About Redeemer Lutheran Church

What type of Lutheran church are we?

We are a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As such we follow the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s theological and practical understandings.

Can I come forward for communion?

All are welcomed to the altar. The general answer to this question is that if you have been baptized and feel you have a basic understanding of communion, you can come forward. If you have any more specific questions, please see the pastor.

Do you do healing services? What are healing services?

We do carry out healing services four times a year. We believe that God has called us to be healed spiritually through a blessing with sacred oil and laying on of hands with a prayer. We pray for a spiritual healing that even if a physically healing can’t be possible (and sometimes that does happen), at least we can live knowing that our limitations can be a gift from God. For example, people who are blind sometimes talk about the gift of having heightened senses; people who have bad knees talk about the gift of walking.

I need to ask for forgiveness. How do you do confession?

We as a Lutheran church have public confession. On rare occasions, we will perform private confession. We believe that a person asking for confession would ever need to be specific in naming that confession out loud because that sin lies on one’s mind and/or heart. Since God comes directly to you, God can judge your sincerity (as only God can judge). A pastor just mediates God’s message of forgiveness.

What time are your services?

Please visit our Worship Services page for our detailed service schedule.

How long are your services?

A normal service is about 1 hour long.

What outreach do you do for the community?

Individual members work at soup kitchens and donate food to pantries. We also have a nursery school, a large Alcoholics Annonymous (AA) group

Visiting the Church

Where exactly is the church? And how to reach there?

Please see this page for church location, map and direction.

This is my first time visiting this church. Where do I park my car?

First off, welcome to the church. We are pleased that you have chosen to visit us. If you are driving, you may find street parking near the church. If there is nothing available on 217th Street, try finding a spot on 92nd Avenue (bordering the church building) since there are no houses along that way. Please do not park in between the no parking signs in front of the church; they are there in case there is an emergency and rescue operations need to get to the church immediately.

This is my first time visiting this church but I’m taking public transportation. How do I get to the church?

Again, welcome to the church. We hope that your visit is all you are expecting. You may use the interactive map on our location page for transportation and directions. We are a neighborhood church, and as such, are located a little off the main roads in Queens Village (Hillside and Jamaica Avenues). If coming from Jamaica or Hollis, you can take the Q36 and get off at 212th Place and 91st Avenue. It will be a short walk over to 217th (heading east) and 92nd Avenue (heading south). You can also take the Q1 bus which will drop you off at Springfield Blvd and 92nd Avenue. Head west for a short walk to 217th Street. If you are coming from the Q43 on Hillside Avenue, stop at/around 217th Street and Hillside Avenue, then walk north to 92nd Avenue. You can also take the Hempstead Line on the LIRR and arrive just south of Hillside Avenue; turn east when you reach Hillside Avenue and you should reach 217th Street within a few blocks. Head north and arrive at 92nd Avenue.

Now that I’m at the church, how do I enter?

Because we have a nursery school attached to our building, even during the workweek, we must keep our doors locked for the safety of the children.

If you are entering the building on the workweek any time before 5 pm, please use the side office door (as you are facing the church building, go in between the church building itself and the house next door to the church–follow the path all the way around until you get to the stairs. Head up the stairs and ring the door bell. If someone is in, they will answer the door).

If this is after 5 pm, during the workweek, and its for a worship service, both the front doors and the immediate side door (as you face the property, the side door is the first door to your left as you walk down the path between the house and the church building itself) should both be unlocked. The church is located on the top floor.

If this is after 5 pm, during the workweek, and its not for worship, please use the side office entrance (as you are facing the church building, go in between the church building itself and the house next door to the church–follow the path all the way around until you get to the stairs. Head up the stairs and ring the door bell. If someone is in, they will answer the door).

If this is an event (for example, not a meeting with the pastor but rather an organized gathering for dinner, a dance, a party, etc.), please use the side door (as you face the property, the side door is the first door to your left as you walk down the path between the house and the church building itself) and go down the stairs to the lower level.

If this is Sunday worship, both the front doors and the immediate side door (as you face the property, the side door is the first door to your left as you walk down the path between the house and the church building itself) should both be unlocked. The church is located on the top floor.

I hope that covers all the possibilities.

Are you handicap accessible?

We are a richly diverse congregation, including people of differing motor abilities, but unfortunately at this point, we are not handicap accessible. To enter the sanctuary, you will need to go up about 7 steps. To enter the reception area, you will need to go down about 13 steps. Please be advised that our church congregation members are happy to assist in any way possible.

About Being Christian

Who are Christians?

Christians are as diverse as any set group of people. What holds us together is our belief in the saving actions of one God through the actions of Christ and displayed time and again through the working of the Holy Spirit. We acknowledge that being human has limitations and it is by the action of Christ Jesus that we come to understand that limitation. That is mainly where our similarities end.

Do all Christians believe in the same thing?

