Called to be the heart of Christ in the heart of the City, we work for justice, mercy, and wholeness for all people
First Lutheran began its ministry in 1888. Since that time, it has been located in the same few blocks in downtown San Diego, a beacon of Christís light to all who come by here. First Lutheran is the oldest Lutheran congregation in Southern California and the second oldest Lutheran congregation in the Pacifica Synod.
First Lutheran begins every worship service with an invitation of grace: ďAll are welcome here this morning. When it is time to receive Holy Communion, you need not be a member of First Lutheran Church nor do you need to be a Lutheran to receive the body and blood of Jesus here. These are Godís gifts for all Godís people, whether around the Table of Our Lord on Sunday morning or on our patio where hundreds receive their daily bread. All are welcome to receive the gifts of heaven.Ē
Worship at First Lutheran cherishes the traditional shape of the liturgy (Gathering, Word, Holy Communion, and Sending). A host of different worship settings are used, some from the ELCA hymnal (Evangelical Lutheran Worship) and others from a host of worship resources. Firstís worship has been described as ďcherishing the best traditions of classical worship while, at the same time, breathing life and vitality from the best of contemporary worship resources.Ē First offers the finest worship it is able in preaching, singing, praying, and gathering around the sacraments.
As worshipers enter First Lutheranís worship space, they are greeted by a substantial baptismal pool with flowing, living water. It is here that we begin our life in the church and it is from here, at the end of life, where we are entrusted to the baptismal promises of eternal life.
The award-winning renovations to the sanctuary lift up the centrality of the primary parts of our life together (baptismal pool, lectern or bema, and the table or altar).
First Lutheran Church takes seriously the sending in worship, ďGo in Peace. Serve the poor.Ē First Lutheran is know for its concentration on service to Godís blessed poor and homeless and its advocacy for policies that enhance the life of all Godís people.