Who are the Lutherans?

ICSC continues its 'Faith of Our Neighbors' series

HALF-CENTURY The Lutheran tradition emerged out of the Protestant Reformation, which initially sought to reform the Roman Catholic Church.
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Beginning with Protestant reformers in 16th-century Europe, this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which spawned Lutheranism—one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States.

The Interfaith Community of South County (ICSC) invites the public to learn about Christianity in the Lutheran tradition in its Faith of Our Neighbors series on Oct. 15.

Made up of 16 different faith organizations, the ICSC is a lay-led organization working alongside the Interfaith Clergy Alliance to build bridges among neighbors.

This is the second in the series this year, says ICSC facilitator Mary Hallum. The first 2017 event in the series, held in April, was on Judaism.

Hallum says the group has been well-received in the community, drawing between 150-300 people to each of its events.

Pastor Anita Warner of Advent Lutheran in Morgan Hill says the Lutheran denomination is the first to present Christianity to the ICSC.

“Often in an interfaith group, there’s confusion about all of the different Christian denominations,” says Warner. “Each community gets to speak for themselves.”

Warner believes ICSC is a great model for helping people to learn and understand more about one another’s beliefs, perspectives and practices.

“We’re excited to share the faith that animates us,” says Warner. “That teaches about God’s love and grace given to us and all creation.”

Loved or hated, Catholic monk Martin Luther, whose name and theology inspired the Lutheran tradition, changed the face of Christianity—and indeed some would say the world—for the last half-century.

“Luther himself was a clear example of one of his teachings—that each person is at one time both a saint and a sinner,” says Warner.

“His influence extends far beyond the church,” she says. “He unleashed new ways of thinking that profoundly shaped the secular world.”

The Faith of Our Neighbors presents an opportunity for the community to learn about something outside of their own experience.

“[People] are invited to be part of any aspect of our faith, whether it be worship learning or service,” she says.

But these events aren’t just for people of faith. Hallum encourages anybody to attend, regardless of religious practice or affiliation.

“I feel there are a lot of the people that are from the surrounding interfaith community, but we really would like to be able to reach out to other people too,” says Hallum. “We want to include everybody.”

The Interfaith Community of South County presents ‘The Faith of our Neighbors: Christianity in the Lutheran Tradition’ at 4 pm on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Advent Lutheran Church, 16870 Murphy Ave, Morgan Hill. For more information, email [email protected].

Debra Eskinazi
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Debra Eskinazi is the editor of South Valley magazine.