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History of Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church

Gustavus AdolphusGustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA Church)  was formed in the 1880’s, a time when St. Paul was experiencing a large wave of immigration, especially Swedes, Germans and Norwegians looking for work in the booming areas of mining, lumbering and the railroad.  About 200 Swedish families settled in the area known as Arlington Hills. Two groups began that  formed the basis of GA Church:  the first, a Ladies Aid Society to help meet the needs of the poor, and the second, a Sunday School for the children on the neighborhood.  GA was organized on June 29, 1889, and building began  at Sims and Weide in September. Services, of course, were conducted in Swedish.

Fire destroyed the original church in January of 1892,  and a new building made of brick this time was completed in October 1892.

In 1909, GA founded Arlington Hills Lutheran Church as an English speaking congregation, but by 1919 there were English services held twice a month at GA.  Our congregation also led the mission effort that eventually became Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church.

The early 1950’s found the church looking to rebuild in a new location. They bought land  and moved to the present location in 1959. An extensive remodel was done in 2001, which added an indoor and welcoming gathering area, where there had once been a courtyard.

GA’s “Lutheran” history:

The Augustana Lutheran Church began in 1853 as a result of the tremendous Swedish immigration that started in the 1850’s. While other branches of the Lutheran Church merged, the Augustana branch remained until 1962 when it became part of the LCA (Lutheran Church in America).    In 1988 the LCA merged with the ALC (American Lutheran Church) to become the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).


Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church today – A “Gateway of Faith”:

As part of its history, Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church has served as a gateway of faith to the local community – beginning with its foundations in the Swedish Lutheran community, and then supporting and ministering to the numerous waves immigrant populations that have populated the East Side of St. Paul in the years following.

As a congregation, we recently went through as strategic planning process and are claiming that history and catapulting it into the future to meet whatever ministry needs arise.  We will continue to serve as a Gateway of Faith to the surrounding community – working to understand their changing needs and providing appropriate support.

Gateway of Faith is the newly defined mission initiative which resulted from prayer with God and conversation both inside and outside of our church doors regarding God’s call upon this congregation. God’s desire is for all people to have abundant life in relationship with Christ. GA Church is called to serve as a gateway for such relationships. At the same time we provide a gateway out into the community to make faith relationship active in love to our city, neighbor and one another.

To serve in this way we discern God calling us to…

GROW in Spiritual Vitality

WORSHIP Creatively and Faithfully Together

EMBRACE our Wonder

BUILD Authentic Christian Relationships

Come join with us as we continue to support and sustain a Gateway of Faith for God’s work on the East Side of St. Paul!