Our History
About Lutherans
LCMS
New England District

Our Shepherds

 

Rev. Henry W. Heck

Sep 1943 - Feb 1973
 

Rev. Richard M. Manus

Dec 1973 - Oct 1978
 

Rev. Ronald A. Erbe

Sep 1979 - Jan 1999
 

Rev. Jimmy B. Coffey

June 1999 - Dec 2010


Rev. Benjamin Loos

Mar 2012 - Present

Our History

On April 2, 1944 - Palm Sunday - seventy-five persons signed the constitution of the First Lutheran Church of Greenwich, Connecticut. This charter membership service was held at 32 West Elm Street, a rented house which had served as a church home to Greenwich Lutherans since the fall of 1943.

The first worship service on September 5, 1943, was the result of a year of planning, canvassing and organizing started when requests were made for a Lutheran service in Greenwich. Wartime gas rationing had made it difficult for many Lutherans in Greenwich to attend services in near-by towns.

In February, 1943, The Rev. Henry Heck, who was then serving the Stanwich Congregational Church; The Rev. Arthur Clausing of Zion Lutheran Church, Stamford; and The Rev. Dr. Louis Henze, executive secretary of the Atlantic District Church Extension Board, met to discuss conducting services in Greenwich.

As a result of this meeting, a suitable place of worship was located. Pastor Heck accepted the pastoral duties, although on a part-time basis until 1953. Thirty-five persons attended the first worship service, and Bible Class was also held that first Sunday for seven students.

By Easter of that year the attendance had increased three-fold. This growth, coupled with the sale of the building at 32 West Elm forced the congregation to seek new quarters.

In the spring of 1945, with the help of the Atlantic District Church Extension Fund, the property at 38 Field Point Road was purchased for $16,500. The first service was held in this building on June 24, 1945.

It was a year later, after remodeling and decorating (much of which was done by the men of the congregation) that the new church was dedicated to the Triune God.

The next few years brought many blessings to First Lutheran Church. The communicant membership had increased from the original 75 members, and $5,000 of the church debt had been retired. Pastor Arthur Clausing of Stamford preached the Fifth Anniversary service which was held September 12, 1948.

First Lutheran continued its steady growth. By the Tenth Anniversary there were 160 communicant members, and the congregation celebrated this anniversary by burning the mortgage for the Field Point Road property.

At the end of these first ten years the congregation once again had outgrown its quarters. Plans were launched to build a new church structure.

The first building committee meetings were held in 1953. Paul Schroeder was elected chairman of the Building Committee, and Robert Greene was selected as architect.

Four years later, on June 23, 1957, the new church was dedicated. The Rev. Dr. H. J. Rippe, president of the Atlantic District, delivered the dedication sermon at the morning worship, and The Rev. Oswald Hoffman of the Lutheran Hour spoke at an afternoon service of dedication.

Our beautiful stained glass window and interior furnishings were dedicated at the Fifteenth Anniversary celebration in September, 1958. The window, designed by Pierre Millous, was made in Chartres, the cathedral city of France. It was shipped here aboard the luxury liner S. S. Liberte. The window depicts the Nativity on the left and the Ascension on the right. The jewel effect of the window was achieved by hand chipping the pieces of glass on the inside, thereby creating a multitude of facets which refract and reflect light in countless ways.

After 15 years, the communicants numbered 244, the baptized membership totaled 528 and 148 were enrolled in Sunday Bible Classes. First Lutheran continued to be blessed and the Twentieth Anniversary was marked with special services on May 24, 1964. The Rev. Herman J. Rippe, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Long Island City and past President of the Atlantic District, was guest speaker. At this service new members were welcomed into the church, brining the communicant membership to 363.

Throughout the first twenty-five years, The Rev. Henry Heck served the congregation as pastor and guided both the spiritual and physical growth of the Church. During this time, the church also operated the Sunday Bible School, so vital in the Christian training of the youth of the church, in addition to The Christian Day School, under the leadership of Mrs. Henry Heck, which offered pre-school and kindergarten programs. In 1962 the church also began sponsorship of a Vacation Bible School.

In 1972 First Lutheran became a member of the newly formed New England District.

As the church looks back to its founding, the growth in membership is most notable during the post-war and "Baby-boom" eras. Since then, Greenwich has become a much more transient community. With families and members joining when they are transferred to the area, and leaving shortly as they are again transferred away. This has posed a challenge for us which we continue to strive to overcome in our mission to "Make Him Known".