our beginning in Cedar Rapids

In 1868, just 22 years after Iowa became a state, Pastor Cephas Baird and 30 charter members organized First English Evangelical Lutheran Church and constructed a building at Third Avenue and Third Street (near Guaranty Bank today). From its start, the language of worship was English and diverse ethnicity was First Lutheran's intention, unlike most Lutheran parishes of northern European extraction.

expansions and renewal

In 1911 the church moved to its current site. Our worship space today is still that structure built here over 100 ago. In 1958 a major expansion was added to create our foyer and classrooms, and in 1996 we expanded again adding offices, music, and utility spaces.

The interior of the worship space has seen three major remodels over the last 100 years to maintain the upkeep, add technology, and capture the majestic feeling of a space dedicated to God for each generation. Our dining hall has seen two major revisions, and has served millions of meals to our community for over 50 years.

Each of these expansions and renovations has allowed us to serve our community in new ways and establishes our commitment to being a place to encounter God in the heart of Cedar Rapids.