Welcome! Bienvenue! Tervetuloa! Bem-vindo! Karibu! Velkommen! Bienvenido! Haere Mai!
From our Interim Pastor, Rev. Dr Stephen Larson:
To Everything There is a Season – including a time for interim ministry.
In 2012 – 2013, the English-speaking Congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva (ELCG) entered a time of discernment. During this interim time between longer-term pastors, we are asking the question: What is the future to which God is calling us?
Part of that discernment is to remember the past. The ELCG was founded in 1707 by German Lutherans who traveled through Geneva on their way to the Lyon trade fairs. The English-speaking Congregation (ESC) emerged in the late 1950’s as Geneva’s international community blossomed. Over those years, the ESC became a multi-cultural, Lutheran and ecumenical community.
Part of that discernment process is to evaluate the extensive ministry and mission of the congregation at this time.
Every Sunday morning we gather for worship. We follow the basic order of Lutheran worship, including weekly communion, but this order is filled with songs from all over the world, drama, dance, art, flowers and ways of prayer and worship from the cultures represented in our congregation. God's Word is vivid and vibrant in our midst as our multi-talented congregation engages week upon week, with the Spirit and with each other, to discern God's will for our lives. We sing songs that are old for some and new for others. We learn each other's rhythms and discover God feeding us around God's table from each other's hands. Children are welcome at worship, not only as squirming, captive recipients, but as those who have gifts to contribute.
After worship we go downstairs, or outside in the summer, for coffee. We like to talk with one another, but the conversations are not closed. In some neighborhoods we have active groups which meet regularly to enjoy each other's company or to discuss some aspect of our church life. There are Bible studies of different kinds.
During the school year, there is Sunday school for all ages. Every week before the 11h00 worship (at 10h00), the Spaghetti Factory is the site for the adults and youth. Children meet for Sunday school during the worship service on the top floor of the church. The children's program is taught in French and English.
Except for the summer break, there are adult and junior choirs. Both sing every week in worship. These choirs help the congregation worship and lead the singing. Don't worry if you don't know the songs - you will learn them quickly, and you will soon develop your favorites. And every so often we will sing one of your favorites from back home.
Our congregation has many ministries, both in Geneva and around the world. We support projects in many countries which try to speak the Gospel into difficult situations. Once a month, we serve food at the local soup kitchen. We are involved in a project with the John Knox Centre, which brings together all the Christian communities in Geneva. Many of our members have their own ministries in Geneva and beyond.
Our congregation opens wide the church doors and our arms to welcome the community. The rue de la Fontaine side of the church building presents a themed poster and video campaign of our congregational worship life. The Geneva Lutheran newsletter is published regularly throughout the year to keep both congregation and community informed.
And part of the discernment process is to dream dreams and explore visions of the future to which God is calling us. For God keeps working with us to make us more and more open to others, more and more expressive of God's great love, more and more energetic to do God's will. Our process includes an interim ministry self-study involving the whole congregation, and a working group on governance will make recommendations to the May Annual Assembly. Later in 2013, a call committee will be established to seek a new pastor for our congregation. It is hoped that new pastor will begin ministry in the autumn.
There's a place at God’s table for you. Welcome!