Sunday, June 21, 2015

Southeastern Synod Recap

The following is a loose transcript plus some additional information from today’s Temple Talk on attending the ELCA Southeastern Synod.  I've included some links for further exploration and discovery -- Meredith 


When I was asked several months ago to attend the ELCA Southeastern Synod General Assembly in Birmingham as a delegate representing Messiah, I thought, “Why not.” My only hesitation by saying “yes” was thinking, “This means I will have to give a Temple Talk.”  However, once I learned I would be attending with Meredith, I realized she can “save the talk” from any of my discrepancies if she follows me.

I was privileged to attend the Assembly June 5-7 with Meredith Kilby, Pastor, Lee Smith, and Danie Blue. Over 400 pastors, delegates, and visitors attended the Assembly filled with plenary sessions, Bible study, workshops, prayer, worship, and entertainment. I am pleased to announce that our own Lee Smith was re-elected Treasurer of the Southeast Synod and our youth representative, Danie Blue, was elected by her peers to be the Conference 7 youth representative to the Southeast Synod Lutheran Youth Organization known as SESLYO.

Bishop Gordy opened the Assembly with the theme “We Are Church.” Greetings were read from Liz Eaton, the ELCA church wide presiding bishop who asked us to consider 4 points: We are church. We are Lutheran. We are church together. We are church for the sake of the world.

Dr. Mark Allan Powell, Professor Emeritus of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, and a very popular presenter led our Bible Study underscoring the theme “We are church.”   Using Paul’s and John’s teachings and imagery, major points of the study were 1) The church is the temple of God where the Holy Spirit dwells and each of us has the Holy Spirit so we are all connected 2) The church is the Body of Christ and we are part of Christ’s body 3) The church is the bride of Christ and we rejoice as a newlywed because of our relationship with Christ and 4) Jesus is the vine and we are the branches to do the “mission of God” as he works through us.

I was most impressed with the entertainment this year, especially since I wasn’t expecting any. I have been a lifelong Lutheran and I must say our Friday night experience was a first: Beer and Hymns.
Led by two young, dynamic and talented ministers with a band, a large number of synod delegates enjoyed beer, wine, and soda, while singing contemporary and traditional hymns.  It was a relaxed and casual evening of fellowship enjoyed by many.  This group has actually started a “Bar Church" church in a bar in downtown Atlanta and it all started with singing contemporary hymns while drinking beer. It is now one of our synod mission churches and growing. God indeed meets us in the least expected places. There was also a wonderful multi-cultural music group that opened each morning sessions and led one of the Worship services.

When Pastor asked Meredith and me about our impressions of the Assembly, I told him that attending synod made me realize how “healthy” and how much we accomplish at Messiah.  We are carry out great mission work, and have many programs at Messiah that many other congregations struggle with. For example, we have developed a Disaster Plan. We support a local school weekend food program and we have adopted Lunches for Learning as a global outreach.

I chose to attend a Cross Generational Engagement workshop along with Danie. I learned from others in the workshop that because their churches are so small and struggling to survive, they have no choice but to have all of their activities cross-generational. One church of only 35 members has a Sunday School class whose age group ranges from 3 to 73. I was able to share some of the activities we participate in that are cross generational such as worship support, Music Camp, Bible School, packing lunches for the weekend food program and kit ministry. I also learned about a few cross generational activities we may want to consider. I also attended a workshop that brought awareness to Modern Day Slavery and the rising problem of Human Trafficking. 

There were many other positive impressions and perspectives each of us gained from attending the Synod workshops and plenary sessions. One that stood out for all of us involved the context of “Church Mission” which Meredith will tell a story about next.  I’ll end with saying I feel really good about the work we are doing here at Messiah. We are healthy and we are blessed.


Good morning.  What a blessing to attend the Synod Assembly this year. I had never been, and I must tell you, that by Saturday afternoon, I was both physically exhausted yet spiritually excited , but so grateful for the experience I was having.  That morning at the plenary session, the Reverend Sunitha Mortha,  ELCA Director of Mission Formation, started her presentation on Church Mission with a short and powerful visualization exercise.

