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Updates from congregations around the Church of the Lutheran Confession

We are blessed to have some tremendous activity going on at Faith Lutheran Church in Manchester, Missouri (Saint Louis area). Within this past calendar year, two new members have joined our congregation after completing thorough investigations of what Scripture teaches. By the time this article is published, an additional two young men will have confessed their faith in front of the congregation on their confirmation day, the first confirmations here in over four years. This summer, we rejoiced to send three members of Faith to Nepal for the 2023 CLC Mission Helper Trip. And this fall, we tearfully sent off one young member to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to enroll in the teaching program at ILC, yet we give prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord for leading her in her desire to serve in God’s Kingdom.

Faith Church building

Here at Faith, Sunday morning worship will usually see twenty to twenty-five members gathered in fellowship. Before the worship service, Sunday school and Bible class are held, with around fifteen in the combined attendance. Wednesday mornings present another opportunity for Bible class, which four to seven members regularly attend. We also have a preaching station in the Kansas City area—eight souls gather monthly in a rented hotel conference room in Independence, Missouri, to receiave the means of grace. And on Thursday mornings, I lead a worship service at a memory care facility down the street, with a typical attendance hovering around twenty-five individuals.

I’ve intentionally thrown a lot of numbers at you so far, which might lead you to think I was speaking with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek when I mentioned “tremendous activity.” But that activity which we are privileged to host is not our own, nor is it based on any sort of numbers. Rather, we take immense comfort in Jesus’ promise: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) In spite of our modest size, especially when compared to our nearest church-neighbors, we know that the Holy Spirit is at work among us on Sunday and Wednesday mornings, in a rented hotel conference room, and in the dining room of a memory care facility.

Sunday School Class

So, what’s new with us? I was installed as the pastor of Faith at the end of January 2022. That was new. Since then, there have been a few minor changes—we updated the church website and upgraded some hardware to improve our worship live-streams. That’s new too. Then there have been the more major changes. Last spring, we gathered and witnessed as a child was adopted into God’s family through the waters of Baptism. Last fall, we gathered again and found comfort at the funeral service of another member. As a child, he too had been buried with Christ through Baptism and now enjoys newness of life. Both events brought new changes for many of us.

What isn’t so new is the One working behind it all. Both at the beginning of life and at its end, our loving Savior is involved. He also promises to be active among us every day in between, and that has not changed, nor will it change. So, whatever may come next for Faith, we continue to rely on God’s unchanging grace.

Samuel Rodebaugh is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church of Manchester, Missouri.