Martin Luther Lutheran Church - What's New
Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church
2379 Lake Shore Blvd West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M8V 1B7
Office Tel.: (416) 251-8293 Fax: (416) 259-2889
Pastor Christian Ceconi, August 2013- Cell: (416) 567-2487
Whats New (English) ] Das Neueste (German) ]
A bilingual Christian congregation (German and English) in the west end of Toronto.
Eine zweisprachige Evangelische Gemeinde (Deutsch und Englisch) im Westen Torontos.

Congregational Newsletter April-May 2014 [PDF]


Will the Spirit of Christ blow us in directions we have never imagined?

Dear parishioners and friends of the Martin Luther Church!

In a discussion which is described by the gospel of John, Jesus explains to the Pharisee Nikodemus that people who believe in God have to be born again (To read the whole story see John 3:1-17).

“Nobody can see the kingdom of God without being born from above”, says Jesus, or as others translate: without being born again.

Nicodemus understands this sentence literally and imagines how one could be born again. You don’t need to be a theological teacher to know that going back into your mother’s womb is just not possible.

So Jesus explains that we are born again by water and spirit. And the spirit “blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”


That sounds really good and is often cited. But besides these words just sounding good, do we understand better than Nicodemus what Jesus means? Do we have an idea besides relating these words to our baptism? If we do the reality-check of these words, where do we feel the spirit, where does the spirit go in our times? Can we clearly identify where God’s spirit is at work in this world?


In the western world we obviously live in a time where the traditional structures of the church are eroding. No matter if we go to Canada, to Germany or to the Netherlands: The number of church members is declining. It seems that our traditional patterns of practicing our faith can’t attract as many people anymore. When we take a look back to our history, the bilingual Lutheran churches here in Toronto flourished in the 1960’s and 1970’s in an extraordinary way. But nowadays things have completely changed. It isn’t taken for granted anymore that people go to church each Sunday. We compete with sports tournaments and other spare time activities.

Our strategies of inviting people do not always work anymore. We try many ways, but very often we do not succeed.


So we are sometimes like Nikodemus in the gospel who comes to the successful Jesus to ask what and how he teaches. We are wondering, what might be the recipe to bring people into church.

Sometimes we behave and debate like Nikodemus. When the idea comes up that the church has to be renewed by the spirit, we answer: Yes, I agree, but practically it is just not possible (like Nikodemus says, one cannot go back into the womb of your mother). We want to preserve the old traditions. We want a reliable recipe to fill the church and not the risky challenge of transforming the church in some way that we do not know yet.


So we are really in a dilemma. We are already living in a society which has completely changed. We notice that our numbers decline and that we really have to struggle to bring young or new people into the church. But we are not willing to take the risk of transforming the church. Or even better: To start into a transitional process guided by the spirit, entering a journey without knowing where we will end up.

We all know that things have to be changed, but very often we are afraid to do so.


Jesus, the son of man, came down from heaven to earth to encourage people to change their lives. He himself challenged many traditions. By his death and resurrection he encouraged people not to be afraid, but to try new ways.


Do not fear! Is one of the most challenging words of Jesus. It encourages us to try new things, to risk, to fail, to learn and to grow in ways we have never imagined. The Spirit of Christ will blow us in directions we have never imagined. Unfortunately most often we are not interested in challenge and trial, but only in safe strategies which guarantee success and church growth and keep the old traditions going.


At the same time, and if you listen carefully, you can find that contemporary people are interested in spirituality. I notice that the interest in Spirituality is stronger than ever. I very often meet people who ask questions about the meaning of life, about ethics, about death and life after death. But sometimes I also notice that people do not expect real answers from the church any more. It seems that our way of dealing with their questions does not meet the needs of these people any more. It seems that sometimes we are not able to open up our rich spiritual tradition for the people of today and for their questions.

We talk about the same thing but somehow we misunderstand each other and cannot really come together.

