New Lutheran congregation in Duluth celebrates first anniversary
In an unlikely setting -- an industrial park -- the founding members of Duluth's New Life Lutheran Church are busy building their congregation. "Yes, we meet in a warehouse. We don't own a building. So, it's not about the building. It's really ab...
In an unlikely setting -- an industrial park -- the founding members of Duluth's New Life Lutheran Church are busy building their congregation.
"Yes, we meet in a warehouse. We don't own a building. So, it's not about the building. It's really about the people and the ministry," said Mary Robinson, the relationship team leader for this new faith community which celebrated its first anniversary as a congregation last Sunday.
The church not only celebrated the commitment and efforts of current members but also welcomed anyone from the community who wanted to know more about the church.
"It was a celebration that this new church is alive, growing and enthusiastic," Robinson said. "But, it was not just about being Lutheran, it was also about being God's Church." Event attendance met expectations. The day began with worship followed by a coffee fellowship and education hour. During the afternoon, people enjoyed the outdoors and listened to music by the group Hear By Faith.
The event was held at the current church location in the Kompetenz Center at 4424 Venture Ave., just off Airpark Boulevard.
Rod Marklund and his wife, Linda, joined after moving to Duluth from California. It took the couple a few months to make connections, but patience paid off.
"We really enjoy what we've found here," Rod said. "We've found an interesting mix of really enthusiastic, energetic, talented and gifted people and were impressed by that. Plus, we like the pastor. Dave Norland is a special gift."
Rick and Laura Hanson joined New Life from another Duluth congregation.
"New Life offered a fresh start," Laura said. "Because we all come from many different churches, we have lots of ideas about how to do work and ideas are rarely shot down. Instead, we have the freedom to try new ministries. Pastor Norland's preaching is knowledgeable and easy to listen to. One comes away from worship with thought-provoking material."
Pastor David Norland was ordained in 1993, holds a degree in ancient studies from St. Olaf College and completed seminary at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He encourages anyone interested in what the congregation offers to attend a class, "What Lutherans Believe." The class meets for an hour after Sunday services and goes over the 21 main articles of the Augsburg Confession which shape the Lutheran faith. It runs for 20 weeks.
"You would understand at the end of that 20 weeks all the basic articles of Lutheran belief and you'd have had a chance to think through what they are and what they mean in relation to what you already know so that you can judge for yourself what you truly believe," Norland said. The class is open to anyone throughout the 20 weeks.
New Life Lutheran Church is a member of the Lutheran Congregation in Mission for Christ, which sponsors 700 congregations across the nation. The new congregation has 42 families registered. It donates 25 percent of its weekly offerings to support mission work.
Barb Goodspeed has participated in missions along with other members. Recently, a group of New Life members taught English to fifth- through tenth-graders in Kondopoga, Russia, with the help of Russian translators.
"Our teaching experience was very similar to teaching vacation Bible school," Goodspeed said. "The kids come because they are very interested in learning English and hearing Americans speak English."
Visit the congregation website at www.newlifelc.org for more information.