Are my children welcome in church?

Your children are welcome here at Mt. Calvary, and that especially includes the worship service. What Jesus does here in the Liturgy is for children as well as adults!

Please dare to sit toward the front where your children can see easily. Softly explain the Liturgy to your children. Encourage them to chime in on their parts: Amen! And with thy spirit! Lord, have mercy! Our Father! Sing, say, and pray your parts as best you can; your children learn by your example.

Jesus knows that children tend to wiggle and squawk a bit, so don't feel embarrassed by it. If you and your child must leave for a moment, there is a children's area underneath the narthex (if you need assistance finding it, ask one of the ushers). Do hurry back! Like Jesus, we want your children in the Liturgy, not out.

Please know that while you are caring for your children, the rest of us will be rejoicing in Jesus' words, "Let the little children come to Me...for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Lk 18:16). We know that you and your children are a gift to the church, so we will do our best to smile, encourage, and help you.

May I receive Holy Communion?

Holy Communion is the gift of Christ's true body and blood, under the bread and wine, for the forgiveness of sins (Matt 26:26-28; 1 Cor 11:23-25). This gift is given for baptized Christians who confess that they are sinners in need of Christ's forgiveness and salvation, and who confess faith in Jesus' own words regarding the Sacrament and what it gives. 

The reception of Holy Communion with other Christians also confesses unity in doctrine. The teaching of Holy Scripture, the doctrine preached in our pulpit, and the faith confessed in Holy Communion are one and the same (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 11:26). Holy Communion is not just a moment between "me and Jesus," but a declaration of unity with others in what God's Word teaches.

Our pastor, as a "steward of the mysteries of God" (1 Cor 4:1), is charged with the spiritual care of all those who commune at our altar, and must "give an account" for his care of Christ's sheep and his administration of Christ's Word and Sacrament (Heb 13:17).  Therefore we kindly ask that visitors who wish to commune speak with our pastor before approaching the altar.

What if I have difficulty with my hearing?

Mt. Calvary has a Hearing Loop, which is a system that sends the voice of the pastor from our microphones directly into a hearing aid or cochlear implant instead of picking up all the surrounding noise (coughing, crying, etc.).  As one of our members who uses the Hearing Loop put it: "It's like the Pastor is standing right behind me!"

This system provides the clearest, cleanest sound imaginable and does not require a headset, as it works with the Telecoil (T-Coil) that most hearing aids come equipped with. 

A T-Coil is a tiny wireless receiver inside hearing aids, and it is accessible via the programming button or switch on your hearing aid. If you have never used your T-Coil, it is recommended that you consult your audiologist to activate and learn how to use it.

The system is available in the entire seating area of the church.

Some hearing aids do not have a T-Coil. Some people have difficulty hearing but do not wear a hearing aid. In this case, please ask an usher for a Loop Receiver (headphone set) which you can use for the service. You will be amazed at how much more you can hear and understand, given the clarity of sound!

Why is your service so fancy? Are you trying to be Roman Catholic?

Sometimes visitors are surprised by the form of our services and may ask if we're even Lutheran. That's nothing new. C.F.W. Walther, the first president of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod faced such critique in the early years of our Synod. He responded masterfully (if also at length)!

In short: Yes, we are Lutheran!  In fact, the order of service and manner in which it is celebrated at Mount Calvary is very much like how Luther and the first generations of Lutherans worshipped. The picture to the right is of a Danish Lutheran Service that was painted in 1561 (well after Denmark adopted the Lutheran reforms of the western catholic church).

We reject the false teachings of the medieval church which had crept in over time, and which the Roman Catholic Church affirmed despite the clear demonstration that they were un-biblical innovations which undermined the Gospel.  However, the attitude of the Lutheran reformers towards the traditions and rituals of worship of the medieval church, in contrast to the radical reformers and Calvinists, was to retain what they had received, except for such changes as the purity of the Gospel demanded. The Lutheran Confessions (the public statement of what Lutherans believe) repeatedly state this:

Our churches teach that ceremonies ought to be observed that may be observed without sin. Also, ceremonies and other practices that are profitable for tranquility and good order in the Church (in particular, holy days, festivals, and the like) ought to be observed (Augsburg Confession XV, 1).

It is a false and hate-filled charge that our churches have abolished all the ceremonies instituted in ancient times (Augsburg Confession XXI, 4).

Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. The Mass is held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved...For ceremonies are needed for this reason alone, that [people] be taught what they need to know about Christ (Augsburg Confession XXIV, 1 - 3).

At the outset, we must again make this preliminary statement: we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously keep and defend it. Masses are celebrated among us every Lord's Day and on other festivals. The Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other such things (Apology to the Augsburg Confession XXIV, 1).

... ceremonies should be celebrated to teach people Scripture, that those admonished by the Word may conceive faith and godly fear, and may also pray. (This is the intent of ceremonies) (Apology to the Augsburg Confession XXIV, 3).

We retain the historic forms of worship of the western church, not because they are commanded by God or are essential for god-pleasing worship, but because we stand in continuity with our forefathers in the faith and we happily receive what they have handed on to us. We retain these historic forms of worship because they clearly confess Christ and what we are to believe. They also help us to be mindful that we are on holy ground, in the very presence of the Triune God, and that what is happening here is like no other place on earth!

If you want to know more about our form of worship and ceremonies, please ask our pastor, he will be happy to share more with you!

Why do you always use the same setting of the Divine Service?

Our mainstay for Sunday worship is Divine Service: Setting Three from Lutheran Service Book. This is because it is important that all our members, from children not yet able to read, to the elderly whose eyes don't work like they used to, and everyone in between, to be able to learn and know the public worship of the church for the rest of their lives. An ancient Latin phrase shows that you don't have to be a Christian to know that repetitio est mater studiorum (repetition is the mother of learning)!

Throughout the course of the Church Year, however, there are variations in the musical settings used for the texts that remain the same. These changes occur with the various seasons of the Church Year.

Why do you sing so many old German hymns?

We don't exclusively sing old German Lutheran hymns, we sing Danish, Norwegian, and even some Swedish Lutheran hymns too! We also sing hymns from all times and places of the church, whether the Latin hymns of St. Ambrose or Gregory the Great (translated into English of course!), the English hymns of Watts and Wesley, hymns from African Christianity, American folk hymns, as well as more recent hymns by hymnwriters from the last century and even some who are alive today!

But pride of place is indeed given to the Lutheran chorales of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and early eighteenth centuries. They are the distinct musical treasure of the Lutheran Church. Lutherans wrote their hymns to teach clear doctrinal truth (that isn't always the case with other hymns). They also wrote with a unique understanding of what hymns do and who is at work in the singing of hymns. Luther and Lutheran hymnwriters after him understood that it was not just they who were using the power of music to teach the Word of God, but since the truth of God's Word was the content, it was the Holy Spirit Himself who worked through the sung Word of God to strengthen faith and to comfort troubled consciences. 

Thus, the Lutheran chorales present not just clear doctrinal truth, they also preach the sweetest comfort of the Gospel with a clear confession of Christ's saving work for us. As we sing our beloved Lutheran chorales, we preach this truth and comfort to one another! No other hymn tradition comes even close. 

Most of the time we sing from Lutheran Service Book, but on occasion we sing chorales from other Lutheran hymnals such as The Lutheran Hymnal, ensuring that the treasures of our Lutheran hymnody are passed on to the next generation!