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Who We Are

The Lutheran Church of the Reformation is a member congregation of the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

We in the ELCA experience the church in three interdependent expressions – congregations, synods and churchwide.

Congregations are gatherings of believers that meet regularly to worship, learn, celebrate and serve together in a local context.

Synods are formed by groups of approximately 200 congregations. The pastor of a synod is the Synodical Bishop. There are 65 synods in the U.S. and Caribbean that form the ELCA.

The Churchwide offices of the ELCA are located in Chicago, including the Office of the Presiding Bishop.

Mission Statement

“The Lutheran Church of the Reformation is one way of showing the body of Christ, which is the people of God.  As we gather around the Word and Sacrament, we are committed to allow the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts, to proclaim and teach Christ’s love according to the gifts and talents God has given to each of us, to work for God’s justice in His name.  As a part of God’s family, we pledge to care for one another in love and concern and to reach out with the love of Christ to the broader community, until that day when Christ returns and we are called into the perfect Kingdom of God, our Father.”

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Pastoral Statement on Sacramental Practice

All people are welcome to gather with us for our services of Word and Sacrament wherein the Word of God is read and proclaimed, and the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism are offered.

Many faith traditions, for the sake of good order, and because they understand the Sacraments to be the activity of God for a particular purpose in the life of a particular group or person, restrict or limit participation in the Sacraments.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), document entitled “The Use of the Means of Grace: A Statement on the Practice of Word and Sacrament” recommends sacramental practices for ELCA congregations. Seeking to be faithful to the open nature of the Gospel, and also to this document that is for guidance and practice, our current practice at The Lutheran Church of the Reformation is:

  • All people are welcome to join in worship.

  • All who seek baptism, and intend to fulfill the promises of their baptismal covenant, will be baptized. Those who have no intention of participating in the life of this or any other Christian congregation will not be baptized. In baptism there are promises made by the baptized, as well as by the congregation, that cannot be kept if the one baptized is not a member of a Christian community.

  • All who are baptized are welcome to receive Holy Communion regardless of age. Ongoing, lifelong, Christian education, including education about the Word and the Sacraments, is encouraged for all. The decision of when to commune for the first time is to be made jointly by the first communicant, the parent/guardian, and the pastor.

  • Any who worship with us, but choose not to receive holy communion, are welcome to come forward for a pastoral blessing

We commune in both kinds—bread and wine. We acknowledge that for various reasons some are not able to receive either wheat bread or wine, therefore, gluten-free wafers and grape juice are made available.

 

Our History

Learn more about Reformation's 92 years of history in the West Long Branch community!

1930s

  • Sunday, September 27, 1931 – the first service was held.

  • October, 11, 1931 Congregation Organized –  24 charter members

  • 1931 The Rev. Carl Miller (who also served Atonement Lutheran, Asbury Park) was the first Pastor.  There were 31 communing members. 

  • The annual budget was $694.

  • 1932 – Pastor Howard Kuhnle (who lived to be 101 and died in 2006) was called as the second Pastor.  7 children were baptized on the first anniversary of the congregation.

  • 1933 – The first Confirmation service for 7 young people.

1940s
  • 1940 – The congregation moved to the American Legion Hall.

  • 1945 – The present church site was purchased.

  • 1946 – Pastor Paul Alberti was called to Reformation.  The congregation moved to the YMCA Hall.

  • December 19, 1948 – the Chapel (present day Fellowship Hall) was dedicated.  The membership stood at 63 communing members.

1950s
  • 1950 – Pastor Charles Gartner was called to Reformation.  An organ was purchased.

  • 1951 – Pastor Fred Bartelt called to Reformation.

  • 1954 – The home next to the Chapel was purchased and transformed into a parish hall.

  • 1958.  Pastor Robert Oswald was called to Reformation.  The communing membership stood at 202 with 203 children in the SCS

1960s
  • Jan 27, 1963 – Dedication of the new sanctuary and Sunday Church School wing.

  • 1966 – Parsonage sold and a housing allowance established.

  • 1968 – Purchased additional property on Broadway.

  • 1969 – 805 Baptized members, 208 in Sunday Church School

1970s
  • 1970 – Pastor Robert Linders called to Reformation.

  • 1974 – Improvement to parking lot and grounds.

  • 1976 – 2 offices added.

