Our Weekly Schedule

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Sunday Morning Divine Service

All services at Trinity come from the latest LCMS hymnal, Lutheran Service Book (2006).   Trinity gladly makes use of our liturgical and hymnic heritage.

9:00 AM – at Trinity, Boulder Junction  – The Lord’s Supper is celebrated weekly at Trinity

10:30 AM – Adult Bible Study in the Bible Study Room – (Sept. through May)

11:00 AM – Bethel Lutheran Chapel, Presque Isle, WI – Non-Communion Service  – This service runs only during the summer months (Sunday after Father’s Day through Labor Day Weekend)

Saturday Campfire Bible Study – 6:30 PM – (runs during same time of year as Bethel services are in effect)

On Saturdays during the summer months we will hold a “Campfire Bible Study” in the side church yard by our fire pit.   Bring a Bible and a camp chair.   If you want you can bring marshmallows or some kind of food to grill on a stick over the fire as well.

Wednesday Evening Services in Advent and Lent

6:30 PM at Trinity

(Simple Supper before at 5:15 PM)

Check the weekly bulletin for other special services/events (Thanksgiving, festival days, etc).

PRIVATE CONFESSION AND HOLY ABSOLUTION (Penance or Reconciliation) – by appointment

Private Confession and Holy Absolution, which may be considered a sacrament according to the Lutheran Confessions, is part of the ongoing daily life of living in our one Baptism for the remission of sins. While privately confessing our sins to God in prayer (as in the Lord’s Prayer) along with general confession and absolution in the preparation of the Divine Service are each helpful in their own way, many Christians, including Martin Luther, have found private confession and absolution with the pastor to be very helpful for “those sins which we know and feel in our hearts.” Those sins remain secret, under the seal of confession, and drowned in the waters of Baptism. They are washed away and forgiven in that word of absolution which is Christ’s and is spoken through the mouth of His called and ordained men (John 20:19-23).

The pastor is available by appointment to hear confessions and pronounce holy absolution in private according to the rite found in our current LCMS hymnal and in the manner described in the Catechisms. Unlike typical Roman Catholic practice, we do not legally require private confession, we do however keep it available in a gospel-centered way to soothe the troubled conscience of the Christian and to free them from the slavery to sin. Private confession is not only for the sixth commandment but for any sin which we have trouble believing is forgiven in Christ. In the privacy and singular setting of private absolution, the person confessing is the only one there for that and the absolution is spoken particularly for what is confessed. Doubt is cast aside. God puts His forgiveness there into our ears and then our hearts and minds where we are with our sins. And that sin is paid for in the death of Christ.

OTHER OCCASIONAL SERVICES:

FUNERALS

Funerals are typically conducted by the pastor for those who have been members of the congregation and receiving the means of grace through the ministry of the congregation whether at the church or as shut-ins, hospitalized or otherwise. Certain pastoral exceptions to this may also be possible. Funerals, also, are conducted according to the doctrine and rites of our congregation. Eulogies are not performed during the service or in the sanctuary, but may be done at the visitation or luncheon (Ephesians 2:8,9). While the funeral sermon will certainly involve the faith and person of the departed it is primarily a proclamation of God’s law and gospel for the comfort of Christ to the bereaved and to declare Christ’s victory over sin and death.  Christian funerals at the church are for those who confessed Christ as Savior from sin and death and who received the Lord’s means of grace regularly in our fellowship.

BAPTISMS

The pastor will be glad to speak with anyone about the sacrament of Holy Baptism for adults or children. Typically for adults we have some catechetical instruction before and after receiving Holy Baptism. For children, the pastor would like to meet with the parents and discuss the nature of Baptism and its benefits as well as the need for continued teaching and nurturing of the faith after Baptism (Mark 10:13-16; John 3:5; Psalm 51:5; Acts 2:38-39). To this end it is commendable that the parents of the newly baptized become members of the congregation and serve as examples in word and deed to their children. Baptism, while giving the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, and creating faith, is not intended to be a thing in isolation (Titus 3:4-7; Acts 2:42). Those who are baptized need to have their faith fed, continuing to grow in faith, understanding and wisdom. Christian faith is not spiritual self-sufficiency, but utter dependence upon Christ and His Word. Baptizing and teaching together (Matthew 28:16-20). Those who are baptized can fall away from the faith, as we are tempted by the devil, the world, and our flesh (old Adam). Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. It is in the Word and Sacraments, as the means of divine grace, that we abide in Christ and derive our ongoing life from Him alone (Romans 10:17). This is what ongoing study of Scripture, attending the Divine Service, and confession and absolution have to do with the sustenance of saving faith in Christ. Faith is not self-referencing or self-focused, but is Christ-centered. Faith has nothing to speak of other than what it receives from Christ in the holy Word and Sacraments of Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.

