Tree of Life Church is a thirty year old congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Quite a few of our original founding family members have now completed the race of faith. Some have moved away. A few have fallen into activity. As the congregation has matured, so has its mission. Our roots have dug deeper. Our branches have extended wider. Our congregation is active in its ministry to our neighborhood. Monthly collections of financial gifts and material goods support many, many local ministries. Members gather every Thursday morning to prepare 500 meals or more for Bethesda Mission and Downtown Daily Bread. Members serve up bags of food thru the Ecumenical Food Pantry and meals thru Helping Hands Ministries. Every September, we put together school kids and layettes for Lutheran World Relief. Our crafters sew blankets, lap blankets, quilts and prayer shawls. Our ministry extends globally thru financial support for young adults in global ministry, support for Tree4Hope, our ministry in Guatemala, Tech4Tanzania and our Dinka speaking congregation known as Sudan Church.
Fellowship activities throughout the year create opportunities for fun, good food and new friends- a pasta dinner in January, ham loaf and green beans mid winter, soup suppers on the Wednesdays of Lent, an Easter Sunday continental breakfast, summer picnic, Lobsterfest in September, a Crafts Fair and pork and kraut lunch in October and on New Year’s Day, potluck dinner following our Annual Meeting and soup on Thanksgiving Eve. A Men’s Breakfast group meets on the fourth Saturday of each month. We support a team in the Church Dartball League, host both Senior Men (Mon, Wed, Fri) and Women’s (Tue, Thu) Volleyball players and basketball for Adult men on Thursdays at 5 PM. We support a large Boy Scout Troop and Cub Pack.
Our Christian Education Committee supports a traditional Sunday School including a program for adults, confirmation classes for children in grades 6-8, Vacation Bible School in June, a Tuesday evening bible study as well as one on Thursday mornings and on the Wednesdays of Lent.
Our Youth Ministry program supports a 3rd-5th grade group known as TWIGS (Together Working In God’s Spirit) with monthly activities including baking Christmas cookies and delivering them to older members and friends and serving up a lunch on Souper Bowl Soup Sunday. Youth Group for young adults grade 6 thru 12 generally meets on the first and third Sunday evenings of each month and enjoys many other events including a winter retreat, spring mystery trip and varied other activities including support for Harrisburg Area Confirmation Camp and summer camping opportunities at two local camps- Nawakwa and Kirchenwald. Our older youth attend the Triennial Youth Gathering of the ELCA which typically gathers over 30,000 Lutheran youth for 4-5 days of worship, fellowship, learning and service in a major American city.
Three worship services are offered each weekend. The Saturday 5 PM service is 50 minutes in length, casual and contemplative – a lullaby before bed. The Sunday services at 8:30 and 11 AM are often busy and supported by our varied music program- Adult Choir, Adult Bell Choir, Women’s Ensemble, Praise Band and Children’s Sunday School Music program, as well as varied soloists and ensembles. During Lent, midweek services are offered on Wednesdays at 7 PM. Special services are also offered on Ash Wednesday, throughout Holy Week, on Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve.
Exceptionally trained laypersons known as Stephen Ministers support a ministry of Christian care giving for members and friends facing tough times and difficult challenges. The Hospitality Committee organizes and serves meals following funerals for members and friends. We protect our children thru a Safe Sanctuary policy which requires all our staff members and anyone working with children to go thru the various clearances required by the state and by our policy. Over the years, we’ve learned about the spiritual and therapeutic value of pets. Our Pet Ministry Committee actively engages and supports local pet organizations, but also the needs of members as their lives change along with their pet care needs.
Tree of Life is a large congregation that seeks to be a welcome place for all regardless of who they are or where they’ve come from. But, we want to be seen as a small congregation where you can make new friends, find a place to worship and serve God, and live out your faith in meaningful ways. You are welcome here!