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Lutheran Church of the Reformation - National Fund For Sacred Places
2017 Cohort

Lutheran Church of the Reformation

Washington, D.C.

Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C., is the closest church to the U.S. Capitol and a major presence in the nation’s civic landscape.

Lutheran Church of the Reformation by Andrew Robb

Lutheran Church of the Reformation by Andrew Robb

2017 Cohort

Lutheran Church of the Reformation

Washington, D.C.

Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C., is the closest church to the U.S. Capitol and a major presence in the nation’s civic landscape.

The congregation has called Capitol Hill home since its founding in 1869 as a mission church of two older congregations in the neighborhood. Church of the Reformation’s monumental Art Deco building was designed by Irwin S. Porter in 1934, reflecting the aesthetics of the adjacent John Adams Building at the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Arts and Crafts interior is filled with Scandinavian religious iconography, which blends many traditions and styles. Throughout its history, Church of the Reformation has been engaged in the social justice needs of the community. The church served as a neighborhood center after the 1968 uprising that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and has advocated for LGBTQ inclusion since the 1980s.  

Recently, Lutheran Church of the Reformation has served as a meeting, staging, and arts space for community activists and organizations. A variety of local, national, and international organizations use space at the church to promote human rights, LGBTQ equality, immigrant and refugee support, affordable housing, and climate justice. The congregation has also founded many organizations that serve its community, including the Lutheran Home for the Aged, the Capitol Hill Day School, Southeast Ministries, and an on-site food pantry.

A National Fund grant of $250,000 with over $500,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation helped Lutheran Church of the Reformation complete infrastructure upgrades, sanctuary and interior renovation, and exterior repairs and renovation. Work included abating hazardous materials, installing new fire alarm and door security systems, upgrading electrical systems, improving lighting, repairing plaster damage, and restoring the sanctuary ceiling and exterior doors. The congregation believes that the grant-funded work has created “a much more welcoming and safe environment” that will support congregants and community members into the future.

Lutheran Church of the Reformation by Andrew Robb

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