By Pastor Keith L. Forni, STS, Lutheran CORE Board Member & Encuentro Convener
“…Build yourselves up in your most holy faith…” Jude 20
“…Mantenganse en el amor de Dios, edificandose sobre la base de su santisima fe…” Judas 20
Walking wet, signed with the cross of Jesus at Holy Baptism, Christians are called, gathered and sent to give bold witness by the power of the Holy Spirit. With the Church of Christ in every age, they give bold witness to their Lord Jesus, the One who has triumphed over sin, death and the power of the devil.
This year’s autumn Encuentro Luterano (Lutheran Encounter) will fortify the people of God in their Baptismal identity, beginning with the opening talk by The Rev. Dr. Maxwell Johnson, an ELCA pastor and faculty member at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN. Dr. Johnson will present “Baptism: Walking Wet in the Via Crucis” at the inter-Lutheran gathering, to be held on Holy Cross Day / Dia de la Santa Cruz, Saturday, Sept. 14th at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 2101 N. Kildare Ave. (corner of W. Dickens), in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood. Coffee & registration begin the day at 9:00am. (For a full Encuentro schedule, please visit the St. Timothy Lutheran Church Facebook page.) A postcard for this event can be viewed here.
Following the morning session, the Misa Panamericana, Spanish language liturgy of Holy Communion will be celebrated with Mariachi Juvenil Tamazula de Joliet. Affirmation of Baptism will take place in the service, with the rededication of a restored font, originally utilized by the St. Timothy parish in the early 20th century, but stored away and out of use for decades.
In his second talk, Dr. Johnson will draw from his book “The Virgin of Guadalupe: Theological Reflection of an Anglo-Lutheran Liturgist,” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) the Biblical witness of Mary’s Magnificat in positing “Marian Acclamations: Not Just for Roman Catholics Anymore.”
Worship will be led by Pastor Myrta Robles, CORE Board members Pastor Keith Forni and Joel Awes, with area mission partners and members of St. Timothy. Pastor Dennis Nelson, of Scottsdale AZ, Lutheran CORE Executive Director, will provide an overview and update of the renewal organization’s work in providing voice and network for confessing Lutherans. Afternoon workshops will accent Resources for Learning Spanish, Neighborhood Ministry and the Advent Tradition of Las Posadas, and the Development of Hispanic-Latino Lutheran Ministries with an overview of the life and outreach of St. Andrew / San Andres Lutheran Church, West Chicago, IL, by Pastor Josh Ebner.
Once again, the Encuentro will conclude with an outdoor Vigil and Witness for Peace on Chicago’s Streets with Compline / bilingual Night Prayers and a closing dessert fellowship.
Fairly traded, handcrafted Central American art will be available for purchase, offered by Mr. Tom Hocker of Tree of Life Imports, Hammond, IN. Handcrafted baskets and other items will be available, in support of community initiatives in Ghana, West Africa, presented by Mr. David Jones, Joliet IL. Materials for Lutheran, bilingual / Hispanic-Latino ministry will be available from the Bilingual Ministry Resource Center, Joliet / Chicago.There is no cost to attend the Encuentro, as Lutheran CORE and the host congregations are covering expenses. Continental breakfast, lunch and supper are provided. Participants are invited to register by calling or texting Pastor Forni at 815.600.3030 / firstname.lastname@example.org.