A SLICE OF LIFE IN THE CLC
SNAPSHOTS OF CONGREGATIONS FROM AROUND THE CHURCH OF THE LUTHERAN CONFESSION
“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.” (Psalm 50:2 ESV)
For years—over a quarter of a century—the God of grace has sustained a remnant of His people in the Atlanta area. At first, it was just a preaching station, CLC members distant from their home congregations, gathering monthly to hear God’s Word and to offer the praise of thanksgiving to Him. In time, the Lord permitted this small group to establish an “official” church to which was given the name Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. Zion then issued its first call to Pastor Emeritus John Johannes.
Since its founding, various locations have served as the sanctuary for Zion: homes, hotel rooms, rented offices, and others. Each location could certainly be described, in the words of Asaph from Psalm 50:2, as “the perfection of beauty.” The beauty of these locations was to be seen not in their architecture, landscapes, or even location. Their beauty was to be found in the glory of God shining forth from His Word and sacraments. Wherever the Word of God is preached, and His sacraments administered according to their institution by Christ, is the most beautiful place on earth—a true Eden.
God continued to reveal the beauty of His grace through the ministry of the Gospel under Pastors John Johannes, Nathanael Mayhew, and more recently Ernest Bernet who, sadly, has since left our fellowship. In the spring of 2017, Pastor Frank Gantt accepted the call to serve Zion as its pastor.
It wasn’t long after the Gantts’ arrival that the Lord made His glory known by allowing the congregation to find a property on the far east side of the Atlanta area that would be more than adequate for relocation. Just five miles south of the town of Loganville, Georgia, lies a seventeen-acre property with a home and a sanctuary. There is also a third building with various potential uses. Through a loan from the CLC’s Church Extension Fund, the congregation was able to purchase the property and begin preparing it as the permanent location of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Those CLC members from other congregations who have visited the property have all gazed in amazement at what the Lord has allowed this small congregation to obtain. It truly is a beautiful piece of property, even if there is considerable work to be done. The sanctuary, for example, is in need of a new roof, an upstairs restroom, an entryway, and a stairway to the basement before it can be used as a sanctuary. Through the Lord’s blessings, these renovations have already begun. In the meantime, the ministry of the Gospel continues as we meet weekly in a room in the spacious parsonage.
But, there is more work than this to be done. The beauty of God’s glory isn’t to be seen chiefly in buildings or grounds. It is to be seen in the salvation of sinners, which means that it is to be seen in the proclamation of the Gospel. Right away the Lord has provided us with opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the community of Loganville. Most of these opportunities have arisen from personal, one-on-one conversations. In the future, when we have the space to accommodate them, we hope to increase these opportunities by hosting weekly Bible study, monthly Bible seminars, weekly radio programs, and yearly Bible camps.
The members of Zion are thankful to the membership of the CLC for its years of loving support and for its prayers on our behalf. We are thankful to the Board of Missions for its faithful guidance and encouragement as we seek to fulfill our calling to be a light in the world. We are thankful to the Board of Trustees, who took seriously the responsibility of deciding how best to use the funds in the CEF, and then prayerfully deciding to finance the purchase of this property. Above all, we are thankful to the Lord for making this Zion the perfection of beauty by shining forth His glory in the face of Christ Jesus.
Zion invites any who pass through the Atlanta area, for business or pleasure, to look us up and to stop by for a visit. Whether you are here for the weekend and would like to join us for worship, or just passing through during the week and would enjoy an opportunity to visit, our brothers and sisters in Christ are always welcome to come and see and hear our God shining forth from Zion, the perfection of beauty.
You may also find us on the internet at www.zelcloganville.com.
Frank Gantt is pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Loganville, Georgia.