Octoberfest and more in store at Salem Lutheran Church
BY: Catherine Miller | October 09, 2013
SOUTH BUFFALO - As you walked in to the Oktoberfest celebration at Salem Lutheran Church on Oct. 6 you were met with a friendly smile and instructions by Pastor John Pingel on where to find the buffet line as if the warm scents drifting from the hot tin pans wasn’t enough to draw your attention. You have to love people that welcome you with an offer of food. Salem Lutheran served authentic German cuisine for the event and the sauerkraut could be smelled as you walked towards the parking lot. The music was lively and provided by Buffalo’s local German band, The Auslanders. The adult church members and friends were enjoying themselves near the stage as the younger set played in an adjacent room.
Salem Lutheran Church, located at 10 McClellan Circle, on McKinley Pkwy at the corner of Whitfield, is the diamond in the rough of the South Buffalo religious community. An area known for its Catholic heritage, Salem Lutheran is an often overlooked neighborhood gem, opening its doors for its many groups and activities to anyone in the community, regardless of affiliation or denomination.
Terri Snider is one of the newer members of the church, joining its membership three years ago when she first moved into South Buffalo.
“I wanted a church that I could walk to. A church that was local and active and where I could be an active member of the congregation,” said Snider.
Being active is not a problem at Salem Lutheran Church. With monthly holiday themed activities, as well as over a dozen groups that include Mothers of Preschoolers [MOP], men’s groups, couples groups, youth groups and a book club, there is something for everyone. Helpmates is a specialized group designed specifically for people that have recently lost a significant other through divorce or death. Salem Piecemakers is a quilting group whose efforts benefit the Buffalo City Mission and Cornerstone Manor. All groups welcome members of the community. The MOPs group is a group for new moms that offers childcare services and a chance for new mothers to interact with other moms, listen to a guest speaker or enjoy activities together. Upcoming holiday themed events include “Trunk or Treat” scheduled from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Sun. Oct. 27. This fun and safe alternative to trick-or-treating is held in the church’s parking lot at Whitfield and McKinley Pkwy. Friends and members of the church park their cars in the parking lot with trunks full of goodies. Children, dressed in costumes meet in the parking lot where they will go from car to car in the lot to collect treats from each of the vehicle’s trunks. All children of the community are welcome to the event.
November will bring a community based Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings for anyone wishing to join the Salem Lutheran fellowship in this traditional holiday meal. The meal is provided free of charge and is the congregation’s holiday season gift to the community. Call the church or watch their website for the date for this event, as it is not held on Thanksgiving Day.
December will bring back the popular outdoor Living Nativity on December 15. The church’s theatrical participants will bring the Story of Christmas to life once more as they reenact the religious events.
“The Living Nativity is always a popular event,” said Pastor Pingel, admitting that the live animals seem to be a crowd-pleaser. “In years past we have had sheep, goats, ponies, and llamas.”
Salem Lutheran Church was founded in 1917 and originally located at the corner of Salem and Abbott Rd. It was relocated to its McKinley and Whitfield Ave location in 1951 and has had only four pastors in its 96 year history. Rev. John Pingel has headed the church since 2010 and has worked towards bringing a younger membership to the church and more awareness of the church’s activities to the community.
Details on these and other events at Salem Lutheran Church can be found at www.salembuffalo.com or by calling 824-2787.