History

First Lutheran Church had its beginning in the Ryssby Congregation, Ryssby Church, which was organized by Swedish settlers on January 3, 1878. www.ryssbychurch.org

Photo by Dan Rositer
Photo by Dan Rositer

Ryssby Church is not only an important part of our history, but it continues to be important in the life of First Lutheran Church. The Ryssby Committee (members of First Lutheran) are responsible for the care of the church and cemetery grounds. Important traditions connected to Ryssby are the Midsummer service and congregational picnic held in June each year, and the Ryssby Candlelight services the second weekend in December to which more than 1600 persons attend during the eight services that are held that weekend.

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In 1914, the Ryssby congregation merged with the Elim Lutheran Church inLongmont to form the First Lutheran Church. (The location of Elim was where the Ahlberg Funeral Chapel now is located—1/2 block north of Third Avenue on Terry Street). In 1936, this congregation voted to build a new church on the corner ofThird Avenue and Terry Street (the current location), and they worshipped in their new church for the first time on April 24, 1938.

Major additions to the First Lutheran Church building were the two-story Sunday School addition (now called the South Wing) built in the early 1950’s; the two-story addition built around an enclosed courtyard which provided additional Sunday School rooms, offices, the Fireside Room, a library, restrooms, etc., which was dedicated in February of 1970; and then in 2001 the completion of the all-purpose Friendship Center, underground parking lot, and other renovation to the existing building.

First Lutheran Church was part of the Augustana Synod, the Lutheran Church inAmerica, and now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We have a tradition of strong liturgical worship and that continues today. Music is an important part of our heritage—now including two adult choirs, a men’s chorus, a high school chorus, three handbell choirs, and a children’s choir. We are a welcoming congregation to all who enter, and reaching beyond

our original ethnic heritage.

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Along with two other Longmont churches in 1962, First Lutheran was instrumental in the formation of what is now the St. Vrain Manor, a seven-story senior housing facility. We have continued to be involved in the operation of this facility, with our pastor and members serving on its board of directors.

We have a strong community outreach—being a community center and welcoming a large number of community non-profit groups to use our facilities. Among these, we are home to one of the YMCA Preschools, a program which has held preschool classes in our building for more than 20 years.