How can we get out of this dilemma? Unfortunately there is no recipe. And to be honest, I think Jesus didn’t explain things to Nikodemus very clearly, either. Basically there is his claim for being born again by water and spirit. It seems that we have to find out in these times what it means for a congregation to be born again. Does it include kinds of dying? Or can we just transform our current way of being a church?

The last sentence of the story about the encounter of Jesus and Nikodemus sets the goal of how we have to transform our congregational practice. It explains the purpose of all efforts: “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

I really felt caught by this sentence. How often have I complained about the changing of society in the last years? How often did I complain that people are more interested in sports than in coming to church on Sunday?

But what were my efforts to meet these people? Did I do more than waiting for them to come, or maybe – at best – invite them?


We should expect that God’s Spirit also blows outside our church walls and we should go there to feel its refreshing power. If we do not try to think outside of the box we will end up like Nikodemus and fail to meet God’s Spirit.

 “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”


Christian Ceconi

News and Information

President News

Dear congregation,

I’m just stepping in from the garden. A bunch of plastic had tangled up between my hedge and fence during the long winter. The melting snow uncovered it this week. During the endeavor to remove the unsightly mess I noticed much more. The first green leaves hugging the floor, the first buds on bushes… Spring is lurking around the corner.

Let us take this as a good sign and leave behind the long, cold winter with exorbitant heating cost to look at the activities and new endeavors in our congregation which are worthwhile to support during the up-coming  Easter collection.  

Congregational Life:

Every four weeks our confirmands and youth spend a night in our church and soon they will go on a weekend retreat at camp Edgewood. Workbooks, accommodation, shopping and preparing of food are part of the supplies they need for a successful weekend (thank you to the ladies who so graciously helped the youth during their first attempts at cleaning up after themselves. Soon they will have figured it out, I’m sure).

Passion devotions in English are now offered for the first time each Wednesday in addition to the already deeply rooted German Passionsandachten. Let this mid-week program entice you to slow down and take a step back to reflect as you share time with your family and friends.

Bible studies are offered in German as well as English again and soon you will find flyers in the foyer which were developed as part of the Welcome Project to let visitors and newcomers know what to expect from the Martin Luther Church.

As always, please let us know if you would like a personal visit in combination with the special collection. Our secretaries, Anita and Marlena, will gladly help you to find a convenient time (416) 251-8293. As you know, the aim of this special collection is not only to collect money for the congregational work, but also to foster an exchange of ideas.

Our congregation is alive, blooms and grows. Please continue to give your time, money and prayers generously to make Gods garden even more beautiful.


Two messages from the synod office in Kitchener reached me a few days ago. Please mark your calendars already for the 14th of September. Bishop Michael Pryse will be visiting us in our church that day.

In addition, the date for this years „Praise Appeal Sunday“ (11 Mai) was announced. The theme, taken from Micha 6, 8:  Do Justice, Love Kindness and Walk Humbly with Our GOD. All synod congregations are asked for a contribution to reach the goal of  $ 60.000. This will aid the work in the areas of homelessness, affordable housing and responsible resource extraction, refugees as well as partner churches in Argentina and Peru.


Thanks to your contribution we are beginning a new project to help Pastors and Laypeople to prepare German Services in accordance with the „Revised Common Lectionary generally used in North America.

“A team, Rev. Sebastian Meadows-Helmer, Rev. Christian Ceconi, und Rev. Frank Kopania, has already started to work on the appropriate texts. Soon, we will publish resources for Passion Sundays (Lent Year A) on our website. This will include an introduction to the project which will outline the scope of the work.” (excerpt taken and translated from an e-mail from Pastor Holger Roggelin, Präsident DELKINA)

Do Justice, Love, Kindness and Walk Humbly with Our GOD.
Spring greetings and enjoy the warm weather,
Iris Schweiger

Come and clean! – Join us for the spring cleaning of our church

The spring cleaning of our church building will take place on Saturday, May 24. The time is not yet fixed and will be announced during services. If you sign up for cleaning in the office (by email: we will keep you informed personally.

We are also looking for a coordinator. If you want to be the one, please let us know.

