Pastor Matthew Finney
Pastor Matthew Finney was unanimously installed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Sassamansville on Aug. 7 as the 21st pastor. Before receiving the call at St. Paul’s, Pastor Finney served a two-point parish in Western Pennsylvania known as Holy Shepherd Lutheran Parish which was a combination of Holy Trinity Parish in Lanse and Shepherd of the Hills Parish in Karthaus.
Pastor Finney brings many gifts to St. Paul’s. He received his master of divinity at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2010. He also has a master of science degree in 2003 from North Carolina State University and a bachelor of science degree in 2000 from Purdue University both in agricultural science.
Pastor’s October Message
October 2017 is a very special month in the life of the Lutheran church. On the 31st we mark 500 years since Martin Luther posted the 95 theses in Wittenberg Germany. That occasion on October 31, 1517, has traditionally been the mark for the beginning of the Reformation. We will be doing some special things to celebrate this occasion, as well as celebrate this area’s and this congregation’s German heritage. Instead of our fall spaghetti dinner, this year we will be holding an Oktoberfest dinner. On October 14 from 3pm-7pm we will be serving an all you can eat pork and sauerkraut dinner. Out on the lawn we will have live entertainment with German brass music and some polka tunes. Along with the entertainment we will have a beer garden presented by Sly Fox Brewing in Pottstown. Come out and join us for a great celebration, and invite your friends. Tickets for the dinner are $12 for ages 11 and up $6 for ages 6-10, and ages 5 and under eat free.
During the Sundays in October we be using a service based on the Common Service. First published in 1888, this service was the first widely used English translation of the Lutheran service. We will be using the words of this service along with traditional hymns in place of the service music in the style of Luther’s German-Mass. During these Sundays in October, I will be preaching on Luther’s marks of the Church. In his writing On the Council and the Church, Luther lays out seven “marks” by which the Church can be recognized. In these marks Luther details what makes a “true” Church. The marks are: 1) the possession of the Holy Word of God, 2) the holy sacrament of baptism, 3) the holy sacrament of the altar (Holy Communion), 4) the office of the keys (absolution for sin), 5) the office of ministry, prayer, 6) public praise, and thanksgiving to God, and 7) the possession of the sacred cross. I believe that looking at how Luther defines and recognizes what makes up the essence of the Church is important for us as we move into the next 500 years of the Reformation. Learning from our past helps us to journey confidently into the future.
I hope that we will have a good, strong showing at worship during October. So, come out this month as we celebrate our history, and then continue to join us as we celebrate our future.