Martini Lutheran Church’s 150th Anniversary

On May 10, 1868, there were 37 stars on the American flag, Andrew Johnson was the President of the United States, and the congregation of Martini Lutheran Church dedicated its house of worship. One hundred and fifty years is pretty old for a church. We are the third sister church from Second German Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s (1835-1867) to have made it. Members of the congregation in the Southern School District built their first church on the corner of Sharp and Henrietta Streets. They, like their sister churches, had a school. Our school closed in 1896. We are now located three blocks away from our old church on Henrietta and Hanover Streets because the City of Baltimore condemned our first church’s land to build a highway.

Many of our old church’s treasurers can still be seen in the new church. Our painted stained- glass windows, called art glass, tell the story of Christ from the Nativity to the Resurrection. Some were made in Baltimore and some in Philadelphia. The oldest date back to 1905. Our Baltimore hand-built Hilborne Roosevelt organ was built just blocks from the church by the cousins of Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt one hundred and twenty years ago. The Baltimore-based Joshua Register Foundry made the large bell that hangs in our lovely atrium. One can read the dedication on the bell in German from one of the atrium windows.

There have only been 8 pastors in the 150 years. Their pictures hang in our history hall along with scenes from Martini’s past. These men with the help of their congregation have built many more Missouri Synod Churches as close as St Thomas Lutheran Church in southwest Baltimore and as far away as Immanuel Lutheran Church in Preston, Maryland. Martini is still helping struggling city churches through the Wyneken Project.

We will celebrate the 150th year the cornerstone from the old church was laid this September. In November, we will remember the anniversary of the dedication of our new church 40 years ago. We joined with all Lutherans when we will celebrate the 500th-year Anniversary of the Reformation this October.

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