Word Up Wednesday Worship returns to St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Marlborough for three sessions at 7 pm on October 9, 16, and 23. Worshipers will reflect on the Reformation, which marks its 502nd anniversary in October.
The Reformation is known as the period of history begun with Martin Luther nailing his “95 Theses” to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church in Germany on October 31, 1517. At the time, the Catholic Church was selling “indulgences,” or certificates forgiving sin, to raise money to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Luther opposed this, and his 95 Theses ignited a movement claiming God’s forgiveness was given freely. Some say the Reformation changed not only Christianity and culture, but ushered in the modern age in countless ways.
More than 500 years later, Reformation has become much more than simply a period in history; it is a core value of the Lutheran community. Much of the Lutheran movement gathers around the conviction that the church is “always reforming." In October, those who attend Word Up will examine three “Modern Reformations.”
On October 9 at 7 pm, the topic will be the Second Vatican Council and how this season of change for the Roman Catholic Church changed Lutherans, too. The October 16 session will celebrate the role of women in ministry. On October 23, those gathered will look at changes in the understanding of gender and sexuality, particularly unfolding welcome to the LGBTQ community.
Worship will be led by Pastor Joseph Graumann. “While some religions pride themselves on exclusivity, Lutherans affirm that Jesus welcomes everyone,” he said. “Our church commits itself to change for the sake of greater inclusion.”
St. Stephen Lutheran Church was filled with people and music as the worship service on September 29 began with the blessing of the Woodberry and Harris pipe organ, a gift of Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church. Used for the first time at a St. Stephen Sunday service last week, the 1892 tracker organ served other congregations in the greater Boston area for many years.
Mt. Olivet purchased the organ in 1981, and had it rebuilt using a combination of professionals from the Andover Organ Company and church volunteers. It served the Shrewsbury congregation from 1982 until earlier this year when the church closed and offered the instrument to SSLC. Once again, John and Fay Morlock from Andover Organ Company were involved, this time “primarily taking the organ apart and putting it back together,” John said, with the addition of manufacturing some new parts and modifying older parts. To change the pitch, he modified the pedal mechanism, moved the trackers that play the pipes, added a pipe and moved notes to add one at the bottom. The Morlocks, as well as many former parishioners from Mt. Olivet, attended Sunday’s service.
Music included hymns, a choir anthem, and a postlude that showcased both the range of the organ and the skill and enthusiasm of music director Stan Hanson. Members of both the voice and handbell choirs participated. Stan says the organ “is exquisitely voiced to lead our worship services and interpret organ music from all periods. For a small tracker instrument, there are sufficient tonal resources to accompany congregational singing and interpret some of the ‘grand’ music composed for the organ,” he added.
A lovingly rebuilt Woodberry & Harris pipe organ with more than 120 years of providing beautiful music in churches around Massachusetts has found a new home at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborough. The organ will be blessed and officially heard in its new home on Sunday, September 29, during the 10 am worship service. The public is invited.
Stan Hanson, St. Stephen’s organist and musical director, says the organ “is exquisitely voiced to lead our worship services and interpret organ music from all periods. For a small tracker instrument, there are sufficient tonal resources to accompany congregational singing and interpret some of the ‘grand’ music composed for the organ,” he added.
The organ is a gift of Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Shrewsbury, which recently closed. Not only the organ, but other worship items, including a sanctuary cross, candle holders, and paraments were given to St. Stephen.
One of about 30 organs the Boston-based Woodberry & Harris made, it was constructed in about 1892 and served its first congregation in Abington for 60 years before it wore out, was sold and stored for Andover Organ Company employee Richard Westerdale in a garage until he moved in 1981. John Morlock, another employee, was a friend of the Reverend Cliff Gerber, pastor of Mt. Olivet who hoped his church could acquire an organ, but knew the budget would be tight.
Mt. Olivet purchased the organ in 1981, but beautiful music at that point was just a idea, since the antique tracker organ required extensive and expensive rebuilding. Morlock suggested an economical alternative, a combination of professional rebuilding of the chests and working parts and skilled, loving labor by parishioners who refinished the organ and lent a hand with the literally heavy lifting.
