Bethany English Lutheran Church
The history of this church is varied and the congregation saw many struggles. Prior to the Civil War on Bond Street near Eastern Avenue there stood a German congregational church. The congregation known as St. Peter’s German Lutheran Church was established there. It was founded by Rev. Hertzberg and he was succeeded by Revs. Brown and Schwartz. In 1861 Rev. Schloegel became the pastor and he remained there until his death in 1892.
The congregation was received into receiver membership in 1862. The Rev. George Albrecht was sent to administer to the core congregation of about 30 members. On February 5, 1892, the German Congregation was organized and named the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peace with Rev. Albrecht as their leader. He was succeeded in about six months by Rev. Richard Schmidt. The congregation worshipped at Shaeffer’s Chapel on Gough Street. In April they purchased a chapel and repaired it and Rev. Schmidt was installed as their pastor.
In November, 1894, a parsonage adjoining the church building was purchased for $1,875. Rev. Schmidt severed his connection with the congregation December 1. 1898. and was succeeded by Rev. Hugo Braun on December 8. who served the congregation until May 5. 1901. His installation was held February 12, 1899, by Revs. F. Ph. Hennighausen. D.D..and U. S. G. Rupp. During all these years the congregation was slowly acquiring strength.
On June 1,1901 Rev. C. E. Raymond. D.D. became pastor and was installed by Revs. E. C. Ide and W. C. Staudemire on September 22.
In 1903 a movement took place looking towards changing the services from German to English. For a while half the services were English and half were in German, but soon they were changed to all English services. There was some ill feeling and misunderstandings and in October, 1904, the name was changed to "Bethany English Lutheran Church of Baltimore City” and the congregation withdrew from the Maryland Synod, becoming an independent congregation. It again joined the Synod in October 1905.
On October 1. 1905, Rev. Raymond severed his connection with the congregation and on January 1. 1906. Rev. Luther F. Miller took up the work. His installation took place March 18. 1906. The building was repainted and papered, however, in August of 1909 the building was condemned by the city. That part of the city was on a downward spiral and it wasn’t favorable to rebuild so the building was sold at a loss and ground purchased at the corner of Lakewood and Madison Street. During the next year, they worshiped in a home on Lakewood Avenue. On the lot a small chapel was erected and was dedicated on May 21, 1911.
In February 1917. the twenty-fifth anniversary was observed with sermon by Rev. Richard Schmidt, a former pastor. In the same year the interior of the church was remodeled.
Martin Luther Lutheran Church
Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Baltimore was founded in approximately 1890 and was located at 401-409 North Patterson Park Avenue (directory lists at Patterson Park Avenue and Orleans Street). The congregation closed its doors about 1994. The remaining members of Martin Luther joined with those of Bethany Lutheran and Trinity Lutheran to form a new congregation known as Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church which is located in the former Trinity campus on McElderry Street.
Trinity Lutheran (Baltimore City) records have been previously microfilmed and partially indexed beginning with the 1853 volume. This collection is available at the Maryland State Archives as Special Collections SC4543 microfilm copy number M 1461. Unfortunately, the location of prior volumes from this congregation, which was established in 1839, is unknown. The original records of Trinity Lutheran are now housed at the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The whereabouts of all records from the former Bethany Lutheran congregation, last located on Madison Street near North Lakewood Avenue, are unknown at this time. Reference to this congregation’s records was not made in Kanely’s 1987 Directory of Maryland Church Records, presumably because the church was organized after 1910.
The surviving church records from the Martin Luther congregation appear to be complete, consisting of eight volumes dating from 1890 to the late 1980s. Volumes one through seven have been microfilmed by the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis and are available on microfilm for review. The entirety of the original records were returned to Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran congregation in December 1998 and subsequently archived at the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg.
Centennial History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland, 1820-1920, Wentz
Records at the Maryland Archives MSA S 1512-2508 (00/59/06/35)-Bethany
Records at the Maryland Archives MSA S 1512-1888 (00/59/06/28)-Martin Luther