Luther Place is located at 1226 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington DC 20005. We are on Thomas Circle, at the intersection of 14th Street, M Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and Vermont Avenue, NW.
By Public Transit
Luther Place is within a few blocks of the McPherson Square (Orange and Blue Lines) Metro Station. We are also within walking distance of the Farragut North (Red Line) and Mt. Vernon Square (Yellow and Green Lines) Metro Stations.
Luther Place is convenient to several Metrobus lines: 52, 53, 54, G2, and any of the many lines that serve K and H Streets, such as the D6, 32, 34, and 36.
If you are taking the DC Circulator, you can take these two lines: Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square, and Georgetown-Union Station. To plan your trip online, please visit WMATA or DC Circulator.
Bicycle parking is available near the Vermont Avenue entrance.
Limited street parking is available in the neighborhood. You may park in the garage at the Washington Plaza Hotel across the street from the church. Ask a church usher for a parking voucher.
Registered with the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Luther Place Memorial Church is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We are both old and new — built in 1873 and continually seeking ways to be engaged faithfully with today’s world. We value tradition and embrace change. We are structured and spontaneous. We are prayerful, spiritual, collaborative and engaged in the world.
We are a dynamic community of disciples offering hospitality through worship, fellowship, and ministry. We invite you to prayerfully consider being part of this journey.
Our Creator God’s love is forever and is made real in Jesus Christ, who lived, died on the cross, and who rose on Easter. Through Christ, God continually gives us the gifts of forgiveness and grace – loving us in ways that meet us in our brokenness and our celebrations. God’s power moves throughout the world through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who works within us to transform us into disciples of Jesus Christ. Disciples are called into the world, invited to join in God’s mission to love and bless the world.
The Word of God comes to us in the Holy Scriptures. We take this word to be a living word, coming alive among us now, reflecting in an ongoing way our expanding understanding of the world. We tell the stories of the Bible, we argue with stories of the Bible, we look in new ways at stories of the Bible, all while loving the Bible.
God’s grace and mercy are made real in the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. We baptize babies and all ages, believing that God chooses us first as beloved children of God. Our communion table is open to all, including children.
Beginning in 2009, we engaged in a discernment process around God’s purpose and vision for Luther Place. This process included prayer, Bible study, eating together, and listening to God and each other. From this Spirit-filled process we generated the following Purpose, Guiding Principles, and Vision!
God’s purpose for our congregation is to grow a Christ-centered inclusive community, led by the Spirit, that proclaims the Gospel’s transforming love and grace and challenges injustice.
Our Guiding Principles
- All of God’s creation is sacred.
- We listen to the Holy Spirit through worship, Scripture, and prayerful reflection.
- We seek continuous transformation to become radically hospitable.
- We invite all into the journey with Christ through reconciliation with each other and God.
- We respond to injustice through loving service and courageous action.
- We walk together in our celebrations and our struggles.
In 2017, Luther Place will be a community that looks and feels like God’s kingdom in its beautiful expansiveness, where all are called into relationship with Jesus Christ and one another. In this place we will use our gifts to act in the world and build the beloved community.
- Worship attracts and gathers a range of people with various services and styles, engaging the community in a depth of traditional practices and creative endeavors.
- Spiritual Growth is how we are formed as disciples of Jesus Christ, embracing scripture and all opportunities to engage the divine, and nurturing us to contemplate, study, and question our faith.
- Justice is a public witness to our faith; we will continue our history of openness to what arrives, standing in solidarity and acting with people who are struggling, in our community, country, and world.
- Hospitality is how we – each of us – extend God’s kingdom to a dynamic and diverse city, growing our community and engaging all of God’s children, from the powerless to the powerful.
- Community Care is how we sustain a vibrant community, our intentional practice of supporting and nurturing one another in all stages of life, in celebration and sorrow.
Formally known as Memorial Evangelical Lutheran Church, Luther Place was founded in 1873 as a memorial to peace and reconciliation following the Civil War. Two of the original pews were dedicated to Generals Grant and Lee. The building is in the shape of a ship, symbolizing a vessel for God’s work, with the rafters in the shape of a keel. The statue of Martin Luther on our grounds was dedicated in 1884 on the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth and over 10,000 attended the dedication ceremony.
The Rev. John Butler, first pastor of Luther Place, was an abolitionist who advocated for African American pastors in the Lutheran Church. In 1886 Daniel Wiseman founded Our Redeemer, which was DC’s first African American congregation. Rev. Wiseman was ordained at Luther Place in 1886.