A local artist with knowledge of early decorative arts, Molly Porter, took on the task of restoring the original designs that had been painted on the organ’s case pipes, and decided to volunteer her time and materials as a labor of love. The organ served the Shrewsbury congregation from 1982 until this spring.
With the gift of the organ to St. Stephen Lutheran Church came the need to disassemble the instrument, transport it from Shrewsbury to Marlborough, and reassemble it. Once again, John Morlock of Andover Organ Company, along with his wife, Fay, became involved. Morlock says although his work was “primarily taking the organ apart and putting it back together,” it also included manufacturing some new parts and modifying older parts. “The original pitch of the organ was sharper than what is used today,” he added, so he revised the pedal mechanism, moved the trackers that play the pipes, added a pipe and moved notes to add one at the bottom. “I took many of the pipes back to the shop, and made them speak better.” Morlock said they also made modifications to the upper structure, “so we’d have something to lean on as we tuned the organ.” Tracker organs should be tuned once or twice a year, he added.
“I am really glad the folks of Mt. Olivet saw fit to keep the organ in playable condition and the folks of St. Stephen wanted to give it a home,” Morlock said. Just like the people of Mt. Olivet, who treasured the instrument, Morlock has a special place in his heart for the Woodbury & Harris pipe organ. John and Fay were married at Mt. Olivet, and the organ played.
At the September 29 service, parishioners will give thanks for the generosity of the people of Mt. Olivet and bless the organ to the Glory of God. This festival services will feature the organ as the church commemorates St. Michael and All Angels.
A special organ concert will be held at St. Stephen Lutheran Church on November 24, at 5:00 pm, when music director Stanley Hanson will showcase the sounds of this fine, small tracker organ.
Saint Stephen Lutheran Church Music Director Stan Hanson demonstrates some of the capabilities of the new organ.
The Woodberry & Harris organ, fully assembled at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, ready for the September 29 service.
Close up of 3 pipes from the organ at Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, painted in its original 19th Century design.
September signals back to school for some. For others, this the time for a new program or learning experience. Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborough is combining both fall themes with a new schedule that expands Christian Education and moves the worship time forward 30 minutes, to 10 am.
Starting Sunday September 15, a “Lutheran Learning Hour,” aka Sunday School, will run from 9-9:45 am. Lessons for all ages will be based on the same readings as in church. In September, for example, themes will include “God’s Mercy Includes Everyone,” “Honesty in Wealth.” and “How Mercy, Not Success Matters.” Bible stories will include the Parable of the Lost Sheep and Poor Lazarus and the Wealthy Man.
A new inter-generational teen and adult class is in the 9:00 am Sunday School schedule, along with returning classes for young children up to grade 4, and middle grades 5-8 learners. Previously, a shorter Sunday School time for children took place during part of the church service. The new offering will provide time for more depth and discussion, and allow all ages to attend both Sunday School and the service.
Worship at 10 am
The Saint Stephen worship service will begin at 10 am, a half hour later than the current time.
“This move shows that we are committed to having a place for people of all ages at God’s table,” said Pastor Joseph Graumann Jr. “Our schedule offers flexibility to parents, children, and everyone else.” In addition to a well stocked play area within the worship space that gives children a place to play near parents and be involved in worship, there is a nursery adjacent to the sanctuary. What will be new starting September 15 is that the nursery will be staffed every week by volunteers.
“Saint Stephen Lutheran Church is all about relationships,” Pastor Graumann added. “We get to know each other by learning together, and just as you might develop a friendship by asking about your friend’s life, we learn about God to develop our relationship with the divine. Come to learning hour, worship, or both.”
What will not change on September 15 is the existence of the popular after-church coffee hour, although it will start a little later. Coffee hour will be from 11 to noon.
Samuel Maston of Hudson, 17, is among fourteen voting members from the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America who will attend the August 5-10 ELCA Churchwide Assembly In Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sam joins an impressive list of local delegates, including Synod Bishop James Hazelwood, as well several hundred others – pastors and lay people from all over the country.
