Q: How old is the church?
A: The congregation was founded in 1776, the year when our nation was born. Fortunately, our current building isn’t quite as old. It was erected in the middle of the 19th century, replacing the old “yellow church”. The first service in this church building took place in 1870. The parlor, where most people walk into church today, was built in 1987, replacing the Old Victorian parsonage, which sits now on the corner of Church and 2nd Streets. In spiritual terms, of course, the church goes back to the time when our Savior was born. Our cemetery on Main Street is a historic site, and is maintained by members of our congregation.
Q: What's worship like?
A: It is traditional Lutheran with contemporary elements as well as liturgical and musical variety.
Q: How many people belong to St. Peter’s?
A: About 500 baptized members currently belong to St. Peter’s. Our Sunday worship attendance is around 130-140 on average, spread over two services. Every year, 20-30 people join our congregation. No strong lines are drawn between members and non-members, but the membership system is used to track our congregation.
Q: What’s the biggest asset of the congregation?
A: Our biggest asset is the gospel and the Christian faith that we share and grow into. Most people find that St. Peter’s is a very warm and open minded congregation, a place where it’s easy to build relationships and feel at home.
Q: Are there any financial expectations?
A: We expect from our members that they support the church generously as they are able, which includes financial contributions. It's an honor system. We don’t have a policy of a certain percentage of income, nor do we ask for information on people’s incomes. As a congregation, we try to give away at least ten percent of our budget for ministries beyond our congregation and for the important work of the church at large. Church is not about finances, but they are important, as 90% or more of our expenses are covered by membership support. Try to give perhaps 5% of your income to the church and dare to experience that giving will not hurt you, but will bring blessings to your life. At this time (and through 2017) we are running a special campaign to eradicate our debt and secure resources for ministries geared toward the emerging generation and family ministry.
Q: What are the different ministries at St. Peter’s?
A: A variety of ministries are carried out at St. Peter’s. Music Ministry is very important and rich in our congregation, including several adult and children’s choirs, bells and vocal ensembles, as well as the occasional jazz or blues worship and our summer worship series. People involved in Social Ministry organize charitable events, food drives, service trips, etc. St. Peter’s Thrift Store provides a steady flow of charitable contributions to local Social Ministries, and is open during the school year. It is entirely run by volunteers. In 2016 we called a Director of Family Faith Formation to oversee our children and youth programs, as well as family ministry. The Spark program is a contemporary Sunday school based on multisensory learning and takes place parallel to our 10 a.m. worship service. Various adult education sessions take place throughout the year, both at church and in people’s homes. Stephen Ministers are trained to assist people who go through prolonged crisis situations. They provide critical spiritual and emotional support. Our Global Outreach team (SPOT) champions projects in Haiti and other pour countries. Other committees, such as Stewardship, Christian Education, HOW, Communication, Worship and Music, and Finance accomplish work that is essential for our church ministries to flourish.
Q: Are there "social" events at St. Peter’s?
A: Yes, in fact a variety of events which are usually posted in Sunday programs and are built around a certain topic, but purely social in nature, including games, conversation and entertainment. Most of these social events do not take place at church but in people’s homes or at other sites. Other events are planned spontaneously and all events are usually announced in church several weeks prior. There is also a St. Peter's Book Club.
Q: Are there any particular church doctrines or teachings out of the Christian mainstream?
A: St. Peter’s is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Our spiritual heritage is based on the scripture and the interpretations of Martin Luther. Lutherans emphasize the core biblical understanding that we are justified (made right before God) by the grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are empowered to serve God without guilt and without restrictions to gender, race or any other human category. We encourage the involvement of lay leaders in our ministries. We think that many other churches and denominations are part of the same body of Christ.
Q: What do we have to do to join the congregation?
A: Come and worship with us! Make St. Peter’s your church home and help us live the Christian faith as a community. Participate in our educational programs! Use your gifts and talents for the community of faith. If people come from a non-Christian background or need a refresher in the principles of the Christian faith, we will provide an Adult Course that helps you find your foundation in the Christian Faith. And by the way: don't hesitate to share your ideas!
Q: Who "runs" the Church?
A: We would like to think that Jesus runs the church, but unfortunately, we probably still get in his way too often… A Church Council, made up of twelve council members elected at the Annual Meeting to serve a three-year term, represent the congregation and run the church by following a model Lutheran Constitution. Council Meetings are held the second Monday of each month and are open to the congregation. All major decisions regarding the church are proposed by the Council and decided after a congregational vote is held. St. Peter’s is part of the Southeastern Synod and participates in various Synod events.
Q: Does someone visit the elderly?
A: Currently twelve deacons are active in either visitation ministry, worship assistance, or both. From time to time new deacons are trained.
Q: Can anyone use the church Fellowship Hall during non-church time?
A: The Fellowship Hall (max. capacity 125 people) can be used by members of the church for parties and other events booked through the Property Management chairperson for a nominal fee; i.e., wedding receptions, graduation parties, funeral luncheons, etc.
Still can’t find the information you’re looking for? Just give us a call at 215-699-4604!
Sunday Services & Nursery
A nursery is available for children below school age during the 10:00 a.m. service.