There will be occasions in your life when you have a special need for the family of God. We would like to help you in any way possible. Here is a brief outline of some of the areas where we may be of assistance to you. For more information, please call the church office.
How to Arrange for a Baptism:
Children should be Baptized as soon as possible, usually when they are about two to three weeks old. They, too, are in need of the forgiveness God assures to us in Holy Baptism.
In preparation for the Baptism, our Pastor will meet with the parents to go over the Bible passages and the teaching of the Church about Baptism. This pre-Baptism counseling session usually takes about an hour. This may be done in your home or in the Pastor’s office.
Sponsors (Godparents) of children should be Christian relatives, or very close Christian friends, who believe in the Sacrament and are willing to assume the responsibilities connected with Baptism. Selection of Sponsors should be given serious and prayerful consideration — you may wish to consult with the Pastor about this. Having Sponsors is not required and there is no certain number of Sponsors. If Sponsors are used, it would be good if they could be present for the Pastor’s pre-Baptism interview with the parents. If Sponsors cannot be present for the Baptism, proxy Sponsors may answer for them.
When adults wish Baptism, they ordinarily receive prior instruction in the basic truths of Christianity, including the Sacrament of Baptism. Youngsters, when able to understand, are also instructed in the purpose of Holy Baptism.
Baptisms are normally performed in church during the Sunday worship service. However, when unusual circumstances warrant, they may be performed privately, at any time mutually convenient to all.
Should the infant’s life be in danger, the infant should be Baptized immediately. Please call the Pastor and he will come at once. If time does not permit, any Christian may Baptize by applying water to the infant’s head and saying, “I Baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Ratification (public acknowledgment) of the Lay Baptism may take place later in a worship service at the church.
The Pastor does not accept any gift for performing a Baptism, however, if you feel so inclined, a gift to the congregation or to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund would be appropriate.
How to Prepare for Confirmation:
Confirmation is a traditional rite of the Church in which a person publicly confirms promises made at the time of Baptism and publicly confesses faith in the Triune God. The most important part of Confirmation is the instruction which is done in preparation.
Youngsters at Faith normally receive three years of intensive instruction in Christian doctrine beginning at age eleven (entering 6th grade) and are confirmed as Communicant members of the congregation at about age 14 (completing 8th grade). However, due to individual circumstances, this may vary. Youngsters who have not begun Confirmation instruction by the age of 14 are asked to consult with the Pastor to discuss their particular situation.
How to Arrange for Communicant Membership:
There are four ways for adults to be received as Communicant members of Faith:
1. Through Adult Baptism
Adults who have not been Baptized are required to an Adult Membership Class. Upon successful completion of the class, the adult will be Baptized and welcomed as a Communicant member.
2. Through Adult Instruction (Adult Confirmation)
Baptized Adults who wish to become Communicant members of the congregation, but who did not receive confirmation instruction as youngsters, are required to attend an Adult Membership Class. We feel it is very important that anyone wishing to join our congregation have a good knowledge of what our Lutheran Church teaches and be able, personally, to confess these teachings. Classes are taught a various times during the year, usually in the fall and in the spring. There is no obligation to join after completion of the class. Confirmed members and all new members are urged to use the classes as refresher courses and as an aid to growing faith.
3. Through Transfer
If an adult is a member in good standing of a sister congregation, that adult may become a Communicant member of Faith through transfer. The adult will be required to sign a membership application for Faith and then we will write the sending congregation and request the transfer. Membership applications are given only after a consultation with the Pastor.
4. Through Affirmation of Faith
If an adult has been a member of a sister congregation and that membership has lapsed or if an adult has been confirmed in another Christian congregation, that adult may be accepted into Communicant membership through Affirmation of Faith. Consultation with the Pastor is required for entry into Communicant membership through Affirmation.
How to Arrange for a Wedding:
As a general rule, our Pastor only performs marriages for Christian couples who have a membership connection with the congregation. Our Pastor will do all that he can to make your wedding a blessed and memorable event.
