Music: Our music is a blend of styles. Our members are from diverse musical backgrounds, so our music is, too!
Worship: Our worship follows the classic Christian order of gathering, hearing the Word read and proclaimed, celebrating the Meal of Holy Communion, and being sent on Christ’s mission.
Finding Us: We are located at 505 Osbourne Street, Odessa, Delaware. Osbourne runs between US Route 13 North and 13 South in Odessa. Traveling on Route 13 North you can see Tree of Life's sign on the left, three blocks North of Main Street (Rt. 299). If traveling on Route 13 South, Tree of Life is a little harder to see. Osbourne Street is the first left turn after the Sunoco station (there's a blue and white highway information sign on the corner of Osbourne). If you reach the traffic light, you've gone three blocks too far. If you are traveling on Route 299 from Middletown, cross over Route 13 South, turn left onto Route 13 North; you will see the Tree of Life sign on your left.
Parking: Our lot has two entrances, both on Osbourne St. (the little cross street connecting routes 13 N. and 13 S.) Handicapped-designated spots are by the main doors. Additional parking is available on the street and across 13 S. in the American Legion parking lot. We do ask that you be mindful of neighbors when parking on the street, as there are houses with driveways that open onto Osbourne!
Entry: Facing the church, the big, double, red doors towards the left enter into the worship area. The single pedestrian door in the middle of the building leads to the office and kitchen. While this door is open and used some during the week, it is locked at 10:20 am on Sundays. The red double doors open into the narthex which opens into the sanctuary. Ushers are on hand to greet you as you arrive.
Worship Space: The space is "L" shaped with the altar and lectern situated at the angle. Seating is available on both the long and short legs of the "L". You will enter on the long section and can continue to the front of the sanctuary and turn to sit on the short leg if you choose. If you need help, please feel free to ask an usher for assistance.
Is there a dress code?: We think of ourselves as relaxed. Some dress in slacks and tie or in a dress, others come in blue jeans. We fall somewhere between boardroom and poolside.
Who takes communion?: As a congregation of the ELCA, we affirm that holy communion is the meal of the baptized. Anyone who is baptised is invited to the table.
Communion Elements: The bread is made with wheat flour and is NOT gluten free. However, gluten free wafers are available, just let the pastor know during the distribution. Common cup and individual cups are both offered and are filled with wine. The center section of the tray of individual cups is filled with white grape juice for those who prefer juice.
What Bible do you use?: Lutherans usually use the standard Protestant Canon of 66 books (39 Old Testament, 27 New Testament). Sometimes, though, we will read things that do not appear here but are nonetheless in other churches' Bibles, though this is rare. In worship and in faith formation, we use the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. It preserves the ambiguity and richness of the text while putting it in language comprehensible to contemporary Americans. There is no “official” or “authorized” version in the Lutheran church, so if you like to read a different translation, you will not find us opposing that choice.
How do you use the Bible in worship?: Tree of Life, like most Lutheran churches, follows the Revised Common Lectionary, a scheduling of biblical texts followed by churches around the world. There are three readings and a psalm each Sunday. From December through Pentecost (late spring) these readings are all related to each other around a theme for the Sunday. After Pentecost, we read through the Bible continuously from Sunday to Sunday. Much of our worship music is also rooted in the Bible or is directly from the Bible. For example, most Sundays we sing “Glory to God in the highest,” just as Luke tells us the angels did on the night Jesus was born.