She instructed us to “Pause, close our eyes, and place in our minds a visual image of “Church Mission.” She asked us to stay in that picture and next, Place God in that picture, and observe what God was accomplishing in that picture and through the people involved.  We all opened our eyes and soon our understanding to how unique and personal Mission work is, how boundless it is, and how each of us have “stories to tell” when involved with Mission work.

So, curious to find out what other’s stories were… I asked.    Linda’s picture of Church Mission was of the School in Honduras which members of Messiah Lutheran support through Lunches and Learning. God was there working to bring education, meals and hope to school children.   Pastor’s reply was, “Music Camp! In his picture, God was at work, right here at Messiah, through the music, the learning, and the talented and giving hands of all those involved.   Such great images!

I paused… knowing they would both now expect me to share my image... and it was time to fess up.

My image was a stack of moving boxes and next to it, a quilt on a rack. Yes indeed, folks, I managed to put God in a box! However, if you’ve been around Messiah for any length of time, you KNOW what’s inside those boxes, Lutheran World Relief Kits, and the quilt, one of well over a hundred quilts made by our Comforter Sewing group annually.   Yes. God is in those boxes and in every stitch of every quilt…  but look at where God is goes, it’s boundless!

The word GLOCAL left a big impression at Synod Assembly.  Some folks, well, don’t care for the word. It is kind of made up and perhaps a tad on the trendy side, but I beg you to give it a chance. It so accurately describes some of the most exciting and successful mission work taking place across the ELCA; Like our Kit and Comforter Ministries, or the Dorcas Ministry of Refugee Women who made our Assembly totebags; global woman living working and worshiping at the Kiswahili Lutheran Mission in Nashville, Tennessee.  Our Christian faith, our Christian Mission is global, is local, and can be a wonderful combination of both.

Blessings --

Bonus coverage...

Another wonderful connection made at the Southeastern Synod was made by Pastor Scott and Youth Council Representative, Danie Blue, with Bishop Michael Grabow, presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria,  our  "sister" synod.  Traveling with Bishop Grabow were two pastors.  Messiah Youth are in the early stages of planning a Youth Trip to Germany.

I two attended several terrific workshops.  The first workshop was on Congregational Change. I learned how one particular small urban Atlanta congregation, St. Luke’s, has redefined and is regenerating itself following a period of sagging attendance and the retirement of their long term pastor.  Church leaders used the first part of the transition to reset, assess congregational strengths, and make specific, sustainable and attainable goals.  It was a process, but on that was invaluable as the call to find a new pastor proceeded.  Knowing who they were and what they wanted helped find the right next pastor, and now Reverend Ruth Hamilton (she spent a summer at Messiah while Pastor Scott was on Sabbatical) leads that congregation and numbers are increasing. 

I also attended the GLOCAL Musician’s workshop.  These musician’s travel the country, performing, teaching and sharing the rich textures of Global Worship music taking place across the globe. Music is an international language and through the workshop we were led and instructed in a number of worship songs in Syrian, Arabic, Korean even sign language.  At the Saturday’s worship service, the musician’s led the liturgy, performed special music and led us through a number of hymns in different languages.  To hear God’s Word read and sung in a foreign language really drove home the point of how global and universal Christ’s teachings are. 

For a good overview of that the GLOCAL Musician's purpose is view this short video.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Go Purple for Alzheimer's

This Sunday, June 21st,  Messiah Members are encouraged to participate in the Alzheimer's Association The Longest Day awareness day. June is also Brain Health Awareness Month.    

This Sunday: 
  • An sunrise, Pray for Alzheimer patients. 
  • Wear PURPLE to church to show you care.
  • At sunset, Pray for their caregivers.
Held annually on the summer solstice, the duration of this sunrise-to-sunset event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers.

During Sunday morning Worship. Michelle Cain of the Alzheimer's Association will be giving a Temple Talk on the awareness campaign provide information on how to get involved.

Save the Date! 

September 12th - 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer's North Alabama 
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens
4747 Bob Wallace Ave, SW Huntsville, AL 35805
Route Length 1 Mile

Upcoming Early State Social Activities 
The activities listed below are for those in early states of Alzheimer's/dementia and their caregivers. Groups and families are welcome.  Events are free.  Call 1-800-272 to register.

