Who we are
Zion has a mixture of white-collar, blue-collar and retired members who mostly do NOT live in actual Saddle River. We are as friendly as you can get while still being largely German-American, and think of ourselves as an actual family….
A Pentecostal woman comes into a Lutheran Church and sits behind a pair of ladies just as the service begins. She follows along as best she can, standing up and sitting down with the rest of the congregation as instructed by the pastor…
Our purpose is to spread the Gospel through service to others, which can be much more fun than it sounds (or less, as the plunger-wielding members of the Property Committee could attest). A list of our most popular groups/missions appears immediately below….
Ministries and Groups
Paterson Shelter Dinner Preparation
Zion has recently taken over the ministry of feeding the men in a Paterson homeless shelter each month. You can participate in this much-appreciated, Gospel-compatible ministry by donating cash or foodstuffs, by helping to cook the meals we serve, and/or by going with us to Paterson to help serve the meals and visit. The shelter guests say they appreciate the conversation even more than the food, which we hope is not a comment on our cooking talent.
Not “Quitters” (they will not stop until all of the fabric squares are sewn), the WELCA/Quilting group gathers weekly to stitch quilts from tasteful pieces of fabric and heap unstinting praise on the men in their lives. Seamstress skills are not necessary…though an acute fear of needles is disqualifying.
Idle hands are the Devil’s Workshop, which is why ours are gripping beer. Though we will probably hold off on re-starting our monthly Men’s Breakfasts until after our new pastor is installed, we occasionally get together for drinks at local bars and if you sign up we will keep you aware of where/when.
Contemporary Music – Praise Band
The cool thing about a church our size is that you don’t need to be a professional musician to help us lead the service. If you are a guitarist with more than three chords to your name, a fair-to-middling woodwind player, keyboardist or something else musical (surprise us) we can put your talent to use. Once/month (at this point) we do the Chicago Folk Service, which is a legitimate Lutheran liturgy (based on the old red book) that is more upbeat and joyful than the Lutheran Book of Worship liturgies we use on other Sundays.
Sanctuary choir: throughout the school year and especially during high church holidays like Christmas and Easter, the choir provides music for processionals, the offertory, recessionals and assorted other elements of the service. Individual choir members frequently perform solos, accompanied by Susan Gadd, our Director of Music.
Susan Gadd (BMus) zips all around Bergen County teaching piano, and though you don’t need to be one of her students to volunteer to perform special music (the entrance or exit hymn, hymn of the day or offertory) but there’s little hope of you avoiding performing special music if you are one of her students. Poly-instrumentalists like Dr. Ed (guitar, trumpet, organ (?!), and tenor vocals) she keeps on speed dial.
Bell Choir: our high church holiday worship experiences (especially Christmas) are enhanced by the bell choir. Bells can be a gateway drug for other, more challenging instruments, because all you need in order to play is a sense of rhythm and reasonably strong wrists (you can use colored highlighters to mark your notes red and green for “right” and “left”). If you have a poor sense of rhythm but very strong wrists, you can still help on the low bass notes (see also “Sanctuary choir: Bass”). If you have a fantastic sense of rhythm and are pretentious, you can play up to four bells by chaining them together and snapping your wrists violently this way and that as though forcing bystanders to smell your perfume.
Those of us trying to recapture the glory days of our Advanced Dungeons & Dragons youth now frequently play similarly-nerdy worker placement games like Agricola or Puerto Rico, or just plain old Risk (contra “The Princess Bride,” we will not shun a land war in Asia.” Please indicate any game allergies and time limitations.
Dinners for Eight
Though Lutheran humility restrains us from saying so, we are scintillating conversationalists, and love to get together and swap stories over dinner in groups of roughly eight over the course of the year. Apartment-dwellers: you need not be in a position to host seven other people in order to participate, but you should ideally be willing to cook at one of the other participant’s houses or bring more than your fair share of wine or beer (we are not Baptists). At this point, we really want your involvement so raise your hand and we’ll work something out.
“Eli’s answer is remarkable. He actually believes Hannah. He takes her pain seriously, and he turns sharply from scorn to trust and blessing. It seems that, in Eli, God answers Hannah. He blesses her: “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” God listens to Hannah; she sleeps with her husband and “the Lord remembers her.” She has a son: Samuel, one of the great prophets of Israel..”
“Prophets and Priests: God’s Response to Sexual Abuse” – Seminarian Leif McLellan
“Some of the great human stories aren’t played out in front of thousands of adoring fans, nor affirmed by loud applause. Like the patient caregiver who tirelessly cares for the physical and emotional needs of a single bedridden patient or family member. Or the soldier who risks his or her life to protect our safety and freedom. Or the individuals with very little resources who nonetheless … drop two small copper coins in as the offering plate passes by in church—a little drop in a vast sea of need. Yes, these are the silent, anonymous champions of the human spirit. Upon their faithfulness the world turns, and the Kingdom of God advances.”
“The Unsung Heroes of Faith” – Rev. Richard Bowman
“The Epistle – second reading for this day, from Romans, is the gem of the Reformation, for Staupitz and Luther in their day and for us in our time: God puts those who have sinned against God into a right relationship with God, justifying them as a free gift, completely apart from anything deserved or even decided. In other words, God takes the initiative to make friends out of those who are enemies because they have fallen from God’s exacting demands of God’s law.”
“Getting By With a Little Help from Our Friends” – Rev. John Havrilla