History

A legacy of faithfulness

In 1882, German immigrants opened the front doors to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa, for the first time. The small band of 10 charter members surely had no idea what the future might hold.

Determination, visionary thinking, and great expressions of faithfulness over time gave shape to what is today a wonderfully dynamic congregation. Each generation has possessed a consistent willingness to take risks and to live out the faith of Jesus Christ as boldly as possible.

Reaching out in love

The first English-speaking Lutheran church in Davenport, St. Paul was located at 14th and Main Streets for its first 70 years. The congregation outgrew that facility, moving to the new site across from Vander Veer Park in 1952.

Over the years, the church has adapted its central-Davenport facility to better reach out with Christ’s love. In 2007, the congregation completed its fourth significant building program with the dedication of a new Sanctuary and Chapel.

Planting the gospel

Over the years, the congregation committed human and financial resources to help establish four new Lutheran churches in the community.

In 1976, a dream for an outdoor ministry center gave birth to Camp Shalom near Maquoketa, Iowa. Now an independently-operating venture, Camp Shalom continues to be our dynamic ministry partner for youth and families.

A teaching congregation

Lutherans believe that we all live out our vocations in service for the world – whether a factory worker, a parent, an accountant, a church musician, or a volunteer.

St. Paul serves as a teaching congregation – underscoring the many ways we are called to serve. In a specific way, the church takes seriously its longstanding commitment to encourage church ministry leadership. Over the years, 42 St. Paul members have entered the ordained ministry. Many others have served as musicians, educators, youth ministers, and other church vocations. The church’s Pastoral Residency Program helps young pastors establish practices for a lifetime of leadership in the ELCA.

Continuing the story

In more than 130 years of life together, this metropolitan church of over 3,500 people has become a significant outpost of the Lutheran Church. Engaged both in the larger world and in the nearby community, St. Paul has a true legacy of generous serving.

Among the nearly 10,000 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, St. Paul is ranked among the top 10 in total giving to the larger Church’s ministries.

The people of St. Paul are part of the continuing story of God, faithfully working through the lives of God’s people.

Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.