Welcome to First Lutheran!
We are a community of disciples of Jesus Christ working for the transformation of the world and we invite you to join us!
As disciples, we commit ourselves to:
Worship and Pray - "Grounding our lives and growing in our relationship with God."
Learn - "Growing in our understanding in what it means to be disciples of Christ."
Serve - "Caring for all of God's children and creation congregationally, locally and globally."
We are in the process of developing long-range action plans for each of the three legs of discipleship - worship and pray, learn and serve. Vision groups provided recommendations for enhancing our ministry in each of the three areas and we have begun to put it into action!
At First Lutheran Church we welcome all! We are a congregation who does not just say, "All are welcome." We mean it through our actions. In December of 2015, our Congregational Council approved a Welcoming Statement:
Each person is a unique creation of God and, through grace, is a child of God. The people of First Lutheran Church welcome all because God welcomes all, without regard for race or culture, sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status, physical or mental challenges, imprisonment, addictions, socio-economic circumstances, or anything else that too often divides us. First Lutheran Church is a spiritual community that celebrates the gifts of God that can empower us to engage in the struggles of life, to care for each other, and to serve Christ where we work and live. Our unity is in Christ.
Upon its adoption, a task force provided recommendations on how to put the Welcoming Statement into action. You can learn more about the task force recommendations by reviewing The Welcoming Statement Implementation Task Force Report.
Network of AMMPARO Welcoming Congregations: First Lutheran is the First in Nebraska
At the March 2017 meeting, the First Lutheran Church Council voted to join the network of Welcoming Congregations because our welcoming is grounded in scripture, it is consistent with our Welcome Statement adopted in 2015, and we already have a history of being a church home for refugees and immigrants. Joining the network is us being who we already are, just in a publicly recognized way. Our participation in the network is also part of our congregation's developing strategy of immigrant and refugee accompaniment.
There is always a human face of immigration. There is always a story that tells why a person or a family becomes a resident stranger in a foreign land, flees their homeland because of persecution or general violence, or seeks asylum. Human faces and emotional stories of immigration are as fresh as those we hear from new arrivals to Lincoln and as familiar as the biblical stories of Abraham, the Levitical laws, and Joseph, Mary, and Jesus becoming refugees because of Herod's angry genocide.
In the early years after the ELCA formed, there was the recognition that as a national church, we care for people who have been uprooted and support compassionate survival assistance for refugees. Our care is a response to Jesus' self-identifying call to care for the least of these, "...for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in..." (Mt. 25:35).
In 2014, at the height of the public awareness of the global human migration crisis, several ELCA synods decided to partner and declare a joint commitment to welcome and minister to migrant guests, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Through their efforts, a network was formed of ELCA congregations who wanted to play a role in being a safe religious community and work together as Welcoming Congregations: welcoming migrant families in worship, listening respectfully to their stories, praying for and sharing the gospel, providing emotional, pastoral and spiritual support, helping facilitate local resources and services as needed, staying up-to-date on current situation of migrant children/families, and advocating for justice for and with migrants, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
The commitment of those synods in collaboration with the national ELCA offices, created the AMMPARO strategy (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation, and Opportunity). Neither the ELCA AMMPARO Strategy nor the network of Welcoming Congregations act in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act 274.
Come and Be With Us
Through out its history, the congregation of First Lutheran has remained committed to drawing on the riches of its heritage - meaningful worship, content-rich learning, warm hospitality and caring service to others - to adapt to the possibilities and needs of every new generation.
We invite you to join us for worship and prayer, service, learning and fellowship. We are waiting for you!