A WELCOME IN JESUS' NAME to all who gather in the Lord’s House at St. Paul, McGregor or Trinity,
Guttenberg! We follow the historic liturgy of the Christian Church, which is meant to teach us clearly
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The liturgy is meant to teach us what God has done for us in
Christ, and what he continues to do for us. We learn of our sinful condition and God's great mercy
for us. The hymns we sing are mainly Lutheran Chorales, which are meant to teach us to confess
and sing out this faith. Hymns are not merely expressions of our personal faith, but much more, they
are instruction and admonition in the true Christian faith (Col 3:16). We also follow the
Historic Lectionary, which gives us a rich collection of Scripture throughout a one year cycle, covering
the whole council of God. The goal of our entire worship is to learn God's Word, receive his gift of
salvation through faith in Christ, and be strengthened in the same.
Lord's Supper and Closed Communion
The Lord's Supper is the true body and blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, under the bread and the wine, instituted by Christ himself, given for us Christians to eat and to drink. The bread and wine are not mere symbols of the body and blood of Jesus. They are, according to Christ's Words, the very body and blood of our Lord, which he gave and shed on the cross for our forgiveness. We offer the Lord's Supper at every Sunday morning service as well as on various festivals. St. Paul, McGregor also offers the Lord's Supper on the first Wednesday of every month. As member congregations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Trinity and St. Paul congregations practice closed communion. This means that we offer the body and blood only to those who have been catechized in the true Biblical Doctrine as summarized in Luther's Small Catechism, and are members in good standing of a congregation, which publicly teaches the same Scriptural truth that we are devoted to teach. Ordinarily these congregations are also members of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and as such, have agreed to teach and practice in accordance with the Scriptures as laid out in the Lutheran Confessions. This is the Biblical and historic practice of the church, going all the way back to St. Paul who tells the churches that they should agree with one another, and that each person should examine himself before taking the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 1:10; 11:28). The practice of open communion is the practice that allows anyone to come up to the altar, or it might only invite those who are baptized to come up, regardless of what they publicly confess. This is sometime referred to as "close" communion, because it only requires a confession that is "close enough" to the true, Biblical confession. But who is to decide what is close enough? When you commune at our altar you are saying that you agree with everything we teach. If you also commune at another church that teaches contrary to what we teach, then you are saying that you agree with what they teach. If you commune at two churches that teach different things about what God's Word is, about what Baptism is, about what the Lord's Supper is, about how we are saved, etc, then you are making two different confessions. That is called lying. Closed communion is honest communion. We practice this in order to keep ourselves and those who visit us from lying. In the meantime, it is our fervent desire to commune everyone who comes to our congregation. But this often takes time. If you are interested in communing with us then speak to the Pastor about it. He will be able to speak to you about Adult Catechesis and instruction. Our goal is to be of the same mind, and not each have our own opinion about God's Word. Closed communion is not a way to keep you out of our club. It is rather a way to keep us all honest so that we might all bow the knee to the Bible’s deep concern for doctrinal truth (Rom.16:17) and the Bible’s witness that doctrinal unity is central to the common reception of this sacrament.
What to do when you arrive?
Find the pastor and introduce yourself. Tell him where you go to church. Please, do not invite yourself up to communion, even if you are a member of a congregation in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. God has given the pastor the responsibility to welcome people to the altar as well as keep people from the altar who might receive the Lord's Supper to their harm rather than to their benefit. He is a steward of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1), which means that God has charged him with the great responsibility to commune only those who, as far as he can tell, confess what the Bible teaches. This is very serious. The pastor will be judged for how he handles Christ's Sacrament, and your faith can be damaged if you do not receive the body and blood of Christ with a true confession and conscience. Therefore, if you are a Missouri Synod Lutheran, please be aware that this is not a guarantee that you can take the Lord's Supper. The pastor should know who your pastor is, the name of your congregation, and whether you have learned and believe the Christian faith as it is summarized in the the Small Catechism. This is a great opportunity for you to talk about God's Word with the pastor. That's what he's there for. And talking about God's Word is always beneficial. It reveals Jesus to us, our Savior from sin and hell. We pray that whether or not you commune with us on your visit, that you be edified by the Word of our gracious God.
Worship and Learning Opportunities
Sunday Morning Bible Class for adults and children at Trinity begins at 7:35 am. Sunday School is at 9:30 am. St. Paul Sunday School is held at 9:15 a.m. Bible Study for adults and children begins at 11:45 am after Divine Service. Midweek Adult Bible Study is scheduled Tuesdays at 4:45 pm at St. Paul and Wednesdays at 9:30 am at Trinity. A study of Luther's Large Catechism is held for both congregations and visitors at 2:15 pm on Wednesdays at St. Paul, followed by Children's Catechism Class at 3:45 p.m. St. Paul also has services every Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m., which are specifically geared toward teaching the Catechism and Bible History. Those who have not been involved in Bible Study are welcome to join us. A knowledge of the Bible is not necessary, only a desire to learn.