For more information, feel free to contact us:
Trinity Lutheran Church
183 Howe Avenue
Shelton, CT 06484
Reverend Jack Whritenour
Pastor's Home Phone
|183 Howe Avenue
Shelton, CT 06484
I first stumbled onto your web site last year; and I was struck, immediately, by your pastor's clear
and unambiguous understanding of our rich Lutheran liturgical and musical heritage. As a
lifelong Lutheran who remembers, well, the old, red Service Book and Hymnal (predecessor to
the green Lutheran Book of Worship), I envy you. Let me tell you why.
I was baptized as an infant in a congregational parish because it was, at the time, the church
closest to the home my father had built among the sand dunes at the southernmost tip of Lake
Michigan, in the "Miller Beach" area of Gary, Indiana, where I grew up. One day, in 1960,
bulldozers arrived to tear down the huge sand dune next to our house...the very sand dune to
the top of which we kids in he neighborhood had climbed hundreds of times, from which it
seemed we could see forever, and off which we had all run and jumped as fast and far as we
could, becoming seemingly airborne for a fleeting few seconds before landing in the soft,
squeaky sand and rolling to the bottom with giggles and innocence.
A church was to be erected in the dune's place. The old Swedish Lutherans who had been so
instrumental in the settling of the area more than a century earlier had contracted with the very
same architect who designed the relatively-nearby chapel at Valparaiso University to create an
edifice both elegant and modern for use as the historic LCA congregation's new home.
But it was no sand dune, let me tell you; and I, for one, was none too happy about it. On the new
church's inaugural Sunday in 1961, my mother dressed me up in my little suit and clip- on tie,
prodding me out the front door, saying, "You're a Lutheran now...go to Sunday School." So,
across our yard I walked, scooting my feet in a vain attempt to slow down time, and making that
zoot-zoot-zoot sound which only a five-year-old's corduroy pants can produce with such
rhythmical annoyance. And so began a lifetime of being a Lutheran...first of the LCA variety, and
now of the ELCA stripe. Through it all, some of my fondest memories are of how the well-
executed liturgy and music had the power to make me feel.
Everyone laments change as they grow older, so it stands to reason that I might be unhappy with
how worship differs so today from that which I so loved in my youth. But someone like your
pastor, who truly understands our denomination's liturgical and musical past, would probably
under- stand. Indeed, the Lutheran church, in an effort to attract and keep the interest of those
younger and hipper than I, seems to have forgotten the important role that traditional, historic
liturgy and music can play in effective, meaningful and spiritually moving worship.
Many Lutherans today have never experienced it, in part because so many congregations have
all but given-up on traditional worship...opting, instead, for contemporary services that are up-
tempo and appealing to an MTV and VH1 generation, but which are bereft of the kind of spiritual
resonance that has the power to reach right down into one's soul and touch it with a stirring
sense of the Holy Spirit's palpable presence.
Your pastor seems to know a little something about that, and I'd say you're all the better for it. I
urge you to learn from him; to let him help you find that special something in traditional Lutheran
liturgy and music that can help you achieve true spiritual transcendence.
I'll be thinking of you when next I'm sitting in church, appalled by the presence of drums in the
sanctuary, and grimacing at the missed notes and sloppy musicianship of the youthful pop
ensemble that someone apparently wiser than I thought would be better, somehow, than
unleashing on the congregation the awe-inspiring magnificence of the pipe organ just a few feet
away. In such travesty, it's sometimes difficult to recognize God coming to us through worship to
forgive our sins, and to offer us new and everlasting life in Christ Jesus.
How lucky you are that it's so much easier to spot in your church.
Peace to you, and blessings, in Christ.
Gregg L. DesElms
|This letter is from a Mr. Gregg L. DesElms, a California resident who stumbled across our website
To the Good People of Trinity: I'm Envious