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