is baptism? What is to prevent me from being baptized?

baptism

We believe that baptism is the entrance rite to church membership. We do not view baptism as being “something nice” that we do for the baby or the baby’s family – we see it as the beginning of a lifelong commitment. After you have worshiped here a few times, we would be happy to meet with you and talk to you about the sacrament of baptism.


Why do you offer communion?

In the Bible, Jesus says to his followers: “Take and eat; this is my body” and “This is my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26: 26-27) We gather at the Lord’s Table to remember and celebrate Jesus’ living presence among us and his power to forgive sins.


What are your communion practices?

communionAt St.  Paul’s, every service, every week, we have an open communion table.  That means that if you believe that Jesus is present in the bread and wine of communion, you are welcome at the communion table. We do believe that a person should be baptized before coming for communion, but even a non-baptized person can come forward for a word of blessing. We do not ask that you be a member of this congregation to commune, not do we ask that you be a Lutheran to commune. We ask that you believe in the saving, forgiving power of this meal.

We also provide grape juice, for those who prefer that over wine. We teach that if you receive the bread, you have received a full communion. We teach that if you receive the wine/grape juice, you have received a full communion. We also offer gluten-free communion bread.


Why would I want to become a member at St. Paul’s?

By joining our congregation, you get to experience what it is like to be a part of something that is larger than you. You become part of a congregation that has proven that it makes a difference in the lives of people, both inside and outside the walls of the congregation. You are given opportunities to use your God-given gifts in the ministry of transforming lives. As your life at St. Paul’s changes you, in turn, will go from here and change others’ lives. By joining St. Paul’s, you get a better understanding of what it means to be a steward: a steward of your own self, of your finances, and of the many resources with which God has blessed you.


How do I become a member?

membershipThere are four “New Member” classes we invite you to attend, to get to know us and to get to know your classmates. If you are presently a member of a Lutheran congregation, you will be received through a letter of transfer. If you are a member of another denomination, we write to your present worship body and inform them that you wish to affiliate with St. Paul’s. If you are not currently affiliated with a church body, we receive you as a member.


What is your wedding policy?

weddingWe see the marriage ceremony as one of the worship services of the congregation. In that regard, we tend not to do “off the street” weddings, but offer this worship opportunity to those who have demonstrated a commitment to the ministry of the Church. Call the church office (609-267-0740) to begin this conversation.


May I use the parish hall?

fellowshipMembers of the congregation are given free use of the Parish Hall, once the date of use has been scheduled on the church calendar. We do not provide paper products or food, and you are expected to clean the room to the state it was when you entered. The Parish Hall is NOT available to any for-profit group.


May I use the softball field?

softballPlease call the church office at 609.267.0740 for contact information to arrange for that scheduling. You would need to show proof of adequate insurance coverage before we could allow for the use of the field.


What is the difference between Lutherans and Roman Catholics?

catholicThe Lutheran Church is actually a break-off from the Roman Catholic Church, so there are very many similarities between the two. We rely heavily on God’s grace is all we teach, preach and do. In the Lutheran Church, 1) pastors are allowed to be married, 2) pastors can be women, 3) decisions are made by an elected Congregation Council, 4) we believe that the Spirit of Jesus is present in, with, through and under the bread and wine of communion, but the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine, 5) we do not subscribe to the divine authority of the Pope, 6) confession of sins can be made within the corporate body of the congregation, 7) we believe in the priesthood of all believers, allowing lay people several of the sacred responsibilities (baptism in an emergency, absolution, preaching) normally reserved for ordained clergy, and 8) we believe there are two sacraments: baptism and Holy Communion.


Is the Lutheran Church Bible-based?

bible

We are Bible based and Christ centered. We offer worship services with a liturgical structure that is rooted in church history. We are willing to debate some of the issues presented in Holy Scripture to help keep those issues fresh in the hearts and minds of worshipers and learners. We are willing to baptize someone at any age. We believe that God has given each of us the gift of freewill and allows us to use the independence God has given us to make choices, knowing full well that sometimes we make wrong choices. We believe that Scripture is the inspired Word of God, but that it is also a living Word, applicable in different ways now than it was when it was written.


What does the Lutheran Church say about current social issues?

social-issues

The Lutheran Church is active in social issues, recognizing the human dignity of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. We recognize the right of a person to terminate a pregnancy in an emergency situation. We abhor the prevailing greed of some in society who would deny the poor and the oppressed a voice in society or a place at God’s table of grace.


When are worship services held?

Saturday night at 7:30 PM; Sunday morning at 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 AM.We feature a “Jazzmat” service the week before Christmas – mellow sounds to get you ready for the celebration to come, especially if you are on the road during Christmas and can’t be at St. Paul’s! We also have worship services on Christmas Eve (3:00, 5:00, 8:00 and 11:00 PM), Christmas Day (10:00 AM), and several services are offered during Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). We also gather for a light meal and study on the Wednesdays of Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) and Lent (the seven weeks leading up to Palm Sunday).

On Epiphany (January 6), we gather with our neighbors and friends from Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Hainesport for dinner and worship.

On Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent) and Maundy Thursday (the Thursday prior to Easter), we alternate with our neighbors and friends from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Mount Holly for dinner and worship.


Do you have a Sunday School?

Yes! Every Sunday during the academic year, we gather in the Parish Hall at 10:30 for spirited singing, sharing and learning. The lessons are parallel to the lessons in worship. Some children worship at 9:30 and then attend Sunday School. Some children attend Sunday School, then come to worship in time to join their family at the communion table.


Are there Bible studies during the week?

Yes! Monday night study meets in our Study House (behind the sanctuary); Tuesday night study meets in the same building; Thursday morning study meets in the Study House.


If I have other questions, who should I call?

Rosanne Scassero is our secretary and she can be reached at 609-267-0740. Both of our pastors, Pastor David Jost and Pastor Laura Esposito, can be reached at that same number. You can also use the church website or e-mail us.