“I’m really excited for churchwide, “ said Sam who is looking forward to major elections and is “generally curious as to how the whole thing is going to play out. I don’t have any preconceptions or ideas. By the end I hope to have a better understanding of how the church operates on a national scale.” As a member of the ELCA’s Youth Core Leadership Team, a national group of just 12 youth, Sam became more aware of the churchwide assembly, and filled out an application.
The ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the primary decision-making body of the church, “is a process of communal spiritual discernment,” said presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. The group will meet “to discuss and make decisions about how to go about God’s work as a church.
This year the assembly will gather under the theme ‘We are church.’” Voting members, Bishop Eaton noted “meet with confidence in God’s grace around word and water, wine and bread, to carry on their work on behalf the entire church.”
Over the course of the assembly, voting members:
• Hear reports and review the work of churchwide officers, leaders and units;
• Receive and consider proposals from synod assemblies;
• Elect officers, board members and other leaders as specified by the constitution or bylaws;
• Establish ELCA churchwide policy;
• Worship together;
• Adopt a budget; and
• Conduct other business related to the ELCA churchwide organization.
“Together,” noted the ELCA Bishop, “we will worship, pray, engage in Bible study, deliberate and conduct business in plenary sessions.”
Music, games, Bible stories, crafts, snacks, and science projects will all be part of Vacation Bible Camp at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton Street (Route 85), Marlborough, Monday, July 29 to Friday, August 2, from 9 am to noon.
Register now by clicking here. Suggested fee for the entire week is $15 to $20, and scholarships are available. Although pre-registration is appreciated, walk-ins are also welcome.
“To Mars and Beyond” is the theme for this year’s program, which is open to children from Pre-K through Grade 5. With the church sanctuary decorated to resemble outer space, and a friendly alien puppet with a human friend on hand, the young “Voyagers” will enter an atmosphere of adventure and learn about how God is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine.
Each morning, participants will play games, create arts and crafts, conduct science experiments, sing, and hear Bible stories, as they discover how God shows them how to “go beyond” with faith, boldness, kindness, thankfulness, and hope.
Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) . The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Stow, and Bolton. Sunday worship is at 9:30 am.
Music, games, Bible stories, crafts, snacks, and science projects will all be part of Vacation Bible Camp at Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St., Marlborough, Monday, July 29 to Friday, August 2, from 9 am to noon. Co-leaders Ann Gibson of Maynard and Dianne Bruno of Hudson will be joined by a volunteer staff of SSLC adults and teens.
“To Mars and Beyond” is the theme for this year’s program, which is open to children from Pre-K through Grade 5. Register your child now, by going to https//cokesburyvbs.com/saintstephenlutheran. There is also a link on the Saint Stephen Lutheran Church website: www.saintstephenlutheran.com. Those who are able are asked to donate a fee of $15-$20 per child. Scholarships are also available.
With the church sanctuary decorated to resemble outer space, and a friendly alien puppet with a human friend on hand, the young “Voyagers” will enter an atmosphere of adventure and learn about how God is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine. Each morning, participants will play games, create arts and crafts, conduct science experiments, sing, and hear Bible stories, as they discover how God shows them how to “go beyond” with faith, boldness, kindness, thankfulness, and hope.
Walking laps, sharing stories, making new friends, and lighting luminaria are all part of Relay for Life events held to benefit the American Cancer Society. The recent Relay for Life of Marlborough Hudson at Ward Park, Marlborough, attracted 19 teams of walkers, as well as supporters who came to reflect, listen to music, dance, bid on silent auction items, walk a lap, and pledge their dollars to fight cancer.
The Saint Stephen Lutheran Church team was the top donation group, bringing in $9658 of the event total of $26,648 and including five of the top ten individual fund-raisers.
“I was absolutely floored by the amount that our team raised,” said St. Stephen pastor Joseph Graumann. “As a cancer survivor, I take Relay for Life personally. Each year, I take this time to remember where I’ve been and to honor all those who helped me be here today. What better way to fight cancer than to spend a day in community with others?”
