Life at CTK

Growing together in the Word at Christ the King, Memphis

God’s Blessings Continue

At Christ the King Lutheran Church and School, in spite of the craziness of the year 2020, we have been fortunate enough, through the grace of God, to witness baptisms, weddings, new member introductions, school children and teachers returning in person, and even progress on new building construction, as the work of the Church and the blessings of the Holy Spirit bear fruit. Along with Pastor Chuck and Pastor Mark, we pray that God will continue to bless us as we look to the future and increased opportunities to share the Good News of the Gospel.

The wedding of Grace Zagel and Peter Ruleman served as a reminder of God’s love for His people in the midst of an unusual time.
We have celebrated several baptisms in 2020, including this adult baptism of new member Danielle Haggerty.
Progress continues on the construction of a state-of-the-art fellowship hall, Bible study classrooms, and administrative offices.
The Dugan family, transfers from the St. Louis area, were among the nine new member families CTK has welcomed this year thus far.
We rejoiced to see our school children back on campus for classroom teaching. Our faculty served our students both in-person and virtually.


Musicians in Tune

In the middle of March this year, we were plummeted into a new world of alternating twists and turns, challenges and inventions, beginning with the online-only services in which the pastors preached to an empty church with an unseen congregation gathered around their laptops and TVs, to tentative then slightly bolder in-person services in which congregants are sporting masks, keeping their distance, navigating twine-festooned alternating pews, and suffering without their pre-service coffee. We’re still finding our way with that “center line only” Communion and the two-handed pew-sanitizing procedures performed by the ushers.

ChrisCardonaatPianoOne thing that has remained constant throughout the unnerving accommodations is the presence of our musicians.  Along with the faithful behind-the-scenes crews of sound technicians and live-stream operators, our musicians have stepped up to the plate and provided a steadying background of beloved music that has seen us through some trying times.

So we pause for a moment to express our sincere gratitude to organist Michella Novy, pianist Chris Cardona, and our Hymn Leaders and Soloists who have enriched our music during the online-only period in which they filled our sanctuary with beautiful music in the absence of worshipers, and more recently, have continued to do so to bolster and encourage the slightly muffled singing of in-person masked congregants.

ChuckHodgesSingingIn addition to Chuck Hodges, who faithfully served throughout the online-only period, hymn leaders have included Trevor Goble, Emily Hale, Daniel Klinge, Nicholas Tieman, and Angie Shappley.

With its rich tradition of liturgical hymnody, the Lutheran church relies on its music to reinforce the message of Scripture and to remind us of  God’s mercy and forgiveness. As we ease back into in-person worship, we look forward to hearing from more of our musicians with whom we have been so richly blessed. Soli Deo Gloria!

The Rite of Confirmation during COVID-19

ConfirmationClass2020The Confirmation Class of 2020 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Memphis, looked a little different from the classes of years past; the CTK masks that the confirmands wore marked the time as unusual, but the robes they wore assured us of the continuing loving grace of God which covers all.

The last few months of in-class study were truncated, but Pastor Goble used various methods — including his youtube videos made just for the class, outlines and quizzes through email, and class Zooming — to reach the group. Final essays from the class describing what Confirmation meant to them were in turn pithy and humorous, and the faith they shared and the hope for the future of our church that they inspired were contagious.

Here are a few excerpts from their essays:

Coleman Byrum – “In Confirmation class, I have learned what the Lutheran faith is all about…why we do what we do…what the Sacraments are and how important and meaningful they are…I’ve learned the proper way to say a prayer; now they feel more meaningful.”

Rodkaevious Ellis — “In class, I learned it is not just about following God. You also have a job given to you by Jesus our Lord. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price…I learned this in class with Pastor Mark.”

Kaitlyn Kerchoff — “To me, the importance of Confirmation is the understanding of Christ. Before taking this class, I didn’t know much about being a Christian; now I understand the importance of Holy Communion and how it originated.”

Graham Gilchrist — “The most interesting thing I learned in Confirmation Class was about the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion…and how they came to be…Pastor Mark has influenced me in this journey because he has made it so much fun to learn about my faith and brings so much knowledge to the table.”

Donovan Smith — “Confirmation Class has gotten me to see some things I have heard over and over in a new perspective….I know that soon I will have to make the choice to shine my light in the world or put it out and stay where I am…I believe that I am able to say that I will shine my light throughout the world. With my light in hand, I will follow Jesus.”

Ethan Thompson — “The Ten Commandments taught me the Christian laws that I should be following in every decision. The Apostles’ Creed laid out  my beliefs in a prayer. These things helped me in my Christian and Confirmation journey.”

Rylee Tittle — “My parents have always seemed to care about making sure I understand that there is only one God and that He sent His Son to save us from our sins….I know the Lord will be true, always and forever, and I know I’ve been given eternal life.”

