xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

176-year-old Second English Evangelical Lutheran Church had final service Sunday

A church that was the second Lutheran church in Baltimore to offer services in English rather than German closed after its final service on Sunday.

The Second English Evangelical Lutheran Church congregation was down to about 40 to 50 people, and the congregation decided a couple years ago it would close and the congregants would join other churches in the area, said the church's interim pastor, the Rev. Richard Kiesling.

Advertisement

"The congregation has dwindled to a point where it was no longer sustainable," Kiesling said.

The percentage of the population who attends religious services on a weekly basis has declined across the country. In 2014, only about 36 percent of people said they attended religious services weekly, down from 39 percent in 2007, according to the Pew Research Center.

Advertisement

Kiesling said the church, in the West Hills neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore, was once one of the biggest Lutheran congregations in the city, with about 1,500 congregants in the 1950s and 1960s.

Judith Cobb, an assistant to the bishop of the Delaware Maryland Synod, said the church's 176th anniversary also happened to be on Sunday. It started at a time when Lutheran services were offered in German, and Second English was the second Lutheran church in the city to offer services in English. First English Lutheran Church remains on Charles Street.

Kiesling said the church's building is for sale and Second English is in talks with another church that may buy it.

The decision to close "was a sad time for the members of the congregation, but it also was a time to realize that the congregation just was not in a position to maintain itself," Kiesling said.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement