The story of Grace @ Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church
This is the history of this community of faith, compiled for Grace’s 125th anniversary in 2015.
The city of Butler has a history of worship in the Lutheran tradition dating back almost 200 years. The oldest Lutheran Church in the city, St. Mark’s, was organized in 1822. First English Lutheran Church was organized in 1843 to meet the need for worship in the English language.
In 1889, a number of Lutherans from the General Synod asked for a mission congregation to be started in the Butler area to meet their spiritual and cultural needs. On July 6, 1890, the Rev. H. B. Winton of the Pittsburgh Synod held the first service in the old YMCA and, on August 31 of the same year, Grace Lutheran Church was organized with 31 charter members.
In 1893, a lot was purchased on the corner of Mifflin (now New Castle) and North Church Streets for $1,500, the owner himself, H.J. Klinger, donating $350 of the price. A brick church was erected on that site for the cost of $5,350, exclusive of the lot.
In October 1912, 26 members from Grace gathered together to organize Trinity Lutheran Church as a mission start on Institute Hill.
Grace Lutheran’s brick building was replaced with a stone building and was dedicated on January 3, 1915.
This congregation has always had close ties with Lutherlyn. The Rev. Dr. Russell F. Steininger served as Director of Camp Lutherlyn from 1946-1949 and he became pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in 1949.
On January 1, 2005, Grace Lutheran moved into its current home on E. Diamond Street. This was formerly the building that housed Calvary Presbyterian Church and was sold to Grace for $1. Grace Lutheran Church became Grace @ Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church to honor the generosity of the people of Calvary Presbyterian Church.
Over the past 125 years the people of God who gather as Grace Lutheran Church and Grace @ Calvary Lutheran Church have participated in many opportunities for service to their community and to the world including supporting foreign missionaries, an active Sunday School and youth programs, summer camp programs, raising up leaders for Christ’s Church, making quilts and prayer shawls for people in need, Grace’s Closet clothing ministry, and community luncheons and dinners.
The Reverend Tara R. Lynn has been called to serve as the 19th pastor to the community of people that began as Grace Lutheran Church back in 1890.