August 14th - Huntsville Museum of Art  11:00 AM to 1 PM
300 Church St. SW,  Huntsville, AL 35801
Lunch at Pane e Vino

November 13th - "My Spirited Art"  11:00 AM to 1 PM
5000  Whitesburg Dr., Ste 130, Hunsville, AL 35801
Boxed Lunch

For more information and resources, please call and visit these official Alzheimer Association sites! 
1-800-272-3900 Praise

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wheelchair Ramp, June 13, 2015

Finished Wheelchair Ramp, June 13, 2015
1 Peter 4:10 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, Alabama in cooperation with CASA of Madison County built another wheelchair ramp today. This one was built in Hazel Green, Alabama.  

The team was up early and rallied at our usual spot at Shaggy's restaurant. This is our traditional meeting spot. Everyone got a little fuel for the body, discussed the plans for the day and told stories about all of the wheelchair ramps that we have built in the past.

Breakfast at Shaggy's

After breakfast, we convoyed out to the build site and got to work. Everyone had a job to do and did it well, just like a well oiled machine.

Assembling the Fist Section 

Soon the ramp was starting to take shape.

Installing the Decking

Special thanks to Greg Kilby who cooked a delicious lunch for the team. There are not many people who can pull off restaurant quality food on a camp stove the way that Greg can.

Greg Cooking Lunch

And since Greg cooked such a delicious lunch for us, we decided that it was only polite to take a break for a while and enjoy it properly.

Enjoying Lunch

Before too long, we were installing the last couple of pieces.

Almost Complete

And then it was time to clean up and take a photo.

Finished Ramp

So, in summary:
  • Breakfast with friends, check
  • Chance to cut, hammer and use power tools, check
  • Delicious outdoor lunch, check
  • Built a wheelchair ramp for someone who needed help, check
  • Nobody got hurt, check
  • Finished job by 1 pm, check
Sounds like the perfect day to me.

Messiah Lutheran Church builds these ramps in partnership with CASA of Madison County.

CASA (Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound) is a non-profit agency located in Huntsville, Alabama that provides services to individuals age 60 and older and to the homebound (wheelchair and bed bound) of all ages.

CASA's mission is to provide needed services to aging/homebound individuals that allow them to remain at home and age in place. Our programs are designed to enable the elderly and homebound to maintain their independence, dignity, health and safety by providing services that specifically address their special physical and emotional needs.

If you would like to participate in a future wheelchair ramp build, please contact the Messiah Lutheran Church Office at 256-721-0041.

Click here for some additional photos of today's build.

Wheelchair Ramp Build, June 13, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer Sunday School Starts June 14th

Two Summer Sunday Schools set to start this Sunday.

The "Great Cereal Serial" All Ages Sunday School Starts June 14th
Adults and children are encouraged to meet in the Parish Hall for "The Great Cereal Serial" Summer Sunday School program starting this coming Sunday, June 14th, at 9:45 AM.  The concept, which was hatched by MLC Youth Director, Kert Reedstrom, and MLC Office Manager, Cheryl Byers, will be a fun and informative, cross-generational discovery of how our "breakfast cereals" can open our eyes to learning more about God’s word for our daily lives. The "Cereal of the Day" will be served as a small treat.  The dates of the class are: June 14th,  21st & 28th and July 5th, 12th & 26th.

Class on Lutheran Theology

2015 Summer Sunday School Class to Focus on
 Lutheran Beliefs.  June 14th - July 26th
Pastor Scott Peterson will be leading a 7-week adult class "What Lutheran's Believe" from 9:45 to 10:45 in Room 11-12.  This class explores the Lutheran understanding of God's Word, the Commandments, the Creed, Baptism and the Lord's Supper.  This class is especially geared for those who are new to the Lutheran church or are curious what Lutheran's believe.  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Music Camp 2015: Martin Meets Grace

Music camp is a week long event that is conducted annually at Messiah Lutheran Church. This week, children from Messiah Lutheran Church and the local community participated in an original musical production entitled "Martin Meets Grace" during this year's Music Camp.  Through song and humor, the children tell the story of the Martin Luther.  

Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German friar, priest and professor of theology who was a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.

Luther taught that salvation and subsequently eternity in heaven is not earned by good deeds but is received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin and subsequently eternity in hell. His theology challenged the authority and office of the Pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God.

His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, which had a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. 

In addition to practicing for the musical production, the children also enjoyed music, drama, arts and crafts, recreation, snacks and afternoon activities. If you watch the video above, you will easily be able to tell that the kids had a great time based on all of the smiles on their faces. 

We give special thanks to the small army of adult and teen volunteers who helped make Music Camp a success this year by putting this awesome Worship service together in just one week.

The Music and Lyrics for "Martin Meets Grace" were written by Pastor Scott Peterson and our Music Director, Lois Graff.

Here are some videos from previous music camps.


2013 -
2012 -
2011 -
2010 -

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rebecca Hanson Kolowe - Sermon: May 24th, 2015

25th Anniversary Sermon Audio

Messiah's 25th Anniversary was celebrated on May 24th, 2015.  Returning for the weekend was Rebecca Hanson Kolowe.  Rebecca was in Messiah's  first confirmation class and is now a diaconal minister serving as Director of Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop in ELCA's Southeastern Synod.  

It was Memorial Day weekend.  Several members who heard it, asked if we might share it again. Others, who were occupied with children's church, the anniversary dinner or confirmation reception, heard about it,  and asked if we might share it.  Still, many others, who found themselves away from their church home simply missed it.  Until now.

"Happy Birthday Church!"   is a  wonderful sermon on Pentecost and the power of the Holy Spirit, made all the more special because Rebecca is truly one of "Messiah's own."  Enjoy! 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Office Manager Ellie Nelson Retires from MLC, Reception Held, Graduates Receive Gifts, Church Council Installed.

Sunday, May 31st was another event filled morning of Worship and celebration at Messiah Lutheran Church.

"Like it or not," summer is a time of transition for many at MLC!

High School graduates in attendance were presented their graduation gift laundry baskets by Claire Strand, Director of Outreach.  Items for each of the ten MLC grad baskets were donated by members of the congregation over the month of May.

Also at each service, members of Messiah's Church Council were installed by Pastor Scott Peterson.   


Following the first service, a retirement reception was held to honor Church Office Manager, Ellie Nelson.  Ellie joined the MLC staff in 2009.  Many stopped by to extend congratulations and best wishes to Ellie and her already retired husband, Jim. Ellie pointed out that Jim has been folding Sunday bulletins just about every Friday since she started! Pastor Scott Peterson presented Ellie with flowers and a framed photo montage of MLC with the inscription,  "Ellie, your service has been a Blessing to Messiah Lutheran Church, 2009-2015."

May God Bless all those who find themselves in times of transition, be it from a graduation from a school, training program, summer relocation or job transition.  Transitions can be a time of joy and excitement, yet also uncertainty and fear.  Just remember... "Like it or not. God loves you.  No matter what."

Additional Photos from Sunday, May 31st.

Monday, May 25, 2015

MLC's 25th Anniversary Looks Back, Leans Forward with Seven Confirmed

(Back row) First year instructor, Lois Graff, Alie Williams, Natalie Tidwell, Abby Woods(Front Row) Jordan Mahafza, Michelle Strand, Bridie Ryan, Shane Peterson, Pastor Scott Peterson
Sunday, May 24th, 2015 was a special Sunday for the members of Messiah Lutheran Church.  While Pentecost Sunday is typically a spirited day of worship, this one was super-charged!  MLC saw a double Baptism at the first service, seven confirmed at second service and a 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner during the Noon hour that went well into the early afternoon.

MLC was set for day of memorable moments years in the making. Messiah's Narthex was festooned with "Messiah Memories" submitted by past and current members while a large collection of photos from Messiah's 25 years played on the digital display nearby. In the sanctuary, large red, silver and white bows ribbons perched on pews. The celebration ribbon colors continued behind the altar in the red and white floral arrangements.

The hymn, "God's Word is Our Great Foundation" served as the 25th Anniversary theme and served as Sunday's gathering song.  Music was abundant and beautifully presented by a number of Messiah ensembles and soloists.  (See music selections at end of post)

Dominique Lovett and Robert Lovett received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. They are the daughter and son of Robert and Rubie Lovett.  

It was also confirmation Sunday for seven Messiah youth.  Affirming the Christian faith they entered in Baptism were: Jordan Mahafza, Shane Peterson, Bridie Ryan, Michelle Strand, Natalie Tidwell, Alie Williams and Abby Woods   First-year confirmation students and parents organized a reception for the confirmands at 9:45 am in the Fellowship Hall preceding 11 am confirmation service. 

Fitting to the occasion, Pastor Scott Peterson asked "Messiah's own" Rebecca (Hanson) Kolowe to give the Sunday Sermon.  Rebecca was in Messiah's  first confirmation class and is now a diaconal minister serving as Director of Evangelical Mission and Assistant to the Bishop in ELCA's Southeastern Synod.

Sunday worship concluded, and the long awaited and much planned 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner commenced.  About two-hundred members, former members and guests enjoyed the terrific food and fellowship in the Parish Hall which had been transformed by the 25th Anniversary Committee and a number of volunteers setting the tables.

Beth Mumaw, who oversaw the 25th Anniversary celebration,  arranged for the cake, decorations, flowers and countless details to come together with the help of a number of volunteers. The dinner, organized by Fellowship Chair Greg Kilby and an all-star group of kitchen volunteers, included ham, turkey, garlic mashed potatoes,  trimmings of prosciutto wrapped green-bean bundles, stuffed mushrooms and more.  A number of cakes and treats topped of the special fellowship meal including custom m&m's.

Also serving on the 25th Anniversary Committee were Pastor Scott Peterson, Meredith Kilby, Linda Peirce (Messiah Memories) and Karl and Judy Starkloff (DVD Montage).   LeeLinda Baggett chaired the 25th Anniversary Cookbook sale.  There are number of copies of the cookbook still for sale for $17 a copy. Copies of the DVD photo montage are available at the welcome desk in the Narthex for a free will donation.

Sunday  May 24th Photo Albums
Confirmation / Worship Photos
Reception Photos

Saturday, May 23rd Photo Albums
Visit to Union Hall
Service of Reunion and Remembrance 

Selection of Special Music from May 24th

Adult Choir sings The Church's One Foundation

Notabella presents The Blessing

Processional Hymn Beautiful Savior

Erin McDaniels sings The Call

Monday, April 27, 2015

MLC Celebrates First 1989 Service and Announces 25th Anniversary Schedule of Events for May 23rd and 24th, 2015.

Congregation to celebrate journey from a rented union hall to established community church.

Messiah Lutheran Church will celebrate its 25th anniversary on May 23rd and 24th, 2015.  Events will highlight a unique journey for the Lutheran congregation and its Pastor, Reverend Scott Peterson. Leading up to this weekend celebration, MLC has observed other milestones in its church history since organizing as a congregation on May 20th, 1990. The theme of this year-long celebration is “God’s Word is our Great Heritage.”  
All are invited to celebrate the 25th Anniversary Weekend events:
Saturday, May 23rd

  • 2:30 PM - Visit to the former Union Hall, light snacks served
  • 4:30 PM - Youth led activities and sharing of history at Messiah Lutheran Church
  • 5:30 PM - Casual Barbeque picnic supper outdoors (if raining, in Parish Hall)
Sunday, May 24th
  • 8:30 AM - Service of Worship with Lord’s Supper
  • 9:45 AM - Reception for Confirmands (Fellowship Hall)
  • 11:00 AM - Service of Worship with Confirmation and Lord’s Supper
  • NOON - Celebration Dinner (Parish Hall) 

Celebrating Messiah's Very First Service

Mementos from the April 26th, 2015, reception celebrating MLC's first worship sevice
from April 23rd, 1989. The family of Pastor Scott Peterson is shown.
On April 26th, 2015, Messiah Lutheran observed and celebrated 26 years of worshiping in Madison. The 11:00 a.m. service featured a special re-creation of the first service of April 23rd, 1989, following the same order of worship, special music and included most of the same hymns. Even the same font was used in the printed program (see photo). Thankfully missing Sunday was the smokey aroma that permeated the rented Union Hall space where the congregation worshipped its first four years. Two receptions after each of the April 26th services allowed members to share stories, laugh and remember moments in Messiah's history. Members can also submit personal reflection on Messiah's history in a special "Messiah Memories" display which will hang in the church narthex through the celebration weekend.