The simple answer is “no”. The longer answer deals with the various denominations under the Christian church. There are four main branches of Christianity in today’s world: Catholic (solely the Roman Catholic Church); mainline (which includes Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Reformed, and some Baptist churches); Anabaptist (Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren); and Evangelical/Charismatic (sometimes grouped into two categories, as Evangelical: like Southern Baptists and many Baptist Churches, and as Charismatic: like Pentecostals). There is another category of Christian churches because believe it or not, Unitarian Universalists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Scientology are also considered under the Christian umbrella; however, many Christians consider this last category has strayed far from the message of the Christian church since God/Christ has been subverted by other messages of those churches.

Is there commonality in the worship service?

In many churches, there is commonality in gathering, listening to God’s Word, having communion, and sending, but it can look vastly different through each church (even within the same denomination). Most churches also read from the Bible every Sunday. Many mainline denominations and the Catholic church follows a set order of readings assigned over a three year period. Other churches pick their own readings for each Sunday.

Does the Revised Common Lectionary, or the assigned three-year period readings, cover the whole Bible?

While the Revised Common Lectionary tries to cover the essence of the Bible, it does not cover reading the entire Bible. Some churches have strayed from this three-year reading cycle in order to cover the entire Bible.

Why are some parts of the Bible not read?

This will be the last question in this section as we start to stray into more of a denominational understanding of the Bible (see below about being Lutheran for more questions pertaining to the Bible). There are parts of the Bible that seem to ‘contradict’ other parts, like the way the four gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) portray Jesus’ life (i.e. does Jesus destroy the Temple in the beginning of his ministry as the author of the Gospel of John has stated or does Jesus destroy the Temple at the end of his ministry like the other three Gospels point out? Is Jesus’ ministry only one year long like the three Gospels [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] or is it three years long like in John? Did Jesus preach to people on a plain like in the Gospel of Luke or on a mountain like in the Gospel of Matthew? Did Mark care if Jesus really raised from the dead as the other three Gospels really point towards?). We can see that there are actually two creation stories, both found in the book of Genesis: one where God created everything according to a seven-day plan (the more common of the two, where God created everything from water) or did God create everything within a sort succession out of dust (see chapter 2 of Genesis). There are passages in the Bible that states we shouldn’t eat seafood, wear polyester clothing, harvest all of the grain, work on the Sabbath (which is actually Saturday according to the Jewish custom); there are passages that bodily fluid would force a person to leave the community for a certain (and unequal) amount of days. There are passages that people who live with physical and mental handicaps are based off a time when that person or that person’s family did something wrong. There are passages accepting slavery. There are passages where woman are told to be silent. There are passages where only men are allowed to be bishop…

And this list could go on. We read the Bible because we as Christians believe in its authority, that in some way it is the Word of God. But Christian unity ends there. The passages that are not part of the common lectionary are not read, we chose not to put the same emphasis on those passages because we believe God continues to speak to us, allowing us to understand a fuller message that God has for all people. Some Christians also say that context of time and place have a lot to do with the writing of the Bible, that while it is God-inspired, it is still locked into a certain cultural context that comes through in such passages.

About Being Lutheran

What do Lutherans believe?

This is a very complicated question because Lutherans are as diverse as any two people can be. But by and large, all Lutherans believe in the Trinity (God, Christ, and Holy Spirit). We believe in a loving God who has created a covenant with us to give us life, even past death.

We believe in the Nicene, Apostles’, and Athanasian Creeds.

We believe that God has given us laws to follow (found in both the Old and New Testaments) but that we are fallible and are sinful. We believe that God has given us grace, the ultimate sign of love (which can be seen in both the Old and New Testaments).

We believe that God reveals God’s self in ways that seem contradictory, like having our savior executed on a cross or the fact that we are given new life out of water, something that if you have too much or too little, can kill you.

We believe that we are given faith by the grace of God to believe in God.

We believe that there is a spiritual world and a physical world. The religious sector is suppose to hold the physical world in balance and the physical world is to keep the religious/spiritual world in line. These two lines should not blur but should monitor each other.

Are there different branches of Lutheranism?

Overall, there are many branches of Lutheranism all around the world. In a coalition of Lutheran branches working together, known as the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, there are 45 Lutheran branches working together (that only includes one out of the four main Lutheran branches in the United States). Each Lutheran branch can be very different.

What are the different Lutheran branches in the United States and what makes them different?

There are four main Lutheran branches in the United States, but one of them has formed only recently and its future is uncertain. The two conservative Lutheran branches include the Wisconsin Synod and the Missouri Synod. Both hold fast to the sole authority of men as pastors, the denial of acceptance of gay people, and the denial of sharing communion with other denominations or even Lutheran branches that do not hold the same teaching as them. The more progressive Lutheran branch, known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is by far the largest of the four branches, holding more than 2/3 of the Lutheran population in the United States (by estimation). They define their theology in terms of Jesus’ call to love God and neighbor as one would love themselves; this opened the way for women to be ordained and for gay people to feel fully welcomed in the church, along with other minority groups. The moderately conservative branch, which just formed in 2011, sprang from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s decision to ordain gay leaders of the church. This branch, the North American Lutheran Conference, that is against gay ordination but in favor of women’s ordination has some theological work to do.

