A Vibrant & Nurturing Faith Community

inviting others to experience the Grace of God

We welcome you to join First Lutheran Church — regardless of your age, race, gender, life experience, complexities and questions. You have a unique story that can only add to the richness of the larger story that makes up the First Lutheran Church family.  We are a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. This faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and the courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world.  There is a place for you here!
Located at: 302 S. 10th St., Saint Joseph, MO, 64501  Phone: 816-232-8378  Email: flcsj302@gmail.com


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Imagine Eleven Summer Music Series brings a variety of high quality live music to the outdoor stage at Coleman Hawkins Park on Sundays from 6-8:30 p.m. from June 2 – August 11. The music is free and local vendors offer food and drink. Bring a lawnchair/blanket for seating.

Check out www.imagineeleven.com for details and updates.

June 2       Jay EuDaly / Valentine and the Knights
June 9       Roger Price / New Generation Singers
June 16     Stephanie Gummelt / Bill Hoffman & the Firebabies
June 23     Jerry Rodriguez / Friends
June 30     Restoration Band / The Center State
July 7        Brent Isom / Under the Big Oak Tree
July 14      Open Mic / Jeff Bergen as "Elvis"
July 21      TBA / Lyin' Eyes
July 28       E.K. Bruhn / St. Joseph Big Band
August 4    TBA / Atlantic Express
August 11  Tom Meehan / Soca Juke Box
June 2nd, 125th Anniversary 1894 - 1904
  • First Lutheran was organized as First English Lutheran Church on August 26, 1894. There were 57 charter members.
  • Rev. Edward F. Trefz (1894-1898) was appointed by The Board of Home Missions of The Lutheran General Synod as the missionary pastor. He was a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.
  • Rev. Trefz went on to be among the organizers of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • The first church was built on the corner of 9th and Edmond (site of current US Post Office). In 1913 a new sanctuary and parsonage was built on the current site of 10th and Charles.
  • Rev. David Earhart (grandfather to Amelia Earhart) paved the way for establishing First Lutheran.
  • Dr. Charles Martin, MD was a Lutheran Pastor in Moray, KS who was Principal of the Young Ladies Institute in St. Joseph and was a driving force in organizing First Lutheran. A Kings Daughter Circle consisting of young women who had attended the school was organized and were generous in their financial support of the church.
  • M.F. Troxell, D.D. (1899-1904) was the third pastor and received his degrees from the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg. He organized the Organ Guild (Altar Guild today) and led the effort to raise money for a pipe organ that was purchased in 1903.
  • Rev. Troxell resigned to become President of Lutheran founded Midland College (University) in Atchison, KS that is now located in Fremont, NE.
June 9th, 125th Anniversary 1904 - 1914
  • Benjamin R. Lantz (1904-1911) organized the Women’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society, Men’s League, Mission Band and Men’s Brotherhood.
  • The English Helper was a monthly magazine published by Pastor Lantz.
  • Elim Lutheran on 15th and Messanie closed and many members joined First Lutheran.
  • The $3000 mortgage was paid in full. A burning of the mortgage was part of the celebration of being free of debt.
  • Summer heat forced having evening services in Smith (Civic Center) Park. In addition, services were eliminated during July and August.
  • George Murphy (1912-1918) accepted the call on the condition that the choir wear robes. He also introduced the pastoral robe.
  • Congregation purchased Sam Jones Hill (current site) for $14,500 to build a new church building and parsonage.
  • Murphy was a skilled mason and actively worked on the construction.
  • Total cost for the new church, lot, parsonage and organ was $62,000 ($1.6 million in 2019 dollars).
June 16th, 125th Anniversary 1914 - 1924
  • Rev. George Murphy (1912 – 1918) built this church in Peabody, KS before accepting the call to First Lutheran. Look familiar?
  • Dedication for new worship building was Sunday, January 18, 1914. There were 260 members of the congregation.
  • First Lutheran celebrated paid off the mortgage on Sunday, September 28, 1918.
  • The two large stained glass windows were part of the building project. They are Hoffman’s “Christ in Gethsemane” and Christ and the Young Rich Ruler.”
  • Rev. Clarence E, Gardner, D.D. (1919-1925) accepted the call to First Lutheran that had a membership of 865. His yearly salary was $3,400.
  • Lilith Schwab was commissioned as a missionary to India.
  • In 1924 the Men’s Brotherhood organization was formally organized. The lot south of the church was purchased.
  • Dr. Murphy and his wife were active leaders in the city and church at large. He served with the Chamber of Commerce and St. Joseph School Board.
June 23rd, 125th Anniversary 1924 - 1934
  • Rev. Dr. Clarence Gardner (1919-1925) was the first pastor to own a car.
  • Rev. J.O. Ensrud (1926-1929) established the Dr. Murphy Memorial Fund which provided church improvements over the next 10 years.
  • The Altar Guild had the ornamental redos on the altar area installed.
  • An outdoor lighted sign was installed.
  • Services were broadcast over the radio for the first time.
  • The weekly church newsletter “The Echo” was available for 50 cents a year.
  • Rev. Dr. Ensrud resigned in June, 1929 to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army where he rose to the rank of Colonel. 
  • Dr. H.G. McGuire (1929-1939) served Children’s Memorial Church in Kansas City at the time he accepted the call to First Lutheran.
  • The newsletter was called the (First English Lutheran) Helper.