Trinity Lutheran Church, 320 N. Cedar, has announced it has joined the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) and that the Rev. Keith Less now serves as the congregation’s interim pastor.

“I love teaching Bible classes and relating it to the world we live in today, which also is my preaching style as my sermons are Bible-based and I want you to take away something you can relate the message to in your life,” said Less, who holds a PhD in pastoral theology.

Pastor Keith, as he prefers to be called, is one of less than 10 American pastors who has preached twice in Wittenberg, Germany, at All Saints’ Church, commonly referred to as Castle Church, where Martin Luther is buried and where he nailed his 95 Theses in 1417, the act that has been called the start of the protestant reformation. Pastor Keith also has been on mission trips to South Africa, Cambodia, Guatemala, Finland and Prague in the Czech Republic.

“Being mission-minded makes you aware of your community, your country and the world, and you become more compassionate,” he said.

Bible study and mission work are among the reasons Pastor Keith and Trinity Lutheran Church joined the NALC, which organized in 2010. The fast-growing Christian church in the Lutheran tradition serves more than 141,000 Lutherans in more than 400 congregations across North America, according to its website, thenalc.org. The NALC church family is committed to the authority of the Bible as the inspired Word of God and, in keeping with the Lutheran Confessions, believes all doctrines be judged by the teaching of Scripture.

“We wanted to be affiliated with a Bible-based Lutheran church,” said Trinity Lutheran Church Council President Kody Chase, adding the four core values the NALC embraces include being Christ centered, mission driven, traditionally grounded and congregationally focused.

The NALC believes Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world, the Holy Scriptures in the Bible are the authoritative source for all matters of life and faith, and that the mission of the church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples for Christ in our congregations, communities, nation and around the world, according to its website.

It also endorses practices consistent with the Scripture, particularly ministry and the tradition of worship under Word and Sacrament, and encourages dialogue and fellowship with other Lutheran churches, all Christians and non-believers. The NALC partners with and aids local congregations in facilitating ministries that serve others.

Pastor Keith received his undergraduate degree in agriculture economics from Ohio State University, graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and was ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1984. He has served congregations in Iowa, Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Maryland and North Carolina before coming to Abilene with his wife, Denise, and daughter, Kiri.

Trinity Lutheran Church is one of the oldest churches in Abilene, having been organized in 1870 by 13 individuals with faith in Jesus Christ. Services have been held every Sunday in the same red brick Gothic Revival style building since 1878. Trinity Lutheran invites everyone to its 10:45 a.m. Sunday worship service that includes the Word of God, prayer, music, and communion, preceded by Sunday School that begins at 9:30 a.m. for children, teens and adults. The youth group and an adult bible study meets at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays at the church.  For more information, visit www.tlcabilene.org , email tlcabilene@eaglecom.net, phone 758.263.2225, or follow Trinity Lutheran Church on Facebook.

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