I’m New Here!

Welcome to St Paul!

We’re so glad you found us!  We are a small but mighty church that is passionate about community, family, friendships and finding our calling.  We strive to be more than just a weekly worship gathering place and we endeavor to be a community of believers that center on the person and mission of Jesus Christ.  We’re about help, healing, hope and sharing the Bible.  No matter where you are from… this is a place that you can call home!

We know that being new to a church community can be a little intimidating.  Please feel free to take a look around our website to find out more about who we are and what we’re all about!  Click on the links below to learn more.

Worship Times

Our traditional worship service is held every Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

We also have a more informal family oriented service called the Gathering on the second and fourth Sunday of the month at 9:30 a.m.  The Gathering always offers contemporary music that is easy for the children to learn.  Both of these services have Holy Communion and are held during the school year.

In the summer months, our traditional worship is held at 9:30 a.m.

Meet Our Staff – Rev. Rhonda J. Hoehn

Rev. Rhonda J. Hoehn graduated from Boston College with a BS in Biology.  While doing mission work at a Cottage Hospital in Litein, Kenya, she was called away from pursuing a degree in medicine.  She holds a Master of Divinity Degree (MDiv) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (STM) from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. She completed post-graduate studies at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, Columbia University, and has taught at New York University, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and Union Theological Seminary.

Rev. Rhonda J. Hoehn was ordained through the Metro New York Synod of the ELCA on October 23, 1993.   She began serving St. Paul Lutheran Church on December 1, 2009 and prefers to be called, “Pastor Rhonda.”  She has served small and large communities in a variety of suburban and urban settings, including Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Queens) as Pastor, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (Manhattan) as Interim Pastor and New York University and Columbia University as Campus Pastor.  While Co-Pastor at King of Kings Lutheran Church (Middletown, NJ) and Parish Associate at First Presbyterian Church (Red Bank, NJ), Pastor Rhonda worked with church-based preschools.  She enjoys teaching and creating new resources to bring the Good News of God’s love to all ages, especially children.

Before her ordination, Pastor Rhonda enjoyed short-term mission work in Kenya, Lesotho, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines.  She grew up in rural, residential Massachusetts.  Her siblings and neighborhood friends were gifted with acres of woodlands and wide-open spaces to play in.  She has fond memories of collecting warm, fresh chicken eggs, vegetable gardening with Mom, fishing with Dad, singing in various choirs, and playing varsity basketball.  Pastor Rhonda loves cats, classical music and a good game of cribbage.

Meet Our Staff – Christian Aquino

Christian Aquino has been our organist and Director of Music since May, 2014. Born and raised in the Bronx, he was baptized in the Lutheran church from infancy. As Christian’s piano and vocal skills began to develop, his musical involvement in church started at age 12, when he began the first of many years directing the summer music program for Vacation Bible School, which he continued to do until college. In addition to collegiate courses in music theory, composition, musicology and choral music, he practiced music outside of school, studying organ technique under the direction of his uncle, Dr. Fred Brandt. Christian also currently serves as one of the organists at the First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck in the Bronx. Past organist positions he has held include East Bronx Baptist Church and, more recently, St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Nyack. When he is not taking part in musical activities, Christian enjoys being outdoors, skiing, travel, movies and baseball.

Children are always welcome!

We have a children’s sermon every Sunday. Crayon and Biblical coloring pages are near the main doors to the sanctuary to help keep children occupied during worship on Sunday mornings.  We also have a room where parents may stay with their small children who need a break from the service.

To the right, Pastor Rhonda is teaching the kids about the history and significance of pretzels in Lent in her children’s sermon.

We’ve saved a place for you at our table.

If you are a baptised Christian and truly believe that Jesus is present in these gifts of bread and wine… you are welcome to take part in Holy Communion.  At our traditional worship, you have a choice of how to receive the wine; either by common cup (sip) or by intinction (dip).  Holy Communion at the Gathering is always by intinction.

How should I dress?

When the Lord sees you, He sees no sins. No spots. No blemishes. No wrinkles. No stains.  We rejoice and worship together in a holy community with suits, jeans, flip flops, dress shoes, the young and the old, the stodgy and the carefree.   Come as you are!

