From the Pastor – July newsletter article by Pastor Richard Pokora

More than a hundred years ago my grandfather migrated from Germany to the United States, seeking a job and a new life.

A couple years later my grandmother with two sons followed my grandfather to her new American homeland.

My grandfather grew up in East Prussia on the border with Lithuania and Poland in an area of forests and lakes near the Baltic Sea. That land had little to offer young families. There was little manufacturing and farming to support a family. Most young men left for the Ruhr valley in west German where mining and industry offered the possibility of new jobs. The work was hard and dirty. Rampant pollution and industrial accidents were part of normal life.

My grandparents settled in Springfield, Illinois and eventually opened a corner grocery store which also sold ice and livestock feed. They prospered and settled into community life.

Eventually my family joined St. John’s Lutheran Church next to the State Capitol in downtown Springfield. The church was made up of immigrant German families. For many years worship services were offered in the German language.

Baptisms, confirmation classes, funerals and wedding were part of the normal routine of parish life.

Everyone had their own church and stayed there for multiple generations.

The other day I met a woman at Walmart. She told me she once belonged to a Lutheran Church in Davenport but switched to a Baptist church. I asked her why she made the change. She said she didn’t like the Lutheran understanding of baptism. People today shift around from one church to the next for all sorts of reasons.

Our sense of community today is not what it was when my grandparents were living. They became part of a community and stayed with that commitment.

Today people change communities and churches routinely. The idea of commitment too often gets lost.

All Saints Lutheran Church has a solid congregation, well done worship, an ideal location, great facility, and superior outreach ministry. It is a community in every sense of the term and should inspire our commitment.