Andrew White — “Life as a Christian isn’t always easy…I’ve learned it is important to go to God in prayer and tell Him about all the struggles and doubts…He is still here, He hasn’t left me and He never will….In Confirmation I learned that w hen we go up to take Communion, Jesus needs to be our number one focus.”

Well done, Confirmation Class of 2020!  May God continue to bless and keep you.


Guidelines for Re-Opening Christ the King Lutheran Church for Worship



After careful deliberation, and following local and state guidelines, our pastors have developed the following bullet points designed to keep our congregants and staff safe during the return to worship, an event  for which we have prayed in earnest. Click on the highlighted portion to read the protocol.

Guidelines for Returning to Worship

You are strongly encouraged to register to attend a service in order to assist the staff in keeping the number in attendance no greater than 120. Click here to register for worship.

If you are among the vulnerable population of over 65 years of age and/or immuno-compromised or have other health-related issues of concern, please consider staying home for now and enjoying the 8:30AM service on live-streaming.

May the Lord be with us as we gather together in praise and thanksgiving for His abundant mercy in these challenging times.





Prayer in Such a Time as This

ShipsteamerindistressYou’ve heard the story of the ocean liner in rough seas. A passenger asks the captain if the ship is in danger, to which the captain replies, “You should start praying now.” The lady gasps, grabs the captain’s arm, and cries, “Oh, surely, it’s not as bad as that!”

We CTK Lutherans are a praying people. We pray all the time, not just in times of crisis, when the “ship is in danger” — private devotional prayers, Bible study group prayers, email prayers, bulletin and worship service prayers — we pray for and with each other daily. But in such a time as this, we are moved to offer additional prayers for our families, friends, neighbors, first responders, healthcare workers, and anyone affected by COVID-19, which is basically everyone.

Below is a prayer offered by Pastor Mark in response to these times. Also note that beginning on Wednesday, April 15, 7:00-7:30PM, Pastor will offer a live-streaming Prayer Half-Hour, during which you can text him your prayer requests and he will pray for them in real time, from the altar of our Lord. These half-hour Wednesday prayer sessions will continue for the foreseeable future.

Pray now, the following petitions:

Dear Heavenly Father, we come before Your throne of grace with many things on our hearts and minds.  For the sake of Jesus, we pray that You would hear and answer us.  Forgive us our sins, Lord.  Wash us clean by Your Word.  We pray that You would calm our fears.  Lead us to remember Your truth:  You will never leave or forsake us.  We pray that Your Spirit would guide, bless, and enlighten those in our medical community who are hard at work trying to overcome COVID-19.  We pray for healing for those who are infected.  In their isolation, Lord, please let them know that You love them and are with them.  We pray for all medical and hospital staff, first-responders, police and fire personnel.  Sustain them, Lord, in their work on our behalf.  Protect them, Lord.  May our nation show appreciation for their sacrifice and work in the middle of dangerous times.  We pray for the elderly, and those confined to nursing homes and other facilities, who have been otherwise quarantined.  Let them know that they are not forgotten by their families or church.  Help them, Lord, know they are loved and prayed for, and that You are with them.  Let them know that soon we will be reunited.  We pray for our local, state, and federal leadership.  Help them lead and make the best decisions possible for our nation, Lord.  May all citizens put aside partisan politics, and support them and pray for them as they try to do the very best they can for us.  We pray for our Christ the King congregation.  May we, Lord, be a beacon of light to our community and even our nation.  Enable us to preach the Gospel; to speak of the hope we have in Christ; to love our neighbor and all in need.  Protect and guide us, Lord, not only that we may be safe, but, being protected by your grace, we may all the more do Your work.  For the sake of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, please hear and answer our prayer.  Amen.

Responding to the Pandemic

Click here to watch Pastor Mark and Pastor Chuck explain CTK’s response to COVID-19 concerns

It’s unfortunate that the first three letters of the word “pandemic” are the same first three letters in the word “panic.”  So before you’ve even completed saying or reading the word, you’re already on edge.

At Christ the King, our pastors and leadership have remained steadfast and calm amid the ever-changing community landscape, and are committed to providing spiritual guidance and comfort through regular live-streaming services. We are most thankful for the technology and the people who know  how to use it, so that the membership stays informed and connected to their CTK family. You can view the live-streaming at  at 8:30AM every Sunday. Weekly bulletins are available through the Friday Reminders email, the website, and the Events tab on CTK’s App.

We look forward to the time when this crisis is behind us and we are together not only in spirit but in person, loving on each other, and praising and thanking our heavenly Father for His tender mercy.

Stay home, take care, check on your loved ones and neighbors, and know that Jesus loves you and cares for you always.







