The Rev. James E. Hazelwood, Bishop of the New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will be the guest preacher at Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough on October 22. The 9:30 am Sunday communion service will celebrate the church’s 50th anniversary of becoming a congregation, and takes place 50 years to the day after the organization service. Visitors are invited and welcome to attend.
“We’re looking forward to the visit from the ‘bishop on a bike,’ an avid motorcyclist and someone known for his unconventional approach to leadership,” said Saint Stephen Pastor Joseph Graumann. “The Bishop’s visit highlights how Saint Stephen is part of something much larger than one congregation. Our Lutheran identity, rooted in God’s grace, freely given, connects us to a global church. Our mission in Marlborough embeds this global church into our community. We are thrilled to celebrate 50 years of a Lutheran presence in Marlborough!”
Bishop Hazelwood was elected June 9, 2012, to serve a 6-year term as bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Since 1993, he had been pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Charlestown, RI. During his tenure, the church began a preschool, added summer day camps, launched an AIDS respite care, constructed a new education wing, initiated a global mission relationship in Honduras, and established two alternative style worship services. Earlier, he served as pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, NY, and superintendent of its affiliated parochial school.
Born in Concord, Massachusetts, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Lutheran College, a Master of Divinity following studies at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary.
In addition to the anniversary commemoration, there will be a thanksgiving during the service for the retirement of a debt, says Pastor Graumann. “Saint Stephen Lutheran Church has successfully paid off the mortgage on its fellowship hall, and we are celebrating that as well.”
Special music will also characterize the service, notes Stan Hanson, music director. The anthem choir will sing “Give Thanks to the Lord” by Mark Patterson, and the bell choir will ring “Handbell Praise,” with an arrangement by Hanson.
Anniversary festivities will continue into the following weekend. On Saturday, October 28, a gala will take place at the church from 5 to 8 pm, with celebration, prayer, remembrances, a slide show, music, food, and reconnecting with friends. Several charter members of Saint Stephen will attend.
Saint Stephen was established as the first Lutheran church in the Marlborough-Hudson area, as a mission congregation in 1966. The process began with an interest meeting attended by about a dozen people, but the number swelled to 100 by the time the first worship service was held in October of 1966. On October 22, 1967, the church was officially organized with a rite of organization during a worship service, and the acceptance of 135 baptized members into the new congregation. For the first decade, parishioners worshiped in the Unitarian Church and St. Mary’s Catholic Church. In 1969, they purchased land next to the Navin Rink, where the present church was constructed and completed in the fall of 1977.
For more information about Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, visit www.saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. 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, Stow, Sudbury, and Bolton. Worship takes place on Sunday at 9:30 am, and Wednesday at 6:30 pm
Seven teens from Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, were among 250 youth from all over New England who came to Camp Calumet in Freedom, NH for the yearly Hammonasset Youth Gathering in September. Hammonasset is the annual get together of youth throughout the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
“I Choose Compassion” was the 2017 theme. A packed weekend included not only the Christian band Bread of Stone, Bible study, swimming, boating and field sports, but also a timely compassion-centered activity. Teens packaged 10,000 meals, targeted for Texas victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Those who attended from Saint Stephen included Samantha, Caitlyn, and Zachary Gogan of Hudson; Aline and Emma Keledjian of Marlborough; Abby and Sam Maston of Hudson; and their adult leaders, Sarah Maston and Pastor Joseph Graumann.
"Hammonasset was the perfect balance, “ said Abby Maston. “ It teaches us the way of God, and how to help our communities, but it was also a ton of fun, like listening to the band, Bread of Stone and getting to hang out with close friends."
Weekend chaplain and guest speaker was Stephanie Smith, full-time pastor for Cathedral in the Night, an outdoor Christian community in downtown Northampton, MA that. seeks to create a safe place for all people, she noted, including the homeless and the churchless. Pastor Smith discussed building community, and how compassion means we are all one in Christ, caring for each other. Saint Stephen youth will visit Cathedral in October to attend worship and serve dinner after the service, which takes place on and around the steps of First Churches in Northampton and typically ends with a community meal.