Grace Lutheran Church, at 1315 E. Washington St. in Greensboro, plans to celebrate its 125th anniversary with a kickoff event at 11 a.m. Jan. 9.
The church will celebrate through 2022 with activities honoring those who attended: Campus House on Feb. 13 and Grace Lutheran Church Day School and Immanuel College on April 10. The church will host monthly events highlighting its history in the community culminating with a banquet on Sept. 10 and a special worship service at 11 a.m. Sept. 11.
Elder Richardson has shared the church’s history with this timeline:
In late November 1893, the Lutheran Synodical Conference Mission Board sent missionary F. Hermann Meyer to begin work in Greensboro. Prior to this, Lutheranism was unknown in this city.
On July 29, 1894, John Schmidt was ordained and commissioned to continue this ministry. Schmidt saw his ministry prosper in just two years to 63 souls. During these early years worship services and day school classes were held in a lodge hall on the corner of Ashe and McCulloch streets in southwest Greensboro in what was called Warnersville.
On Feb. 3, 1897, the little band of Lutherans formally organized themselves into the Evangelical Lutheran Grace Congregation. On May 2, 1897, a new building was dedicated serving a day school and worship service until destroyed in 1928.
Immanuel Lutheran College was established in 1905 in northwest Greensboro. In the 1920s, as an outgrowth of gospel-sharing endeavors of one of the professors at the institution, a small mission developed in a settlement called Baulky Bottom organized under the name Luther Memorial Congregation.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in southwest Greensboro and the Luther Memorial Church in southeast Greensboro were two small, struggling all-Black congregations. In 1928, the Lord led the two congregations to merge, selecting a new site at the northwest corner of East Washington Street and Benbow Road. The new building was dedicated in 1930 as Grace Luther Memorial Lutheran Church. In 1965 by resolution of congregation, the name was shortened to Grace Lutheran Church.
The history of the congregation is also the history of special youth training, via its parochial school. Originally, it was the only predominately Black congregation in the southeast district of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod that maintained a school beyond the kindergarten level. The Grace Lutheran Day School provided Christian education to thousands of students before closure in 1990s.
From 1965 thru the late 1990s, Grace operated the Lutheran Campus House adjacent to N.C. A&T and staffed by the laity of the congregation.