A brief history of Messiah Lutheran Church, its mission and message.

The story began back in the mid 1980's when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recognized Madison as an excellent mission field for planting a new church.  In the fall of 1988, Pastor Peterson accepted the call, moving from Minnesota with his wife, Bonnie Jane, and their three young children. Six months of knocking on about 3000 doors seeking the unchurched in the Madison area and multiple interest meetings, culminated in Messiah’s first service of worship on April 23rd, 1989. 115 people attended that first service, meeting in the auditorium of the United Rubber Workers’ Union Hall.  

In the following years, like Madison, Messiah Lutheran grew.  On February 14, 1993, ground was broken at 7740 Highway 72W for a church home.  The initial 11,000 sq. ft. building was largely built through the volunteer labor of members and friends. It was dedicated on March 13, 1994.  Subsequent additions for more education, fellowship and worship space were completed in 2005, 2006 and 2012, respectively.  The sanctuary, which seats 300, dedicated a new pipe organ on October 26, 2014.  Services of worship in a variety of styles are 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. each Sunday with Sunday School for all ages starting at 9:45 a.m.
Pastor Scott Peterson, center of photo wearing blue, helps raise
one of the first walls of Messiah Lutheran Church with other volunteers

Commenting on the core of MLC’s mission and message, Pastor Peterson stated, “In north Alabama nearly everyone has heard about Jesus.  Yet, many have never heard about the grace of God.  Messiah Lutheran continues as a mission dedicated to celebrating that the God revealed in the Bible is gracious and merciful.  Responding in gratitude to God’s love keeps us busy caring for children, building homes for families, and sharing the good news locally and around the world.”  

About Messiah Lutheran Church.  Organized as a congregation in 1990, Messiah Lutheran Church seeks to live by its mission statement: God’s People, Reaching Out.  Information about MLC may be found at

All media inquiries for Messiah Lutheran may be directed to Meredith Kilby, Communications and Media Coordinator,

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Messiah Lutheran Announces Music Camp June 1 - 7, 2015

Martin Meets Grace -  Messiah Lutheran Church - Music Camp 2015  

Messiah Lutheran Church will conduct its popular, annual Music Camp June 1- 7 for all interested school-aged children Kindergarten through Grade 9.   Campers this year will learn and present Martin Meets Grace, an original musical written by Pastor Scott Peterson and composed by Director of Music, Lois Graff.

The camp (M-F, 9am to 4pm) features five full days of engaging activities.   Morning sessions include music, drama, arts & crafts, snacks, and recreation. Campers bring their sack lunches.  Afternoon activities include bowling, swimming, rollerskating, movies, and hands-on outreach activities.  The camp concludes with a morning dress rehearsal and morning presentations of Martin Meets Grace  at both services of worship.  Martin Meets Grace is an engaging depiction of how, through God's Word,  Martin Luther was gripped by the grace of God -- which"changes everything!" Through the singing and acting of Martin Meets Grace campers will gain a deeper understanding of the grace of God and discover ways to share God’s good news.
2014 Campers present the musical, "Man With a Mission."
This is the twenty-second annual Messiah Music Camp, which began as an extension of Messiah Lutheran's Music Ministries. The annual camp is a team effort with roughly 25 adults and 20 youth assistants involved in teaching, mentoring, assisting, producing, and chaperoning the approxiately fifty campers.

The cost of the week-long camp is $75 per camper.   For additional campers in the same family, the cost is $65.00 for the second child, and $55 for the third.  Scholarships are available. Each child will receive the classic official 2015 Music Camp T-shirt.