What we believe

We are a member church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).  As Lutheran Christians, we confess the following:
  • We believe in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord and Savior.
  • We trust the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
  • We identify the Bible; the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds; and the Lutheran confessional writings in the Book of Concord as the basis for our teaching.

In a nutshell, Lutherans believe that humans are saved from their sins by God’s grace alone, through faith alone and on the basis of Scripture alone.

Worship Stands at the Center of Our Life of Faith

For Lutherans, worship stands at the center of our life of faith. Through God’s word, water, bread and prayer we are nurtured in faith and sent out into the world.

Connected with and central to everything we do, worship unites us in celebration, engages us in thoughtful dialogue and helps us grow in faith. It grounds us in our Christian and Lutheran roots, while demonstrating practical relevance for today’s world.

There is also a basic pattern for worship among Lutherans. We gather. We encounter God’s word. We share a meal at the Lord’s table. And we are sent into the world. But we do not think about worship so much in terms of what we do. Worship is fundamentally about what God is doing and our response to God’s action. Worship is an encounter with God, who saves us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Credits: https://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Congregations-and-Synods/Worship

Who Are Lutherans?

Lutherans Are Sinners
. . . but they are forgiven. Lutherans may identify themselves as students or senators, Texans or Tanzanians, children or senior citizens. But when they consider their religious beliefs, they will confess what you would soon find out: they fall short of God’s expectations.
They will go on to tell that this same God, a loving God, forgives them. They believe that it is God acting for and in them, and not their own acts, that brings forgiveness. Lutherans call this “justification by grace through faith.” As a result they are new people who are not haunted by guilt or bothered by worry. They trust God who comes to them in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Lutherans Are Evangelical
. . . and as forgiven people reach out to share the message of God’s grace. Evangelical refers to the good news, or gospel, of Jesus Christ. As sinners Lutherans sometimes get caught up in themselves as much as everyone else does. But they try to look beyond themselves to bring the gospel to community life with people of other faiths and those of no faith. They welcome others to worship and work with them.

Lutherans Are Born Again Christians
. . . with their own understanding of what it means to be “born again.” Lutherans, like other catholic Christians, baptize infants, believing that God works grace in them. In fact, they believe that every day and in every act of serious return to God they are returning to their baptism. They come forth as new people, which means that they are born again–and again and again.

Lutherans Are Worshipers
. . . who think of worship not as a pastor’s performance but as the people’s service. They are sacramental. Along with Baptism they celebrate the Eucharist (or Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion) frequently, in many churches weekly. They believe that Jesus Christ is truly present when they gather in faith for this sacred meal.
Theirs is a singing church, and Lutherans have contributed and still contribute much to Christian music. These songs are not always on the Christian Hit Parade, but it does not take long to learn them and to appreciate the way they focus thoughts on a gracious God. Lutheran worship includes song and prayer from many Christian traditions.
Lutherans place special emphasis on the word of God. Lutheran worship stresses preaching in the form of a sermon that addresses the needs of sinners and announces the loving activity of God. God is present when humans speak the divine word, so Lutherans gather to hear it together.
They believe God speaks to people through the Scriptures, and so Lutherans revere personal Bible reading in addition to personal prayer. They are serious about their devotion to God but do not prescribe special postures or mannerisms.

Lutherans Are Stewards
. . . which means they believe that all of life and health, all possessions and capabilities are, in a sense, on loan from God the Creator.  So they keep on learning–never rapidly enough, or profoundly enough–how to return on God’s investment in them.

Lutherans Want to Make a Difference
. . . as people who do well when God works through them. Lutherans take the divine law with utter seriousness, but they are not legalists. They do not think they can please God by following laws nor can they come to perfection. Remember, the first thing to be said about them is that they are sinners who are forgiven. But they believe that they are to make faith active in love. Where there is no love, no generosity, no service to others, they suspect that faith is weak or absent.
Through organized groups and individual action Lutherans are part of public life. They want to work for justice, as biblical prophets and New Testament believers did.
Lutherans also participate in works of mercy and healing, as the name “Lutheran” on so many hospitals, social service agencies, and relief projects makes clear. These efforts involve non-Lutheran partners.

