Pastor Sonja Tillberg, conducting services.
Here is an excerpt from the September issue of Christ's Beacon(1):
Unless otherwise indicated in a footnote, excerpts from church records or from Christ's Beacon are cited in Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], Chapter 9. (Close)
The ELCA Churchwide Assembly voted in August to enter into full communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church and the Moravian Church in America. "Full communion" means that each will recognize each other's members and sacraments, and exchange clergy when needed. Each retains its own internal structure and worship traditions. The historic episcopate of the Episcopal Church will be the dominant organizational principle for this agreement. The agreement is called: Called to Common Mission.
The following article was in the September 30, 1999, edition of the Woodstock Times(2):
Reproduced in ibid., pp. 269-72. (Close)
Woodstock Reformed and Christ's Lutheran churches to switch pastors as part of larger ecumenical effort
On Sunday, October 3, Pastor Sonja Tillberg of Christ's Lutheran Church in Woodstock will cross the village green to conduct the morning worship service at the Woodstock Reformed Church. She is likely to pass Reverend Kathleen Edwards, pastor of the Woodstock Reformed Church, who will be on her way to lead the service at Christ Lutheran.
What's wrong with this picture? Nothing. For the first time in their 200-year histories, the churches will share full communion as they participate in the same specially prepared service comprising elements common to both traditions. The Woodstock services will precede a larger regional service in Manhattan on the same day at 4 p.m. celebrating the adoption of a "formula agreement" to allow full communion by four mainline denominations, including the Reformed Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and the United Church of Christ, according to the two ministers.
The full communion represents an effort in the ecumenical movement to bring these denominations and churches closer on matters of mission and ministry than they have been since the Reformation in the 16th century. According to the ministers, the concept of full communion includes "recognition and sharing of each other's sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, greater cooperation between ministries and mission, dedication to an ongoing process of theological dialogue to clarify further understanding of the faith, and a plan to live together under the Gospel in respect and love."
A formal agreement among the four churches was actually signed in 1997, but Edwards has been in Woodstock only two years and Tillberg just one year, and this is the first opportunity the churches have had to coordinate the shared service, they say. Neither church was large enough to host both congregations, so the ministers opted for the same order of worship at precisely the same times in the two churches with the congregations attending their respective churches and each minister officiating at the other's church. The Reformed Church delayed the start of its service by 15 minutes so Tillberg would have time to get there following Sunday School at Christ's Lutheran.
Only their sermons will differ, and the ministers say they have not yet had time to share their thoughts. "That's because we haven't played golf yet this week," says Tillberg. In addition to permitting church members to share communion, the recent agreement will also make it possible for ministers of one denomination to officiate at a church of the other three denominations while that church is without a pastor, says Tillberg, noting the agreement just formalizes what the churches have been doing for some time: encouraging members to attend each others' churches.
"This agreement is a real healing of old wounds that have been there among the denominations for 400 years," says Edwards. "It is saying we are one body in Christ, and let's start acting like it."
The location of the two churches in the center of Woodstock will only serve to strengthen their common mission, says Tillberg, emphasizing that the new cooperation will "in no way usurp the mission work we share with the broader council of churches in the Woodstock area."
"A lot of people have put a lot of effort into building these churches, and it's not discarding that," says Edwards of the new spirit of cooperation. "It's a recognition of that as we move into the future.
"An agreement between the Lutheran and Episcopal churches to permit essentially the same type of full communion is also underway, says Tillberg. It is not likely to be ratified before next summer, however.
"This can be tremendous," says Edwards, "for what churches can do in communities with united funds, united effort…"
"And united faith," adds Tillberg.
Edwards acknowledges that the shared service may prove "difficult" for some church members, but Tillberg points out the two churches have members who already work together and attend school together. Says Tillberg, "We are neighbors."
The ministers will not predict where the new spirit of cooperation might ultimately lead. "I do think it's a step in the right direction," says Edwards. "We are acknowledging we have common missions and that is significant as we approach the millennium. We are looking at what unites us, not what divides us."
Adds Tillberg, "And what unites us is the Eucharist."
A potluck supper for both congregations at the Christ's Lutheran Fellowship Hall will follow the services.
Andrea Barrist Stern
The following is an excerpt from the June issue of Christ's Beacon:
The American Musical Instrument Society at their annual conference being held at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, take a day trip to Christ's Church to hear the historic 1885 Hook & Hastings organ played by Jane Hettrick, an organist at Rider College and the Westminster Choir College who was also a consultant for the Lutheran Book of Worship in 1978.
The October issue of Christ's Beacon noted that the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen celebrated its 7th year. Victoria Langling, as co-founder and general director, continued to administer the it, in partnership with area restaurants and with all the local Christian churches, the Jewish congregation, and the Onteora Teachers Association. According to Langling,
We have learned that there are many who are hungry and come to our church soup kitchen, but we have also learned that many are there for the companionship that comes from sharing a community table. Some early supporters: Barbara and Don Stephens, Carmen & David Adler, Marie Schussler aka "The Cookie Lady," Francis J. Turmo, Joe & Hedi Jorgensen, Nancy Pape, Lois Ostapczuk, Bob Langling, Bob & Carolyn Barrette, Bill & Chris Cox, Lai Look, Dottie & Bob Balzer, Kristen Scialampo, Henry Guendel, Pastor Tillberg,… Pastor Emeritus Walter Kortrey, and all families and spouses who worked with them and/or allow them to keep this commitment.(3)
Quoted in ibid., p. 139. (Close)
In the August "Face Lift for Fellowship Hall," volunteers painted the upstairs and downstairs rooms before work began to replace the floor tiles in both rooms. Groups that usually met in the hall, including the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, had to make other arrangements for the two weeks of remodeling.
An elevator was installed in the Fellowship Hall to enhance accessibility.
The Hudson Valley Youth Chorale, directed by Barbara Pickhardt, toured Austria with many youth and adults from our congregation.
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Bill Clinton (Democrat) was President. The newly elected 106th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $1.17 in 2006 for most consumable products.
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