A fire ravaged much of the nave in 1904 but allowed for renovations including the 12 reformers depicted in the windows and dedicated to unity under God. President Theodore Roosevelt spoke at the restoration celebration a year later saying that, “the Lutheran Church is destined to become one of the two or three greatest churches, most distinctly American.”
In the 1930s the congregation became aware of thousands of unchurched persons living in the city and began a life marked by evangelism. Pre- and post-World War II the city was teeming with young adults. Many were attracted to Luther Place by recreational and service activities. Church attendance was at a record peak.
In the 1970’s the church founded N Street Village, a continuum of care including short and long term shelter, case management, substance abuse treatment, employment services and affordable housing, especially for women experiencing homelessness. A memorial burial plot at the apex of the Luther Place triangle is the final resting place of homeless activist Mitch Snyder, who inspires the work of the Community for Creative Non-violence. In the late 70’s the Lutheran Volunteer Corps was created in order to help staff N Street Village programs; it has now grown into an organization that sends around 100 volunteers yearly to various cities across the country. LVC’s core values are social justice, community, simplicity, and simplicity. LVC volunteers build community, work for peace with justice, and live simply and sustainably. Photo: Lutheran Volunteer Corps In the 80’s while actively growing its ministries, the congregation also advocated globally for Soviet Jewry and against apartheid in South Africa. In the 1990’s, the church was integral in advocacy with gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights and inclusion, becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation. In 2007, the interior of the sanctuary was extensively restored and new front windows were created portraying Martin Luther, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Harriet Tubman, reformers of society and the church. In 2009, we adorned the outside of our building with paintings of Saints on our doors — St. Dorothy Day of New York, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Martin of Birmingham — deepening our commitment to connect with God in our community.
In the 1970’s the church founded N Street Village, a continuum of care including short and long term shelter, case management, substance abuse treatment, employment services and affordable housing, especially for women experiencing homelessness. A memorial burial plot at the apex of the Luther Place triangle is the final resting place of homeless activist Mitch Snyder, who inspires the work of the Community for Creative Non-violence.
In the late 70’s the Lutheran Volunteer Corps was created in order to help staff N Street Village programs; it has now grown into an organization that sends around 100 volunteers yearly to various cities across the country. LVC’s core values are social justice, community, simplicity, and simplicity. LVC volunteers build community, work for peace with justice, and live simply and sustainably.
Photo: Lutheran Volunteer Corps
In the 80’s while actively growing its ministries, the congregation also advocated globally for Soviet Jewry and against apartheid in South Africa.
In the 1990’s, the church was integral in advocacy with gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights and inclusion, becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation.
In 2007, the interior of the sanctuary was extensively restored and new front windows were created portraying Martin Luther, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Harriet Tubman, reformers of society and the church. In 2009, we adorned the outside of our building with paintings of Saints on our doors — St. Dorothy Day of New York, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Martin of Birmingham — deepening our commitment to connect with God in our community.
Pastor Karen Brau, Senior Pastor
I am pleased to have served as the Senior Pastor of Luther Place since December of 2008. I was ordained in 1990 and served for 18 years as Pastor in the inner city of Baltimore where I was instrumental in forming Amazing Grace Lutheran Church and the Amazing Port Street Project. I am excited about ministry in DC and feel blessed to serve a congregation with such a rich past, a strong present, and a bright future. I am curious about the ways God is moving in the world and eager to engage around the deep spiritual hunger of our day. I love to sing, dance and garden – and sunflowers are my favorite! Please email me.
Debrah Shepard, Director of Operations
I started my career in corporate and government IT services, and decided to pursue a second career to follow my passion for social justice and service. Over the past nine years, I have worked for a non-profit health care organization, an Episcopal church and most recently, the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. I am a member of Washington National Cathedral and the Street Church community out of the Church of the Epiphany. I am a fanatical walker and love to read and write poetry, prayers and essays. Please email me.
Kristen Kane, New Connections Coach
I have served at Luther Place since 2010, through a variety of roles. It has been a deeply transformative journey; one that continues to reform and transform my life. This coaching role is part of the DC Metro Synod’s efforts to engage new people in the life of the church. I am being trained by the Synod and will bring those skills to the congregation as I work with leaders in our community. My favorite questions are who am I, who is my neighbor, and what is the Spirit up to? I can be reached by email.