When becoming a new member of a congregation, it may be a little daunting finding your way around, not only through the physical buildings, but through the labyrinth of ministries and fellowship opportunities that are offered to you. Who do you contact? Where do you go? How do you find the latest information and RSVP or volunteer? And why is there a dog in the narthex?*

To answer these questions and others that new and prospective members might have, Dave and Genie Swan of Christ the King Lutheran Church developed the Connect Class, a three-week class for new members and those considering membership who want to know more about how things “work” at CTK. After their daughter-in-law joined CTK, they realized from her perspective how overwhelming it can seem to a new member, and they determined to create an informational class to answer questions and encourage participation in worship, service, and fellowship activities.

ConnectClass3 (2)

During February of this year, more than twenty people, both new and prospective members, gathered on three consecutive Sunday  mornings to learn about the history of Christ the King, the communication networks available both to and from the church office, the ministries offering opportunities for service and fellowship, CTK’s social media outlets, and the worship schedule for the year. They enjoyed the church’s 50th anniversary video (available on youtube), guest speakers from various ministries, a visit from *Job Comfort Dog, demonstrations of CTK’s App and Mobile Directory, and even “insider” info on the embroidered kneeler cushions.

Most importantly, new bonds of friendship were created and strengthened as they navigated all the information shared.  Each class member went home with a packet of information as well as a Time and Talent Survey to be completed and returned.

The class is offered twice a year and will continue to be a part of welcoming new members into the family of forgiven at Christ the King Lutheran Church.


(Above) Genie Swan encourages the class members to get plugged in to the many avenues of communication offered at CTK, from Friday Reminders to Facebook to CTK’s App and website.

(Below) Representatives from various ministries spoke to the class about the service and fellowship opportunities available, including Chris Cardona, Choir Director; Lindy Stephenson, Stephen Ministry; and Chris Miller, Youth Minister.

ConnectClass2      ConnectClassStephenMinistry



Tanzania Mission Team Update: Valentine’s Bake Sale


Christ the King’s Tanzania Mission Team continued its fund-and-awareness-raising with a Valentine’s Bake Sale on a recent windy Sunday. Festively wrapped cakes, cookies, breads, and treats were available for purchase and the Mission Team was all smiles with each loving transaction.  The Team’s progress with preparations has been aided by the congregation’s generosity and encouragement. Thanks to previous fundraisers, airline tickets to Tanzania have been purchased and additional monies will go toward in-country flights, ground transportation, housing, and food.

If you missed the Bake Sale, you don’t have to wait for another fundraiser to donate toward the Mission Team’s goal of spreading the Gospel to the people of Tanzania! Simply drop a donation marked “Tanzania Mission” in the Offering plate, or bring it by the church office. No donation is too small, and all are accepted with sincere gratitude.


The team members pictured (from left) are Jacob Behnke, Jeanette Novy, Sharon Hyde, Mike Jurgensen, Cindy Jurgensen, Natalie Hyde, and Jim Novy. (Not pictured: Hubert Dellinger)



Demolition (2)Cherishing memories is high on the list of things being done this week as the membership of Christ the King takes a collective sigh while watching the demolition of Building 2, the Fellowship Hall, and the Church Administration offices.  It is a week of mixed emotions.

The Schrader Fellowship Hall, once the sanctuary where so many baptisms, weddings, and funerals took place, and where the faithful received weekly gifts of the Sacrament of Holy Communion and the preaching of God’s Word, also — in its reincarnation as a fellowship hall/gathering place — was the site of gaily decorated dances, wonderful-smelling potluck dinners, sweet kindergarten graduations, raucous movie nights and weeks of VBS, Nehemiah mornings and Super Bowl afternoons, and so many more activities that are at the heart of a church family.

Through the years, the church offices housed a number of hard-working, loyal, dedicated, and CTK-loving staff members and volunteers, some of whom number among the saints in heaven, and their laughter and noble spirits held that building together when the plumbing failed and the air conditioning went on the fritz.  From the noisy ice machine to the regularly flooding basement to the Jesus painting guarding the women’s bathroom, every nook and cranny of that building captured and held the love and devotion of Christ the King’s faithful servants.

But progress, come she will. And we will rejoice when the doors open to an awesomely beautiful, visitor-welcoming renovation and expansion where God’s work will continue and blossom under the care of those same faithful servants, and many more to come. Take heart, CTK! The Lord loves you and, with you, cherishes the memories that you have made. He continues to lead you and encourage you as you make this bold step in His name.



Christmas at CTK

CTKChristmasBlog-5Celebrating Christmas at Christ the King means lovely candlelight, precious children lighting the Advent wreath and Christ Candle, beautiful choral and instrumental music, a surprise animal during Pastor Mark’s children’s message, the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and powerful Word heard from our Pastors — all combining to bring a reverence and peace to our Christmas observance and to increase our joy at the coming of the Infant Savior and King. This is the kind of  peace and joy that we can take with us into the new year, where uncertainties and the vagaries of time can make us less than sure-footed in both our personal relationships and our faith life. Christ is with us! He has come! He is coming again! We sing “Alleluia!” with the angels.

Thank you to Michella Novy and Caroline Johnson for additional photos.