WEDDINGS

Ordinarily the pastor will conduct weddings for the prospective bride and groom where at least one of the two is a member of TRINITY. At least 4 sessions of pre-marital instruction is required before the pastor will officiate the wedding service.

If a prospective bride and groom are cohabiting (living together) prior to the wedding, they will be expected to agree to one of the two options (I Corinthians 6:18-20):

  1. Agree to get an official marriage license as soon as possible and be married as soon as possible if they are unable to separate to different living quarters in chastity. In this case it may necessitate a simpler wedding ceremony, which can be followed by a larger reception or renewal of wedding vows.

  2. Agree to separate residences in chastity until the wedding is completed.

The pastor, by law, will not conduct a wedding rite without a legitimate wedding license from the government (Romans 13:1-7).  Also, the pastor will not co-officiate with non-LCMS clergy as a matter of church fellowship.

With regard to the wedding service, regardless of whether it is held in the church building or elsewhere, if the pastor officiates the marriage vows, wedding rite, and music will be conducted as a church service, according to the doctrine and rites of our church (I Corinthians 4:1-2).

Those who are not members of TRINITY certainly may speak with the pastor about officiating their wedding also according to the same principles above. We welcome those who are interested in learning more also to enroll in an adult catechism course to become baptized, communicant members of our congregation.

PATHS TO COMMUNICANT MEMBERSHIP

 


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OUR LITURGICAL LIFE TOGETHER
Our way of worship is received. Christians live from what they receive in Christ through His designated means of the Word and the Holy Sacraments. The way of worship that we follow and adhere to is all about getting ready for these divine gifts, giving thanks for them and responding to them.
The historic liturgical forms or orders of service inherited from the generations and centuries of Christians who have gone before us in the faith stand as a testimony to the continuity of the church through the ages and the faithfulness of the Lord who shepherds His Church. For this reason we seek to avoid forms of worship or songs that contradict or downplay that clear confession of the Lord’s Word or that would undermine our heritage.  
The services at Trinity follow the historic patterns of worship known by Lutherans and commended by our forefathers in the Lutheran Confessions. To be truly relevant, one must proclaim things which are eternal, confessing the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).   Come and hear the good news and learn to worship Christ in reverence, joy, and awe, bowing down before the throne of the Lamb who was slain and yet lives.
REGARDING ALTAR FELLOWSHIP AT TRINITY:
Ordinarily, only those who are currently confirmed members of our Lutheran church body, or those in our fellowship, partake in the Lord’s Supper.  While we share the name “Lutheran,” our church is not in fellowship with the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) because of doctrinal divergences.  We ask that visitors who wish to commune to speak with the pastor prior to the service. It is helpful if you can come early to do this or during the week.
If there is not sufficient time before hand please wait until you can speak with the pastor. Instruction is available regularly and upon request for those who wish to become communicants in our congregation and fellowship. Our goal is that those who commune do so in unity, with instruction, and preparation.
 
