Our Past, Present, and Future
Over one hundred and thirty years ago the formation of this congregation was a dream
for a cluster of Swedish immigrants who saw the community need for a church in the growing
Arlington Hills area. Beginning with the formation of a Sunday School to instruct children in the
Christian faith and the Ladies Aid Society to assist families living in poverty, this dream of a new
Lutheran church on the East Side of Saint Paul would be actualized. The group, with the
support of their mother church First Lutheran Church near Swede Hollow, organized as a
congregation of the Augustana Synod, adopted a church constitution and chose a name,
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church, on June 29, 1889.
The immigrant roots of this congregation have influenced it through the generations with
a consistent desire to be a gateway of faith for those seeking community and Christ. From the
earliest years of this congregation’s formation, Gustavus Adolphus L.C. has been dedicated to
love and care of neighbor through relationships and service, participating in the creation and
support of local hospitals, schools, and care centers for the elderly in those early years to
partnerships with Merrick Community Services, Lutheran Social Services, and Lyngblomsten
Care Center in the present. The heart of this congregation for local and global mission has been
constant with ongoing support for missionaries and many decades long relationship with sister
parishes in the Iringa Diocese of the Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT).
As this congregation has grown and moved from its original site at Sims and Weide in
1959 to our current campus site alongside of Lake Phalen and at the boundaries of the city of
Saint Paul and the suburbs, Gustavus Adolphus has continued to boldly ask, “What is God
calling us to next?”
In recent years we have dedicated ourselves to our Gateway of Faith mission with a goal
of wearing out the carpet of the facility and having our congregation known among our
neighbors as a caring, supportive, and welcoming community of faith. We freely admit we are a
community of saints and sinners who are striving together to embody Christ’s love, faithfully and
imperfectly. We will continue to journey together and ask God, “What’s next?”
Our Mission and Core Values
Our mission is to be a Gateway of Faith
with our city, neighborhood
and each other.
Our core values are:
GROW IN SPIRITUAL VITALITY
We believe that the journey of faith is a holistic, life-long walk. It is about being nurtured in our
understanding of God’s unconditional love and grace, as well as being encouraged to live our faith in
every aspect of our life. Our commitment is to provide diverse and meaningful opportunities to grow in
our spiritual vitality through study, service and multi-generational experiences.
WORSHIP CREATIVELY AND FAITHFULLY TOGETHER
We celebrate the powerful witness of our Lutheran heritage, the strong values of liturgical worship and
preaching the Biblical story in creative and relevant ways. We are committed to providing worship that
honors our traditions, welcomes new and adapted experiences and encourages participation of all people
no matter who they are or from where they come.
EMBRACE OUR WONDER
Life is not a simple black and white experience. It is filled with wonder, profound questions, and living
with the unknown. Taking risks, making mistakes, and feeling safe to ask questions are essential in our
community of faith. We live this out by meeting people where they are, valuing a variety of perspectives
of faith and life, letting “no” be as important as saying “yes” and reflecting, in everything we do, the
unconditional love and acceptance of a gracious God.
BUILD AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS
Knowing our neighbor is as much an act of authentic engagement as it is a desire to welcome all who
come into our lives. Our commitment to build authentic Christian relationships is to be “in” the
community, to faithfully accept people that are different from us, genuinely get to know our neighbors,
even when it may call us to enter the trenches of their lives. We want to be the face of Jesus to others.
Our mission statement and core values define the heart of who we are and who we desire to be
as a congregation. They are both representative and aspirational. We embody our mission
statement and core values in our daily lives through our variety of vocational calls and through
our shared work and ministry as a congregation. Our mission statement and core values guide
the decisions that our lay leaders and pastors make on behalf of our congregation.