First Lutheran is always excited to consider new partnerships in keeping with the essence of our mission statement. Our response to new ideas is generally “Yes – with God’s help!” when those ideas fit within the vision of our sense of mission in our neighborhood and wider community.
Full Communion Partnerships
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has always had an open table – the invitation for all Baptized Christians to join us in the Sacrament of Holy Communion when worshiping with us. In the last 25 years, the ELCA entered into full communion partnerships with several other denominations. Full communion is when two denominations develop a relationship based on a common confessing of the Christian faith and a mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing of the Lord’s Supper. These denominations worship together, may exchange clergy and also share a commitment to evangelism, witness and service in the world. Each entity agrees that even with differences, there is nothing that is church-dividing. Our full communion partners include the Episcopal Church, Moravian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist Church.
The Germania of Poughkeepsie Men and Ladies Singers join with First Lutheran each year for three events: Oktoberfest, a German language Advent worship service (Weihnacht), and Good Friday worship in German (Karfreitag). Our connection has been strong since the mid-1800s, when German immigrants founded both the Germania Singing Society and this congregation – the German-speaking First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Poughkeepsie.
Habitat for Humanity
First Lutheran’s close partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County (HHDC) began in 2013 when our congregation invited HHDC to use our former Christian education building (Wetzel Hall) at 45 Catharine Street as its headquarters (2013-2019). As part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on ecumenical Christian principles, HHDC seeks to put God’s love into action through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their housing options. First Lutheran affirms HHDC’s policy of welcoming volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serving people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.
In addition to hosting HHDC at our church, members of First Lutheran have provided hands-on assistance for various local Habitat building projects, including both the 2014 and 2019 Habitat/Thrivent “Faith” builds in partnership with other local congregations in our community, and a number of other rehabilitation projects in our immediate North Poughkeepsie neighborhood. We have made our Fellowship Hall available to HHDC for volunteer recognition and training events and as the send-off site for major community-wide initiatives such as the “Neighborhood Make A Difference Home Repair Day” where area volunteers gather for a send-off blessing and a noontime potluck for volunteers and homeowners. Those members who don’t have the technical skills to be part of building crews have stepped up to prepare meals for building crews or to assist with landscaping and fundraising projects.
A number of our members also volunteer at the Habitat ReStore, located at 8 Neptune Road off Route 9 in Poughkeepsie. Habitat ReStore sells high quality items at discounted prices in its 20,000 square-foot retail space, accepting large and small donations daily. All proceeds from ReStore support HHDC’s mission. Although the administrative offices for HHDC have been consolidated into the 8 Neptune Road location, training and recognition events for HHDC will continue to be hosted at First Lutheran through our ongoing partnership in ministry.
The Lutheran Care Center
First Lutheran has a strong tradition of partnership with The Lutheran Care Center (LCC), a licensed, skilled nursing care center with 160 beds that is part of The Lutheran Care Network. In past years, our former Pastor served as the Coordinator of Pastoral Care and Chaplain at LCC. The Lutheran Care Center’s mission is to care for people’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Our link through this partnership has enabled First Lutheran members to join with LCC residents in worshiping together on special occasions and to serve as volunteer worship assistants for LCC’s weekly Wednesday morning and Sunday afternoon worship services with Holy Communion. Our organist/director of music also assists as requested.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
We are blessed to be in partnership with our Episcopal sisters and brothers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie. Food that has been donated by members and friends of First Lutheran is delivered to the food pantry at St. Paul’s. Members of both parishes work together to provide a summer Vacation Bible School for local children (Pre-Pandemic) and also to help register people to vote. Spiritually we connect by worshiping together for occasional holy days.