In this life we endure the sadness of differences between Christians in their beliefs, but we anticipate the day when, with all the saints united, will will be together at the eternal banquet of Christ in heaven.   At that time it will no longer be necessary to divide out false teachings by bearing witness to the Lord’s doctrine, for then we will be united in understanding and confession of the faith, perfectly sanctified.
But that time is not yet, such witness is still to be given today so that the Lord’s people may be protected from any new (false) and manmade teachings that contradict the properly understood Scriptures (1 Timothy 1:3, 1 Timothy 4:1).   This is why Trinity follows the historic and biblical pracstice of closed communion, where all who commune at this altar of the Lord bear witness to their oneness in confessing the same apostolic doctrine and faith prior to communing together (Acts 2:42).
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 bids us to “teach all things” from the Lord and so unity in the whole counsel of God cannot be side-stepped by us, no matter how much we desire to welcome new friends to our fellowship in Christ’s Word and Sacraments.   While some Lutherans may diverge from this practice of closed communion (or “practice it differently”) this is a historical Christian, Lutheran, and Missouri Synod practice as well that is implied in a right understanding of Scripture.   As pastors and congregation declare in the words of the Large Catechism of Martin Luther, everyone admitted to the Sacrament will have been baptized and will have learned and affirmed (in current status) the content of the Catechism.
Please speak with the current pastor of Trinity before approaching the altar for Holy Communion, if you have not done so already.  Thank you.
(See I Cor. 4:1-2; Romans 16:17; Acts 2:42; I Cor. 10, 11; 2 John 9-11 et al.)
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The Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day
Q: Why would the church desire to have celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the Divine Service each Sunday?

A: Since in the Lord’s Supper we receive our Lord Jesus’ very body and blood for the forgiveness of sins it is a great gift to us and is central to the Divine Service. The holy Christian church through out the ages has identified the Lord’s Day (Sunday) with the Lord’s Supper. As such the Lord’s Supper was never viewed as an occasional extra or as somehow not as important as the other means of grace (Word, Absolution, Holy Baptism). In the Supper the Church, the Bride of Christ, sees herself clearly as the Body of Christ, being “one flesh” with Christ Jesus — a great mystery indeed (Ephesians 5). The Supper is our Lord’s last will and testament where we receive His life-giving mercy.

Also, since each day and each week we are in need of the Lord’s forgiveness and strength, we are therefore in need of the Lord’s Supper much in every way. Today, our increasingly less and less Christianly influenced culture threatens our faith daily, along with the help of Satan and our own sinful desires (old Adam). In the Christian Questions and Answers in the Small Catechism Luther writes the following, admonishing us to frequently receive the gift of Communion:
“What should admonish and incite a Christian to receive the sacrament frequently? In respect to God, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord should move him, and in respect to himself, the trouble that lies heavy on him, on account of which such command, encouragement, and promise are given.”

Q: As Lutherans, what do we officially teach in our confessional writings regarding the frequency of the Lord’s Supper’s celebration?

A: For example, in the Apology [Defense] of the Augsburg Confession (Article XXIV,1), it is said of the Mass, meaning the Divine Service of Holy Communion:
“In the beginning we must make the preliminary statement that we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it. For among us masses are performed every Lord’s Day and on the other festivals, in which 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, such as the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other like things.”

Q: As specifically Missouri Synod Lutherans, has anything been said addressing this subject?

A: Yes, the 1995 Convention of the LCMS passed the following resolution:

To Encourage Every Sunday Communion
RESOLUTION 2-08A
Overture 2-51 (CW, pp.149-150)
Whereas, the opportunity to receive the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s Day was a reality cherished by Luther and set forth clearly with high esteem by our Lutheran Confessions (Article XXIV of the Augsburg Confession and of the Apology); and
Whereas, our synod’s 1983 CTCR document on the Lord’s Supper (p.28) and our Synod’s 1986 [1991] translation of Luther’s Catechism both remind us that the Scriptures place the Lord’s Supper at the center of worship (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20,23), and not as an appendage or an occasional extra; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in convention encourage its pastors and congregations to study the scriptural, confessional, and historical witness to every Sunday communion with a view toward recovering the opportunity for receiving the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s Day.
Action: Adopted.

Q: Would this mean that every communicant must receive the Sacrament every Sunday?

A:  No. Absolutely not. This is about the availability of the Lord’s Supper, not setting rules about how often someone should receive it.   We are very staunch about not setting laws about how often it must be received.   But for us to have the freedom to receive it often based on need, conscience, it needs to be available as Lutherans and the church catholic have known it in better times. So while the Augsburg Confession and its Apology (Defense) make it clear that Lutheran Churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day and on festival days, the preface to the Small Catechism also makes it clear we make no laws about how often someone should receive this gift personally. We take our vows of confessional subscription very seriously on both aspects of communion frequency. We are recovering lost treasures.

 

Q: How should I react if I see someone not going to the Lord’s Supper now and then?

