I’m New

I’ve never been to a Lutheran church. Am I still welcome?

Yes! We rejoice in a diversity of beliefs and traditions that people bring to our community, and our lives are truly enhanced by the presence of each. We welcome all through our doors.

I’ve never been to ANY church. Am I still welcome?

Yes! All are welcome – there is no entry requirement. We would be honored to play a role in your search. Just as Christ loved all people regardless of their upbringing, their sordid pasts, or their religious devotion (or not), we will lovingly receive you with open arms no matter where you came from or what you believe.

I have children. Can I still come?

We love children! There is nursery care for pre-K and younger. If you prefer, there is a designated space in the sanctuary where parents can sit with their kids while they work on quiet activities at a table or on the floor. For ages 4-12, we offer Sunday School during worship Sept-June; on the third Sunday of each month, the children remain with the rest of the congregation in worship. On Sunday School days, the kids rejoin worship in time for communion on communion Sundays, and there is always a children’s sermon offered near the end of the service.

We try to make St. Martin a hospitable place for kids. In addition to Sunday School offerings, we also provide Bibles for 3rd graders, offer first communion class as needed, have a number of kid-friendly events throughout the year, offer confirmation for ages 12-14, and host Vacation Bible School in summer along with our partner congregation, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Penfield.

Where is St. Martin?

St. Martin is easy to get to get to. From 104 in either direction, take the Bay Road exit and turn right onto Bay Road. St. Martin is located half a mile from 104 on the left hand side. You’ll see a big parking lot, and the church building at the back of it.

What should I wear?

You can wear whatever you are comfortable in. People tend to look a little nicer, but jeans are fine if that’s what you have, and a suit is fine if that’s what you prefer!

How big is St. Martin?

We are a small but mighty group of believers with typically between 55 and 65 in worship. We have some who leave for the winter, and some who leave for the summer. Our total membership is about 160.

What is your worship like?

Traditional but fresh. We deeply value our Lutheran heritage, and follow the traditional liturgical order used by many Lutherans (as well as Episcopal, Orthodox, and Catholic churches), but our hymns come from both traditional and contemporary resources.

What’s the difference between a ‘Lutheran’ and a ‘Christian’?

There isn’t a difference – a Lutheran IS a Christian! Christianity is our religion, and Lutheranism is our denomination. It is one expression of Christianity. See our “What We Believe” section to learn more about what makes Lutherans distinct.

What ‘brand’ of Lutheran is St. Martin, and how is that different from other Lutherans?

St. Martin belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which is based in Chicago. The ELCA shares its roots with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church. We share the same book of confessions (The Book of Concord), but the ELCA is unique among Lutheran bodies in America for several reasons, including its ordination of women and its acceptance of all baptized people to the communion table. For more information on the ELCA, click here.

I’m not Lutheran, or I’m from a different Lutheran body. Can I take communion?

Yes! We welcome all baptized Christians who believe that Christ is truly present in the sacrament to partake of this feast. You are welcome to come forward regardless and receive a blessing. If you are unable to come forward, we will gladly bring communion to you in your seat. Just let us know!

I was baptized in a church that isn’t Lutheran. Do I have to be rebaptized?

No, there is no need. Like most Christian churches, Lutherans recognize that Baptism is not a denominational thing. Anyone baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is, as far as we are concerned, a baptized child of God, whether that baptism took place in a Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist or other church, and whether it was by “sprinkling,” “pouring” or “immersion”—the method doesn’t matter to us!

I’m interested in joining, or having my child baptized, or in my child having first communion, or in confirmation. What should I do?

Great! Talk to the pastor, and she would be happy to work with you.

What is your relationship to Bethlehem Lutheran Church?

In November, 2010, St. Martin and Bethlehem signed a covenant to do joint ministry together, and this was fully enacted in 2011. Because this is still fairly new, we are still learning what it means. For now, it means we share a pastor and a newsletter, we help each other with our respective ministries and fund raisers, we worship and study together periodically throughout the year, and we hold some social events together. We are excited to find out what other ways joint ministry might manifest itself in our lives together! To learn more about Bethlehem, visit their website: www.bethlehemlutheranchurch.org.