I write to you fresh off the wonderful Reformation 500th Anniversary Celebration on October 29. While I will not list names here since since I will inevitably miss someone who helped create our great experience, I extend my deepest thanks to everyone who participated in the worship service, the musicians, the Sunday School and Adult Forum participants, the actors in our Luther skit, and the servers and cooks who set up the best potluck meal I have ever seen!
For November, we will continue our Reformation adventure by exploring how Lutheran worship has changed and evolved during Trinity’s existence. We will do this through special worship services, two that I am calling “Throwback Sundays” (Nov. 12 and 19) and then ending the month on Nov. 26 with a “Luther All Year Long” service.
Our first “Throwback Sunday” will be on Nov. 12, as we will worship using the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church Hymnal (1926). This is the hymnal that Trinity used around the time of our congregational name changes (Bethlehem Swedish Lutheran Church to Bethlehem English Lutheran Church in 1926, and finally to Trinity Lutheran Church in 1927) and the move to our current building in 1927. Having grown up in Pennsylvania among German-descended Lutherans, I had very little knowledge about the Augustana Synod before undertaking this worship project, but I had the good fortune to randomly pick up an old Augustana hymnal at church that happened to be used by a Trinity organist (likely in the 1940s or 1950s)!
The following week, we will move on to the next hymnal Trinity used, the Service Book and Hymnal (1958). We used this book during our time in the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), after the Augustana Synod merged into the LCA in 1962. While my 1984 birthdate means that I never used this hymnal for myself (the green Lutheran Book of Worship debuted in 1978), I am considerably more familiar with it because my home churches in Pennsylvania used this book before the green one; however, my Pennsylvania folks used the First Setting from this book (the mostly German one), while Trinity used the Second Setting (the mostly Swedish one). On the plus side, The Service Book and Hymnal service will seem familiar to people who have attended Trinity or other ELCA congregations over the last several decades, as much of the music in that hymnal survives today in the red Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal we normally use.
We will then bring the church year to a close on Nov. 26 with Christ the King Sunday and a service that I am calling “Lutheran All Year Long.” We will spend our morning singing hymns written by Martin Luther and other Lutherans as we cycle through the entire church year (seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost) in a single service. Let us enjoy this opportunity for a look at Lutheran spirituality over the 500 years of our Lutheran tradition! As a hymnwriter myself, I can attest to the Holy Spirit’s work in the the process of writing hymn texts, as well as to the creativity and honesty that goes into expressing theology in song!
Pastor Micah Garnett has been our Pastor since July 2016. He grew up in York, PA and graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. He enjoys worship, working with social services in Fulton County, writing hymns, and cycling.