Ascension Day Service of the Toronto German congregations at our church

As is every year, there will be a joint ascension service of all German congregations in Toronto. This year we are hosting this service followed by a meeting of the German contact circle, which has been coordinating the German church activities for 40 years.

German Ascension Day Service May 29th, 6:00 pm at Martin Luther Church.

Do you want to sponsor a place in Summer Camp?

40 people have already signed up for this year’s summer camp at Camp Lutherlyn. We kept the prices for children low so that it is attractive especially for families. A group of teenagers has also signed up.

If you want to support this activity of our church, you are warmly welcome to sponsor a place in summer camp. Your donation will help to cover the costs for the low children’s fares and for individuals and families who need financial support.

What’s going on after the fire in 5 Superior?

There has been movement forward by the Insurance company and the Adjuster relating to finalization of proposals from two competing contractors. I expect that, with our input, the contract will be awarded in the next few weeks and work will start shortly thereafter. The target for completion of work remains as September. It remains unclear at this time what the financial implications will be to MLC relating to rebuilding costs.

Keith Rabey, VP

Church Picnic in Camp Edgewood on June 15th

The annual church picnic including an outdoor service will take place on June 15th. Pastor Christian is attending the EKD-Conference in Berlin during this time, but Harry Ossouren, former pastor of Mimico Wesley United Church will celebrate worship with us. Come and invite friends to our church picnic.


Easter Holidays 2014

We will celebrate Holy Week and the Easter holidays as the high point of the liturgical year. Here follow all service dates, so that you can plan your time accordingly:

Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014
9:45 am English Service
11:00 am German Service

Wednesday April 16, 2014

6:00 pm German Lenten Service
7:30 pm English Lenten Service 

Maundy Thursday, April 17          
7:00 pm German Service with Holy Communion

Good Friday, April 18
9:45 am English Service with Holy Communion

11:00 am German Service with Holy Communion

Easter Sunday, April 20               

6:00 am Easter Sunrise Service at Humber Bay Park

10:00 am Easter Service in English and German
 with Holy Communion and Congregation Choir


Dan Sommerfeld will organize again the breakfast after our Easter Sunrise Service. You are warmly invited to contribute to this breakfast. Please contact Dan:

Sunday April 27                         
11:00 am Family Service with Renewal of Baptism

Ride Program

In the winter season, some of us might hesitate to drive. Others may have no opportunity to come to services. For this reason, we are once again organizing our ride program.
If you want to be picked up for services, then please call our church office by Thursday of each week. We will then coordinate to organize a ride for you.

Contact: Church Office, Anita Ratz, Tel. (416) 251-8293

News from ELCIC, EKD and DELKINA

Our Congregation is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Eastern Synod, we are affiliated with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and member of the Deutsche Evangelisch-lutherische Konferenz in Nordamerika (DELKINA)

The Toronto Conference is now structured in four areas

“The Toronto Conference Council has finalized the restructuring of the Conference into four new areas. We have been encouraged to start ”working into the new areas”. The final step will be the second reading of the changes in the Constitution and Bylaws. The Bishop will be meeting with each area‘s leaders. Bishop Pryse will appoint a Dean for each area. There are still a number of issues to sort out as we work into the new structure.” (from Lutheran Connection, February 2014)

Martin Luther Church will be a part of the area Toronto Center.

60th anniversary of St. George

St. George Lutheran church at College Street will celebrate ist 60th anniversary with a service held on May 4 at 3:00pm. All friends and former members are invited.

Eastern Synod Assembly in Toronto

This year’s Eastern Synod Assembly will take place June 26-29 (at International Plaza Hotel Toronto, 655 Dixon Road). There are many ways to volunteer at different times during the conference for you and even your kids who are looking for 40 hours of service for high school. If you are unable to commit any time, you may choose to be an Assembly Sponsor which helps cover the cost of breaks during the event.

If you are interested in helping, please contact the church office to sign up with your availability.

