WHO WE ARE.
GOD'S GOOD NEWS.
REFORMATION'S GLOBAL MINISTRY.
Reformation members are involved in international relationships on many levels – in the synod’s global mission committee; lifting up global partnerships through travel, study, music, friendship, advocacy, and prayer; and serving in professional capacities in a broad range of international church, nonprofit, governmental, and private organizations.
In addition to connecting with the global church through the ELCA and Lutheran World Federation, Reformation has a few special, direct connections with churches in El Salvador, Namibia, Palestine and Israel, as well as with Lutheran World Relief.
We LOVE families at Reformation! We welcome your family to be involved in Reformation in whatever manner works best for you. Whether that is you sitting in the pew while your infant naps and chatters beside you, or plays downstairs in our staffed-nursery; for older children, staying after church to bag groceries for our Food Pantry or running around the lawn playing tag; for teens, hanging out in our Youth Room, complete with lounging furniture, and ping pong and Fussball tables. Speaking of teens, our youth group involves 9th-12th graders from FOUR different DC Lutheran churches who meet on a regular basis for fellowship and learning. Of course, there are also Sunday School options.
Living in DC, many of us don’t have our natural support of parents, siblings, aunts and uncles around to rely on and appreciate having a ready-made community of people who share our faith, can lend an ear or a hand, and can watch our children grow in Christ.
Young families have met formally and informally for years. Recently a group of families with grade schoolers went camping for the weekend. Reformation Moms have met for snacks and Capitol Hill house tours annually each May. Parents have hosted a dinner for Confirmation families on the evening before Confirmation Sunday.
Our families treasure the relationships they have built with other families and other members of Reformation’s family.
Lutheran Church of the Reformation was formed as a congregation in 1869 in the Capitol Hill neighborhood just after the Civil War. During and immediately after the war, many people fled or moved to the District of Columbia to care for themselves and their families, to find work, and often to contribute to the building of the nation and the world. The congregation was also part of a movement among Lutherans and others to reduce divisions among denominations, so it was formally incorporated as “Church of the Reformation (Lutheran)” to emphasize their connection with the broad Protestant, English-speaking church. The neighborhood was a mix of African Americans, Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, and others. Strict racial housing segregation had not been instituted yet. Frederick Douglass’s first DC home, for example, was just three blocks from the church building.
In the 1930s the Capitol Hill neighborhood was changing again as Congress took over the block where the congregation’s building was to build the Adams Building of the Library of Congress. So, the congregation purchased the property on East Capitol and built a new building. Their intent was to construct a building that held a place for religion in the public square which complimented the cultural and governmental institutions nearby.
During and after WW2, Reformation was active in the civic cultural affairs of the city and nation. Over 300 men and women served as active members of the armed, intelligence, and foreign and many others, including many single women from the Midwest and elsewhere, came to DC “to do something good.” The congregation’s choirs performed regularly at the National Gallery of Art and worship services were recorded and broadcast. Many of the congregation's newcomers were young, single adults who had grown up in Lutheran congregations elsewhere and Reformation was their neighborhood congregation helping to put their faith into practice in the world.
In the late 1950s and following, when the DC suburbs were being built in Maryland and Northern Virginia, many Reformation members also moved to the new suburbs and Reformation became a regional church, sometimes with more members living outside DC than within the District. Newcomers continued to arrive on Capitol Hill ready to begin their civil or military careers or to join family members. Reformation’s civic engagement continued in the 1960s and 1970s when the congregation shared its space with organizers for the first March on Washington for Jobs and Justice and with organizers of the American Agriculture Movement’s Tractorcade, which engaged in civil disobedience by blockading the Mall.
Reformation is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with about 4 million members across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton serves as the ELCA presiding bishop.
The ELCA is part of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which is a global communion of 144 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 72 million Christians in 98 countries.
Reformation has been a committed Reconciling in Christ congregation since 1987 welcoming all LGBTQ+ persons and their families to the life and leadership of our congregation. Established in 1974, ReconcilingWorks has advocated for the full welcome, inclusion, and equity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church, congregations, and community. In relationships built through outreach and education, ReconcilingWorks shares Christ's message, the Gospel, which is for everyone equally.
Sharing God’s good news is the reason the church exists. Reformation is part of a world-wide, historic group of Christians who trace our heritage through Martin Luther. With the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran World Federation, we share the saving, healing, liberating love of God for you and the world. This is what we believe and how we seek to live together.
Reformation trusts and shares the good news of God in Jesus Christ—Christ’s life and teaching, Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. Christ reveals God’s love for our broken and sinful world. Lutherans and other Christians use the word “evangelical” to refer to this “good news.” God forgives us and renews our lives, not because we’re holy and perfect, but simply, profoundly because God graciously loves us.
Lutherans boldly believe we have the truth—and humbly we don’t think we’re the only ones with it. We’re committed to fostering unity among all God’s children for the sake of the world. We share many of our fundamental beliefs and practices with other Christians. We also seek inter-religious dialog and mutual service. Reformation and other Lutherans are especially focused on deepening our relationships with Jews and Muslims.