Georgetown Lutheran Church is the oldest Lutheran congregation in Washington, D.C.

Thirty-two years before the city of Washington became the capital of our nation, a Lutheran congregation was organized in Georgetown, north of the Potomac River. A deed recorded in Frederick, Maryland, May 17, 1770, and a decision of the Supreme Court in 1829 concerning the title to a Lutheran church property prove the existence of an organized Lutheran congregation in Georgetown as early as 1769.

Early in the 18th century, a group of Lutherans from Germany, having settled in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, migrated to the Potomac Valley. They were attracted by Lord Baltimore’s offer of land. Itinerant pastors ministered to these settlers as early as 1733. A generous pioneer developer donated a plot for the erection of a Lutheran church and a congregation was promptly organized.

Click here for our GLC 250 page for current restoration plans, history, and more!

The First Building

The first building was erected--a small, sturdy temple of forest-hewn logs. A steeple was soon added. For a hundred years this congregation witnessed for Christ without a regular pastor. Missionary pastors, such as Rev. Peter Muhlenberg, served these Lutherans during this period.


American Revolution Began
D.C. Founded

Washington D.C. was founded as our nation's capital.

The Second Building

The original log building was replaced by a frame structure in 1835. This building was used for worship and a parish school until after the Civil War.

Telegraph Developed

American Samuel Morse developed the first, commercially-viable telegraph system in 1837 revolutionizing long-distance communication.

Civil War Began

The American Civil War broke out at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

The Third Church

The cornerstone was laid for a new, one-story, stone building. The gavel used for this special service was the same one which President George Washington used to lay the cornerstone of our nation’s capitol building. The new church building consisted of one large room heated by a pot-bellied stove.

Our First Pastor

Rev. Dr. John J. Suman was formally installed as our first pastor. This same year, the congregation joined the Maryland Synod with 25 communicant members, 10 officers and teachers, and 60 students in the Sunday School.

Recognized as an English-Speaking Church

In October 1870, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Georgetown was constitutionally organized as an English-speaking congregation.

Our Second Pastor

Rev. Dr. George A. Nixdorff was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Telephone Invented

Scottish-born innovator, Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the first practical model in 1876.

Light Bulb Patented

Several inventors created rudimentary versions earlier in the century, but the first practical incandescent light bulb for the mass market was patented by Thomas Edison in 1879.


On May 29, 1886, representatives of the church filed a certificate of incorporation for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Georgetown, D.C. This is the name under which we are incorporated today.

Our Third Pastor

Rev. Dr. Stanley Billheimer was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Airplane Invented

Aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright are credited with inventing the world's first airplane, which they flew for four miles over South Carolina in 1903.

Our Fourth Pastor

Rev. Dr. David B. Floyd was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Our Fifth Pastor

Rev. Dr. Luther H. Waring was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

The Fourth Building

The fourth and present church edifice of grey stone was erected in 1914 using the same cornerstone as the previous church on this sacred lot. This building was made possible by a $50,000 bequest by Mr. Daniel Eli.

Our Sixth Pastor

Rev. Dr. N. J. Gould Wickey was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

WWI Began

The United States declared war on Germany, beginning the U.S.'s involvement in World War I.

Our Seventh Pastor

Rev. Dr. George D. Clark was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Pipe Organ Installed

The Möller pipe organ was installed and dedicated as part of the 150th anniversary observance.

Our Eighth Pastor

Rev. W. H. Hilbish was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Parsonage Built

An eight-room parsonage was built beside the church on the current site of the fellowship hall.

Our Ninth Pastor

Rev. Harold E. Beatty was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Penicillin Discovered

In September 1928, Scottish physician Alexander Fleming first isolated penicillin in his basement lab at St Mary's Hospital in London.

Bell Found

In 1937, the old bell, which is believed to have hung in the steeple of the original log church but was likely sold to keep the church open, was found and recovered in Aurora, W. Va. The bell had faithfully served St. Paul’s Lutheran congregation in Aurora for 25 years, until it cracked and was retired. The bell was reacquired for $25 and erected in a mini-steeple in the church garden. We still have the bell and hope to have it on display soon.

WWII Began

U.S. forces were attacked by a Japanese armada at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, drawing the U.S. into WWII.

Korean War Began

North Korean troops invade South Korea. Within a week, U.S. troops were involved in the fighting.

Our Tenth Pastor

Rev. J. Glenn Boliek was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Dedication of Beatty Building

The Beatty Educational Building was dedicated on September 20, 1959.


President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.

Vietnam War Began

The first American combat troops arrived in Vietnam adding to the 23,000 U.S. military advisors already on the group.


Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated while on a motel balcony in Memphis.

Washington Free Clinic Opened

The Washington Free Clinic, a community-controlled free clinic, began operating in the basement of Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Our Eleventh Pastor

Rev. Daniel L. Pierotti was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Gay Men's VD Clinic Opened

In November 1973, the Gay Men's Venereal Disease Clinic was established as part of the Washington Free Clinic. This was the precursor to Whitman-Walker Health.

Our Twelfth Pastor

Rev. William E. Wegener was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Grate Patrol Began

This ministry, initially known as the Street People Project, is a year-round ecumenical program serving those in need. Church volunteers make sandwiches and pack individual meals on the 2nd and 5th Sundays of every month.

ELCA Formed

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was created nationally by merger of the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. The Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod was also established.

Georgetown Ministry Center Opened

Georgetown Lutheran Church is considered a founding member of the Georgetown Ministry Center and today remains on its board of directors.

Winter Shelter Began

Georgetown Lutheran Church hosted its first congregation-based winter shelter in 1994. This legacy continues--for two weeks each winter, about 10 residents make the church their temporary home. Church and community volunteers prepare and share a hot, nutritious meal each evening with the residents. The sanctuary then becomes their safe haven and shelter for the night.

Became a Reconciled in Christ Congregation

Georgetown Lutheran Church officially became a Reconciled in Christ Congregation whereby we fully accept, welcome, and include people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions in all aspects of the life of our church, congregation, and community.

Our Thirteenth Pastor

Rev. LeeAnn Schray was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Thanksgiving Eve Meal Began

GLC's annual tradition and ministry continues each year with the congregation serving a free Thanksgiving Eve dinner in its fellowship hall. Everyone in the community is invited--the homeless and lonely, those in need, and those simply searching for a friend or fellowship. More than 100 meals are served each year.

New Organ Installed

The new Howell tracker pipe organ was dedicated in May 1998.

Our Fourteenth Pastor

Rev. Phillip A. Gaines was installed at Georgetown Lutheran Church.

9-11 Attacks

Nineteen terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon, and an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000.

Rev. Dr. Janice E. Mynchenberg

Rev. Dr. Janice E. Mynchenberg was assigned as a long-term, intentional interim pastor to Georgetown Lutheran Church.

Our Fifteenth Pastor

Pastor Brett M. Wilson celebrated her first Sunday with Georgetown Lutheran Church on September 10, 2017. She was officially installed on December 10, 2017.