Our Savior’s is the oldest Lutheran Church in continuous existence in the Hartford area. It was founded by a group of Danish immigrants in the 1880’s, and by 1891 they had built a church for their use at the corner of Russ and Babcock Streets in Hartford. Thirteen pastors served the congregation in this location, serving the Danish families that continued to move to the area.
In the 1950’s, a highway was scheduled to be built through the neighborhood in which the church was located. Our Savior’s made plans to move to a site on West Hartford Road in Newington. In 1958, the education wing of the new Our Savior’s church was complete, and the congregation moved in under the leadership of Pastor Holger O. Nielsen.
In this same period, a group of Swedish immigrants were also looking to organize a Lutheran church in the area. In 1944, Pastor Robert Esbjornson was commissioned to survey Newington to see if there were enough families to begin a Sunday School. Within three months, 39 children were enrolled and five teachers were recruited. The congregation began worshipping in the Town Hall auditorium on the corner of Main Street and Bonair Avenue, and organized as Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in 1945. They selected a location at the south end of Main Street in Newington, and finished construction in 1948.
Both churches continued to thrive throughout the 1950’s, hosting a range of ministries for families and outreach into the local community and to missions around the world. In 1962, the national churches --the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, of which Our Savior’s was a part, and the Augustana Synod, with which Holy Trinity was affiliated—merged. Discussions began in 1965 as to whether the congregations should merge, and in 1967 they became one church, housed in the current location at 1655 Main Street in Newington under the name Our Savior’s.
Since the merger, the community at Our Savior’s has had partnerships with many outreach ministries, including a Hispanic mission in Hartford, missionary work in Brazil, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project, and Lutheran World Relief, to name a few. Our Savior’s hosted a Deaf ministry for five years, and supported contemporary worship and a sacred dance group. Sunday school, confirmation, and adult education ministries continue to equip young and old alike to live out their faith. Youth ministry has been strong in recent years at Our Saviors, with groups of 15 young people attending National Youth Gatherings of the ELCA. The ladies of the church have made hundreds of quilts, which have been sent literally all over the world. Thus two communities formed to serve immigrant communities in America now reach people near and far with the Good News of God in Christ Jesus.
50th Anniversary Celebration
On October 29th 2017 we celebrated Our Savior’s 50th Anniversary of the merger and the 500th year of the reformation. Indian Hill Country Club was a sea of red decorations and attire. Nearly 100 members and guests attended this event. We reminisced with old photos and old members. Letters from previous clergy were read.