A: Put the best construction on it and think of it in the kindest way as the eighth commandment bids us do. The offering of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday does not and should not imply that we must attend every time. Take the time to prepare regularly.   When we may have grown up with an infrequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper it is natural to think we should attend every time it is offered. But even that can be mechanical.   But when it is offered every Sunday we can regain a more “organic” rather than “mechanical” view between how often we commune vs. how often it is offered. So there is a tremendous opportunity to grow in our faith and understanding when we can have it available every Sunday service and yet in freedom prepare.   We should not act on any real or perceived social pressure in this regard. Resist that temptation.   The Gospel is forced on no one – no conversion by the sword – but it is always preached and offered. So likewise with this sacramental form of the saving Gospel, the Lord’s Supper, it is offered but forced on no one.   This is our view with private confession and absolution as well – it is forced on no one but it is available for those who are troubled by sins they have a hard time believing are forgiven.


Q: Will weekly Communion cause the Sacrament to mean less?

A: On the contrary, the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper will indicate and confess our high esteem and desire for the gift of our Lord’s body and blood and the forgiveness of sins which is received in this gift. The Lord’s Supper is a central way our faith is sustained in Christ. The Lord’s Supper is no less important than the other gospel gifts by which our faith is sustained. We have weekly sermons, pray the Lord’s Prayer regularly, confess the Creed, and so forth. The meaning of the Lord’s Supper does not come from us, but from Christ and His Word. Contrite sinners cannot have too much of the Gospel.

It acknowledges the Lord’s holy presence with us and that gathered around Him, in heaven and on earth, are “angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.”   That’s something to rejoice in.                                     Saying, “I love you” more often in a marriage doesn’t cause it to mean less. This is about feeding faith and building up the Body of Christ. Consider what our Lutheran Confessions say about the “mass” (Divine Service with Holy Communion). In the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, we subscribe to the following:

At the outset we must again make the preliminary statement that we [Lutherans] do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it. For among us masses are celebrated every Lord’s Day and on the other festivals, in which 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 like things. [The Book of Concord]

Also see the following: Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7; Revelation 3:20; John 6:52-57; I Cor. 11:23-26

 

Q: Isn’t weekly Communion just a Roman Catholic or “high church” practice? How can Lutherans have weekly Communion and still be “good” Lutherans?

A: It is true that Roman Catholics have Holy Communion available to them (at least) each Sunday, in fact some have it daily. However, many others celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly as well. For most of Christian history the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper was the universal practice of the Church, and was regarded as a minimum. They saw a balance in both Word and Sacrament in the Divine Service.

Weekly Communion is not a UNIQUELY Roman Catholic practice. This is important to note. The weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not where we disagree with Rome. The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood in the Mass is the chief point of contention between Lutherans and Roman Catholics. There are also other issues where Rome holds to errors that divide us on the Lord’s Supper.

The true test of what is genuinely Lutheran is not what we knew when we grew up or what our confirmation pastor told us or even what our home congregation does, but the real measure is the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. We pledge ourselves to the Scriptures and the Confessions. We also can have great guidance from church history and the writings of those orthodox Christians who have gone before us. Clearly, as seen above, our Confessions clearly teach the weekly availability of the Lord’s Supper (as well as festival days). It actually is very Lutheran to make the Lord’s Supper available each Sunday. It is something that we lost for quite some time and are gradually recovering. Perhaps you can help in this recovery as well?

Q: What about Matins? I like Matins.

A:   We also like Matins and it is a venerable element of our liturgical heritage.   However, Matins is not what Lutherans call in German der Hauptgottesdienst, the chief Divine Service.   Matins is a venerable custom of the church, but the Lord’s Supper comes from the Lord Himself.   If there is call for it we could easily begin a Monday or Wednesday morning Matins service or perhaps use the Te Deum in the Divine Service as a hymn on occasion.   Matins grew in the monastic tradition as a service of prayer and sometimes preaching for during the week, but was not designed or intended originally as a regular Sunday morning service.   Even “page 5” from the 1941 The Lutheran Hymnal was really simply the communion service without communion, if that makes sense. One could also use Matins at home as an order for devotions.

 

Q:   I’m not used to weekly communion availability, as I grew up with it once per month or even four times a year.   How do I get more comfortable with this idea? I know it is not new to Lutherans in history, but for me, personally, it is new.   How can I get beyond emotional reaction?

