to know the new president of our
Our former president Valter Must was named to the New Jersey Supreme Court Ocean County as a judge and had to resign. The congregation thanks Valter for his many years of service.
We sincerely greet our new president Kenneth and his wife Amy. Ken's parents emigrated to the United States before the Second World War and before the Soviet occupation of Estonia. Father Martin and mother Meta were well known to Estonian refugees when they arrived here and helped in the Estonian community to welcome the new Estonians to Lakewood as well as giving a helping hand in the building of our Estonian church here in Lakewood. Ken and Amy have an apple farm on Rt. 88.
October 30th, 2017
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
Hi, my name is Amy Ling. I am the wife of the newly elected President of the Church Council, Kenneth Ling. My husband is a full-blooded Estonian and I am his American wife - a melting pot of culture.
Kenneth is the only child of elderly parents. Our first few years of marriage were spent taking care of them till they passed. I learned much about the Estonian culture and the Lutheran Church from my in-laws. I even travelled to Estonia with my then fiancé and his father. I was fascinated to see Estonia and learn of its culture which goes back much further than in the USA. The tours we took gave us a rich history of the country that my husband's parents were born in. Did you know that 95% of Estonians are Lutheran? Well they are. I tried to learn the language but my tongue always got in the way.
Reverand Thomas Vaga Bishop came to the Estonian Lutheran Church of Lakewood in August of 1987. He has been pastor here ever since. He realized sometime after his arrival that many Estonians in the community had American spouses who did not speak the Estonian language. He began to have services in English the third Sunday of every month. He wanted the spouses to attend the church and learn its rich history. I was one who attended this service with my husband at my side.
I tell you all of this because as the years went by, attendance at both the Estonian and English services grew less and less. I realize this was due in part to members getting old and not being able to drive, sickness and death. But unlike me, I feel many had children and grandchildren and that these children and grandchildren would be blessed to learn of their rich culture and religion if they would only attend services. The services are now only twice a month - the second and fourth Sunday of every month. They are about an hour long and are spoken in both Estonian and English. That is not a lot of time to give and visit the Lord in His house when He is with you every day and all day long.
Pastor Vaga is a good shepherd and it would encourage him greatly to find he had a larger flock. It says in Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not neglect our church meetings (services) as some people do but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." NIV translation.
I pray the Lord will encourage you to return to your roots with your children and grandchildren. You will find yourself and your family truly blessed by the Estonian culture and the Lutheran religion when you do come.
God's love, I remain,
Kenneth and Amy Ling - 2017
The Life of the Congregation - 2014
The family of Matti and Christel Teder - 2014. Photo courtesy of Lydia Erakare.
way feel also Matti and Christel Teder's family who came to their
Estonian church for Christmas service. The Christmas service is
always in Estonian and English with bible readings and hymns and
message. In the photo are Matti and Christel in the middle, son
Peter with his wife on the left and their three musical children.
detsembril, 2014 - Püha ristimise läbi võeti ristikiriku liikmeks
Tiina (Laupa) ja Neal Hutselli (seisavad vasakul) esimene laps, Luke
Ristimise talitus toimus Lakewoodi Eesti Luteri kirikus ja ristimise toimetas koguduse õpetaja Thomas Vaga. Ristimise tõotus, mida loeti ristimisel: "In Christian love you have presented this child for Holy Baptism. You should, therefore, faithfully bring him to the services of God's house, and teach him the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. As he grows in years, you should place in his hands the Holy Scriptures and provide for his instruction in the Christian faith, that, living in the covenant of his Baptism and in communion with the Church, he may lead a godly life until the day of Jesus Christ."
eesreas paremal vanavanaema Reet Laupa, Luke Everett ristiema Kaili
The Congregation's 65th Anniversary Executive
Must, Ilve Must, Secretary
right: Airi Vaga, MariaStar Zumpano (organist),
Sunday School 2014
The Life of the Congregation - 2013
The early Easter breakfast was prepared by the congregation's Chairman Valter Must aided by his brother Erik. More than 80 congregation members enjoyed the event.
Decon Kalju Ets in conversation with Audit Committee member Uno Taps.
Our congregation has a Sunday School! Airi Vaga leads a class at the Easter service. Back left is Alice Simonson helping.
The Life of the Congregation - 2012
The baptism of Juhan Simonson's youngest grand-daughter - November 11, 2012.
Dean Thomas Vaga at Juhan Simonson's funeral, November 23, 2012.
THREE IMPORTANT REASONS FOR THANKSGIVING
The last months of the year are here. They include three important Church festivals: Thanksgiving, All Saints for remembrance of our departed Christians and Christmas. These festivals are joined together by our gratitude for the gifts of God. God gives us things seen and unseen.
On Thanksgiving we primarily thank God for for the things we see and admire or taste and eat in nature and the harvest. We should also remember that the visible gifts represent the unseen gifts of God that are also important to our everyday life. The unseen gifts are almighty care and love God has for us. The Holy Scriptures assures us that "God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." (Romans 1:20) The colorful woods and mountains and fields of grain stretching to the horizon as well as the pumpkin and cornfields next to the highways reminds us of the greatness of the goodness of God. The Letter of James in the New Testament reminds us: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights." (James 1:17)
All Saints Day is for the remembrance of our loved ones and members of our congregation who have died. We are reminded, however, that God is with us in the midst of suffering and death. We feel helpless when illness or death touches us. The father of the faith or our church, Martin Luther, who knew the suffering illness brings through his life, assured that God does not forget or reject his own because "a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." (Psalm 51:17) God is with us in Jesus Christ every day and in every situation. God gives comfort over sorrow and life over death. God speaks to us through the Apostle Paul in the Holy Scriptures: "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." (1. Thessalonians 4:13-14) As Jesus rose visibly and physically from death, so will we rise visibly after death into life that is invisible to us now.
Christmas celebrates God becoming visible to us humans as Jesus the Son of Mary. The Holy Scripture makes it clear to us who Jesus Christ is: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible." (Colossians 1:15-16) Christmas witnesses and celebrates the coming to be with us of our unseen almighty keeper, protector and loving God in Jesus Christ.
God calls all to be with Him in a visible fellowship and to receive his forgiveness, comfort and holiness in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is really God with us – but not outside of Jesus. Without Jesus Christ there is no congregation or church. The Holy Scripture says clearly: "In Him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church." (Colossians 1:17)
This page was last edited on July 29, 2018 12:15 AM