Who Are We?

elcaWe are a member congregation in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (ELCA), a body made up of over 10 million Lutherans in the United States. We are a member of the New Jersey Synod, an amalgamation of over 170 congregations in the Garden State.

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.

How do I become a member?

membershipIf you are presently a member of a Lutheran congregation, this is done 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 not currently affiliated with a church body, we receive you as a member. In all cases, there are five “New Member” classes we invite you to attend, to get to know us and to get to know your classmates.

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 worshipped here a few times, we would be happy to meet with you and talk to you about the sacrament of baptism.

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?

bibleWe 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 worshippers 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 that it was when it was written.

What does the Lutheran Church say about current social issues?

social-issuesThe 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.