What is Lutheran?


Nativity Lutheran Members

Some are among the most faithful. Some have been struggling with their faith for a long, long time. Some of us are sort of conservative. And some others of us are pretty progressive. Some of us know hymn lyrics by heart, and lots of us wouldn't dare try to say or sing anything without the words in front of us. All of us really care about the integrity of our worship experience. We love to sing together. We believe in the power of prayer. We celebrate Holy Communion nearly everytime we worship and welcome any and all people to join us in this holy meal. We remember the Saints of the congregation who have gone on before. And we look ahead to what it is that God has in store for us.

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Some Nativity members are life-long Lutherans and many are not. Some weren't brought up going to Church. Some are former Roman Catholics or Methodists or Episcopalians. We're a pretty informal community and lots of kinds of people have felt welcome here. We hope you'll feel welcome, too.

We aren't afraid to tackle something just because it's tough. Or because it's different. We believe God has given us what we need to do what God is calling us to do. It's not unusual for us to work on a challenge as we drink some coffee or share in some delicious treats after worship.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The ELCA confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. 

ELCA teaching or theology serves the proclamation and ministry of this faith. It does not have an answer for all questions, not even all religious questions. Teaching or theology prepares members to be witnesses in speech and in action of God’s rich mercy in Jesus Christ. 

Scriptures, Creeds and Confessions

The ELCA’s official Confession of Faith identifies the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (commonly called the Bible); the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds; and the Lutheran confessional writings in the Book of Concord as the basis for our teaching. ELCA congregations make the same affirmation in their governing documents, and ELCA pastors promise to preach and teach in accordance with these teaching sources. This Confession of Faith is more than just words in an official document. Every Sunday in worship ELCA congregations hear God’s word from the Scriptures, pray as Jesus taught and come to the Lord’s Table expecting to receive the mercies that the Triune God promises. Throughout the week ELCA members continue to live by faith, serving others freely and generously in all that they do because they trust God’s promise in the Gospel. In small groups and at sick beds, in private devotions and in daily work, this faith saturates all of life. 

Teaching for a life of faith

This connection to all of life is the clearest demonstration of the authority that the canonical Scriptures, the ecumenical Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions have in the ELCA. The Holy Spirit uses these witnesses to create, strengthen and sustain faith in Jesus Christ and the life we have in him. That life-giving work continues every day, as Martin Luther explained in the Small Catechism: the Holy Spirit “calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.”

Our Partners

New England Lutheran Partnerships: We are not in this whole ministry effort all by ourselves. Lutherans are interconnected throughout the whole country. We are a part of the New England Synod of the ELCA New England Synod (there are 65 synods throughout the country). Our sister congregation to the north is St. Paul in Berlin. To the south, in Newington, we have two sister congregations -- Holy Trinity Lutheran and Immanuel Indonesian Lutheran. To the west (sort of) is Good Shepherd Lutheran in Laconia. And to the east is Trinity in Westbrook, Maine. Nativity is one of about 180 Lutheran congregations in New England. The congregations of the New England Synod work together to support Calumet, New England's Outdoor Ministry Camp Calumet and Ascentria (formerly Lutheran Social Services of New England), the social service arm of the Church Ascentria Care Alliance .

Full Communion Partnerships: ELCA Lutherans work closely with particular denominations with whom we share clergy which means a Lutheran congregation may have an Episcopal priest as a pastor. Or a Methodist minister. Or a Presbyterrian. Or a Moravian. Denominational bishops work together in partnership to find the best clergy gifts for the congregations needing pastoral leadership all throughout New England (and the entire country.).

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