After a date has been tentatively agreed upon by the couple, contact the Pastor to clear the date on the church calendar and make other preliminary arrangements. This should be done as early as possible to avoid any possible disappointment. Dates, usually three, will be set for premarital counseling interviews — the Pastor insists on these sessions as a prerequisite to the ceremony.
Music for the wedding must be in keeping with good, traditionally acceptable church music. The Church Organist is normally the organist used for church weddings. Guest organists may be used but this must be cleared through the Pastor and our Organist. The fee normally paid to our Organist is to be paid even if someone else plays – (as per American Guild of Organists Handbook.) All musical selections and arrangements must be approved by the Pastor and the Church Organist.
How to Arrange for Counseling:
Sometimes the problems of life seem so complex or perplexing that we feel the need to consult with others. At such times, our Pastor is available for counsel. Although not a licensed counselor, he has received training in counseling and is a good listener. If your concern or problem is such that you need the services of a trained and licensed professional, our Pastor will help you to locate one. Often, though, just talking through your concerns and praying with someone who has helped others is all that is needed.
To arrange for an appointment with our Pastor, please call him at the church office, 925-685-7353.
How to Arrange for a Funeral:
Death is usually a shock for the surviving loved ones no matter how prepared they seem to be. For Christians, though, there is comfort and inner peace knowing that their loved one has joined the Church Triumphant. Therefore the best funeral preparation is to find the dying person in a close relationship with the Lord.
When a death occurs, notify the Pastor at once. The Pastor will want to be with you to offer prayer and consolation from God’s Word.
However, except in unusual circumstances, our Pastor conducts funeral services only for those who have been members of Faith or have had some close association with the congregation.
Church funerals are encouraged; however, the funeral home chapel is also acceptable. Arrangements for times for the service will be made that are suitable for you, the funeral director, and the Pastor. Following the service, the Pastor will accompany the casket to the waiting vehicle and the committal site.
When the service is at the funeral home, the casket may remain open during the service. However, if the service is at the church, the casket must be closed at the beginning of the service and remain closed and may not be opened again after the service. (It has been found that opening the casket at that time is especially hard on the family and close loved ones and also tends to distract from the comfort and assurance given during the service.)
If the service is at the church, the service must be “Christian” in all aspects. Music will be furnished by the Church Organist, and all musical selections must be approved by the Pastor and the Organist. “Remembrances” are not permitted as part of the worship service, however, they may be offered in the fellowship hall as part of the Reception. (There is a fee for the Organist, but there is no fee for the use of the Sanctuary or the Fellowship Hall, however, a gift to the Church would be appreciated. Also, our Pastor does not accept personal gifts for conducting funeral services, however, a gift to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund would be appropriate.)
Death is a part of life. When a child is born, we know that someday that child will die. Death is not to be feared, nor to be put completely out of your mind. For the Christian, death is the glorious entry into the mansions prepared by Christ our Lord!
How to Arrange for Special Pastoral Care:
Our Pastor is there when you need him — but sometimes you have to tell him of the need. 925-685-7353.
Our Pastor makes regular hospital visits. Please let the Pastor know when and where you will be hospitalized so that he may visit you. Please don’t assume that he will find out.
Visits to House-Bound Members:
Our Pastor regularly visits members of our congregation who are house-bound. Sometimes, though, he is not aware of members in need. If you are house-bound and the Pastor has not been visiting you, please call the church office, 925-685-7353, and arrangements will be made to begin regular visitations.
Blessing Your New Home:
Our worship books provide an order of service for the Blessing of a Dwelling. If you have recently moved, please call the Pastor and arrangements will be made for a special service at your home.
Private Communion Services:
Our Pastor will be happy to provide a private Communion service for you and/or your family if one is desired. Occasions might include: before hospitalization; before a wedding; before moving; a family member is leaving the nest; a career change; etc.