“To openly accept God’s call to teach, serve and share His gifts faithfully”
Decorah Lutheran Church was founded in 1863. Luther College’s history was intertwined with that of the church in its first years. The congregation worshiped in the courthouse when the college was located nearby. Laur Larsen, the college president and Professor F.A. Schmidt served as pastors. Pastor Nils Brandt was called to be the pastor in October 1865, also serving nearby Madison and Lincoln congregations. He served as pastor of Decorah Lutheran until 1882.
The first church building was built in 1876 on the corner of Broadway and Mill Street. The Norwegian Synod owned both Luther College and the church building. In 1882 President Laur Larsen again became pastor of the congregation, assisted by Pastor Thore Eggen. Their roles were reversed in 1884. It was a time when the Norwegian Synod was raging in the so-called “election controversy” and the church in Decorah was affected.
In 1888, the congregation voted to divide. The minority retained the church building (owned by the synod) and the took the name First Lutheran Church. The larger faction kept the name of Decorah Lutheran Church and moved four blocks east and purchased two lots and built a new building. This building was dedicated in 1889. Thore Eggen was their pastor.
In 1890, three Norwegian Lutheran Synods merged to form the United Norwegian Lutheran Church. Decorah Lutheran became a significant member of this group. St. Olaf Collegem, in Northfield, Minnesota was one of the colleges that Decorah Lutheran supported with money and students.In 1917, three Norwegian Lutheran Synods came together to form the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. At this time, First Lutheran and Decorah Lutheran were in the same synod again. In 1946 the synod name was changed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
It was in the late forties and early fifties that the church found itself with the need to build. The first effort was the construction of the parish hall completed and dedicated in 1952. Next, the church itself was replaced. The new church was dedicated in 1961 and serves the congregation well to this day.
Our congregation has three major thrusts:
1. To be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to offer education ministries that will proclaim the grace and love of God.
2. To provide meaningful and inspirational worship services that edify, inspire and t hrough the Holy Spirit, create faith in those who worship here.
3. To reach out to those in the community who do not have a church home and invite them to share in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We share a common faith with other Christians. We accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God and the true source of Christian love, guidance and doctrine. It is there that we learn of the saving Word of God by grace in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Lutherans believe that the central teaching of the Word of God is justification by faith alone. We believe and teach that God comes to us in divine love and mercy in Jesus Christ, calling us to repentance and new life in Him. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and called to live int eh freedom of God's grace. Christians are empowered to live in service to God and our neighbors, bearing witness to the coming reign of God.
Lutheran's believe that God's Word and promise come to us through the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper. We affirm and confess the Triune God as confessed in teh Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.
As part of Christ's Church, we are not just members but disciples. We believe that God wants us to be involved in studying and applying the Word of God to our lives.