Lutherans believe the world is infused with God’s grace. God promises to be present to us in baptism and communion, but God is also present in other rites and rituals, too, like weddings, funerals, blessings, and life transitions. We are honored to celebrate these events with the Beloved of God.
We are an inclusive church. Our welcome extends to the rites and rituals of the church and is extended without exception and regardless of sex, race, national origin, educational background, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical and mental ability, age, or economic condition. (Read more about our welcome here.)
We believe this meal is for you. We believe that God hosts us at Holy Communion, and, therefore, every week we invite folks to create a circle around this table and receive hand-torn bread or gluten-free wafers, pink wine or red grape juice. God is present in, with, and under these gifts and fellowship we share.
All children who are able to take solid food are welcome to receive communion at St. Thomas. Whether children receive the sacrament or a blessing from the pastor is entirely up to the parents. This is part of our honoring of Christian conscience. Classes are offered each year for children of any age who wish to gain a fuller understanding of communion. Here’s our page on welcoming children in worship.
We believe the Spirit blows where it will. Baptism is the entry point for life in the Spirit. In this ritual, water and word combine to shower us with God’s grace, offer us life-long forgiveness, set us free from whatever binds us, and call us into new ways of living. Baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but we also remember our baptisms every day and celebrate our baptisms in life transitions such as confirmation, marriage, and funerals (which, in a way, function as the very end of the ritual of baptism). Lutherans baptize everyone—babies, children, youth, and adults. If you feel God is leading you toward baptism, schedule an appointment to meet with a pastor by contacting the church office.
We believe life transitions are holy work. When things change – we grow up, become more fully ourselves, move to a new place – it can be helpful to be reminded of God’s constant presence in our lives. The church uses the Affirmation of Baptism ritual to help folks name these transitions and renew the gifts and promises of baptism with the whole church.
Affirmation of Baptism is also how people join the church. Members of St. Thomas confess the faith of the church and are committed to the future of the congregation and the community we serve. Because we are in a community that experiences a lot of transition, we hope you will continue joining us for as long as you call Bloomington and Southern Indiana home. We also know some folks wish to retain membership “back home” or who find the welcome at St. Thomas particularly warm, even though they wish to be members of a different denomination. If this is you, you are welcome to affiliate with St. Thomas through associate membership. For young people (generally 7th and 8th graders), a period of education and formation—called Confirmation—ends with a special service at the end of October. for high school freshmen. For families and adults who wish to join the church,
We believe love is love. We believe that God blesses humankind with the gifts of companionship and the capacity to love. We believe that God intends marriage for joy and mutual affection and that spouses might be for one another living signs of God’s grace, love, and faithfulness. Our worship materials state, “Marriage is also a human estate, with vows publicly witnessed. The church in worship surrounds these promises with the gathering of God’s people, the witness of the word of God, and prayers of blessing and intercession.” If you wish to begin a conversation with a pastor and the congregation about marriage, please contact the church office. And, because we don’t think it can be said enough, our welcome to this ritual is inclusive, extended without exception and regardless of sex, race, national origin, educational background, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical and mental ability, age, or economic condition.
And, at the last, we believe love enfolds us all. When we breath our last, we believe God’s love surrounds us. We believe everyone has the right to be mourned and that funerals can be personal, dignified, affordable, and have a lower impact on the earth. Contact the church office to schedule a funeral, for a pre-planning worksheet, or for information about our Columbarium and Scatter Garden.