Family is an integral part of the ministry at Abiding Hope. We have the location for special family events for generations.
Funerals & Memorial Services
The sacraments of the Church are special ways in which God has promised to be with us.
There are two sacraments in the Lutheran Church:
We define a sacrament as something Jesus told us to do, where God’s Word of promise is connected to an “earthly element,” that is, to something tangible. Holy Baptism brings God to us through God’s Word and Water. Holy Communion, or the Eucharist, brings God to us through God’s Word and Bread and Wine.
Choosing baptism for your child or yourself
Baptism celebrates a new beginning as a member of Christ’s body, the Church. Baptism immerses us in the new life given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. When we come for Baptism we are saying “yes” to God’s love and claiming our place within the community of God’s people.
Baptism can also be a time to acknowledge the mystery of a new life coming to birth among us and the immense privilege—as well as the awesome responsibilities—we have as parents.
When we baptize our children we are promising to be role models for them: examples of faith, but also examples of hope, and love, and compassion.
IDEA: Write a letter to your child explaining why you are choosing to have them baptized. As they become a little older you can read that letter to them, perhaps on the anniversary of their Baptism or maybe at their birthday. When they are older again, they may ask you questions about what is in the letter, or whether you think that your hopes and prayers for them are coming true.
When you are ready to start planning for your child's Baptism, please contact the Abiding Hope office so we can work with you to make the necessary arrangements. [Phone 814-868-8685]
IDEA: If one or both of the parents have not been baptized, we can arrange for that to happen at the same time as your child.
If you are thinking about baptism for yourself, know that the Lutheran Church baptizes people of all ages. Pastor Allie has baptized infants, children, teens, 40 somethings, a 73-year-old, and even 80 and 85 year-olds. Before any baptism the Pastor will meeting with the person to be baptized, or the family of infants and children, to prepare for the baptism. There is a richness to this gift of God, and she desires to help you unwrap the gift.
Choosing godparents for your child
Asking someone to be a godparent for your child is a special moment. They will appreciate your trust in them as key figures in the life of your child.
Godparents have an important role as they assist and support you in the spiritual nurture of the child.
Godparents do not need to be Lutherans, but they must be baptized themselves, and they should be people who take their own Christian practice very seriously.
Do not choose someone as a godparent just because they can be at the service. It is better to have someone else stand in for an absent godparent, if they will be better in the longer term as a special mentor in the life of your child.
Traditionally a child has two godparents, often a man and a woman. but any number and any sex is welcome.
The number of people is not all that important, but the quality of the godparent is a key consideration. Will each of these people be positive and healthy influences on your child as they grow?
After the Baptism
As a family you will have endless opportunities help your child grow into the confident Christian person that we prayed for at the time of their Baptism. Every special moment that you treasure with them is a step in your child's development, and every time you share your own faith and your own personal values with your child you take another step in this lifelong journey of faithful living as people of Christ.
Godparents will have an important role as your child grows, and perhaps especially when the children reach adolescence. By then the trusted adults you chose to be the godparents to your child will have cultivated a place in the child's life so they can serve as a personal mentor when your children most need their guidance. In the meantime, help the process along by making a habit of referring to these people as "your godmother" or "your godfather" even if they are also uncles, aunts or cousins. Plant a seed and watch it grow when the time comes.
The church is here to help you and your godparents in the nurture of your children. We offer
· Sunday School, called Kids in Christ, for children,
· Confirmation Classes or Camp for teens,
· Vacation Bible School in the summer, and
· various activities of special interest to families with children throughout the year.
In addition, bookmark our Building Strong Families web-page so you can easily find it when looking for ideas
There is one place at church that especially tells us God is there with us. It is often called "Altar" or "Communion Table", but it is simply a table. We meet Jesus as we gather around the Table for a special meal at which Jesus is present, inviting us, and feeding us with himself.
The ritual that happens at the Table of Jesus has different traditional names: Eucharist, Holy Communion, and Lord's Supper. Eucharist is an ancient Greek word meaning "thanksgiving". Holy Communion reminds us that we are joined to Jesus and to each other in the meal. The Lord’s Supper reminds us of the first Communion which was the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples before his death on a cross. Feel free to use whatever name for this meal that you prefer.
Each time we gather for Eucharist we are inviting the risen Christ come more alive and active in our lives.
Children at the Table of Jesus
All the children of our faith community have a place at the Holy Communion, just as they always have a place around our family table at home.
Jesus made room for children in his own ministry, even though his disciples sometimes wanted to exclude them as "not yet ready" for God’s kingdom.
Jesus insisted the children be made welcome back then, and we also make children welcome at Abiding Hope.
Like families, the church is a place for everyone no matter our age or our circumstances.
Come to the Table
Whether you are in church for the very first time, back in church after a period of time away, someone from another Church, or a regular here at the Abiding Hope, our Holy Communion is open to everyone.
If you would normally receive Holy Communion in your own church, you are very welcome to do so here with us.
If you feel more comfortable just coming for a blessing, simply join the line of people and ask the Pastor for a blessing. You may want to cross your arms in front of you so the worship leaders get a visual cue of your preference.
We offer a choice of wine or grape juice, and gluten free bread is available. Communion is served in a number of different ways at Abiding Hope. Our worship bulletin gives instructions and options at the time of Communion.
Preparing children for Holy Communion
When a child expresses an interest in receiving the Sacrament for themselves, we invite parents to consider preparing them for their First Communion. Our Pastor offers age appropriate instruction.
On occasion, Pastor Allie holds short classes for particular age groups of children.
Just speak with pastor Allie if you are interested in having instruction for your children.
For very young children, under age three, Pastor Allie will meet with the parents [or the adult who brings the children to worship] to help the parents re-enforce the instruction.
Confirmation for Teens
Grades 7-9 is the typical time for teens to participate in Confirmation Classes or Camp at Abiding Hope.
Our Confirmation program is generally a three year process through for a teen to learn at a more mature level than the Children’s Sunday School. With the Pastor, the teens study the essential tools of the faith: The Ten Commandments, The Apostle’s Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion. Added to this are insights about the Bible, worship, and Lutheran Church history.
Some teens begin a period of time of questioning the faith they were taught as children. This is natural and good. Most of us do this sooner or later in our lives in the process of growing.
The confirmation program at Abiding Hope, whether through School year classes at the church, or by attending a week of overnight Confirmation Camp in the summer, can helps teens learn more so they can make informed decisions about what they believe.
At the end of the three years of study, teens can choose, if they so desire, to affirm the promises of their Baptism. That is, they can choose to say that the Christian Faith is what they are choosing at this point in their lives, and not just something their parents chose for them.
Not all people are ready to Affirm their Baptism that at the same time. Some teens prefer to wait until their later years of High School. Pastor Allie would be glad to work separately, or in a 10th-12th grade grouping with them. Just ask.
Adults who have never completed a Confirmation Program will be given additional opportunities to learn more in preparation for membership at Abiding Hope.