After a 288 year long history, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Ave, will hold its final worship services on September 11, 2016. The financial weight upon the congregation became too great. It will be a great loss for the community as St Michael’s is known for its public outreach and has often been referred to as “the small church with a big heart.”
During its regular worship time 11 AM, September 11, 2016, members and close associates will gather one last time for an intimate service of the Word, Holy Communion and remembrances of what St Michael’s has meant to them.
At 3 PM, the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA will host a final celebration of St Michael’s Lutheran Church and officiate the closing of the church. Bishop Claire Schenot Burkat will preside over the service, delivering the sermon and celebrating the Eucharist. The Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, retired president of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) and former member of St Michael’s, will assist.
The Reverend Andrena Ingram, St Michael’s most recent pastor for nearly a decade, along with members of St Michael’s will participate in the tribute to their beloved church.
A community wide flea market will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2016, 9 AM to 2 PM, as a way of bringing neighbors and friends together for a day of fun and mutual support.
“Pastor,” as Rev. Ingram is known to many, carried the torch for St Michael’s mission to be “an open and diverse community of believers, grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ and sharing that gift in our church, our community and in our world.”
A sign on the gate to the church reads “Come As You Are.” And those who came were often from the fringe – those with addiction, mental and physical challenges, who identify as LBGTQ, those living with HIV, and those struggling to find their way. All did “come as they are” and were essential to what made St. Michael’s.
Pastor is openly HIV positive and a recovering addict. She has been an accessible presence in the community and source of spiritual resource to many who had long stopped attending church.
Under Reverend Ingram’s leadership, St Michael’s along with St Peter’s Lafayette Hill and Whole Foods, Inc., provided a weekly home-cooked meal and fellowship to 80-100 guests each Saturday since 2010 through the Community Meal Ministry.
Other outreach efforts included partnering with the Eleanor C Emlen local public school, support to Silver Springs Martin Luther School for children with special needs, anti-violence activities, and HIV prevention.
All are welcome to attend the closing services on September 11th and come by the flea market on Saturday, September 10th to extend their appreciation for St. Michael’s.
The Southeastern Synod will take over responsibility for the buildings and grounds after September 11, 2016. No plans have been announced regarding how the property will be used.