Kurt Hendel – 2017 Chi Rho Speaker – October 26 – 29

Bernard, Fischer, Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor of Reformation History
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Dr. Kurt Hendel of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago will be the 2017 Chi Rho speaker.  A renowned reformation scholar, Dr. Hendel will provide prospective on this 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. In cooperation with the 500th Reformation commemoration in Corvallis, Dr. Hendel will be giving two presentations there before coming to Eugene.  See his schedule below:

At Grace Lutheran Church, Corvallis:

Martin Luther – Man, Monk, Scholar, Transformer
Thursday, October 26, 4:00-5:30 pm
Grace Lutheran Church, corner of Kings and Harrison, Corvallis
A Community Conversation with Dr. Kurt Hendel
Friday, October 27, 9:30-11:00 am
Grace Lutheran Church, corner of Kings and Harrison, Corvallis

At Central Lutheran Church, Eugene:

Spiritual Reform – Martin Luther: Person of Faith Friday, Oct. 27, 7:30 pm
Central Lutheran Church, 1857 Potter Street, Eugene

At Northwest Christian University, Eugene:

Ethical Reform – Martin Luther: Faith Active in Love
Saturday, Oct. 28, 9:30 am–12:30 pm
Northwest Christian University, Library, Rm 203, 1188 Kincaid, Eugene

At Central Lutheran Church, Eugene:

Theological Reform – Martin Luther: The Hidden and Revealed God
and the Church’s Mission

Saturday, Oct. 28, 7:30 pm
Luther on Marriage and Family
Sunday, Oct. 29, 9:45 am
Central Lutheran Church, Adult Education hour


You can download a pdf copy of our poster for distribution on inclusion in a Sunday bulletin.



“So, When You Say Christian…”: An Open Letter from Sister Clare

If you’re reading this, you must be curious about life at Christus House, or have someone in mind who might be interested. Which is wonderful. Where interest is planted, thoughtful questions begin to arise.

For example, many of us hear the word “Christian” and wonder what exactly that means. And rightly so, because it can represent such a wide range of things to different people. I hope this letter can help support greater understanding about where Christus House is situated both theologically and relationally.

Christus House is a mission of Central Lutheran Church, which is part of a Protestant denomination called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). In addition to affirming the ecumenical creeds shared by many mainline Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Confessions identify three intersecting beliefs:

  1. Christ alone insists that the purpose of Scripture is to reveal Jesus Christ and is to be interpreted through the lens of Christ’s death and resurrection for the salvation of all;
  2. Grace alone affirms that we are saved by grace alone, that there is nothing a person can do through their own action that will create a right relationship with God; and
  3. Faith alone affirms that, through the hearing of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit ignites within us faith (trust) in God.

I share this brief orientation because Central Lutheran Church serves Christus House – knowing a little bit about Lutherans and the ELCA is probably savvy. That said, our residents represent a range of Christian traditions and expressions, as well as individuals who do not formally affiliate with a religious community. We ask our residents to commit with sincerity to a year of exploration of Christian faith and life; we do not expect agreement within the community about theological or social issues, and we do not desire for any resident a faith identity that isn’t life-giving for them. Our mission is to equip and empower residents in their unique spiritual lives as they mature in relationship with the divine, one another, and the world.

And so, in keeping with our baptismal call to the way of Christ, Central Lutheran Church expects all residents to make the following commitments for a safe and affirming community:

  • We welcome and celebrate residents represented on the LGBTQA(lphabet) spectrum of identity. To this end, we implement annual community training to ensure all residents have access to a shared vocabulary and are equipped to co-create an informed and respectful environment. Christus House, responding to the evolving needs of our residents, is undergoing renovations this summer to facilitate the removal of all sex- or gender-based designations from our facility.
  • We are committed to a broad and deep exploration of Christian tradition, including the suppressed voices womanist, mujerista, queer, and liberation theologians. We believe expansive access more justly and richly equips us in our faith journeys and lives of discipleship.
  • We affirm the intrinsic value and validity of other wisdom traditions, not limited to but including Judaism and Islam as our “sibling” faiths from the root of Abraham. Exploration of Christian faith and life in this community includes resistance and challenge to the climate of fear, hate, and violence that harms any of God’s beloved people.

