Members of Zion Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Middletown, Ohio, say that “Always being made new” is a fitting theme for 2013.

“Always being made new” is the theme under which the 4 million-member ELCA is celebrating ots 25th anniversary as a church.

According to Suzie Beckmeyer, a member of Zion, “Always being made new is relevant to us. We are in a transition right now. We are looking at having an interim pastor, and we do not just want to redo what we did last year.”

One of the ways in which Zion is being made new is by reaching out to their community in service.

Zion Lutheran began doing service work in May 2013 with projects on the last day of Sunday school. Everyone in the congregation was invited to attend an early worship service and then participate in one of three projects in the church building and throughout the community. These projects included interacting with residents at a home for individuals with mental illness, improving Bull’s Run Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum, and baking cookies and bringing them to the families surrounding Zion Lutheran Church.

The planning team for these events, Suzie, Joanne Aderhold and Debi Hall tell a story about a young boy who heard about the cookies being served in the community.

“There was one kid who was not home when they were delivering cookies, but he had heard about other families getting cookies so he rode his bike to the church just to receive some cookies.”

This first service event touched the community of Middletown and also prepared both the city and the congregation for the service they will be doing in September.

On Sept. 8, 2013, the ELCA will celebrate “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. On this day congregations are invited to go out and serve their communities. Zion Lutheran Church will be doing just that on Sept. 8.

Fifty members of all ages from the congregation participated in the first service event in May and 40 walked in the Fourth of July parade — despite the fact that it was raining! The team has set a goal for the whole congregation to be involved on Sept. 8.

“We want to increase the number of people who know our congregation does service,” says Debi.

Joanne, Debi and Suzie are working hard to create unique events for the congregation, and although this was the first year of service projects, Zion Lutheran Church plans to continue working within the community and celebrating “God’s work. Our hands.”

“We are Lutheran, and if we do it once, it is a tradition,” said Suzie in regard to the hope for future service events at Zion Lutheran.

Megan Nuehring
Megan Nuehring is a student at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, majoring in public relations and religion with a minor in leadership.

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