Faith Lutheran Church

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 27 August 2015.

Phone: 617-354-0414
[flickr_set id="72157621937325932"] History Swedish immigrants founded Faith Lutheran Church in 1892. The minister at the time would go down to the docks, meet Swedish Lutherans, and bring them back to Cambridge and secure jobs and housing for them. Church services were conducted entirely in Swedish until the late-1930s and, until recently, older people in the neighborhood still referred to Faith as “the Swedish church.” Membership peaked in the late-1940s at 1,200 people and then declined to about fifteen people over the next five decades as the second and third generations became more prosperous and moved to the suburbs. Since that time, Faith Lutheran Church has changed significantly. In under ten years the church has grown to about fifty worshipers, mostly people in their twenties and thirties, many of whom are not originally Lutheran. The transient population of Cambridge means that although a few families from earlier decades remain at Faith, generally the turnover in membership has been rapid--close to 100% every four years. There are many young families, and the Sunday School now counts twelve children under the age of six, with five more babies on the way in 2008. This transition has provided exciting opportunities and challenges, and Faith has learned how to make people feel comfortable quickly and get them involved in church life. Description The church’s founders were Swedish ship-builders who built the current structure in 1908. The interior is dark wood and congregants did all the carvings on the pews, pulpit and walls. The crossbeams running across the ceiling are reminiscent of the interior of a ship. Legend has it that when the members dug the basement, they had no money to pay the hired hands, so they traded the discarded soil for labor. In the 1950s, a parish hall and commercial kitchen were added in the basement of the church (where worshipers now meet for coffee after services and where the Sunday school and Faith Kitchen are held), and in early 2008 the entrance to the sanctuary was remodeled using materials from the original space in order to add a small chapel and meeting room. Multi-Ethnic Sharing One of the biggest changes at Faith Lutheran over recent years has been the move towards church sharing with two other independent churches: the Eritrean Christian Fellowship and Calvary Praise and Worship Center. The former is made up of recent Eritrean immigrants, and the latter is an African American evangelical church. Each church has about 20 members. Together these three churches form a “community of faith.” Each one has rights to the space and is involved in church-wide activities, worship and fellowship. The Eritrean Christian Fellowship and Calvary contribute financially to the building’s maintenance as they can and have members who participate in Church Council meetings. Activities and Schedule Over the course of the weekend, each of the three churches worships in the sanctuary and then uses the basement to socialize. On Friday evenings, the Eritrean Christian Fellowship meets for prayer and worship. On Sunday mornings, the congregation of Faith Lutheran meets for worship at 10 AM, with fellowship afterward. As Faith heads downstairs for fellowship, members of Calvary Praise and Worship begin to arrive for their service and fellowship. Other programs by all three congregations occur throughout the week. Three to four times a year a committee plans joint worship among the churches, with each congregation providing leadership in rotation. The service includes diverse music and languages and different leaders preaching short sermons. These joint worship services downplay traditional differences and focus on common hopes and understandings. Other activities at Faith Lutheran include a Sunday School, Bible study, a Saturday ‘alternative worship’ service, an annual Vacation Bible School, and special events aimed at young adults. For more information about worship schedules see Outreach The most important neighborhood outreach program at the church is Faith Kitchen, a meal program. This is an interfaith program sponsored in partnership with the other churches at Faith and its neighbors: the Islamic Society of Boston and Temple Beth Shalom. Faith Kitchen runs regularly on the second and last Tuesdays of the month. See the website for details. Affiliation with Other Organizations Faith Church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Boston Metro Conference of New England Synod. Rev. Tim Stein is also part of an informal group of evangelical clergy in Cambridge and Boston. Faith is involved with the Campus Ministry Board for Lutherans at MIT and is a Harvard Divinity School field education site.