Parents are encouraged to pre-register their children.   Camp registration forms are located at Messiah Lutheran's Welcome Center in the narthex of the church, church office. You may also download the registration form, print and mail in the pre-registration.  
 Phone inquiries can be made by calling the church at (256) 721-0041, M-F from 8 am to Noon.  Additional information at

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wheelchair Ramp, 4 Apr 2015

2 Corinthians 5:17 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, Alabama in cooperation with CASA of Madison County built another wheelchair ramp today.  That is not unusual, because Messiah Lutheran Church has built a lot of wheelchair ramps during last few years.  We did however branch out into a new endeavor on this build.  Wehad to build a new gate to allow the family to safely access their backyard where the ramp is located. First we demolished the old fence and gate, we recycled the old wood, set new fence posts in concrete, and the built new fence and gates from the ground up.  

Thanks to the team that supported today's build.  You did an awesome job!

Messiah Lutheran Church builds these ramps in partnership with CASA of Madison County.

CASA (Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound) is a non-profit agency located in Huntsville, Alabama that provides services to individuals age 60 and older and to the homebound (wheelchair and bed bound) of all ages.

CASA's mission is to provide needed services to aging/homebound individuals that allow them to remain at home and age in place. Our programs are designed to enable the elderly and homebound to maintain their independence, dignity, health and safety by providing services that specifically address their special physical and emotional needs.

If you would like to participate in a future wheelchair ramp build, please contact the Messiah Lutheran Church Office at 256-721-0041.

Click here for some additional photos of today's build.

Wheelchair Ramp April 4, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

UA-Birmingham Concert Choir, Bob Jones HS Patriot Singers sing at Messiah Lutheran Church

On Thursday, March 12th, nearly eighty student voices joined together in the recently expanded sanctuary of Messiah Lutheran Church.   Two exceptional choirs came together to present the  7 p.m. concert; the University of Birmingham's Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Brian Kittridge, and the Bob Jones High School Patriot Singers,  directed by Randall Fields and accompanied by Lois Graff.
Randall Fields directs the Bob Jones High School Patriot Singers
Fields is also the Adult Choir Director at Messiah Lutheran Church
The concert opened with the Patriot Singer's mens' ensemble presenting Vijay Sing's Medieval Gloria, from the sanctuary's entrance.  The women's ensemble responded from Messiah's chancel with Stroop's Lux Aeterna (from Missa).  The choir joined together for two more songs, Banchieri's Ad un dolce usignolo  and Norman Dello Jollo's Of Crows and Clusters.  

Upon completion of Of Crows and Clusters, concert attendees sprung to their feet with applause and ovation for the twenty-five City of Madison teens. Smiles blossomed throughout the three hundred seat sanctuary as the first choir took their seats, and the members of the University of Alabama - Birmingham's Concert Choir moved up to nearly fill the front of the chancel platform.   

Thursday's concert of the internationally honored college singers was the seventh performance of the group's three day, ten performance tour of Tennessee and Alabama, culminating in a concert at Nashville's Cathedral of the Incarnation, on Friday March 13th.  

Links to the concert pieces can be found at the bottom of this post! 
Dr. Brian Kittredge directing the University of Alabama - Birmingham's Concert Choir
in a March 12th, 2015 performance at Messiah Lutheran Church, Madison, AL. 
The fifty-two member choir performed nine songs, starting with Palestrina's Exalte Deo.
"Sing unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. 
Take a psalm and take up the trimble, the pleasant harp with the psaltry.
Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day."
Throughout the concert, Dr. Kittredge provided comments and insights on the various works and the choir itself.  The choir, which is made up of both music and non-music majors, undergraduate and graduate, is an auditioned choir that meets weekly for hour and a half rehearsals.   According to the choir's facebook page, they are both well traveled in addition to being well honored.
"The choir recently completed a  tour of Ireland where they participated in the Fleischman International Choral Competition in Cork, Ireland and brought home the “Heinrich Schutz Perpetual Trophy.” Previous international awards include two distinctions from the 34th annual Florlilege Vocal de Tours in Tours, France: the Prix Du Ministère de La Culture, an award given for best interpretation of a French choral work, and a top award in the Mixed Choirs Category." 
It was a powerful performance of choral music. The clarity and tone of the UAB choir was wonderfully matched for Messiah's acoustical space.   The space is large enough to comfortably handle the volume of a large choral group, but not so large that the more delicate and quiet passages of the choir's works were lost in the rafters.   The choir's performance of Cantante Domino by contemporary composer Josu Elberdin,  provided an exeptional example of this - every word, every phrase so crisply delivered and received to each listener's ears.  
The grand finale of the evening saw the Patriot Singers join the UAB Concert Choir for Mortin Lauridsen's O Magnum mysterium.  After its moving conclusion, the audience was once again on their feet, in eager hope of an encore, cheerfully provided by the UAB choir performing Stacy Gibb's Ride on King Jesus. 