Lutherans Are Churchly
. . . and learning to be more so.  This means they are ecumenical–they want the church to be as united as Christ prayed it would be. Yet they confess their faith through creeds and statements designed to set forth distinctive Lutheran understanding about a gracious God. As sinners, they do not think of themselves as better than others. As confessors, they do believe all Christians should speak clearly of their understandings of faith.

Lutherans Are Protestants
. . . who are also catholic.  As Protestants, they continue the reformation begun in European churches in the 15th century. Being catholic they believe that Christ’s church is universal, and that they are connected with Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and other Christians who stress their ties to Christ’s church everywhere and through the ages.

Lutheran Protestants would not have chosen the name Lutheran; it was acquired accidentally, often from early enemies. The name refers to Martin Luther, a German monk and an Old Testament professor, who came to renewed understanding of the good news almost 500 years ago. Lutherans do not worship Martin Luther, but they do celebrate what God worked through him. Luther’s writings called for church reform and led to protests–now known as the Protestant Reformation. His statement on justification by grace through faith, for example, remains a central, distinct characteristic of Lutheran understanding today.

Lutherans Come From Somewhere
. . . and would like to be everywhere.  Lutherans originated as people who were involved with church reform in Scandinavia and Germany. They moved from northern Europe first and chiefly to northern North America, which seemed to be a second natural habitat. However, they believe that their message of a God who forgives sinners is for everyone, so Lutherans have moved south from Europe and northern America into all the world.
Most Lutherans believe that the Christian good news knows no racial, ethnic, economic, national, or gender-related boundaries. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is organized to give emphasis to its desire that men and women, white and black, Hispanic and Asian and others, share equally in the benefits and tasks that go with Christian life.

Lutherans Are Congregational
. . . but do not limit their activities to local or regional arenas.  Most of the time their neighbors know Lutherans through the local churches which bear their names. And Lutherans put most of their energies into these local congregations. There they baptize, commune, speak the word of God, reach out with acts of love, become friends, receive challenges, pray for others, and test their responsibilities.
Lutheran congregations are connected by synods and by church bodies like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which has over five million members. They pool resources so that together these congregations can better reach out to people in need everywhere.
Together they educate leaders. Lutherans stress learned ministries and cherish skilled professional workers. For this they need jointly supported seminaries and colleges. But their stress on leadership, made possible by the larger church, does not make Lutheranism a priestly movement. Lay Christians as well as ordained ministers make up what Martin Luther called “a priesthood of all believers.” All are ministers. Lay people, in teamwork with pastors, take initiatives to help see that Christ is represented among them and in their communities.

Lutherans Are Unfinished Products
. . . though their forgiveness is complete. Aware of human weakness, imperfection, and mixed-up priorities, Lutherans are hopeful people. They respond to God’s love by reaching out to others to tell and to demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ. They believe that with God, anything is possible. They invite others who are not now active in Christian communions to join them in the challenges which a trouble-filled world presents, and to rejoice with them in the promises with which a loving God greets them.

Who are Lutherans? by Martin E. Marty copyright (c) 1989 Augsburg Fortress.  All rights reserved.

Posted on this website by permission of Augsburg Fortress. www.augsburgfortress.org

Our History

St. Paul Lutheran Church has a rich history in the community. The Church was founded on October 17, 1907 when a group of Lutherans met at the home of Mr. John Jaegler to organize a Lutheran congregation in Nanuet, NY.

Mr. Jaegler offered his home as a place of worship and the first service was announced on November 10, 1907.  Later, it was discovered that the vacant church edifice in Nanuet known as the Seceder Church (The True Dutch Reformed Church of Clarkstown) could be rented for the modest amount of one dollar a Sunday.  In the following year, the Seceder Church building, property and cemetery, about 1.5 acres, was purchased for the sum of $1,800.  In December 1908, the congregation was incorporated under the Laws of New York State as the Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s Congregation.

On July 8, 1954, the church was badly damaged by fire and later determined to rebuild. After a few studies were conducted, the Synod and Board of Missions advised relocation. On September 30, 1956 a new house of worship was celebrated located at 323 South Main Street, New City, NY.