May 19, 2013

On Pentecost — May 27, 2012 — a group of Mahomet Lutherans gathered together at the Sportsmen’s Club of Urbana to worship our Lord, Jesus Christ.  After our first worship, the Holy Spirit moved us to start a new church that became New Beginnings Lutheran Church.

During our first year, many decisions had to be made.  During this time, one constant was the support from area congregations of the North American Lutheran Church.  We had prayers, visits, and monetary support from NALC members.  During the first seven months of our existence, one of seven local pastors officiated each week over our worship, preaching God’s word and administering Holy Communion. This support from pastors and local congregations was a great blessing from God.

A visioning committee of future members of New Beginnings Lutheran Church began meeting soon after our first worship service.  We decided to have fellowship each week after worship, allowing us time to connect with one another and make stronger bonds within our church family.  Also, youth ministries were judged important.  As a result, we held our first Vacation Bible School class our first summer on July 23 through 26. During our first fall we had a small group session each Wednesday.  Part of this group was confirmation age students pursuing their studies of Christianity.  Also, everyone regardless of age was invited to engage in fellowship and Bible study.

In August 2012, we decided on our name and filed our Articles on Incorporation. On Sunday, September 9th, we voted unanimously to join the North American Lutheran Church and adopted our Constitution and Bylaws. We were accepted as a congregation by the Executive Council of the North American Lutheran Church on September 21st.  Charter signing for New Beginnings Lutheran Church occurred in September. We had 104 charter members.

We had a wonderful temporary home in the Sportsmen’s Club of Urbana. This space provided a place to come together to worship God in peace and love. We met at the Sportsmen’s Club or Urbana each Sunday evening from May 27th to the September 30th.

On October 1st we moved into our current church home at 304 Dunbar Street, Mahomet, Illinois.  Through divine providence, this building was placed on the market the same week as we decided to become a congregation, providing an answer to the question of where we would continue to meet.  After much discussion and prayer, the current building was purchased on September 14th. We thank the members of Mahomet Bible Church for allowing us to purchase this church.  Many of our members have worked very hard to purchase and prepare this facility.

Another milestone was in finding a pastor for our new congregation.  A call committee was formed and prayers were made to God.  We made a call, and that call was accepted.  Pastor Allan Oman was installed as pastor on February 9th.  He has blessed this congregation by preaching and teaching the word of God, and reminding us of the love of Jesus Christ.

A first year is full of many milestones.  We celebrated fellowship together and had God’s word taught to us.  We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas and were led in bible study and reflection during Lent, coming to more closely understand the costliness of Christ’ death on the cross.  At Easter, we celebrated Christ’s victory over death.  Remarkably, each week during our first year we have celebrated Holy Communion, thereby receiving the sustenance provided by Jesus’ body and blood. We are most thankful for this blessing.  We celebrated our first baptism last month and will celebrate another one today.   As a result of these baptisms, New Beginnings has administered all sacraments of the Church.  We are most grateful to see baptisms and celebrate with the families of the baptized.  We also are reminded that through our baptisms we are washed in the baptism of Christ’s death and have been forgiven of our sins.  Today, we rejoice in the affirmation of baptism of one of our youth.

Many say the Holy Spirit has been at work in New Beginnings and what has been accomplished is a work of God. This is most certainly true.  It is most fitting we began our congregation last year on Pentecost, the celebration of the Holy Spirit coming to the first church.  On this Pentecost, we thank God for what he has done through us.  We pray that God continues to bless us and that we will humbly accept where God takes us. We pray many will accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and that New Beginnings Lutheran Church will be a beacon of Jesus’ love throughout the world.