About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands.,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.
Timeline of our History 1950-2018
- The Rev. Ralph Shockey, superintendent of the newly established Lutheran Home, recognized the need for a Lutheran church in Moorestown and started holding services and Sunday school classes at the Home.
- The charter membership roll was signed by 45 people.
April 16, 1950
- The church was formally organized.
- First congregation council established and name selected as
Saint Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church.
- Congregation purchased the property and two buildings on Chester Ave. from the Presbyterian Church.
- The church was dedicated after much renovation to make the sanctuary appropriate for Lutheran worship, including an altar and communion rail.
September 30, 1962
- A “Service of Entry” was held for the newly constructed Education Building for Sunday school classes and church offices.
- Rev. Hurluf Jensen marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama.
- SMLC helped organize MEND ((Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development) for low income housing, which became a model for other communities.
- Ground breaking ceremony for the new church building. We said goodbye to our old church in a Festival Service of Leave Taking.
- Dedication of the new sanctuary and related facilities to the Glory and Honor of God. The architectural plans for this unique building were created by Hassinger and Schwam Associates. Architect Herman Hassinger, a member of our congregation, said it was their hope “to leave a legacy to the future, an inspiration to the present, and an echo of the past.”
April 16, 2000 (Palm Sunday)
- Congregation walked from the Community House, (where the church was chartered April 16, 1950) to the church, in celebration of our 50th anniversary.
- Dedication of The Garden of Remembrance for the interment of ashes of congregation members.
- Celebration of our 60th anniversary with a special worship service followed by a celebratory banquet at the Community House.
- The Live Civilly/Moorestown Ministerium food pantry is housed at SMLC.
- Facility Planning Committee appointed for accessibility planning.
- Dedication and Celebration of the Children’s Pollinator Garden which was created by the