Through Jesus Christ we have been brought into relationship with God. Having experienced God’s grace in our lives, we strive to be a supportive community, sharing God’s love and grace through worship and caring service to our neighbors and our world.
The three words that represent the vision of Faith Lutheran Church are: invite, equip, and send. These three words are to be used as guidelines in all of the ministries that Faith Lutheran undertakes. Does the event or ministry invite people to come and worship? Does the event equip people for ministry or send them out to minister?
Here’s how some of our members responded when asked to complete the statement, “Faith is…”
Faith Lutheran Church is administered by our church council and our pastor. There are nine council members elected by the church at the annual meeting, the remaining positions are appointed by the council. The council runs the parish and reports to the church at the annual meeting. To meet our staff, visit the Church Staff page. To meet our council, visit the Church Council page.
Safe Ministry Policy
Safe Ministry is a child and youth abuse prevention program built around existing policies already successfully used by other churches and organizations (like the Boy Scouts of America), for the ultimate protection of children in church-sponsored events and programs.
The Lutheran Church
The Lutheran Church grew out of the Reformation in Europe in the 1500s. Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk, sought to “reform” the Roman Catholic Church. In matters of faith he felt that the Bible should be our authority and not the teachings of the church. His ideas were not well received and he was excommunicated. The modern Lutheran Church holds to the authority of scripture. However, we do not take the Bible “literally” and recognize that the bible needs to be interpreted. Although the church provides social statements on a variety of issues, these statements are not seen as “law” so much as they are seen as guidelines.
The church recognizes two sacraments (sacred moments); they are based on the command of Jesus from scripture. One sacrament is Baptism, as Jesus said to “Go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The other sacrament is Holy Communion, as Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith Lutheran Church is a member of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Our “parent” organization’s guiding principles are expressed in their mission statement:
Together in Jesus Christ we are freed by grace to live faithfully, witness boldly and serve joyfully.
A world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ makes for all people and creation.
Our values are grounded in faith, in our biblical and Lutheran confessional sources and our love of God and neighbor. They speak to the way this church lives and practices our faith, and they will guide how we journey forward in Christ as church together.
- Forgiveness and reconciliation – We are reconciled to God by God’s forgiving mercy. Forgiveness and reconciliation flow from what God has made us to be in Jesus Christ and what God is doing with us in the world. As a people of God, we embody forgiveness in speech, action and relationships, and our ministry in reconciliation is foundational.
- Dignity, compassion and justice – Each person is created in God’s image. We respect this God-given right to dignity and, inspired by the life of Jesus, show love and compassion for all people. Through proclamation of the gospel, through worship and as servants of God working for healing and justice in the world, we uphold and seek to protect the dignity and human rights of all people.
- Inclusion and diversity – As Christ’s church, we value the richness of God’s creation and offer a radical welcome to all people, appreciating our common humanity and our differences. We are a church that does not view diversity as a barrier to unity. We recognize and will challenge dynamics of power and privilege that create barriers to participation and equity in this church and society – for women, people of color, minority ethnic groups, people with disabilities, people who are marginalized or living in poverty, and the LGBTQ community.
- Courage and openness to change – Because we trust in God’s promise and understand faith to be a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, we are emboldened to embrace learning and change in our spiritual and institutional journey as church. This means we are open to new ways and willing to take risks to discover God’s plan for this church.
- Faithful stewardship of God’s creation and gifts – As church together, faithful stewardship is about holding to God’s purpose and ensuring the responsibilities and resources that God has entrusted to us are used with great care and with accountability to God, to each other and those served by this church.
Faith Lutheran Church was organized as a mission congregation of the Augustana Lutheran Church, and was the last congregation started by Augustana before the merger that produced the Lutheran Church in America, which is now part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The first worship service of the new congregation was held on November 4, 1962 in the basement assembly room of Pike School on Porter Road in Andover. Services were held at Pike for about a year until the building was sold. Phillips Academy in Andover then kindly provided the use of Peabody house on Sunday mornings and church holidays. The first church organ was assembled from a kit in eight weeks by the talented electronics engineers in the congregation. As one member commented when recalling the church’s early years, “We were not called ‘Faith’ for nothing!”
On December 1, 1963, Faith Lutheran was officially organized in the presence of Rev. Dr. O. Karl Olander, New England Synod President, and Rev. Hartland H. Gifford was installed as the first pastor. In April, 1964, the congregation purchased 3.4 acres of land located at 360 South Main Street, Andover for $14,000. The remainder of the present site, a 0.75 acre parcel at the corner of South Main and Wildwood Road containing an old house and barn, was purchased a year later for $13,500. Construction of the first church building began in January, 1967 and it was dedicated on September 10, 1967.
From its beginnings as a mission congregation organized by 34 charter members, Faith has grown to a thriving congregation serving more than 850 people who reside in Andover, North Andover, the greater Merrimack Valley, and beyond.
A video of our church’s history was prepared for the Building Expansion Dedication and Celebration in September 2012.