What does the word “evangelical” mean?

The root of the word “evangelical” comes from the word “evangel” which means “to spread the good news”. Historically, an evangelist is one who spreads the good news, and the word evangelical is an adjective to describe the spreading of good news. Back when the Lutheran church was forming in the area known as Germany, the word was used to compare their view over against the “bad news” of the Catholic church. Lutherans the world over have used the word “Evangelical” to describe the Lutheran church (saying: the “Evangelical Church of _______” instead of the “Lutheran Church of ________”.) In the United States, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has decided to use both (mainly to offset the name from a merger between the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church)

Today in the United States, “evangelical” has been mutated to mean “conservative” and “right-winged”. This is unfortunate that a God-given word has been tainted so badly. You will find that the Evangelical Lutheran Church promotes a mainstream understanding of theology and tries hard to hold both extremes in view when coming to an understanding.

Is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America conservative?

In today’s world, there are two extremes: conservative and liberal. When the liberal camp started, its theological problem was mainly defining themselves so that there could be some guidelines as to what “liberal” means. But whenever a denominational body tried to create a guideline, other, more progressive liberals broke off and went even farther.

In response to the liberal movement, the conservative movement took shape, defining themselves as everything that wasn’t liberal. The fundamentalist reaction was born. “Fundamentalist” means “back to the basics” and they longed for an ethical code that was similar to 1st Century Christianity (or when Jesus wandered the earth). For them, the Bible held truths at that time and those truths were never altered; these truths could be found in the law section of the Old Testament.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] is progressively moderate (if such a term can be coined). On many social issues, the ELCA has stated that they, as a church body, are fully inclusive of the diversity God has placed on this earth. But they also acknowledge fully that there are differences of opinion and that, as we are all people of God, we must respect each other as Jesus has commanded us to. This allows for the ELCA to ordain women, gay people, and people living with disabilities (as only three current issues) but for individual churches not to feel pressed to have to call an ordained woman, gay people, or people living with disabilities if they have different convictions. The ELCA also acknowledges that we all have sinned in various ways, so there shouldn’t be a valued judgment placed on people who find themselves in these different camps.

How did the Lutheran Church start?

Back in 1517, Martin Luther (from where Lutherans get their names) was concerned about where the Catholic Church was guiding their congregation members. On October 31, 1517, he nailed his concerns to the church door. On the paper were arguments against the pope being both the top religious leader and the top governmental leader, the selling of indulgences to “buy” one’s way to heaven, the understanding that one can do good things to “win” one’s way to heaven, the view of sacramental rites (Lutherans only believe in two- communion and baptism), the concern that Christian education was greatly suffering from lack of teaching (he would later note that parents knew no more than their children when it came to Christian education), and that speaking in a language different that the common tongue (German then) only promoted a belief in magic. Luther was persecuted for his beliefs by the Catholic Church after that event, but he also found a lot of support. He talked to John Calvin and other theologians of that time and would have found unity if not for the understandings of communion. Luther would eventually die from an illness, but up until his death, he urged all to work with the Catholic Church in unity and not to break away.

What is the belief of communion in the Lutheran church?

Lutherans attest that the bread and wine is the body and blood of Jesus in the form of bread and wine. Different denominations have different understandings of this.

Who can take communion in an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America?

The general rule is anyone baptized can take communion in any Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Many churches ask that there be some training before a person takes communion. Others just ask that there is a basic desire for communion.

Does the Evangelical Lutheran Church believe in infant baptism?

Yes. We often perform infant baptism because we recognize that it is not we who make the decision to follow God but God’s decision to call us as children of God. If it were up to us to decide, we might not ever feel ready to say yes to God because sin gets in the way. Baptism is the rite in the church that accepts the forgiveness of all sins and calls one into the church as a member. When we are baptized, especially as infants, we can see how there is nothing we can do to repeal God’s unending love for us.

This does not mean we won’t baptize adults, but it is a rationale for why we baptize infants.

Does the Evangelical Lutheran Church re-baptize?

When a baptism is done validly, there is no reason to re-baptize. God has called us once and will continue to call us, no matter what the circumstances. Baptism forgives your sins once and for all.

What are social statements?

Social statements are statements that the church body spends a long, deliberate time to understand and come to a conclusive statement about. It helps us to then use the statements to approach governments and people in how we view God is calling us to live. For more information, go to elca.org and type in “social statements” to see what statements have been written.

See ELCA Social Statements.