A friendly household of faith, we are America’s oldest Lutheran Church (congregation), now in its 354th year of faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ since receiving its historic Charter on December 6, 1664.
Many congregations are blessed to reach their 50th anniversary in service to the Lord and His people. Some are privileged to reach their 75th or even their centennial. In 1997, our national church body, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod marked its 150th anniversary. We think of our nation celebrating its bicentennial back in 1976, and in 2017 our nation was 240 years old. But how many here in the United States can imagine being a part of any chartered organization in continual existence for more than 350 years? Our congregation is a special group of people who can lay claim to this honor in all of the Americas.
Under his “hand and seal,” the first British Governor of New York, Richard Nicolls, gave to our forebears in the faith, the early Lutheran settlers and founders of the Congregation of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession of Faith on the island of Manhattan, the right to “freely and publicly exercise divine worship according to their consciences.” This notable event, almost 150 years after the birth of the Lutheran Reformation on October 31, 1517, is a testimony to the truth of the enduring Word of scripture, as is written in the closing verses of Psalm 90: Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
The members of St. Matthew are the spiritual descendants of those first Lutherans in the Dutch colony on the island of Manhattan and of each succeeding generation, as it is with all the baptized the world over who sing of the faith of our mothers and fathers that has been passed down to us from the apostolic church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew is the oldest Lutheran congregation in America. Soli Deo Gloria – to God alone be the glory!
(This historic charter is in the custody of the New York Public Library, Schwarzman Building, Fifth Ave, New York.
Click HERE to see an image of the Charter)
|We confess the truth of our testimony in the statement of FAITH which is expressed concisely in the Creeds|