Lutheran Congregation Celebrates 40 Years as “the Church in the Center”

Lutheran Congregation Celebrates 40 Years as “the Church in the Center”

Christ the Servant Lutheran Church – an original “church in the village center” – is celebrating its 40th anniversary at a special service and celebration on All Saints Day, Nov 1. The church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has been an active part of the Hunters Woods community since its early days in the first Hunters Woods Village Center. The church building, which is adjacent to the Reston Community Center, was dedicated in September 1984.

“We are a welcoming and inclusive community of Lutherans who are always looking for new people with whom to share the good news of the gospel and new ways to serve the community,” said Pastor Philip Carl, who is the sixth pastor of CTS. “We have a short and simple mission statement that we capture in just three words – Celebrate, Think, Serve – which are also the initials of the church. We also use those words to end our service each Sunday, commanding our members to go out into the world mindful of those three simple messages.”

CTS aligns with the Reston concept envisioned by the late founder Robert Simon who saw his village centers as true “hearts” of the community they served. Needs for food, fellowship, and faith were all to be met within each center.

STARTING IN 1975 in rental space next to a pet store in the original Hunters Woods Village Center, CTS has been a vital presence in the community, continually striving to keep the notion of “servant” and “serving others” foremost in its ministry and outreach.

Just this past year, under Pastor Carl’s leadership, CTS began a program to serve lunch each Tuesday to the homeless on the plaza at Hunters Woods Village Center, in concert with Reston’s interfaith organization, Cornerstones. CTS members also provide a monthly catered outreach lunch to the residents of their neighbor in the center, Fellowship House.

“One of the newer traditions that we have started at CTS is our summer ‘Salon Sunday,’ in which we invite a prominent member of the community to ‘take the pulpit’ and deliver a message on issues facing the community. After the service, usually held in late August, the invited guest and the congregation adjourn to a local restaurant for a lively discussion,” said Pastor Carl. Invited speakers for this popular event have included the late Robert E. Simon; Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins; Cornerstones CEO Kerrie Wilson; and just this past August, Del. Ken Plum (D-36).

In preparation for its 40th anniversary as a congregation and the 30th anniversary of its church home, the CTS congregation has been looking at plans for renovating its space. In an enthusiastic campaign that has featured the idea of all things RE – such as REflect, REnew, REjoice – the congregation has focused on reflecting on its 40 years as a community of faith, renewing its commitment to service to others, and rejoicing with one another in all that they have accomplished in their four decades in Reston and in the Hunters Woods community.

“Throughout the year we have used ‘RE’ words whenever and wherever we can to emphasize this special year of remembering our past and recommitting ourselves to doing even more in the decades to come,” said Pastor Carl.

THE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION on Nov. 1 will begin with a special worship service at 10 a.m., at which Gordon Lathrop, professor of liturgy emeritus at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pa., will be the guest preacher. After the service, a luncheon, catered by Cafesano, will be served to CTS members and invited guests at the Reston Community Center.