We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (and answers) that might be helpful for visitors or anyone new to the area or to the faith who are seeking a church home. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to contact us by phone (913) 362-4150, email, or in person.
Welcome first-time visitors!
Do I have to be Lutheran to worship here?
No. We welcome all to worship with us at First Lutheran Church, and hope you are here often. We are also happy to discuss your faith journey with you at any time.
Are there special rules for visitors? Are visitors singled out?
We love to welcome visitors to join us for worship, for learning, for special meetings and programs. We will not ask you to stand and introduce yourself, but we hope you will meet the people seated in your pew and the pastor before or after service. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask an usher or anyone around you. And we hope you will join us for fellowship time (with coffee and snacks) after services.
What door should I enter?
All church doors are unlocked during services, so you may enter any. Early (8:15 am) services are held in the chapel at the south end of the church. The 10:30 service is held in the main sanctuary. The nearest door is at the north end of the building facing State Line Road.
Is the church building accessible?
Changes to the building have been made to accommodate persons who have difficulty navigating stairs. An elevator enables easy passage from the sanctuary level to the fellowship area on the lower level. A ramp provides wheelchair access to the State Line Road entrance, with handicap parking nearby in the semi-circular drive off State Line.
Is a nursery available for children?
Children are always welcome to remain with their parents throughout the entire church service. But for those who prefer, nursery care is available during both services for children from infants to four years. They are brought into the sanctuary to share the children’s sermon.
Are there Sunday School classes for all ages?
Yes, Christian educational opportunities are offered every Sunday between services (beginning at 9:15am). Adult classes are held in the Library (main floor). Children’s classes are held in the Fellowship Hall (basement). Adult classes may be scripture-based study or may involve a special speaker. All classes run September through May.
If I am not a member, may I receive Communion?
We believe that God’s gift of his body and blood are given freely to all believers. Thus all are welcome who desire to come forward to receive this sacrament. Worshippers who are physically unable to come forward may receive communion in their pew. Please let an usher know if you wish to receive communion at your seat.
Is Communion celebrated every Sunday?
Yes, Communion is offered as part of our Sunday liturgy in both the early (8:15) and late (10:30) services. It may be by intinction (dipping the bread into the wine or grape juice) in a continuous procession forward by worshippers or as separate elements at the Communion rail. The ushers will direct you. If you have any questions about Communion, ask the ushers or any member at First. They will be glad to help you.
Is the common cup offered during Communion?
Communion wine is offered either by individual cups or by intinction (dipping the wafer into a single chalice of wine).
Is this church really open to gay and lesbian people?
Yes. We welcome all to First Lutheran Church. No matter who you are, you are welcome to worship with us and participate in church life. We believe God’s love is for everyone and that all are welcome in God’s place of worship as fully participating members. And we look forward to the day when this question seems as nonsensical as asking whether First is really open to blue-eyed persons. We are all God’s children. Please read our Welcome Statement.
A few words about our worship service.
Is the church service hard to follow?
We make every effort to make our worship service meaningful and easy for lifelong Lutherans or those new to the faith to follow. We use the rich liturgical settings of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship resource as the framework for most of our services, and all parts of the service (including songs) are fully printed in the worship bulletin, with congregational responses indicated in bold type.
What is the Sharing of Peace?
What may seem like a social greeting to those sitting nearby, the Sharing of the Peace is an actual part of our worship structure. It is a way for God’s people to be reconciled with one another, to set aside differences, and to recognize that peace is only possible through Christ. It may be expressed as a handshake, a hug, or other appropriate gesture, with the spoken sentiment of “The peace of the Lord to you.”
Why is there so much standing up and sitting down during service?
The way the congregation responds to the worship service varies from church to church. Standing for certain parts of the liturgy at First is simply an expression of reverence. The pastor or worship assistant will invite the congregation to stand or sit when appropriate.
What do the colors mean on the altar and in the vestments the Pastor wears?
The colors that adorn the worship space reflect the specific “season” of the church year or the festival being celebrated. For example, blue is the color for Advent, white for Christmas and Epiphany, purple for Lent, and red for the Day of Pentecost.
Why do I hear the same readings over and over?
The Sunday readings don’t include the entire Bible. They are chosen specifically to highlight the saving ministry of Jesus Christ, and they work with the church year to unfold that reality. There are three annual cycles of readings (beginning with Advent). In year A, the gospel readings are primarily from St. Matthew. Year B readings are primarily from St. Mark. St. Luke is emphasized in year C. St. John is used in all the cycles. Several other denominations share this schedule of readings.
Who chooses what hymns are to be sung?
Have you noticed how the readings, songs, and sermon themes work together to deliver a unified message? The ELCA’s worship planning resource, Sundays & Seasons, offers suggestions for worship music for each service. The specific songs for worship at First are selected by our Worship and Music Committee.
How does FLC observe Lent?
Lent is a time of penitence and a reminder of our mortality. Ash Wednesday is the first day of the 40-day period of Lent. At First we observe this with Ash Wednesday worship that includes the imposition of ashes, which is a cross marked on the forehead of worshipers with a mixture of oil and ashes. First has special midweek worship during Lent, usually preceded by a simple supper.
Exploring the Lutheran faith.
Is First Lutheran Church part of a larger church body?
Yes, First Lutheran Church is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a community of faith of nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S., and nearly 5 million members, headquartered in Chicago. For information about the ELCA, visit ELCA.org.
What do Lutherans believe?
The Lutheran church is often described as a mainstream Protestant Christian church. We believe in the Triune God. We celebrate two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion. We believe that it is by God’s gift of grace through our faith that we are saved. For deeper insights into the Lutheran faith, visit ELCA.org/What-We-Believe.
How can I become a member?
We rejoice when we welcome members into our First family. Many join by letter of transfer from their previous congregation. Others are more comfortable joining after a brief orientation to the Lutheran Church conducted by the pastor. Unbaptized persons are often baptized as part of joining First. New members are welcomed as part of the regular worship service.
At what age are members baptized?
Baptism is one of two sacraments recognized by the Lutheran Church (Holy Communion is the other). Through Baptism, the person becomes a child of God and is sealed into God’s kingdom forever. At First, most members are baptized as infants, usually by sprinkling. But there is no age limit to Baptism! We rejoice when older children and adults present themselves for Baptism.
If I am from a denomination other than Lutheran, must I be baptized again?
We recognize any Christian Baptism as valid and binding. This is the unfailing nature of God’s promise.
At what age may children receive Communion?
Holy Communion is a gift from God, one that is freely given. The invitation to the Lord’s Table is issued by God, not man. At First Lutheran Church, the age of First Communion is less a question of age than one of readiness and understanding. This is usually determined through conversation with the child, the pastor, and the child’s parents.
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is literally an affirmation of one’s Baptism. At First, this is a two-year period of study for baptized persons in early adolescence that results in a mature statement of faith. During a worship service, usually at Pentecost, the confirmation candidates share their faith statements with the congregation.
Does FLC have a vacation bible school?
Yes, every summer FLC sponsors a vacation bible session. But it is not just for the children. There are activities, learning sessions, fellowship opportunities, and refreshments for all ages.
If I am not a member of First, can I get married there?
Yes. Please contact the office to discuss available dates and receive other information. Visit our Contact Us page for more information. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (and answers) that might be helpful for visitors or anyone new to the area or to the faith who are seeking a church home. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to contact us by phone (913) 362-4150, email, or in person.