Theological Insights: Back to the roots with the new logo

 As you have seen by opening the new newsletter our congregation has a new logo and a new design. In preparing a new website we noticed that the “old” logo, which was introduced about ten years ago, does not represent our values as much as it could. In addition: It does not fulfill the needs of modern media and is not optimized for internet and print.

Therefore we (the church council and the web committee) went on a journey to find a new logo, accompanied by the professional designer Udo Schliemann. The result seems to me like a return to our roots.

When our church moved into the building at Lakeshore Boulevard a cross was erected in 1965. By building the new foyer in the 1990’s this cross had to be replaced. So the stained glass window was created which now signifies our front façade.


To create the new logo Udo Schliemann continued with the idea of citing our stained glass windows (like in the old logo) and at the same time referred to the window at the front side of our church. By placing the cross in the center it incorporates the whole history of the front side of our church.


2014-MLC-LogoLooking at the new logo from a theological perspective I discovered a lot of Lutheran theology  (which shows that Udo listened very well to what we told him about our background). “Sola gratia”, in English “grace alone”, is one of the principles of Lutheran reformation. To focus on God’s love for this world which is revealed in Christ, is the center of our Lutheran doctrine. So a cross in different shades of red, placed in the middle, symbolizes perfectly the center of our theology.

The blue on the bottom of the logo can symbolize that our life as Christians is based on God’s promise which we received in baptism. It shows as well our church’s location at the lakeshore.

Finally the many colours around the cross could be seen as a reference to the church year. Our congregational life is centered in worship and we all live in the rhythm of the church year with its different colours shown e.g. in the altar clothes.

I am sure that there are far more perspectives the logo can be seen from. So do not hesitate to share with other congregational members or friends what you see in the new logo. Maybe we can publish a collection of ideas and insights in one of the upcoming newsletters.

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Yours Christian Ceconi


Remarks and Reports

Thank you: Irene Zielke

Irene, thank you very much for six years of dedicated work on church council. We were always able to count on your joyful smile, punctuality, accuracy and willingness to help out. We miss you and are looking forward to the day you cover a duty when we are in a bind. Gratefully, your council and your congregation

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Ghandi

This year’s Swim Party brought together many people

A swimming pool brings together many worlds- it is at once a work place for lifeguards and a meeting place for swimmers, a place for recreation and learning. This year’s Sunday school swim party at Norseman pool on March 22 brought together many familiar and new faces who enjoyed splashing, passing balls, using the slide and of course the delicious pizza form Amadios! Everyone is always impressed by how much the children have improved their swimming skills over the year. It is good practice for swimming at Golden Lake during Camp Lutherlyn. Special thanks to Tanya and Martina for planning the event and to everyone who helped with food, plates, set up and clean up. Looking forward to “swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool…” again next year!

World Day of Prayer 2014: Egypt in First Lutheran

The World Day of Prayer for this year was prepared by Pastor Schweter, his wife and the ladies from the First Evangelical Lutheran Church on 116 Bond Street in Toronto. The topic was “Wasserstroeme in der Wueste Aegypten”, floods in the Egyptian dessert, which was prepared by the ladies from Egypt.

All the churches from around Toronto were invited. It was a beautiful service with lectures, pictures and songs. After the service there was a nice get-together with lots of good food and the opportunity to talk to people from other congregations. The amount of the collection was $715.00. A big “Thank you” goes to the ladies and helpers from the First Evangelical Lutheran Church.     


We congratulate …


We congratulate the Wiegers family! Their new daughter Erica Giselle Wiegers was born on December 4, 2013.


We also congratulate the Oelkrug family! Their son Marlon Elijah Delorian Oelkrug was born on March 5, 2014 at their home in Mississauga.

 God bless these new members of our congregation and their families!



Regular Groups and Contacts



Every Tuesday at 6 pm continuing at our church. Easter Sunday performance at 10 am.

Choir Director: Linda Marcinkus, Tel. (416) 255-2612


Women’s Group

Once a month on Wednesday at 11 am at church. The next meeting is on: Wed. April 9 and May 14 2014

Contact: Daina Wienecke, Tel. (905) 939-2601


Confirmation Class

Once a month on Saturday/Sunday. Retreat at Camp Edgewood April 4-6 and next class: May 3-4.