The choice to live in intentional community means you’re signing on for full participation and mutual accountability to life with one another. Central Lutheran Church policies promote an environment that is safe, aligned with legal ordinances, and hygienic; to create space for moral and ethical development in our residents, we do not provide a “moral code” for conduct. The community’s shared commitments within the bounds above (i.e. safe, legal, hygienic) are established by the residents annually at the fall retreat. We in turn will support your covenant together with community structure, communication and boundary training, and compassionate mediation as needed when conflict can’t be resolved within the community.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, I offer these points as a starting place for you to discern what’s right for you. For some, it will be enough to decide whether Christus House is the fit you were hoping for – for others, you’ll want to talk more. That’s great, and I welcome the conversation!

In either case, thank you for taking the time to learn about our community.

In peace,

Sister Clare Josef-Maier
Minister to Christus House & Young Adults
Central Lutheran Church
(541) 345-0395


Application to Christus House 2017-2018

We are delighted you are choosing to apply with us this coming year!

Christus House is  not only a physical residence, but is also an intentional living community composed of undergraduate and graduate students seeking to grow in Christian faith and life together. Due to the programmatic nature of the Christus House community, we offer the following guidelines to support a successful match for our applicants:

  1. Applicants must be 18 years or older.
  2. Applicants should be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student in their academic institution. Potential applicants who are enrolled part-time but still interested in Christus House are invited to submit a “special circumstances” request with their application.
  3. Applicants should be committed to a year of engagement with Christian faith and life, including programming, both individually and in their Christus House community. Each year, the Christus House develops a covenant of conduct with one another that all residents will then be accountable to maintain.
  4. Central Lutheran Church, and by extension Christus House, affirms and celebrates both the human variation and inclusive unity of God’s family. Following Jesus’ example, we embrace all of God’s people in their ethnicity and race, physical and mental abilities, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity, and economic circumstance. Applicants should have sincere commitment to co-creating a community of safety and care for all residents.

In addition to the initial basic information, this application includes a narrative section – please provide yourself time and space that supports thoughtful responses to the questions below. Before submitting, please also include two character references (professors, ministers, or employers preferred) and contact numbers for each.

Thank you!

Reformation 500 Events and Information

We commemorate Luther’s Reformation during 2017 with many events.  Here you will find information about the reformation and a listing of the events to come in and near Eugene.  More will be added as information becomes available.

A good start would be to view Rick Steves’ Luther and the Reformation here.

On Reformation week-end, the Chi Rho Lecture Series is presenting Dr. Kurt Hendel, of the Luther School of Theology, in a series of lectures, October 27 – 29, 2017.  

Dr. Hendel will also be presenting on Thursday, October 26 (PM) and Friday October 27 (AM) in Corvallis, Oregon.

Pastor Laurie’s 10 Days of Prayer Letter

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

February 6, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As part of our congregation’s Capital Campaign, Living the Mission, Building in Faith, and in preparation for this year’s Lenten journey, I would like to invite you to join me in prayer. My hope is that for a period of ten days, every household in our congregation will be united in prayer for our world, our nation, and our congregation!

My request is very simple: that beginning on February 15th—for ten consecutive days—you will spend five minutes each day in prayer. Included with this email/ letter is a guide to help you get started. Choose a time that works best for you and devote five minutes each day to read the daily scripture passage(s), then pray. The guide suggests prayer topics for each of the ten days. Use these or simply pray as the Spirit moves you.

Whether you are a household of one, a couple, or part of a bustling household made up of many bodies constantly moving in different directions, it would be great if for the ten days this prayer time could become part of your household’s daily devotions. (A word to parents: include your children/youth by inviting them to join you in praying daily.)

These are important days in our congregation, in our nation, and in our world. Uniting in prayer, asking for God’s presence in our communities, our homes, and among our brothers and sisters in Christ at Central Lutheran Church and around the world, is one of the most important things we can do in these times.

Please join me and the rest of our congregation in this time of intentional prayer. My prayer is that it will bring us all closer as we seek to live more fully into our mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus by: loving God and one another, nurturing faithful living, serving those in need, and sharing the Gospel.

