In a landmark move by the Spirit, Bethel Lutheran-Auburn & Zion Lutheran-Worcester sign a Yoking Agreement on 4/12/16. This is a first for the NES, two ELCA parishes covenanting to share pastoral/rostered leadership.
Bethel is, first and foremost, a gathering of followers of the Way of Christ Jesus and a safe haven for all people. We are a congregation of the Central MA Conference of the New England Synod (NES); a Reconciling in Christ Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Trinitarian understanding: We believe in God as Creator, Jesus the Christ as Son, and the Holy Spirit as our Advocate and guide: co-equal in deity. We understand that God in three persons is still speaking right here, right now!
Biblical centering: The ELCA is a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF): with Lutheran churches around the world, and many other denominations, we believe that the canonical Old Testament and New Testament scripture contain the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit working through their many authors and editors, and as such are the norm of our faith and life.
We also believe the Word of God can be found in what are called extra-biblical texts such as those of the apocrypha, but not limited to that grouping; texts that the Council of Nicea rejected by their standards for inclusion in 325 CE.
Sacramental understanding: Lutherans hold to THE HOLY EUCHARIST and BAPTISM as the only sacraments that Jesus instituted.
Responsibility of a life of faith: Each of us are called by Christ to live out of the love we are shown by God’s grace in service to neighbor (witness). For this reason outreach opportunities are an important norm of our congregations and special focus for our young people. We are called to be the living Eucharist, Christ’s hands and feet, at work here and now!
LUTHERAN WORSHIP is living a life of faith and coming together in community regularly. Our acts of corporate worship are centered in public confession and the assurance of pardon (absolution), God’s Word read and proclaimed, and celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
We understand that through Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension, God has rescued believers (salvation) from hopelessness and separateness known as sin, so that life may be embraced and honored as the true gift it is. In effect, God has saved us from ourselves!
BAPTISM is the sacrament of incorporation into Christ’s Body, the Church (global community of the faithful). We understand that under the sign of water (cleansing and rebirth) the Holy Spirit drowns out the old (worldly) self to bring the kernel of faith that will mature when exposed to the Word, Holy Eucharist and a life of service (outreach and witness) .
Preparation: Parents should contact the pastor to plan and prepare for the baptism of their child(ren) soon after birth. This sacrament is properly celebrated at a public service of worship. Others who have not yet been baptized, and wish to do so, should speak with the pastor.
THE HOLY EUCHARIST is the sacrament of nurture and nourishment in the body and blood of our Lord Christ: we believe that the Holy Spirit brings Christ into the bread and wine that becomes a renewal for all those who partake.
Wherever you are from and whatever you believe you are welcome to receive at the table of the Lord; baptized or not. All people are welcome to The Meal!
Bethel’s Affirmation/Welcome Statement
Following the Way of our sovereign Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, ALL ARE WELCOME at Bethel as we heartily affirm that each individual is a much-loved child of God, recognizing everyone as called to become as one body (in community), yet with many members in support of the whole, in witness to creation of the sacrifice and atonement of the cross.
By the power of the Spirit we seek to humbly walk together, united for equity and justice, with people of every race, ethnicity, creed, class, age, gender, marital status, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. In this gift called life we are blessed, justified, empowered and increasingly sanctified by grace through faith.