Address

: 530 Virginia Dr., Presidential Lakes, Browns Mills.

Denomination

: Lutheran Brethren, a part of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, is an independent Lutheran denomination, founded in 1901 and headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Size

: Ranges from 80 to 100.

Brief history

: A group with strong Bible-based convictions and Lutheran roots decided to form a congregation and officially incorporated on Oct. 9, 1988. When the congregation first formed, we met in various homes and then rented from a public school, followed by a church and then our current building, which came available for purchase in the summer of 1990. A recent highlight in our history was paying off our mortgage in 2006. We will hold a 20th anniversary celebration Oct. 12, 2008, at our present location in the Presidential Lakes community of Browns Mills.

Leadership

: the Rev. Todd Anderson, pastor; Elders Dave Stretch, Al Korndoerfer, David Blankenship; Pastor emeritus, the Rev. Rick Freese Sr.

We are run by a board of directors: chairperson Alice Irizarry; treasurer and secretary Abby Bargar; Christian education Dorothy Amsden; music and worship Susan Rhone; social ministry Heidi Blankenship; youth advisers Marisa Stitzell, Lisa Grimes; evangelism Cheryl Wolford; stewardship Tom Tracy; property trustee Howard Doyle; and bible study leaders Jean Johnson and Abby Barger.

What makes you proud of your church?

We call our membership the "ministers of the congregation" because they are called to carry out the work of the church while the pastor and elders are there to equip them for "works of service," as the Bible teaches.

We love that we are a cozy church tucked into a corner of the Pinelands, yet open to all. We draw members in and visitors back because we are a warm and loving congregation. Many of these families are either current or retired military, and we make a practice to stay in touch with those who have called us their church home. We have an active prayer chain to support one another in time of need. We offer large-print Bibles and audio-assist devices so all may read along and clearly hear the Word of God.

Our typical worship begins with praise songs and instrumental offerings. It also has a liturgical element, the result of a blending of contemporary and traditional services. The Lutheran Brethren denomination as a whole tends to be "low church" Lutheran so no vestments or clergy collars are worn, but a comfortable, more informal atmosphere prevails while retaining the typical Lutheran elements in our altar setup and we follow the seasons of the liturgical calendar such as Lent and Advent.

During worship, the pastor brings the children forward for a special message, and then they are dismissed to "Super Church," which is for all those who are 3 to 8 years old. Immediately after the worship service, we all join together for coffee and snacks downstairs in our fellowship hall.

How do you see your congregation's role in your community?

We helped form the Christian Caring Center, which is now independent but still financially supported by our membership. We invite community children and adults to special activities. We host a Vacation Bible School, a Harvest Fest (a Christian alternative to Halloween), Advent Adventures to teach the real meaning of Christmas, and a Christmas play.

For families, we hold regular picnics in the summer; a mystery dinner theater; Valentine's dinner; Easter breakfast; soup and sandwich night; Mother's Day tea; Father's Day lunch; lots of potlucks; a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Worship schedule

: 8:45 a.m. Sunday school; 10 a.m. worship, followed by fellowship hour. At 7 p.m. Sundays a high school youth group meets at the pastor's home.

Phone

: 609-893-1700.

Web:

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E-mail

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