Contact: Pastor Christian Ceconi, Tel. (416) 567-2487,


Youth Group

Next Meetings: Retreat at Camp Edgewood April 4-6 and church weekend May 3-4.

Contact: Sonja Schweiger, Tel. (905) 625-9174


Bible Study

Every second Thursday of the month, 7-9 pm at church. Next meetings: April 10 and May 8, 2014

If possible bring your own bible.

Contact: Pastor Christian Ceconi, Tel. (416) 567-2487,


Summer Camp Planning Group

Meeting to be determined.

Contact: Anna Lisa Wienecke, Tel. (905) 939-7441


Sunday School Team

Sunday School every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. Meeting of the team by request.

Contact: Tanya Zielke, Tel. (416) 622-7032,


Working Group „Welcome“

Contact: Iris Schweiger, Tel. (905) 625-9174


Working Group „Worship Services“

Contact: Pastor Christian Ceconi, Tel. (416) 567-2487,


We’re here for you:


Church Office

Anita Ratz, Tel. Tel. (416) 251-8293,

Office Hours:

Tuesday, 9:30-12

Wednesday, 9:30-12

Friday, 9:30-12



Pastor Christian Ceconi

Cell. (416) 567-2487



Office Hours and visits by appointment. Please give us a call or send a short e-mail.


Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCIC & EKD)

2379 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Toronto, ON M8V 1B7, Phone: (416) 251-8293, Fax: (416) 259-2889

Pastor Christian Ceconi, Email:

Cell Phone (416) 567-2487

German Radio Devotion, Sundays 9:30 am on AM 530


Church Newsletter Publisher: Martin Luther Church, Pastor Christian Ceconi

                                        Website and Email Distribution: Mona Frantzke; Mailing: Anita Ratz


Worship Services


Apr. 2, 2014


6 pm German Lenten Service

7:30 English Lenten Service

Pastor Ceconi

Apr. 6, 2014

5th Sunday in Lent


9:45 am  English Service
11:00 am German Service

Rev. Harry Ossouren

Apr. 9, 2014


6 pm German Lenten Service

7:30 English Lenten Service

Pastor Ceconi

Apr. 13, 2014

Palm Sunday


9:45 am English Service

11:00 am German Service

Pastor Ceconi

Apr. 16, 2014


6 pm German Lenten Service

7:30 English Lenten Service

Pastor Ceconi

Apr. 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday


7 pm German Service

Pastor Ceconi

Apr. 18, 2014

Good Friday


9:45 am  English Service
11:00 am German Service

Both with Holy Communion

Pastor Ceconi

Apr. 20, 2014

Easter Sunday


6 am Sunrise Service
at Humber Bay Park

10:00 am Joint Service with
Holy Communion

Pastor Ceconi

Apr. 27, 2014

1st Sunday after Easter

11 am Joint Family-Service

Pastor Ceconi

May 4, 2014

2nd Sunday  after Easter


9:45 am  English Service
11:00 am German Service

Pastor Ceconi

May 11, 2014

3rd  Sunday after Easter

Mother’s Day

9:45 am  English Service
11:00 am German Service

Both with Holy Communion

Pastor Ceconi

May 18, 2014

4th Sunday after Easter


11 am Joint Service

Pastor Ceconi

May 25, 2014

5th Sunday after Easter


9:45 am  English Service
11:00 am German Service

Pastor Ceconi

June 1, 2014

6th  Sunday after Easter


9:45 am  English Service
11:00 am
German Service

Pastor Ceconi


Martin Luther Church is a member congregation of the Toronto Conference of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the DELKINA (Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Konferenz in NordAmerika / German Evangelical Lutheran Conference in North America), and the EKD (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland / Protestant Church of Germany).
Copyright © 2001 - 2014 Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  Website created and maintained by
Mona Frantzke, webmaster.