A: Simply give it some time.   Revamping and maturing our expectations and routine takes time.   We have the Christian Questions and Answers from Luther in the Small Catechism to help communicants prepare for the sacrament.   Be open to learn, to study, and to grow in your faith.   While it is new to you it is not new to Lutherans or Christians before the Reformation. It is a restoration of something once known to Lutherans. In the Small Catechism preface Luther only mentioned four times a year as a minimum for reception of the Lord’s Supper, not as a standard for how often it should be made available.

 

 

Why Did Communion Celebrations Get Down as Low as Four Times a Year or Once Per Month in Many Places among some Lutherans?

While the Lutheran Confessions, the Book of Concord, are quite clear that Lutherans celebrate (offer) the Lord’s Supper every Sunday (Lord’s Day) and on festival (feast) days, and that we make no laws about making someone receive this gift, we may well wonder why some of us may remember Lutherans celebrating the Lord’s Supper infrequently – such as once per month or even four times a year.   Why have some grown up with the idea that this is what Lutherans intended or saw as ideal, when such isn’t really the case? History teaches us better who we are.

 

WAR, PIETISM, AND RATIONALISM

In the aftermath of the Thirty Years War, a partly religious war in Europe from 1618-1648, teaching suffered and some pastors were conscripted into military service. Catechesis and liturgical practice suffered much during this time. In reaction to a high concern for teaching and practice prior to and during the Thirty Years War, Pietism arose as a movement which internalized religion and emphasized feelings and our works.   Soon after this rationalism arose during the “Enlightenment” which sought to put human reason, philosophy and science above faith or theology.   This, too, affecting church teaching and liturgical/sacramental practice.   A.B. Bougher writes:

“… pietism stressed inward religion. Later on, it became opposed to the “outward” or “formal” worship. Its effects are still felt today. Both the preached Word and the administered sacrament were put in subjection to one’s “heart” and Christianity became for many Lutherans a sentimentalized religion with the right emotions being more important that the right belief, or the proper hearing of God’s Word and the receiving of His sacraments. With this attitude, a person through his or her own belief and religiosity made himself or herself right and didn’t need God’s means of forgiveness in the sacrament. Pietism became, in fact, a new “works-righteousness” which Luther had tried to get rid of two centuries earlier.”   [Pietism eliminated many practices – frequent communion, confession & absolution, chant, sign of the cross, historic vestments].

 

FRONTIER CONDITIONS IN AMERICA, FEW CLERGY, AND CONSEQUENTLY INFREQUENT SERVICES

A.B. Bougher writes: “During the 17th century, European wars destroyed many cities; churches were in ruins, pastors were dead or drafted, and therefore were not able to celebrate communion on the old schedule in many places. Some people were not able to receive the sacrament for long periods of time. And, those emigrating to the new world found no pastors to give them the sacrament [or teach]. Thus, Christians devoid of weekly opportunities for Communion became accustomed to infrequent reception of Communion.”   And subsequent generations thought of this as normal rather than exception or bound by the unusual circumstances and limitations of early frontier America.

 

EXTERNAL NON-LUTHERAN INFLUENCES AND ANTI-“CATHOLIC” BIAS IN AMERICA

Rev. Dr. C.F.W. Walther, first president of the Missouri Synod, wrote in an essay, indicating the challenge that Lutherans often faced in being accused of being “too catholic”:

We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. The Roman anti-christendom enslaves poor consciences by imposing human ordinances on them with the command: “You must keep such and such a thing!”; the sects enslave consciences by forbidding and branding as sin what God has left free. Unfortunately, also many of our Lutheran Christians are still without a true understanding of their liberty. This is demonstrated by their aversion to ceremonies. It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism in outward things. It is a pity and dreadful cowardice when a person sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American denominations just so they won’t accuse us of being Roman Catholic! Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that they can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them?

It may give us pause to remember what Martin Luther actually wrote the “four times a year issue”: Whoever does not seek or desire the Sacrament at least some four times a year, it is to be feared that he despises the Sacrament and is no Christian, just as he is no Christian who does not believe or hear the Gospel; for Christ did not say, This omit, or, This despise, but, This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, etc. Verily, He wants it done, and not entirely neglected and despised. This do ye, He says (Sm. Cat.).