In 2000, St. Philip’s Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrated 110 years of service to our Lord in the Baltimore community. This congregation had its beginnings as a Sunday school, established by Mortiz Heuer, the jeweler of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
The Sunday School met in an abandoned gristmill, remodeled as a church on Ivy Lane in Baltimore near today’s Morgan State university. The Sunday School—and eventually the church—became known as our Savior’s Mission, the Ohio Joint Synod’s (forerunner of the American Lutheran Church) first effort to minister to negroes in the Baltimore area. In reality, St. Philip’s Lutheran Evangelical Church has been recognized as the birthplace of mission work in the Black communities of the American Lutheran Church.
In 1890, the Reverend Taylor Johnson, a negro Baptist minister from Virginia—having recently received his training from Lutheran pastors in the Baltimore area—was ordained and installing Our Savior’s as its first pastor. It was under the brief (1890-1892) leadership of Rev. Taylor Johnson that a Sunday school was also started in Baltimore City. The continuing spiritual growth of this Sunday school was placed under the direction of Rev. William Harley (1893-1895) , as superintendent of Colored Missions.
During this period a search was made for another Negro pastor for the work of the mission. Such a man was finally found in the person of Nathaniel Carter, a school teacher from Hanover County, VA who was trained and supervised for the ministry by Rev. William Harley and several Baltimore Lutheran pastors. Ordained at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on North Avenue, Rev. Carter began his work establishing the Baltimore Vity Mission that would become St. Philip’s Colored Mission Church in 1896. On June 27, 1897 the cornerstone of the Baltimore City Mission, known at St Philip’s Colored Lutheran Church was laid by Rev. Nathaniel Carter at 512 n. Eden Street and dedicated on September 5 1897. The church was erected as the First Lutheran Church of the joint Synod for the Exclusive use of Colored people. Rev. Carter served St. Philip’s until his death on March 3, 1904.
Since that time St. Philip’s Lutheran Church has been faithfully served by the following spiritual leaders:
|1904-1911||Rev. William Philo Philo Phifer|
|1911-1916||Rev. Herbert F. Richards|
|1916 - 1926||Rev. Carrington March & H. Neuman|
|1926 - 1929||Rev. T. Techlenberg|
|1930 - 1936||Rev. S. H. Mollenauer|
|1936 - 1943||Rev. A. N. Fiedler|
|1943 - 1944||Rev. Samuel Lewis & Mr. Henry Augsburg|
|1945 - 1984||Rev. Francis B. Smith|
|1985 - 1999||Rev. R. Calvin Jordan|
|2000 - 2002||Rev. F. Bradley Peyton (interim)|
|2003 - 2005||Rev. John Dorheim (interim)|
|2005 - 2018||Rev. Michael B. Guy, STS|