  •  1978 – Pastor Alfred Acer called as the Senior Pastor

  • 1979 – 653 Baptized members, 117 pupils in Sunday School

1980s
  • 1981 – Reformation’s 50th anniversary and the burning of the mortgage.  First Word and Witness class.  New organ installed.

  • Budget of $99,000 with $4,000 in savings

  • 1985 – Pastor Richard Tupy accepts the position of Pastoral Assistant. 

  • 1986 – Stained glass is installed in the side windows of the sanctuary.

  • 1987 – The first concert of the John Fabrici Memorial Concert Series is held.

  • 1988 – The Endowment Fund begun.  

  • 1989 – 841 Baptized members, 93 pupils in Sunday School

1990s
  • 1991 – Anna Beaty honored for serving as SCS Superintendent for 50 years.

  • 1992 – Pastor Penelope Stechmann joins the Pastoral staff.  The first Saturday Eucharist is held.  Pastor Tupy steps down.

  • 1995 – Dr. Doris Watson starts as our Organist / Choir Director.

  • 1997 – Mike Hamrick, Dave Matthews and Peggy White became our first Diakonia graduates.

  • 1999 – 983 Baptized members

2000s
  • 10/20/02 – Dedication of addition to the sanctuary, extending out, adding sacristy, installing stained glass, moving to a free standing altar

  • 6/13/04 – Dedication of the East Wing expansion adding the gathering area, offices and Great Room

  • 12/4/05 – Dedication of the New Food Pantry in a converted garage

  • 2006 – Year long celebration of the 75th anniversary of Reformation

  • 2008 – 1090 Baptized members, 63 children in Sunday School + 22 students in the Confirmation program for a total of 85.   A budget of $401,000 was approved

  • June 13, 2008 – Pastor Alfred C. Acer died

  • June, 2008 – Pastor Penelope Stechmann is Pastor of Reformation increasing her hours to 30 per week; Pastor Richard Tupy assisted the congregation by working 10 hours per week

  • August 16, 2009 – Congregational Call Meeting held to vote on calling Pastor Penelope Stechmann as Senior Pastor. This vote was insufficient for a call (2/3 majority needed)

  • September, 2009 – Pastor Stechmann resigned effective November 30, 2009

  • December 1, 2009 – Pastor James McKinley is assigned as the Interim Senior Pastor; Pastor Richard Tupy Jr. continues to assist the congregation, working 10 hours per week.

2010s
  • July 25, 2010 – Pastor Matthew Cimorelli called to Reformation

  • September, 2010 – Pastor McKinley completes Interim Term and is reassigned; Pastor Richard Tupy Jr. discontinued his part-time service to Reformation

  • October 3, 2010 – Pastor Matthew Cimorelli began serving as Senior Pastor

  • 2011 Narthex was renovated, and new stain glass was installed. New Electronic Organ was installed.

  • October 2011 – Celebration of 80 years of ministry

  • October 2012 – Superstorm Sandy hits the Northeast. Reformation, in partnership with the County Food Bank, Long Branch Covenant Church, Lutheran Disaster Response and Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey, becomes an emergency aid distribution center

  • June 2013 – Reformation, in partnership with the same organizations listed above, and Monmouth University, begins housing recovery workers who sleep and eat at Reformation and shower at Long Branch Covenant or Monmouth U. Reformation is the first such site in New Jersey following the storm. At the Annual Congregational Business Meeting, held January 29, 2017, Reformation announces it is bringing it’s Sandy related work to an end.

  • 2017 - To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, we worked with our siblings at Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church in Monmouth Beach holding joint service opportunities, sharing meals, educational events, a hymn sing, and a joint worship service featuring a combined choir and shared worship leadership by Father Bob Kaeding and Pastor Matt Cimorelli.

  • January 29, 2017 – At the Annual Congregational Business meeting, by a vote of 62 in favor and 3 opposed, Reformation joins the Reconciling in Christ movement, adopting an Affirmation of Welcome statement.

  • June 24, 2018– At special congregational meeting approval was given to expand the food pantry and clothes closet ministry by building a new 22 x 45 building for the food pantry and moving the clothes closet into the current food pantry

  • July 15, 2018 – ceremonial ground breaking for the new food pantry

  • April 13, 2019 – New food pantry and clothes closet were officially opened and dedicated

  • March 15, 2020 -  In-person activities suspended due to COVID-19 Pandemic. First Livestream Service held.

  • June 6, 2021 - In-person worship resumed with continued livestream.

  • March, 2022 - With congregational approval new flooring installed in the sanctuary

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