Advent Celebration

Zion’s traditional Advent Celebration
Wednesday,
December 14, 2016
Zion’s Music Ministry will once again be hosting our annual Advent Celebration on Wednesday, December 14 beginning with a potluck at 6:30 pm. The BRAMS String Ensemble and their families will once again be joining us to add to the music of the evening. Music and participatory singing will be heard in the Fellowship Hall from 7pm-7:30pm.

Lessons & Carols

The Music Ministry of Zion is planning, A Festival of Lessons and Carols based on the famous event developed by King’s College of England and performed traditionally each year. This wonderful festival of word and song will be Sunday, December 4 at 2:00 pm here at Zion. This is not a worship service, but an interactive time of readings beginning in Genesis through Matthew and Luke, sharing God’s promises to us and the gift of our Savior, and singing of familiar loved carols. There is no admission fee. We will be collecting donations of non-perishable foods for the North Haven Food Pantry. Bring your family and friends and neighbors. Come hear what God has so lovingly done for us and sing His praises. A cake and coffee reception will follow. For more info contact Susan Cosgrove, musicladybrams@yahoo.com

Pastor 9/16

Dear Friends of Zion,

We have anniversaries every year that connect us to special events and times.  Some anniversaries have a greater meaning to than others.  A married couple married for 25 years celebrates their silver wedding anniversary.  If they are married for 50 years, they celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.

On September 18, our congregation is celebrating the 125th Anniversary of Zion Lutheran Church in Wallingford, CT.  This is a very special anniversary celebration.  When the founding families established this church back in 1891, they desired to have a spiritual home that would connect them to the grace of God through Word and Sacraments.  Over the years many people have come to Zion Lutheran Church to receive the same blessings.

We have been blessed by the people who have come to Zion Lutheran Church.  I think of the parents who have come to have their children baptized.  Through water and the Word, God made them His own and blessed them with the Holy Spirit.  And many children have learned about God through the Sunday School that continues to lead young and old to Jesus.  And what a joy it has been over these many years to celebrate the Confirmation of our young men and women as they also partake of the Lord’s Supper for the first time!  These are cherished memories of people who have been part of the mission and ministries of Zion Lutheran Church.

Over the years people have come to this church for other special needs and reasons.  Many a bride and groom have heard the words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” as they stood before the altar of the Lord at Zion Lutheran Church.  The Word of God continues to offer the blessings of His grace in their lives.  Over the years many hearts weighed down by grief at the loss of a loved one have heard the words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:25-26).  And as we have gathered in worship with the angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, we have been reminded that the church on earth is united with the saints in heaven!

One hundred and twenty-five years is an occasion worth celebrating.  I thank God for the people who have participated in the fellowship and ministries of this congregation.  I thank God for the leaders, teachers, officers, musicians, singers, and volunteers who have served over these many years.  I thank God for the lives that have been blessed by Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, and the joy and comfort of being in the presence of our Lord and Savior .  May that same Lord bless us as we celebrate 125 Years of God grace in this place!

– Pastor

Pastor 10/16

Dear Friends of Zion,

Have you noticed how so many things seem to lose value? The dollar does not seem to buy as much as it used to years ago. That new car loses value as soon as you drive it off the car lot. Bread becomes stale, fruit becomes soft, and the shelf life of the products we buy soon expire.

Yet, there is something that God has given to us that never loses value. That is the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. St. Peter once wrote, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19) The value of what Christ offers through His body and blood have eternal value that does not diminish with time. St. Peter referred this as “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade- kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).

There are some things about my faith in Christ that means more to me the longer I live. As time passes I have been greatly comforted by God’s grace that offers forgiveness, for I certainly have not mastered that perfect life God requires in His Law. I still face temptation and the struggles of my humanity. Yet, our Lord has blessed us with His holy Supper that continues to impart His forgiving grace and peace.

The older I get the more I treasure the presence of my Savior in my life. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), and, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” Matthew 28:20b). How precious these words are to me during those times when challenges arise. Sometimes it seems like those challenges grow as time passes.

And what a blessing God has given us in our faith! The value of our faith grows as we nourish it through the Word of God and His Sacraments. St. Paul wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17) St. Peter said it this way: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)

As you see so many things fading in value, may God help us to hold on to those things that are eternal!

– Pastor

The Message

Dear Friends of Zion,

We face changes constantly. Some of them we welcome, especially when they help improve our lives. Other changes may be imposed upon us, such as illness, taxes, and regulations.

Mary and Joseph experienced changes in their lives. When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to be the mother of our Lord, their lives would never be quite the same again. God’s Son would be Mary’s Son, and Joseph would have to deal with it. When Caesar Augustus ordered the decree that all the world should be registered, Mary and Joseph had to pack up and head for Bethlehem. When Herod sought to kill Jesus, Mary and Joseph took another detour in life as they travelled to Egypt.

We face changes in our lives, too. This year Christmas is on a Saturday. Since we already have a scheduled Saturday worship at 5:00 PM, our Council has decided to change the time of our first Christmas Eve Service from 7:30 PM to 5:00 PM. Please mark your calendars and adjust your family celebrations to include this earlier time for worship. We will have two services on Christmas Eve – 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM. Christmas Day will remain the same at 10:30 AM.
The greatest change we have in our lives is the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives. He brings us peace through the forgiveness of sins. He blesses us with His grace and enriches our lives with every spiritual blessing from God. That is why Isaiah was able to say, “To us a child is born; to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Mary’s child is our child as well who brings great blessings to all who receive Him!

May God bless you with a very merry Christmas!

– Pastor