We are ‘Central to Winona’, Disciples of Jesus, living a Vibrant Faith

Special “Visitor Parking” spaces are reserved in the main parking lot nearest the church entrance.

Below are answers to frequent Visitor questions.

About Worship

IMG_3118What is your worship style like?

Most people would characterize our worship style as Classical Lutheran.  Our worship order is rooted in patterns from the Hebrew tradition and accounts of the earliest Christians: We gather in song & prayer. We hear God’s Word.  We share bread & wine.  We are sent into the world.  More detailed worship information is here.

What’s the music like?

At any given worship service you may encounter heart-felt hymn singing led by choirs, a fine pipe organ, and a grand piano. All voices – children and youth, young and old – together sing God’s praises.

How long are your services?

Sunday services run about an hour – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.

Why do you kneel for communion, chant, and make the sign of the cross?

Many of us find meaning in the gesture of kneeling and making the sign of the cross. Lutheran worship engages all the human senses.  Luther rejected none of these practices.

How often do you have communion?

Every Sunday.

Can non-members take communion?

Yes.  All the baptized are welcome to receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the bread and wine of the Eucharist (Holy Communion).

Can infants & children receive communion?

Yes.  ALL the baptized are welcome to receive communion, no matter their age.

Do I have the option of non-alcoholic grape juice instead of the wine?  How about gluten-free bread??

Yes.  Gluten-free bread is served to all. Non-alcoholic grape juice is always available at communion.

If my child gets fussy in worship, what should I do?

We want you and your child to feel welcome and comfortable in worship. The following options are available:

  • Activity bags are available at each entrance.
  • A professionally staffed nursery is available at the latter Sunday service.
  • A Family Comfort Room with toys, rocking chair, crib, and changing table is available at the rear of the sanctuary.  An audio feed and one-way windows offer privacy while being able to hear and see what is happening in worship.
  • A Family Gathering Area with books, puzzles, coloring materials, and rocking chair is set up in the left transept of the sanctuary.

Trust us, if your kid gets fussy every parent in the church knows what you are going through.

Do you have air conditioning?

Yes.

IMG_0463Baptisms, Weddings, & Funerals

How do I get baptized or have my child baptized at Central Lutheran?

Baptisms are held during regular public worship. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is offered to all – infants, toddlers, teens, adults.  An essential time of preparation with a Pastor or a Baptismal Guide helps prepare candidates, families, and sponsors.  Contact the church office at 507.452.5156 or by Email

Do you host Weddings?

Central’s facility is a beautiful wedding site.  Of course, a church wedding is not simply renting a hall, but asking the blessing and promise of the church – including authorized Clergy and musicians.  Pre-marital counseling and a license are required.  Detailed guidelines are available.

We are not members of a church and have had a death in the family. Can the funeral be at Central Lutheran?

Funerals and Memorial Services for any circumstances may be arranged by contacting the church office.  Membership is not required.  Local funeral homes work closely with Central staff to assure comfort in a time of grief and loss.

About Lutheranism

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

What are Lutherans all about?

Lutherans have been called the original Protestants who left the Roman Catholic Church in the 1500s and hope, naively perhaps, for reunification one day. Differences center on our theological emphasis on faith over works and on our belief that God’s grace is freely given rather than earned.  The ELCA Web site offers a fuller discussion of Lutheran beliefs.

What are these initials: ELCA?

ELCA stands for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It’s the largest Lutheran body in North America and is considered a “mainline” Christian denomination.

What are the official ELCA teachings?

The ELCA confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.  ELCA teaching or theology serves the proclamation and ministry of this faith. It does not have an answer for all questions, not even all religious questions. Teaching or theology prepares members to be witnesses in speech and in action of God’s rich mercy in Jesus Christ.  The ELCA Web site offers a fuller discussion of Lutheran beliefs.

I saw a few other Lutheran “brands” like LCMS, WELS, or NALC.  What’s with all these acronyms?

The ELCA is one branch of Lutheranism in the United States.  There are others.  Similarities and differences, both major and minor, exist for a variety of theological, historical, geographical, and even ethnic factors.  Here are links to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and to the North American Lutheran Church.

Who was Martin Luther?

Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a  was a German theologian, an Augustinian monk, and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions. Luther’s call to the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible led to the formation of new traditions within Christianity and to the Counter-Reformation, the Roman Catholic reaction to these movements.

Luther’s contributions to Western civilization went beyond the life of the Church. Luther’s translations of the Bible helped to develop a standard version of the German language and added several principles to the art of translation. Luther’s hymns inspired the development of congregational singing in Christianity. His marriage on June 13, 1525, to Katharina von Bora began a movement of clerical marriage within many Christian traditions.

About Central

How many members do you have & where do they come from?

Central’s membership rolls claim approximately 900 members; average Sunday worship attendance is about 250. Most of us live in Winona and nearby towns & villages.

Where are you located?

Central’s facility is located at the corner of Huff & Wabasha streets, next to the Winona State University campus.  Directions to Central are at the very bottom right of this webpage.

imageWhere do I park?

Special “Visitor Parking” spaces are reserved in the main parking lot nearest the primary parking lot entrance.  On-street parking is also available (although being next to a University, that’s sometimes tight).

Your Vision says “Welcome All.”  What are the limits to that Welcome?

The statement means what it says: Central Welcomes All.  We may not always achieve that, but it is our goal.

What’s the role of women in your church?

We follow St. Paul’s dictum that whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). Women can be ordained and become pastors in our denomination. Many of our parish leaders are women.

Are gay people welcome?

Yes.  We don’t count people on the basis of race, class or any other measure. We’re here to worship God and to reflect Christ’s love in the world.

Do you do same-sex weddings?

Yes.

What’s your church’s stance on abortion?

It’s not an issue that comes up much, probably because we respect the varying views of our members as well as the complexity of involving government in an issue that many people see as intensely personal.

Further Questions

Further details about ELCA history, structure, and teachings are available here.