St. Jacob’s is an open, friendly congregation located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. All are welcome!
Sunday School: 9:45 a.m.
Worship (with Holy Communion): 11:00 am
What is the church service like?
Both our worship services are Lutheran, meaning they follow a pattern that includes a Gathering together to hear the Word, share the Meal (Holy Communion), and a Sending back into the world. This pattern of worship is called “liturgy,” which literally means the “work of the people.”
Everything you need is printed in the bulletin and the pastor gives helpful directions throughout the service.
Our worship includes both time-honored hymns with four-part harmony and newer music being produced by the church’s best musicians today. Music is accompanied by piano and sometimes also guitar. We use a “bluegrass mass” setting several times each year. On special Sundays, we invite strings or brass ensembles to join us from James Madison University.
Are my children welcome?
Children are very, very welcome in worship, and the sounds they make are just as welcome as any adult’s! There are activity bags for children to use if they wish, and a nursery room available before, during, and after worship. The nursery is not presently staffed, but the room is available for an adult and child together to use.
Do I have to dress up?
By no means – come as you feel most comfortable, whether that’s in a dress or three-piece suit or jeans and a t-shirt. You’ll see people here on either end and everywhere in between.
Do I have to stand in front of people?
Not at all. We’ll warmly welcome you when you arrive, but we will not call you out at the beginning of worship. We’re confident that before you’ve left, you’ll have met plenty of folks around you.
What is a Lutheran, anyways?
Lutherans are Christians first and Lutherans second. Our name refers to Martin Luther, a German monk who lived in the 16th century. Luther preached openly the unconditional love and grace of God which is ours in Jesus Christ. With him, we teach that we all receive salvation by grace through faith as a free gift. This gift is given to us by Jesus, who is God’s Word, and through the written Word in the Bible. We receive it also through two sacraments, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. We gather around Word and Sacrament every Sunday, going forth from worship to give our whole lives in love to the world as Christ gave his life to us. In 2017, Lutherans worldwide will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation of the Church which Luther unintentionally ignited in 1517.
If you would like to learn more about Martin Luther and the Reformation within Western Christianity, check out this video narrated by ELCA Lutheran and travel guide Rick Steves.
We are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a church body of about 3.8 million people. Within the ELCA, we are one of about 150 congregations in its Virginia Synod. There are many things we do together as the ELCA and the Virginia Synod that we could never do alone. This video below was originally intended for delegates at our Synod Assembly (regional meeting), but it provides an excellent introduction to the ELCA and the breadth of our ministry together.
We define ourselves by our connections with our sisters and brothers in Christ rather than our divisions. In the 20th century and up to today, Lutherans have been at the forefront of efforts to seek reconciliation among the Body of Christ. We have a relationship called “full communion” with six other denominations in America: the United Methodist Church, the Moravian Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church. This means we can share pastors and the sacraments together.
What if I have questions about my faith?
You’ll be in good company. None of us have God figured out and your questions are quite welcome. At our new member program, Walking the Way of Jesus, we are especially dedicated to discussing whatever question is on someone’s mind. Not that he knows it all, but Luther said the following that more or less expresses that we’re all a work in progress (he was too):
“This life therefore is not righteous, but growth in righteousness; it is not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise; we are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished, but it is going on; this is not the end, but it is the road; all does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”
from “Defense and Explanation of All the Articles,” Luther’s Works, vol. 32, George Forell and Helmut Lehmann, eds. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1958), 24, as quoted in Robert Benne, Ordinary Saints: An Introduction to the Christian Life (Fortress Press, 2003).