Along with the pastor, the team included, from Marlborough: Melanie Whapham (team leader), Dave and Martha Domke, Pam Narahara, Judy Kellogg, and Bill and Deb Roberts; Hudson residents Harold and Elizabeth Greer and Jane Woolsey; and Andrew Kaye from Shrewsbury.
“Thank you to all who donated, walked, volunteered and prayed for great weather!” Melanie Whapham commented. She added that although St. Stephen had a strong turnout, overall participation was down and next year’s Relay will be seeking more business participation and possibly a date change from the typical first Saturday in June.
Thousands of pieces of clothing went to new homes last weekend, along with shoes, purses, scarves, and costume jewelry. The event was the Spring Clothing Giveaway at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, where everything was free, in great condition, and arranged to create the atmosphere of a store.
The 12th giveaway on May 11 attracted 166 people, all of whom left with one or more large bags of clothing, including spring jackets. Record keepers said 97 coats for men, women, and children were given away, close to the typical 100 winter jackets, coats, capes and fleece pullovers that people select at the fall giveaway. St. Stephen holds two clothing “sales” each year, one in spring and one in the fall, just before Thanksgiving.
The church reaches out to area agencies, and schedules a special time for agency-referred people to shop first. This year, 41 individuals, representing more than a dozen agencies, got first look at the store. The general public came on Saturday, May 11, and Martha Domke, co-leader with Jane Woolsey, said people were lined up outside the church from 8:45 on, more than an hour before the 10 am opening.
Clothing donations come from parishioners and their friends and neighbors. To maintain the quality of the offerings, there is no public drop-off. Instead, donors are asked to wash, fold, and sort donations by gender and size, bring them in the Sunday or Wednesday before the event, and become a sales associate for a little while by arranging them in the store. Dozens of people participate in some aspect of each giveaway. “It takes a village,” Martha Domke noted.
For the past few giveaways, committee members who are also members of Thrivent, a financial services company, have been able to obtain seed money through the Thrivent Action Team initiative. Along with donations, this is used to fund the Giveaway, and has included the purchase of clothing racks and storage containers, and also packages of underwear for men, women, and children, distributed at the Giveaway.
For more information about the church, visit saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, and Bolton. Worship services take place on Sunday at 9:30 am.
PHOTO: Clothing Giveaway volunteers at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlboro, get out the clothing racks to begin set-up for the 2018 event. This year, the Spring Clothing Giveaway will be on Saturday, May 11, from 10 am to noon. Pictured, from left: Leeann Brewitt, Marlea Dutt, Martha Domke, Barbara Parente, Yong Hee Spiller, and Maggie Leddy.
The warmth of spring and the heat of summer are approaching – really! With rising temperatures comes the need for a different wardrobe. When a family has an already stretched budget, and now faces gift giving occasions like weddings and graduations, along with food and clothing needs, the dollars may fall short. At the Spring Clothing Giveaway at Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton St. (Route 85), Marlboro on Saturday, May 11 from 10 am to noon, no dollars are needed. All the clothing is FREE, along with accessories such as costume jewelry, purses, shoes, belts, and scarves.
Clothing is in good to excellent condition. Most is arranged by size, with some on hangers, to create the feeling of shopping in a store. There are sections for men’s and women’s clothes, and a separate room for children’s clothing. Adult clothing is seasonal, but there may be fall items in the children’s room, recognizing that parents like to plan ahead for the next size and season. Shoppers can bring their own bag, or take a bag provided and fill it with whatever they can use. The event is open to the public, regardless of need; recycling advocates are welcome to this giveaway, just a few weeks after Earth Day.
Donated items come from Saint Stephen parishioners and friends who give clean, popular, wearable items that customers will take and use, believe they are helping not only individuals but also the earth, keeping good clothing out of landfills. Although the May 11 event will be the 12th giveaway the church has offered, donors seem to never empty their closets, and always have 1000s of items to offer. Martha Domke of Marlboro and Jane Woolsey of Hudson are co-leaders for the spring giveaway.