A SLICE OF LIFE IN THE CLC
Snapshots of congregations from around the Church of the Lutheran Confession
“…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Located just outside the bustling beltline of our nation’s capital, our Lord has placed Gift of God Lutheran Church—not only as a place for local members to worship and enjoy the fellowship of one faith, but also to be a blessing (a “Gift of God”) to CLC members temporarily stationed in the Washington D.C. metro area for work or military service.
The Lord in Action
In 1982, Pastor Stephen Kurtzahn of Living Word Lutheran Church (Hendersonville, North Carolina) was asked to visit a small group of confessional Lutherans living in the Washington D.C. area. Having moved to the area from California, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the people in this group had two things in common—they all had previously been members of CLC congregations and they were frustrated by the lack of confessional Lutheranism in the Washington D.C. area.
In December 1983, this small group of dedicated Christians organized as Gift of God Lutheran Church, and applied for membership with the CLC. Supported by the CLC, Pastor Paul F. Nolting was called to be Gift of God’s full-time pastor.
For the first ten years, Gift of God worshipped in the Everly Chapel in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1992 the congregation moved into their current worship facility at the Old Town Hall, a central landmark in Fairfax, Virginia.
In 1995, Gift of God of Fairfax and Living Word of Hendersonville formed a joint parish, with Pastors Terrel Kesterson, and then Timothy Holland conducting services two Sundays a month, with lay services the other Sundays.
In 1998, Living Word Lutheran Church disbanded, and Gift of God found itself unable to financially support a pastor by themselves. They called retired pastor Glenn Oster (West Columbia, South Carolina) to serve them on a monthly basis. The congregation would conduct lay services the other Sundays of the month. This arrangement has worked well for the last twenty-one years, with Pastor Oster flying once a month from his home in South Carolina to conduct worship services and visitations for members and transients in the Washington D.C. area.
Although Gift of God remains small membership-wise (twenty members), because of our location we have been able to bring the comfort and encouragement of God’s holy Word to many dozens of confessional Lutherans who have temporarily lived and worked in the metro D.C. area. We are thankful that the Lord has used us to be a “Gift of God” to those who are far from their church homes while working or stationed in Washington D.C. One lady who was stationed here for several years described her appreciation for having a CLC congregation in the area: “Over the years, the members of the congregation grew very dear to me. They did not realize the gifts they had given each time we gathered: the gift of strengthening our faith, the Bible Class, the singing of hymns to Bonnie Reedy’s organ music, the gift of hearing the sermon read by one of the elders, the gift of praying together . . . The GIFT OF GOD” (You can read her full article at www.FairfaxLutheran.org)
Glenn Oster serves Gift of God Lutheran Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He is also the CLC webmaster. His home is in West Columbia, South Carolina.