By Shana LiVIGNI
Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther was a German theologian who realized that there were major differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic Church at that time. On Oct. 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). His hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the word of God as contained in the Bible.
The 85-foot statue in front of the church is an icon of Foothill Boulevard and although it’s popularly called “Touchdown Jesus,” the statue is officially called the “Tower of Redemption.” It is neither a model of Jesus nor of a referee, as people often think. It is simply a tunic-clad human figure in an ancient posture of prayer, common among the Hebrews. It represents the people of God at prayer and praise. It also proclaims the story of salvation throughout human history with symbols that are carved into the back of the tower inspired by Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
“Our congregation is a very friendly place that seeks to guide people to the teachings, love, and hope of Jesus. We are a very good ‘reach out’ congregation, which means we are quick to respond to needs – local, national and global. We have an exceptional youth ministry and recently started a children’s worship ministry that takes place during our 10:00 a.m. worship service,” explained Pastor Bruce Johnson. “LCIF’s involvement in our community includes a place for many 12 step programs and we host the AM Kiwanis Club and we host a Boy Scout Leadership team. We have many events in the year where we invite the community to come and share in the excitement and learning that happens.” Many ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) members have a history of mission work in Haiti. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign-up today to receive information in the future on the church website.
The Reverend Bruce Johnson came to LCIF in December 2002, having previously served parishes in Nebraska and Colorado. A native of South Dakota, he and his wife Gwen have three children who all graduated from California Lutheran University. He is a member of the La Cañada AM Kiwanis Club, a member of two ELCA Synod committees and is currently the Foothill Conference Dean, which is a group of ELCA churches in the area. In 2006, LCIF expanded its ministry to include a Children, Youth & Family ministry. Jeremy Serrano was hired as the church’s CYF minister, focusing on the junior and senior high youth. Jeremy and his twin brother Joshua are both attending Fuller Seminary.
The church is dedicated as the “Lutheran Church in the Foothills” communities. The statue and tower are meant to announce the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ and The church is located at 1700 Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada. Sunday services begin at 10 a.m. For more information call (818) 790-1951 or visit the website www.lcifoothills.org.