The name of this organization is the Lutheran Lay Fellowship of
Metropolitan Washington and it is governed by a set of
Our objectives are to:
- Encourage and develop better understanding and fellowship among all
- Serve the membership through an inspirational, constructive and
- Initiate and support worthy projects of a religious, charitable, and
- Foster good public relations for the Lutheran Church.
- Create an atmosphere favorable to Lutheran unity.
As early as 1936, believing there was a need for closer cooperation
between Lutheran laity and clergy, a group of laymen in the Washington, DC,
metropolitan area decided to organize get-togethers. In 1941, the group
established monthly luncheons, inviting friends and bringing visitors. The
first luncheon was a success, and within three months, every Lutheran
jurisdiction was represented.
Thousands of Lutherans were traveling through our Nation's Capital
during World War II, some in the uniform of our country and others to work for
the Federal Government. It was then that this group decided to call itself the
Lutheran Laymen's Fellowship of Metropolitan Washington (LLF).
One of the first objectives for the LLF was to develop a Lutheran
publicity contact as the Lutheran Church in the Washington area l did not have
a coordinated public relations program. The second objective was to establish a
Lutheran service center to care for the many servicemen in the Washington area.
Because LLF was instrumental in promoting the idea and in securing cooperation
to establish such a center, LLF had great impact upon future Lutheran
cooperation in the area.
The monthly luncheons of the LLF throughout the years have provided a
common meeting ground for laity and clergy. The I metropolitan area of the
District of Columbia has been one of the pioneer areas for inter-Lutheran
cooperation with continuance of LLF, the National Lutheran Chorus during the
years of its existence, Lutheran Social Services, the annual Reformation
service, and shared action when need arises in a specific area.
In 1975, during the Presidency of Dr. Henry Endress, women were included
in the membership of LLF and since that time have become a significant part of
the organization. That year the board of LLF elected Mrs. Louise Anderson the
first woman board member. In 1991, the LLF adopted the name Lutheran Lay
Fellowship underlining that membership is open to all Lutherans.
A concern for low-income elderly in need of adequate housing caused LLF
members to sponsor creation in 1960 of a non-profit corporation, Fellowship
Square Foundation, Inc. (FSF). Click here for
more information about FSF.
Responding to requests of Washington-area Lutherans, the LLF established
a Multi-Purpose Lutheran Center committee in 1978. Members included a pastor
and two lay persons from each of the three major Lutheran jurisdictions. The
committee found Lutheran organizations were not ready to share a common
address, but also learned: (a) there is a deep-seated desire among Lutherans
for a well-situated activity center serving all Metro-Area Lutherans, without
competing with congregational services, and (b) future Church leaders need to
know the interface between Church and government so that Church mission can
effectively use available support when mission calls for it.
Addressing this second need, the committee interested Muhlenberg College
in accrediting students who spend a semester in Washington studying the
operations of Government through internships in the District of Columbia and
seminars led by resident theologians or professors. The committee incorporated
as The Luther Institute, Inc., on November 10, 1983, the sooth
anniversary of Martin Luther's birth date. The first class of students arrived
in January 1986. In 1993 the first summer session was held, and the school year
1993-94 was the first the institute provided opportunity for participation for
two semesters as well as a summer session. Seven Lutheran colleges found it
desirable to establish a presence in Washington, DC. They established the
Washington Consortium and selected the Luther Institute to provide services and
management for their 12-month academic program. By October 1993, the Consortium
membership had grown to 10 colleges:
Augustana (Sioux Falls),
The Luther Institute initiated the Wittenberg Awards in 1990 to
celebrate achievements of Lutheran international lay-women, laymen and clergy.
The Institute invited LLF in 1992 to cosponsor the Luther Awards, recognizing
outstanding service by Washington-area Lutheran clergy and lay persons.
The 60th anniversary of the founding of LLF was celebrated in 1996 at
the Bolling Air Force Base Officers' Club. The featured speaker was Dr. Paul L.
Maier, Professor of Ancient History and Campus Chaplain to Lutheran students at
Western Michigan University. Dr. Maier was named one of America's 25 finest
educators by the Council of Advancement and Support of Education. Dr. Maier was
also a recipient of the Luther Institute's Wittenberg award in 2001.
For many years, LLF has provided the ushers to the joint Lutheran
Reformation service at the Washington Cathedral.
In 1963, an ad hoc group of lay Lutherans from congregations in the DC
area began the Lay School of Theology (LST) in an effort to further
adult Christian education among Lutherans in the Washington metropolitan area
The LLF, in 1996, took over the sponsorship of LST. Under the logo of Theology
for Today, the LST Committee offers a Spring session and a Fall session with
topics ranging from the study of the books or heroes and characters found in
the Bible to current issues and concerns facing Lutherans. The seminars are at
local churches, and speakers are selected from Seminary faculty or well-known
individuals and authorities in various fields of study.
The following five benevolence programs are among on-going LLF
(1) The McGrory Fund, named in honor of the first Secretary of
LLF, provides grants to support Lutheran congregations or community groups who
establish new services or support projects.
(2) The Scherzer Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the Rev.
John A. Scherzer, D.S.Th., providing scholarship grants each year to students
attending Lutheran colleges.
(3) The Bly Scholarship Fund, inaugurated by former LLF
President, Dr. Chauncy G. Bly, to provide assistance to students from abroad
who seek their college or seminary education in the United States and then
return to their homeland to serve their people.
(4) The Fellowship Square Foundation Fund, was established by LLF
to enable FSF to provide assistance to residents in the Fellowship houses to
enjoy more fully the space provided.
(5) In 1996, the Wegener Chaplaincy Fund was established by
Fellowship Square Foundation to have a Chaplain to serve the residents of the
LLF members are given an opportunity to make donations to each of these
funds each year. Scholarships and grants are made from these donations and
earnings of the fund balances.