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Core Values of the New Jersey Synod

Core values are guiding principles that are essential and enduring, and provide guidance for all aspects of this expression of the church. Core values express what the organization stands for and how it will conduct itself. A set of Synod leaders, when asked to identify the core values of the New Jersey Synod, offered a variety of thoughts that were distilled into twenty value words (these are found in italics). The following core values describe what we are deeply passionate about as a Synod:


Rooted and nurtured in relationship with God through Word and Sacrament, we follow Jesus for the sake of the world. Daily prayerful discernment and striving for excellence in discipleship move us forward into God’s future.


This is about justice: justice for each child of God, honor especially for the least, and respect in all relationships so that they are life-giving, grace-filled, safe, and create peace, as the Creator intended.


All of God’s children together express the wonder and majesty of creation. Life in community, fully and richly inclusive and marked by unfailing hospitality, is a sign of God’s Kingdom.


To live is to give. Giving beyond expectation or reason can reflect the grace and compassion of the One in whose image we are made.


The Gospel is about transformation, stirred by the power of life over death. Hope-filled people can change; hopeless people cannot.


Synod literally means to walk together. Our journey together is experienced as accompaniment, committed to collaboration, marked by multiplication, and blessed with synergy as we engage in God’s mission.

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First Lutheran was founded in 1895 as a Lutheran ministry to the Swedish and Norwegian community in and around Montclair. It was a member of the Augustana Synod, which later merged into the Lutheran Chuch in America, now known as the ELCA.


A faithful church will be active in five basic areas of ministry: Worship, Support, Service, Education, and Witness. These five have been redefined to correspond to the five letters of our name, “FIRST”, becoming: Fund, Invite, Rejoice, Serve, and Teach.
  • Fund!
    Our finances and the support of our ministries are known as stewardship.
  • Invite!

    Bringing others to Christ is called evangelism.


    We gather to praise and thank God in worship.

  • SERVE!
    In the church, we call helping the poor and needy social ministry.
  • TEACH!
    The area of ministry for learning and childhood development is called education and youth.

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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

First Lutheran Church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The ELCA Mission:

Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered and sent for the sake of the world. This is the mission statement of the ELCA. As members of the ELCA, we believe that we are freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor. With our hands, we do God’s work of restoring and reconciling communities in Jesus’ name throughout the world.