Since 1943, St. Paul's Lutheran Church has been a significant, if perhaps somewhat hidden, oasis of faith and fellowship for the people of Wethersfield and its surrounding communities. When asked why people have sought us out, the response nearly always has something to do with our hospitality. We are a community of faith where all people are welcome—no matter what. We are an oasis of mutual support, love and hope in a world that can be rather bleak and brutal at times.
In John's Gospel, Jesus told his disciples, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35) I believe that the kind of love that we are called to at St. Paul's is the love that Jesus' disciples had for one each other. And this kind of love is not the same as that which the world values.
In the world we can love someone who makes us feel good or who gives us something of value in return. In the world we can love things as much as people. But the love to which our Lord has called us goes far beyond the love of objects that have value or people who are attractive to us. The love to which our Lord has called us is a love that is extended to friends and enemies alike. And it takes a love as strong as this to begin to bring healing to a world like ours that is so divided by cultural, racial, economic, social or other differences.
If you are interested in exploring what this kind of love can be like, come visit us. When, in John's Gospel Nathaniel asked Philip if anything good could possibly come from Nazareth, Philip responded, Come and see. (John 1:46) We extend this same invitation to you. Come and see what our Lord is doing in Wethersfield. Come and experience the hospitality and love that gives shape to our community of faith. Come as you are and see what our Lord can do in your life, too.
God bless you!
Pastor Hugh Haffenreffer