United Proclamation of the Gospel

UPG group picture taken after April 8, 2018 joint worship at St. Peter’s

Proposed Vision Statement

As God’s children, living and worshipping together in a shared community of faith, we commit ourselves to exploring and sharing God’s all-inclusive love with the world.

Proposed Community of Faith Motto

Proclaiming God’s love one heart at a time!

November 11 Message from Pastor Jerry

Greetings and peace to you all!

As I write this article for you, we have just concluded our beautiful celebration of All Saints Sunday 2018. I thank you all for sharing in this very special festival day. It was truly beautiful and inspiring.

This past Saturday, nearly forty of your sisters and brothers from across the UPG came together on our St. Peter’s campus to begin working on a task force whose purpose is to design a vision plan to guide our shared ministry over the course of the next four years.
This mini-retreat was also truly inspiring as together we began to share our thoughts, dreams, and visions about how God is desiring we live as a community of faith in Bethlehem Pennsylvania in 2018 and beyond.

Above are two of the items that were created during our time together. These proposals will be added to a more complete visioning plan which we hope to have available for our community of faith by the end of February 2019.

Now we are asking that more people within our community of faith get involved in helping to create this vision plan that will direct our ministries over the next four years. We are in the process of forming four (4) sub-teams of the task force. They are:

  • Public proclamation of the gospel (facilitated by Pastor Jerry and Tony Villani)
    o Designed to look at the many and varied ways we publicly proclaim God’s love to the world.
    o This includes worship, education, evangelism, communications, technology, Christian service, outreach, and any other ministry which publicly shares in our proclamation.
  • Systems organization (facilitated by Jon Terry)
    o Designed to look at how we will organize to complete our ministries.
    o This includes Ministry team structure and how they report to the larger community, staffing and what an “idea staff” would look like to accomplish our vision, and how we coordinate and communicate internally.
  • “how we would receive other communities into the UPG” (facilitated by Richard Elterich)
    o Designed to look at what processes would be in place should another community of faith desire to join in our shared ministry.
    o This includes what “core beliefs” other communities should possess prior to joining in our ministry and what process would occur to receive other communities of faith into our shared ministry.
  • “assets mapping” (facilitated by Rev. Ray Hittinger)
    o Designed to identify the assets (facilities, knowledge, professional experience, community connections, location, personal relationships, funding, etc.) that are available to create meaningful expressions of ministry that will help fulfill the vision of UPG.
    o This ministry team, functioning simultaneously with other sub-teams, will help inform our leadership what special skills, gifts, and talents our community of faith currently possesses and how these skills, gifts, and talents are best brought forward within our community to most effectively proclaim God’s love!

Inserts will be available in our bulletins on November 11 and 18 for you to lend your voice and time with the sub-teams of the task force. These sub-teams will work independently and will share their progress with the larger task force, whose next meeting is scheduled for January 5, 2019 on our Light of Christ campus at 9AM. Our hope is that many of our sisters and brothers in Christ from across the UPG will join us in these crucial efforts, always remembering that while we may not know what the final destination of our shared
ministry will be, we do know that God is accompanying us on this holy pilgrimage.

Peace and blessings to you all!
Pastor Jerry

Light of Christ Lutheran church has entered into an agreement with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 474 Vine St., to form the United Proclamation of the Gospel (UPG). Pastor Jerry Kulp is serving as a pastor of two “campuses”. These two viable congregations (campuses) are exploring powerful ways to proclaim the gospel in a united way. The UPG calls for one ordained pastor, the Rev. Jerry Kulp, to provide pastoral needs for both communities of faith in Word and Sacrament, and includes a new staff position, that of executive administrator, who provides administrative support ministries to both congregations (campuses) of this new ministry.

This vision also highlights:

  • Continues actively using existing church buildings
  • Increases ability for disciples to actively participate in more ministry opportunities
  • Allows for autonomy in areas of ministry in which that is desired
  • Reduction in individual budgets through sharing of key staff positions

This ministry is providing a stronger, more vibrant, and more vital Lutheran proclamation of the gospel in Bethlehem. For this ministry to live up to its potential, both congregations must move forward with a mutual respect, understanding, and value of one another’s history and presence within Bethlehem.

May God’s blessing be with us in this exploration!

Essentials

  • This model demonstrates that the focus of our efforts will be to increase the ministry opportunities available to, and support the efforts of, each individual disciple of Jesus Christ.
  • This model calls for one ordained pastor (Additional pastoral leadership may be necessary in the future). The pastor provides for the proper proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the proper administration of the Sacraments.
  • This model calls for each congregation (Campus), Light of Christ and St. Peter’s to have “campus ministry coordinators” who organize activities, people, and resources of each individual campus.
  • This model calls for a shared “executive assistant” who provides administrative support to both campuses.

Foundations

This ministry exploration has two years in which to determine its viability. At the end of two years, we hope one of thefollowing will occur:

  • Continue in United Proclamation of the Gospel (UPG) model as it exists
  • Consider a more permanent movement to create one congregation with two campuses
  • Each campus is restored to its current state and operates independently.

Pastor Jerry Kulp continues to be called to St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and is the “Transitional Pastor” for Messiah Lutheran Church under a contract for services agreement between St. Peter’s and Messiah.

Both campuses use the same worship setting and the same bulletin for Sunday worship. There is one Sunday morning worship celebration held on each campus, separated by two hours.

Each week announcements are shared as the UPG through oral announcements and written communication (“Pew News!”)

Each month there is one newsletter published sharing stories and ministries from each campus. There may be addendums provided for each campus (e.g. scheduled worship leaders.)

Current phone numbers and electronic means of communications are maintained. However, technology will allow for all phone calls and electronic means of communication to be monitored and responded to from a single source.

Both congregation councils meet on the same campus the same night of the month in separate rooms. Following the congregation council meeting an executive meeting of the UPG will occur to help protect the pastor’s time.

A UPG worship and music ministry team meets once a month.

There is a UPG mutual ministry team that will provides support in the pastor’s efforts to help lead this UPG.

Wherever possible when it is required for the pastor attend varied ministry team meetings (e.g. Christian Education) efforts are made to have UPG meetings to maximize the pastor’s time.

Each campus is financially responsible for its own staff and expenses associated with ministry. Where possible and practical both campuses share costs (e.g. if there is a Sunday item that will be shared with those attending worship, one campus would reimburses the other campus for cost of product at a 50% rate.)

Both campuses use the same resources to publicly proclaim our ministry on social media or other sorts of publicity and share appropriate expenses.

Benefits

This model of ministry allows people who are seeking a deeper relationship with God more opportunities for worship than currently exist (four opportunities for worship; Wednesday evening, Saturday evening, two worship opportunities on Sunday) and also displays to the world our desire to have an important voice within the community in which we reside, that sisters and brothers in Christ can explore meaningful relationships in order to advance the proclamation of the Gospel.

This model of ministry provides for:

  • Security of worshipping in currently existing buildings
  • Each campus exploring a common mission
  • Flexibility and Optionality
  • Each campus drawing on the strengths of ministry of the other campus, sharing “real world” cost savings to allow viable ministry to thrive and flourish
  • Sharing of experiences and strengths with the other campus
  • Sharing with this generation a vision of commonly proclaiming the Gospel