Open Doors

Our vision is to build a community for Christ within the greater Omaha area in which all are welcome - a place where all individuals and families can grow and flourish in faith and discover God’s plan for their lives.

Our pantry volunteers

FLC’s Food Pantry Needs You

Is it time for you to clean out your cupboards? Are you looking for a wonderful volunteer opportunity to give back to the community? Please consider helping in our Food Pantry. We strive to provide food for anyone who walks through our doors where they are welcomed with a smile and treated with dignity and respect. (more…)

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Bilingual Worship Services on Mondays

January 13, 20 and 27 from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. (more…)

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“For unto us a child is born … and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6

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FLC Clothes Closet

Out with the old, in with the new!  Get your winter housecleaning done.  FLC is rotating their Clothes Closet to make room for Winter clothing and accessories.  Items needed include men’s shirts, t-shirts, pants, jackets, and children’s clothing.  Gently used coats, hats, mittens, scarfs and gloves, too! We also are in need of plastic and brown paper bags.  Bring in what you can to help those in need!

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Dial-a-Meditation

If you are in need of a sense of peace or guidance in your rushed life and our office is not open, please know we are here for you through our Dial-a-Meditation service at 402-345-1555.

History

History

History

The Church of Jesus Christ can never be completely identified by a building, however rich in memories it might be. The Church exists in the lives of its people, and the story of the Church changes as the people of the Church change.

First Lutheran Church has gone through many changes from the small group that gathered in May of 1873 to organize the congregation, up to the large urban church with strong social ministry outreach that we have today.

The Early Years: 1873-1919
Pastor Kuegele was the pastor who laid the groundwork for our congregation. He was the missionary-at-large for the Omaha Territory. Pastor Hilgendorf organized the congregation on May 4, 1873 and served until 1876. At this time the Church was located on 11th and Jackson Street. Pastor Strassen served until 1878. He was followed by Pastor Frese who served the congregation for 37 years. It was in 1883 that the Church was moved to 20th and Mason Street and renovated. English language services began to be held periodically during this time. In 1916, Pastor Lange served First Lutheran. It has been described as a time of unrest, and Pastor Lange and many members of First Lutheran formed a new congregation, Cross Lutheran, in South Omaha in 1918. Pastor Siebert served the congregation briefly in 1919, but was taken ill and died in the Flu Epidemic of that same year. It was in 1919 that English became the language for the regular Sunday Services of the Congregation.

The Acker Years: 1919-1955
The larger-than-life personality and charisma of Dr. Lawrence Acker propelled First Lutheran into a regional prominence deserving to be set apart as a chapter all its own.
When Dr. Acker arrived in 1919, scarcely 100 communicant members remained at First Lutheran. He built the congregation physically, geographically, and most importantly, spiritually. Early in his ministry, the congregation decided to build at 31st and Jackson Street, and Dr. Acker personally directed the sale of $50,000 in bonds to finance the effort. The cornerstone was laid in 1922.

Dr. Acker’s extensive contacts with regional Lutheran Organizations like the Walther League and the Lutheran Layman’s League, made First Lutheran accessbile to those moving to Omaha, and his renowned preaching kept those who visited the Church active as members. Dr. Acker twiced served the Lutheran Hour as Preacher, and in the latter part of his ministry, First Lutheran’s own “Your Hour With God” was broadcast over a wide region, with as many as 6 radio stations forming the core of this tremedous outreach.

Although Dr. Acker formally retired in 1955, he continued to serve the congregation as “Pastor Emeritus” and was instrumental in organizing and bringing to birth Pacific Hills Lutheran Church at 90th and Pacific Street.

Changing Times: 1955-1976
To fill the large shoes of Dr. Acker, the congregation turned to an energetic, young Pastor, the Reverend Norman Temme. Pastor Temme came on board in 1945, serving as Dr. Acker’s “Junior” Pastor. He saw the congregation decide to build an educational wing onto the church facility as well as a new prayer chapel. In 1955, B. H. Arkebauer came to First Lutheran in a three-fold capacity: Director of Music, Education, and Youth. “Your Hour with God” continued strong. It’s 500th broadcast aired in December 1958. After steering the congregation through the transition, Pastor Temme left to become Associate Director of Public Relations for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Pastor William Kniffel, who had served on First Lutheran’s Staff since 1956, was asked to serve as Senior Pastor following Pastor Temme and he served until 1967.

Pastor Roger Kamprath accepted the congregation’s call to become Senior Pastor in 1968 and he served with confidence until 1976.

New Directions
Pastor Harold Schmidt came to First Lutheran Church during the difficulties with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in the 1970′s.  With his strong moral leadership, the congregation remained strong, and Pastor Schmidt led the Church from 1972-1992. When Pastor Schmidt retired at the end of 1992, he left a congregation that was solidly committed to ministry in the neighborhood and urban area, with well established programs that have become trademarks of First Lutheran’s outreach ministry.

In October 1993, Pastor Wendy Buckley and Pastor Tim Madsen came to First Lutheran and for the first time a woman pastor served as head of staff and administrator. Together with Pastor Don Duy they shepherded a congregation that was eager to explore new ministries of service and outreach to church and community.

Pastor Hal Gillaspie served as Interim Pastor while First Lutheran’s Call Committee searched for a Pastor.  His wife, Marjean, taught English as a Second Language classes for many years through Metropolitan Community College’s outreach program at First Lutheran.

First Lutheran Church Today
First Lutheran Church has been under the leadership of Pastor Judith Rainforth since Fall 2003.  Today, First Lutheran is committed to  “Building a Community for Christ.”  We have come a long way in Service, and First Lutheran faces the future with hope, knowing it has an important role to play in the furthering of God’s kingdom at the corner of 31st and Jackson.

May 2013
First Lutheran Church celebrated 140 years in May 2013. Special events with guest speakers and guest Pastors were planned for each Sunday in May.

          Remembering the past, living the present and looking into the future with hope.