Third Lutheran


31 Livingston St.

Rhinebeck, NY


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Rhinebeck, New York    


The Lutheran Church represents the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in a particular place, time and ministry. It is not a static denomination but a movement within the western Christian tradition, praying and working for the manifest unity of the whole church in history. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church and the authority for all of the church’s actions. As he called for oneness of his disciples, so we respond in ministry and institutional ways to manifest that oneness.

In this effort, we express our unity with sister congregations and worldwide expressions of the Church in the following ways:


The Rhinebeck Clergy Council

Meeting regularly this coalition of various and sometimes changing local congregations and clergy sponsors joint programs and worship events, consults about community needs and issues, and provides a place of fellowship for ministers and leaders to serve all.

Special Events during the course of the year include:

    • Weekly Wednesday evening ecumenical worship during Lent (five weeks before Easter) at announced locations, followed by fellowship for all;
    • A fall program for local families: "Called to Raise Up Our Children" with an ecumenical service of special music and presentations to rally the whole community to support children’s programs, support for families at risk and relationships with public schools and institutions;
    • A Thanksgiving Eve Eucharist, hosted by particular congregation, involving clergy from other churches and welcoming all for this national holiday;
    • A "rogation day" event in the late spring to plant a tree, pray for healthful and abundant harvests and recognize our common stewardship of the earth and each other.

Eucharistic Fellowship

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has recently approved agreements which will establish relationships with other Christian traditions enabling inter-communion and the sharing of ministry which was not possible in the past 400 years. This does now or soon will make it possible for ministers in other traditions to serve our congregation and for our ministers to serve them. 



Such agreements are being established with the Episcopal Church, the Reformed Church in America, the Presbyterian Church, USA, and the United Church of Christ.

Special regional services and events are being planned to celebrate these agreements, and details are available by calling 876-4471.


Historic Agreement with the Roman Catholic Church

In October, 1999, representatives of the Lutheran churches throughout the world (with some exceptions) and the Roman Catholic Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification which is the first document of agreement between historic churches of the Reformation and the Vatican, erasing century-old condemnations between the churches and establishing a foothold in a long climb toward mutual understanding. It is a small step, in that a basic document has now been recognized upon which a conversation can occur on all levels (local and international). This declaration is the fruit of three decades of study and sharing of theological documents as well as changes that occur in every Christian communion.


A Special Relationship with the Jewish Community

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommends a manner of sharing prayer, social concerns, and inter-faith dialogue with the various expressions of worldwide Judaism. A vital step in this direction was taken within the past decade when the church expressed apologies for and basic disagreement with some writings of Martin Luther with regard to the Jews of his day. One important event – on a national scale – that marks this need for conversation and study is a forthcoming spring conference on "Jews and Christians: People of God" dealing with a Jewish Theology of Christianity and a Christian Theology of Judaism, at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, June 10-12, 2001. Further information is available by calling 876-4471.

Locally, the most available occasion for Jewish-Christian dialogue are events sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Theology at Bard College (845/758-7279).