Messiah offers an exceptional space for choral music through the Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series and Messiah's Director of Music, Lois Graff.

The design of Messiah's 2011 sanctuary expansion enlarged the chancel area (that part of a sanctuary where worship is led) and increased sanctuary seating by 50%. The sanctuary's peaked ceiling and structural supports are surfaced in wood planks and beams, as are the two shallow transepts (one original, one new) along each side.    

It became very apparent when work was completed that the acoustical qualities of the new space were exceptional for both choral and instrumental ensembles.  Just over a year after the sanctuary was dedicated Feb 19th, 2012,  the  Music at Messiah Classical Concert Series was formed.  Lois Graff, who is Messiah's Director of Music and organist helped to spearhead the music outreach initiative with chairperson John Shriver and several church members.  An expanded sanctuary also meant an expanded church organ, and on October 26th, 2014 Messiah dedicated it's newly installed pipe organ.  

Now in its second season,  Music at Messiah's next concert is scheduled for July 27th.  It will feature up-and-coming baritone, Andrew Nalley, who is a recent University of Alabama graduate quickly filling up his professional performance schedule.  More information will be posted on as the date approaches. 

The UAB and Bob Jones HS Choir Concert was an opportunity brought to Messiah Lutheran Church by Randall Fields, who directs Messiah's adult choir.  The success of Thursday's concert, prompted many in attendance to ask, "This was terrific! When are we going to do this again?"

You tube links from the University of Birmingham's March 12th Performance:

Video Credit:  Bryan Ahern
O Magnum Mysterium - Mortin Lauridson

Salvation is Created / Pavel Chesnokov
Cantate Domino - Josu Elberdin
I Am Not Yours - Randall Stroope
 Verbum Caro Factum Est - Hans Leo Hassler
Stetit Angelus -  Rihards Dubra

Monday, March 9, 2015

30 Hour Famine

This past weekend, the youth of Messiah Lutheran Church along with thousands of teens from around the world participated in the annual 30 Hour Famine. The 30 Hour Famine is a World Vision event in 21 countries. It started in 1971 when 17 year old Ruth Roberts and 14 friends in Calgary, Alberta staged an event in a church basement to see what it was like to be hungry and raise money and awareness for children suffering during a famine.

The youth also led both worship services on Sunday and used what they learned to help educate the congregation.  Music for the worship services was provided by the Youth Contemporary Band and the Instrumental Ensemble.  Here are a few videos of the musical groups.

David L. Wylie, a nondenominational youth leader, jump-started the movement in the United States about seventeen years ago as a youth director of Millen Baptist Church in South Georgia. He was looking for a way to stimulate the interest of his 25-member youth group in world hunger issues when he heard the idea of a voluntary hunger strike from World Vision. His group raised $3,000 that year, $5,000 the next and was featured on CNN Headline News and Wylie was nominated by Congressman Lindsey Thomas for a Presidential Point of Light Award.

Thousands of teens across the U.S., Canada, and several other countries (including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, UK, Singapore and Australia and New Zealand) participate to raise money and then fast for 30 hours.

During the event, for 30 hours, participants must abstain from eating food, and instead they typically drink water, fruit juices, or other liquids Games, fund raisers, and other events may also take place to help teach and educate the participants and others about world hunger all over the world. It is also a time for education and awareness of world hunger, and an understanding of how people go without food for long periods of time.

Kert Reedstrom is the Director of Youth and Educational Ministries at Messiah Lutheran Church. Lois Graff is the Director of Music Ministries.

To Learn more about the Youth, Educational and Music Ministries at Messiah Lutheran Church, please contact the Church Office at (256) 721-0041 or