by Janet Dabbs
Grace Lutheran Church Pastor Erik Rottmann has ministered at the church in Versailles for 18 years. He says his favorite part is the preaching and teaching of the Holy Word.
Ever since the eighth grade, Rottmann said he felt called to the pastoral office. He studied three years at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bluffs, Ill. and then graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Ind. “I really have always been minded toward the ministry as a place I felt I could serve well,” Rottmann said.
Grace Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod that gathers around the preached Word and the sacraments in liturgical worship.
The Church Year
Rottmann said, “In our daily lives we keep track of our activities and special events with a calendar. The church throughout the centuries has also kept track of days and seasons, commemorating special occasions with a calendar.
“In the same way, Grace Lutheran Church follows the example of structuring the year around the marvelous acts of salvation that God completed for us in his Son, Christ. They call this structure the Church Year.”
The church year calendar is organized into three sections: Sundays and seasons, feasts and festivals, and commemorations. The Sundays and seasons in the cycles of the Church’s liturgical calendar are; Christmas/Epiphany, Good Friday/Easter, and Pentecost, followed by the Time of the Church.
Grace Lutheran Church is currently in the Sunday and Season Cycle of the Lenten Season. Their mid-week Lenten services are 7 p.m. every Wednesday through Wednesday, April 10. The subject of the midweek preaching is “7 Evils That Can Help You Bear Your Load.” A teaching meant to encourage and enlighten believers going through difficult times. The first through fifth Sunday of Lent takes place Sunday, March 10 through Sunday, April 7.
They will then observe the Sunday of the Passion on Palm Sunday (Jesus the God-man walking down the road to his suffering) Sunday, April 14 and Holy Week with Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper and the Betrayal of Jesus) with a Closed Communion Service 7 p.m., Thursday, April 18. Then a Good Friday Service (the crucifixion of Christ) is 7 p.m. Friday, April 19 and an Easter Divine Service (the resurrection of Jesus) is 8 a.m. Sunday, April 21. An Easter Sunday breakfast will follow the Easter Sunday Service. There will be a freewill donation.
God among us
“I have experienced a lot of joy in my office,” Rottmann said. “I have gone through a lot of things with this congregation, through good and bad times, and the greatest blessing has been our endurance in the faith, because of the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of God among us.”
Jesus is The Way
The Sunday preaching centers on the atonement Christ provided on the cross. “We believe that God the Father sent his Son, to be incarnate of the Virgin Mary. So, Jesus is both God and man. He lived a perfect sinless life, fulfilling all the demands of the law, that we could not fulfill ourselves. Then, he offered himself in death for our salvation. He bore in his body on the tree (cross) all the guilt, sin and temptation we are all guilty of, paying the price for our sin, so that we can be forgiven.”
A spiritual family
“He has gathered us together to be his people,” Rottmann said. “All of us are one and on the same level in the baptismal. We are a spiritual family, with Christ at the head of the family.”
Grace Lutheran Church is open to all. “People will probably be surprised by what they find here,” Pastor Rottmann said. “The shape of our worship is remarkably unlike most of the churches in the area. We don’t have a praise band. We still have an organ, and we don’t focus on crowd involvement. What we do focus on is hearing the Word. You will hear the Word clearly proclaimed,” Rottmann said.
Grace Lutheran Church is located at 403 South Burke Street in Versailles. For additional information, call 573-378-5512.
by Janet Dabbs