Bianca Vazquez, Director of the Steinbruck Center
Bianca has served since August of 2011. I graduated with an interdisciplinary major in Sociology and Political Science from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, MD. At Loyola, I was active as a participant in Alternative Breaks and co-chaired the Alternative Break program. I came to the Steinbruck Center as a Lutheran Volunteer Corps member and served for two years before transitioning to a permanent staff position. During my time at Luther Place and working with the Washington Interfaith Network, I encountered community organizing and the power of one to one meetings to revitalize communities and churches. Bianca is committed to facilitating transformative immersion experiences for groups and re-imagining what volunteering and community engagement can look like. I can be reached by email.
Sarah Johnson, Experiential Learning Coordinator for the Steinbruck Center
Originally from Bath, Michigan, Sarah graduated from Central Michigan University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in English and History. After receiving her degree, Sarah spent a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer, and most recently completed a non-profit fellowship with Break Away in Atlanta, Georgia. Sarah enjoys baking, playing trivia, and watching The West Wing, preferably all at the same time. She can be reached by email.
Minister of Music
Luther Pace is currently conducting a search to fill this position. Please contact the Senior Pastor with any questions.
Krista Sickert-Bush, Director of Family Ministry
It is my joy and privilege to serve the community of Christ at Luther Place! I serve disciples of all ages with specific focus on Sunday School, Confirmation, Family ministries and two different Youth Group ministries (StLuthRef & 36ers). Prior to my involvement at Luther Place I served in professional Youth and Family ministry for eleven years at two different ELCA congregations in the Pacific Northwest. After that, I served Luther Place on a volunteer basis for seven years, before being hired part-time in January 2014. I look forward to meeting you and engaging your family in God’s mission and ministry here at Luther Place! I can be reached by email.
Israel Avila, Property Manager
I moved from El Salvador to the United States when I was 16 years old. I have worked here at Luther Place since 1992. I really enjoy being of service to the community. Property Manager means that I always have a lot of projects, including painting, plumbing, yard work, electrical projects, and many daily maintenance routines. I play soccer and enjoy time with my family, especially my son. I can be reached by email.
Roni Lopez, Custodian
I have been working here at Luther Place Church since 2004 and I am originally from Guatemala. I am the person that is in charge of making sure that the building is clean and inviting. I enjoy watching soccer and spending time with my family. I can be reached by email.
Nancy White, Office Volunteer
In 1949 B.C. (before children), Howard and I joined Luther Place. We began coming because of great preaching and warm and friendly people. We immediately joined the choir, for music has always been an important and nourishing part of my life. We had three children – all girls – and all active in Sunday School and Church. Howard and I were teachers and loved working with the kids. In 2003, when Howard died, our church family surrounded me with their love and support. Since 2004, I have been working one day a week in the office. Luther Place is a loving and satisfying place to work. I can be reached by email.
Luther Place is fully-staffed and is not currently hiring. Please check back at a later time.
The Church Council is comprised of 15 lay members of the congregation. Together they discern the vision of the congregation and oversee the operations of the church. They also lead various committees, share information, support and coordinate programs, develop future leaders, and build and maintain relationships with guests and members. The council proposes the annual budget to the congregation, makes all hiring decisions, and is responsible for making decisions regarding building maintenance and renovations. Moreover, the Council continually is seeking to understand how God is working through our community and how to respond to the Spirit’s call.
Each year at the congregation’s annual meeting, five council members are elected to serve a three-year term. The current council members are:
|Term Expires 2018
|Term Expires 2019
|Term Expires 2020
Officers: Executive Committee
At the first council meeting after the annual meeting, the Council elects its officers and organizes its committee leadership for the next year. The current officers are:
President: Jackson Droney
Vice President: Chelsey Christensen
Secretary: Faith Korbel
Treasurer: Kate Wulff
Karen Brau, Senior Pastor (Note: ex officio member of all committees)
Kristen Kane, New Connections Coach
Congregation Annual Reports
Last update: November 9, 2017
At Luther Place, our prayer is that everyone who enters our doors feels welcome. We try to create a sense of belonging for all who are part of our community.
Should you feel that the Spirit is calling you to consider becoming a member, we would love to have you attend one of our new member classes. We gather for a few hours to share a meal, study the Bible, share one another’s faith stories, discuss discipleship, learn a little Lutheranism 101 and hear about the history and present life of our congregation. You will “officially” be welcomed into our faith community during a Sunday morning Worship.
