When discussing beliefs, it becomes very easy to get caught up in the details, and as my father would say, “lost in the weeds.” It is however very important to have a basic understanding of what a church believes and what a congregation practices as it strives to live within those beliefs. Therefore, let’s consider the following: Theologically, Lutheranism embraces the standard affirmations of classic Protestantism. At the heart of our beliefs is a doctrine of justification, the teaching of how we are declared righteous in God’s sight. A sinner is justified by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide), for the sake of Christ alone (solus Christus), a truth revealed to us in Scripture alone (sola Scriptura). This doctrine of justification helps us recognize that faith in Jesus, not good works, brings salvation, that the Bible is the final source for truth about God, not a church or its priests, and that the church is made up of all its believers, not just the clergy. We follow a basic idea of “grace alone,” which means that we get to heaven solely by God’s grace. There is nothing that a person can do to earn his/her way to heaven. We believe that we are cleansed of our sins, born again, and renewed in Holy Baptism by the Holy Spirit. We recognize that God’s promise of salvation in the gospel rested wholly on the person of Jesus Christ and the nature of Christian faith. This faith is not simply an agreement with the historical facts, but a trust which defines the well-rounded person who receives the freely given righteousness of Christ. Then, the Christian life of obedience flows out of a conviction that one is made righteous by God’s pronouncing that Christ’s righteousness is now ours. Therefore, we place great emphasis on the role of the church in the Christian’s life and the role of the Word and Sacraments within the church. As a congregation, we believe in the priesthood of all believers, meaning that we welcome anyone within our congregation, who has a desire to serve within the church. We utilize laypersons as readers, prayer leaders, acolytes, ushers, greeters, and in many other ways. We are a warm and welcoming congregation who simply believes that God loves us all, and we desire to share His love with everyone we meet or who happens to visit our community.