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Laurie

Pastor Laurie Jones

pastor-laurieA life-long Lutheran, Laurie A. Jones was baptized into Christ’s church on July 17, 1963. She is the third of four children born to Otis & Esther Jones formerly of Norwalk, CA. Her formative years were spent in Southern California where she was shaped by her family and her faith community. With joy, she practiced the discipline of weekly worship and took great delight participating in Sunday School and Luther League. Laurie confirmed her faith on June 13, 1971.

As a young adult Laurie worked In grocery retail, but her passion was working with Middle Schoolers as a volunteer youth minister at Christ Lutheran in Long Beach, CA and in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she continued her ministry with Lutheran Church of the Servant, a mission congregation. It was there she completed her undergraduate studies, graduating from the College of Santa Fe with a BA

in Religious Studies before heading to Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.
During her first two years of seminary Laurie worked for the Global Mission Institute on campus and enjoyed the richness of connecting with international students from all over the world. She studied for an interim in Mexico City, spent a summer studying in Zimbabwe, and completed her Clinical Pastoral Education at University Good Samaritan Hospital before interning for a year at Maple Leaf Lutheran, Seattle. In her final year at Luther, she attended the World Council of Churches Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Ordained on June 15, 1997, Pastor Laurie accepted a call to serve at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer as an Associate Pastor with special emphasis on Discipleship of All Ages. While there, she led an intergenerational mission trip to Fortaleza, Brazil and was part of a fact-finding team sent to Nicaragua on behalf of the South Dakota Synod. After three years serving at LCOOR on the prairies of South Dakota, where she discovered people actually do walk on water (at least during the cold, midwest winters when the lakes are frozen), she accepted a call to serve as Associate, and later Co-Pastor, along with Erik R. Wilson Weiberg at Ballard First Lutheran, Seattle where she has served for the past sixteen years.

Laurie finds joy whenever she can spend time with family, especially her three great-nephews and her great-niece who all reside in Southern California. She is a charter member of the Lutheran International Pinochle Society (aka LIPS) and travels to Mexico annually where the foursome convenes their games (rotating partners so all remain friends). In the in-between times she delights in all of God’s good gifts and enjoys swimming, reading, travel, and much laughter.

Sunday Bulletin or Newsletter Announcement For 2016 Chi Rho Lectures

Copy and paste this information into your newsletter or bulletin:

Save the Week-End – November 11, 12, and 13 noted theologian, Carl Holladay, will present the Chi Rho lectures for 2016 at Central Lutheran Church and Northwest Christian University (NCU).  He is the C. H. Candler Professor of New Testament and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He is the author of many theological publications including eight books, the last, a Commentary on the Book of Acts, which was just released in September.  He will be speaking to the topic: “Deepening the Church’s Sensibilities: Reflections on Acts” in four lectures and an adult study:

“Exploring Acts – The Shape of the Story” on Friday, November 11 at 7:30 PM at Central Lutheran Church at 18thand Potter St., Eugene

A Sense of History: Roots and Origins” and “A Sense of Inquiry: Searching the Scriptures” on Saturday, November 12 at 9:30 AM at NCU, Library, Rm 203, at 1188 Kincaid, Eugene

A Sense of Community: Meals, Meetings, Networks, and Possessions” on Saturday, November 12, at 7:30 PM at Central Lutheran

A Sense of Mission: To the End of the Earth” on Sunday morning, November 13, at 9:45 AM at Central Lutheran

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience this remarkable theologian as he struggles with lessons for our contemporary Church as learned from the early Church described in Acts.

Living Stewardship This Month

Fearless in Faith Fearless in Giving

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Cor 16:13-14.

Our Annual Stewardship Financial Campaign started October 23 and concludes on November 13 with Commitment Sunday. The theme is Fearless in Faith – Fearless in Giving. What does fearless in faith really mean? Fear is part of life. Fear has kept alive through the ages; protecting us from wild animals and such. Fear is part of the wiring God has giv- en us. It lets us know instinctively when we are in danger even when we aren’t consciously aware of it. Self-defense classes teach you to trust fear – if a situation feels wrong, then it is wrong. Bold and brave describe fearless.

You see, when we are afraid, we revert to our most primal selves. We protect ourselves and our tribe at all costs, because somewhere, deeply embedded in our gray matter, are these circuits that convince us that, suddenly, every- thing is at stake. There are times when fear serves us well. And there are times when it trips us up. The hard part is knowing the difference. To be faithful, at times, means to be fearless. And the only way to make that happen is through discipline and practice.

We now know this about ourselves as a species. Those neural pathways aren’t as hard-wired as we used to think. Through consistent practice and readjustment, we can be rewired for the kind of fearlessness that faith can call us to.

There are times when faithfulness calls us to acts of bravery of which we might not think we are capable. And yet, if it is truly faithful, God will give us what we need to step out in risk. It takes practice, and there are ample opportunities to do just that.

I want you to consider what it might mean for you to live your faith fearlessly. Fear convinces us that we live in a cul- ture of scarcity; if I don’t grab it, someone else will. If I give it away, then I am vulnerable. Faith calls us to trust: trust in the God of abundance and provision. We give it away as an act of faith in itself – not because we are fearless, neces- sarily, but because we have an opportunity to practice faithful bravery even while we remain somewhat skittish.

We are called to fearless giving, and are capable of far more than we think we are. Let us, in our giving, strive for the model of Moses’ mother. The life of her precious son was threatened. She did what she did motivated out of fear, yes, but also out of love and out of faith. She set her son adrift on the water in a vessel that was not seaworthy. She gave her son to the elements, trusting that God would provide. And in that act of trust, a people were given the hope of freedom, following this same helpless infant pulled from his basket of reeds and given a second chance to live and lead.

With this image in mind, is it any surprise that God would call us, too, to acts of faithful giving? As Christians, as dis- ciples of Christ, as followers of Jesus, we surely know that the fullest act of faithfulness was Christ’s own self-giving on the cross. He did it for our sake, not for his own. How can we not respond by our own selfless, fearless giving of what God has entrusted to us?

We, fed at the Lord’s Table, we are sent to feed. Nourished at this table, we are emboldened to live lives of faithful, fearless giving – of what we have, of what we are – to a world that is desperately hungry in body, mind, and spirit.

In this stewardship season, be prayerful. After all, it is what God desires of you, which is faithful. Trust God to lead you in fearless faith and in fearless giving.

2016 Chi Rho Lectures – Carl Holladay

2016 Chi Rho Lectures 
November 11-13

Deepening the Church’s Sensibilities: Reflections on Acts

Carl Holladay-300dpi-4x6


Dr. Carl Holladay,

C. H. Candler Professor of New Testament and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University




Dr. Carl Holladay will be the 2016 Chi Rho Lecturer speaking on Friday evening, November 11 (at Central Lutheran Church), Saturday morning and evening, November 12 (at Northwest Christian University and then again at Central), and Sunday morning, November 13 (between worship services at Central).

Friday, Nov 11, 7:30 pm  at Central Lutheran Church, 1857 Potter St.

      Exploring Acts—The Shape of the Story

 Saturday, Nov. 12, 9:30 am–12:30 pm at Northwest Christian University, Library, Rm 203, 1188 Kincaid

      A Sense of History: Roots and Origins

      A Sense of Inquiry: Searching the Scriptures

Saturday, Nov. 12, 7:30 pm at  Central Lutheran Church

      A Sense of Community: Meals, Meetings, Networks, and Possessions”

 Sunday, Nov. 13, 9:30 am at Central Lutheran Church, Adult Education Hour

      A Sense of Mission: To the End of the Earth

 Carl Holladay’s research focuses on Luke-Acts, Hellenistic Judaism (Judaism in the Greco-Roman world), and Christology. He is the author of seven books, including A Critical Introduction to the New Testament: Interpreting the Message and Meaning of Jesus Christ (Abingdon, 2005), which offers historical context as well as an orientation to religious, theological and ethical issues surrounding Jesus’ message, and is used extensively by seminaries and ministers. Holladay also co-authored Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner’s Handbook (Westminster John Knox, 1st ed., 1982), a widely used introductory text on exegetical methods, theory and practice, now in its third edition. His newest book, ACTS – A Commentary, will be available on September 23.

He has received several prestigious fellowships and professional honors, including a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, a Luce Fellowship, and a Festschrift titled Scripture and Traditions: Essays on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Carl R. Holladay (Brill, 2008).

 If you would like to see a short video with Dr. Holladay, click on this YouTube link:


See and Download the 2016 Lecture Series Poster Here

See and download a Sunday Bulletin or Newsletter announcement here.