If you’re already a member at another Lutheran congregation and are reluctant to transfer that membership, please consider becoming an Associate Member.
If you’re interested in exploring more about what it means to be a member, Pastor Karen would love to connect with you by email or at 202-667-1377.
Stewardship is about so much more than money – it’s about love for God and our fellow human beings and sharing in the discipline journey.
We are blessed to be members of such a tremendous, giving, deeply spiritual community. Thank you for your many contributions to Luther Place — your gifts of time, talent, and treasure help to build our Christ-centered community.
Luther Place is comprised of many longstanding members, new members and families blessing our services and our community. For so many of us, this is a second home, a training ground where we learn what it means to follow Jesus, and a place of building unlikely relationships.
We are blessed to share this community with you. We hope you feel likewise. It is incumbent upon us to provide the financial support for our spiritual house. We invite you now to reflect on your pledge commitment and ask you to give as generously as possible.
What is a stewardship pledge?
A stewardship pledge is a commitment, made after deliberate and prayerful consideration, to contribute a specific amount of money to the Luther Place community. It is a reflection of your gratitude for God’s abundant grace in your life. Pledging assists Luther Place in forecast projections for the coming calendar year. We hope that all households will make a stewardship pledge—even if it is only a small amount per week—as an expression of a vital commitment to the mission and ministries of Luther Place.
Is there a minimum amount I have to pledge in order to be a member at Luther Place?
No. All gifts, great and small are gratefully received at Luther Place. Please don’t let the ability or inability to pledge affect whether you show up to church. We are glad you’re here.
What if I really can’t give financially?
Please don’t feel that lack of financial giving is a barrier to your being a part of Luther Place. Remember, gifts of time and talent are just as important expressions of stewardship.
How can I pay my pledge?
Luther Place accepts checks, cash, and credit cards.
Are my gifts to Luther Place tax deductible?
Yes, your contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by federal and state law. While Annual Giving Statements are generally made available to contributors each January, you may also view your giving history online through the Luther Place Member Portal.
What’s a good way to figure out what my pledge will be?
Prayer is a great start! Pledging and giving regularly is a great spiritual discipline. Please see the Step Progression Giving Chart (below) for giving suggestions. Whether you tithe to the church (give 10 percent of your income), we encourage you to give what you can.
What if I pledge and my circumstances change?
Your pledge to Luther Place is not a commitment set in stone. It’s your best guess of what you intend to give. If you find that your financial circumstances change in the course of a year – that’s OK – your pledge can be revised.
How can I submit my pledge?
You can submit your pledge by mailing the pledge card to the office, dropping it in the offering plate on Sunday, or online via the Luther Place Member Portal. [insert Pledge link here].
Who can I talk to about my pledge?
You can talk to the Director of Operations (202-667-1377) or any member of the Stewardship Committee about your pledge.
Two ways to pledge:
- Pledge online via the Member Portal or
- COMING SOON — Download a paper Pledge Form and return it via the Sunday offering plate or mail it to the church office.
Sign up for a one-time or recurring secure electronic check donation via ACH. If this is an option for you, your dollar goes further since ACH does not charge a percentage fee for each donation.
Set up a one-time or recurring scheduled donation securely using your Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express credit cards, or Visa/MasterCard check/debit cards.
- Give via your computer browser
When setting up your account, please use the same email address used for your FellowshipOneGo account (Member Portal). This will allow the systems to talk to each other and automatically record your giving history, in real-time, in your Member Portal account. Please note that the passwords for FellowshipOneGo (the Member Portal) and FellowshipOne Giving (Contributions) are different unless you set both as the same.
- Give via your SmartPhone
Download the FellowshipOne Go (F1 Go) SmartPhone app available from the Apple Store or Google Play
Username: Your FellowshipOneGo Logon ID
Password: Your FellowshipOneGo Password
- Give via Text
- Send a text message with the dollar amount (e.g. “$10”) to +12028166673.
- If this is your first time giving this way, you will have to fill out a short form with your billing info.
- After the initial setup, giving is as easy as sending a text message.
- Give via traditional Check or Cash
This is an opportunity to give via check or cash during each service, or you can mail a check to our office:
Luther Place Memorial Church
Attn: Operations Director
1226 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20005
- Give via Stock Transfer
Gifts of appreciated stock can have the added benefit of relieving the donor of capital gains taxes on the transferred securities. If you’re interested in stock transfer, please contact our Director of Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.