History

Georgetown Lutheran Church is the oldest Lutheran congregation in Washington, D.C.

Thirty-two years before the city of Washington became the capital of our nation, a Lutheran congregation was organized in Georgetown, north of the Potomac River. A deed recorded in Frederick, Maryland, May 17, 1770, and a decision of the Supreme Court in 1829 concerning the title to a Lutheran church property prove the existence of an organized Lutheran congregation in Georgetown as early as 1769.

Early in the 18th century, a group of Lutherans from Germany, having settled in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, migrated to the Potomac Valley. They were attracted by Lord Baltimore’s offer of land. Itinerant pastors ministered to these settlers as early as 1733. A generous pioneer developer donated a plot for the erection of a Lutheran church and a congregation was promptly organized.

  • 1769The First Building

    The first building was erected--a small, sturdy temple of forest-hewn logs. A steeple was soon added with a bright-toned bell, cast in England. This bell may well have sounded the call to freedom. For a hundred years this congregation witnessed for Christ without a regular pastor. Missionary pastors, such as Rev. Peter Muhlenberg, served these Lutherans during this period.
  • 1775American Revolution Began

  • 1790D.C. Founded

    Washington D.C. was founded as our nation's capital.
  • 1835The Second Building

    The original log building was replaced by a frame structure in 1835. This building was used for worship and a parish school until after the Civil War.
  • 1837Telegraph Developed

    American Samuel Morse developed the first, commercially-viable telegraph system in 1837 revolutionizing long-distance communication.
  • 1861Civil War Began

    The American Civil War broke out at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
  • 1867The Third Church

    The cornerstone was laid for a new, one-story, stone building. The gavel used for this special service was the same one which President George Washington used to lay the cornerstone of our nation’s capitol building. The new church building consisted of one large room heated by a pot-bellied stove.
  • 1869Our First Pastor

    Rev. Dr. John J. Suman was formally installed as our first settled pastor by the President of the Maryland Synod. By that time, the congregation had waited a hundred years for this event. That same year, the congregation was received into the Synod with 25 communicant members, 10 officers and teachers, and 60 students in the Sunday School.
  • 1871Our Second Pastor

    Rev. Dr. George A. Nixdorff was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1876Telephone Invented

    Scottish-born innovator, Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the first practical model in 1876.
  • 1879Light Bulb Patented

    Several inventors created rudimentary versions earlier in the century, but the first practical incandescent light bulb for the mass market was patented by Thomas Edison in 1879.
  • 1895Our Third Pastor

    Rev. Dr. Stanley Billheimer was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1903Airplane Invented

    Aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright are credited with inventing the world's first airplane, which they flew for four miles over South Carolina in 1903.
  • 1905Our Fourth Pastor

    Rev. Dr. David B. Floyd was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1906Our Fifth Pastor

    Rev. Dr. Luther H. Waring was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1914The Fourth Building

    The fourth and present church edifice of grey stone was erected in 1914 using the same cornerstone as the three former churches on this sacred lot. This building was made possible by a $50,000 bequest by Mr. Daniel Eli.
  • 1916Our Sixth Pastor

    Rev. Dr. N. J. Gould Wickey was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1917WWI Began

    The United States declared war on Germany, beginning the U.S.'s involvement in World War I.
  • 1918Our Seventh Pastor

    Rev. Dr. George D. Clark was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1919Pipe Organ Installed

    The Mohler pipe organ was installed and dedicated as part of the 150th anniversary observance.
  • 1921Our Eighth Pastor

    Rev. W. H. Hilbish was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1922Parsonage Built

    A parsonage was built beside the church on the current site of the fellowship hall.
  • 1927Our Ninth Pastor

    Rev. Harold E. Beatty was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1928Penicillin Discovered

    In September 1928, Scottish physician Alexander Fleming first isolated penicillin in his basement lab at St Mary's Hospital in London.
  • 1937Bell Found

    The old bell which had hung in the steeple of the original log church, but which was later sold to help keep the Church open at the close of the War of 1812, was salvaged from a junk heap in Romney, West Virginia.
  • 1941WWII Began

    U.S. forces were attacked by a Japanese armada at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, drawing the U.S. into WWII.
  • 1950Korean War Began

    North Korean troops invade South Korea. Within a week, U.S. troops were involved in the fighting.
  • 1957Our Tenth Pastor

    Rev. J. Glenn Boliek was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1959Dedication of Beatty Building

    The Beatty Educational Building was dedicated on September 20, 1959.
  • 1963J.F.K.

    President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.
  • 1965Vietnam War Began

    The first American combat troops arrived in Vietnam adding to the 23,000 U.S. military advisors already on the group.
  • 1968M.L.K.

    Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated while on a motel balcony in Memphis.
  • 1971Our Eleventh Pastor

    Rev. Daniel L. Pierotti was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1973Washington Free Clinic Opened

    The first gay and lesbian community medical support organization, known as the Gay Men's VD Clinic, began in the basement of Georgetown Lutheran Church. This was the forerunner to today's Whitman-Walker Health.
  • 1977Our Twelfth Pastor

    Rev. William E. Wegener was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1982Grate Patrol Began

    Georgetown Lutheran Church first began participating in an ecumenical program to feed street people in Washington DC. This was the precursor to what is now the Salvation Army's Grate Patrol program which has distributed more than 1.3 million meals to the homeless and others in need of something to eat for more than three decades. Georgetown Lutheran Church has continued this tradition, making sandwiches and packing individual meals on the 2nd and 5th Sundays of every month.
  • 1988ELCA Formed

    A merger of three Lutheran churches formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1988.
  • 1994Winter Shelter Began

    Georgetown Lutheran Church hosted its first congregation-based winter shelter in 1994.
  • 1995Became a Reconciled in Christ Congregation

    Georgetown Lutheran Church officially became a Reconciled in Christ Congregation whereby we fully accept, welcome, and include people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions in all aspects of the life of our church, congregation, and community.
  • 1996Our Thirteenth Pastor

    Rev. LeeAnn Schray was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 1997Thanksgiving Eve Meal Began

    Georgetown Lutheran's annual Thanksgiving Eve dinner tradition began on November 26, 1997.
  • 1999New Organ Installed

    The Richard Howell pipe organ was completed in 1999.
  • 2000Our Fourteenth Pastor

    Rev. Phillip A. Gaines was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 20019-11 Attacks

    Nineteen terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon, and an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000.
  • 2014Rev. Dr. Janice E. Mynchenberg

    Rev. Dr. Janice E. Mynchenberg was assigned as a long-term, intentional interim pastor to Georgetown Lutheran Church.
  • 2015Food Drive Began

    Georgetown Lutheran began its annual community-wide summer food drive to help fight childhood hunger.

Please join us in worship.

Georgetown Lutheran Church is a place where God and people meet in a Spirit that nourishes grace, hospitality, faith, and commitment to the world which rests in God's loving hands.