A brief history of faith
Faith Lutheran began as a monumental effort on the part of a small contingent of Swedish Lutherans who lived in the Central Square area. The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Society of Cambridge had only 23 members when they made plans to build a church. They laid the cornerstone in 1908, with the purpose of improving genuine spirituality and vital interest in the Christian faith among Swedish Lutherans in the area.
Like all immigrant groups, the Swedish learned to be independent and self-sufficient in an urban environment that was rarely hospitable to their needs. The Lutheran Church at 311 Broadway was a safe haven where its members could relax and feel at home. It was a spiritual terrarium of sorts, offering sufficient protection to allow its members to dedicate themselves to the needs of their community and to their own spiritual growth.
The Swedish Lutheran Church introduced morning services in English in 1940, one generation after its founding. This decision was not intended to promote inclusivity. It was simply an attempt to engage the younger generation, many of whom were comfortable speaking English. Regardless of intent it was a momentous decision, because the holding of even a single service in the common language transforms an immigrant church into a cosmopolitan community overnight.
Faith’s Swedish origins are visible today in the Swedish writing around the mural and on the occasional sign here and there. Today Faith is culturally diverse and rich in multiple perspectives, ideas, languages and countries-of-origin among its congregants. Yet Faith still provides a safe place for people to worship in community and to explore and strengthen their faith.
The safety which Faith provides is no longer the safety of self-containment and self-sufficiency alone. Faith provides the stable foundation of a caring church community so its worshipers can fully respond to the needs of the larger world. Faith is a welcoming church which reaches out to the diverse communities of the Cambridge/Greater Boston area to express gratitude and faithfulness by serving those in need.
Four communities now gather at Faith. Faith Lutheran Church, Calvary Praise and Worship Center, Eritrean Medhanialem Church, and the Eritrean Christian Fellowship all hold services at Faith. And Faith Kitchen provides delicious meals twice a month to area residents who need nutritional support, and for anyone who wishes to come.
Organization of Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Church with 24 charter members
Corner stone laid at 311 Broadway
Parish hall and kitchen built
First English Services held
Side entrance and restrooms added
Merger with Trinity Lutheran Church of East Boston
Name changed to Faith Lutheran Church
Faith Kitchen begins
Eritrean worship begins
Calvary Praise & Worship Center
Narthex Chapel dedicated
Building Faith capital campaign launched