Our History

1838

A Vision

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was originally conceived in 1838 with various services held at various locations in the city of Albany, New York. 

1838
August 8, 1841

Officially a Church

At the time of its organization, it was predominantly a German speaking congregation and the services were conducted in the German language (as most Lutherans in the city of Albany, at that time, were of German descent).  As such, its first name was ‘German Evangelical Church of the City of Albany”.

August 8, 1841
1855

A New Name

We became The Second German Evangelical Lutheran Church.

1855
March 23, 1873

A New Building

In 1872, the church acquired its present property at the junction of Western and Lexington Avenues. The church building was dedicated on March 23rd, 1873.

March 23, 1873
1886

English please!

To satisfy its younger members, the church began having English speaking services every second Sunday evening.

1886
1892

We Become St. Paul’s

Our present name of “St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church” was adopted by the congregation.

1892
1913

A Turning Point

After having 8 pastors over its first 72 years, the church achieved a turning point when it installed Rev. H. William Mueller as its Pastor

1913
1923

First Major Expansion

The removal of the 176-foot-tall church steeple which was replaced by the gothic tower which remains in standing to this date.

1923
1923

A Firm Foundation

The first every member canvas of the church was taken and the first ever Endowment Fund was established.

1923
1925-1926

Our Parish House

The current Luther Hall was built in the church basement and the State Street parish house was constructed, which provided needed construction rooms, kitchen, furnace room, and storage space.

1925-1926
1927

A Sad Time

At the young age of 42 years, Rev.  Mueller was called to his eternal rest. He was remembered by his parishioners as a faithful pastor and a fearless preacher.

1927
March 25, 1928

A Mission

After a 1-year vacancy, Rev. Paul Prokopy was installed as Pastor.  A former missionary to Cuba, Pastor Prokopy was instrumental in carrying out an expansion plan and in stirring up missionary zeal at St. Paul’s. As a result, St. Paul’s and St, Matthew’s Missionary Society was organized in 1931 leading to the formation of three churches.

March 25, 1928
1931

Christ Lutheran Church

With St. Matthew’s we established our second mission congregation. Situated across from Stuyvesant Plaza for 88 years, Christ had it’s final service on May 16, 2019.

1931
1941

More English Please

An English only service was added at 9 AM on Sunday mornings, with the 11 AM service still being held in German.

1941
1943

A New Pastor and New Choirs

After 15 years of dedicated service, Pastor Prokopy left St. Paul’s for a call to Zion Lutheran Church in Manchester, Connecticut.  In 1943, Rev. William Reiser, was installed as St. Paul’s 11th pastor. He was instrumental in organizing two choirs at St. Paul’s.

1943
1948

Our Carillon

Dedication of the new chimes and carillon.

1948
1951

Rev. Arthur Steinke

The Rev. Arthur Steinke was installed as St. Paul’s 12th pastor.

1951
Maundy Thursday 1951

The End and a New Beginning

The last German speaking service was held on Maundy Thursday 1951. As such, it forfeited its title of “Oldest German speaking church in the City of Albany”. We now had become a Church of “All Nations”. At that time, our congregation was represented by 26 different nationalities among its communicant members. Their common bond was not just the English language but a love of and loyalty to the Word of God. We remain multi-national to this day.

Maundy Thursday 1951
December 22, 1957

Preparing for a New Future

In 1957, major renovations to the church building, sanctuary, and parish house were completed and the new building (which stands in this form to this very day) was dedicated to the Lord.

December 22, 1957
1964

A Renewed Mission

In 1964, the Rev. Stanton A. Yingling was installed as the 13th Pastor of St. Paul’s.  Pastor Yingling received the Call to the Ministry in his thirties, after working as an engineer for General Electric in Schenectady, NY.  He brought a passion to his ministry and preached “Christ Crucified!” as a focus of his ministry.  He oversaw the growth of evangelism at St. Paul’s via modern delivery methods, including telephone and radio.

1964
1968

Taking to Media

St. Paul’s established its Radio Ministry and Braille Ministry.

1968
1973

Reaching Out

We added Minute Meditation in 1973, and Altamont Fair Ministry in 1973. These ministries, along with our Radio and Braille Ministries, flourished and helped St. Paul’s spread the gospel to thousands of people around the world.

1973
1988

150 Years

St. Paul’s celebrated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebration.

1988
1989

The End of an Era

After 25 years of dedicated service, Pastor Yingling retired from the ministry

1989
1990

Diverse and Inclusive

The Rev. Dr. William G. Hempel III was installed as the 14th pastor of St. Paul’s. Pastor Hempel oversaw an era of cultural diversity and inclusion at St. Paul’s. Our congregation became truly multi-national as our congregation was comprised of members with European, South American, Asian, and African descent.

1990
1996

Maritime Ministry

Under Pastor Hempel’s leadership the Albany Maritime Ministry was established at St. Paul’s and this eventually grew and relocated to the Port of Albany.

1996
January 2013

Pastor Hempel Retires

His leadership and patience enabled St. Paul’s to survive the stormy seas of secularism and the anti-church movement of the late 90’s and 2000’s. After 22 years of faithful and dedicated service to St. Paul’s, Rev. Hempel retired as our Pastor.

January 2013
July 2013

A Church in the City, For The City

the Rev. David A. Gruenwald was installed as the 15th pastor of St. Paul’s. Pastor Gruenwald was called directly out of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. His ministry focused on St. Paul’s being a “church in the city and for the city”. He reinvigorated our Youth Ministry and oversaw the outreach of our congregation towards various groups in the community.

July 2013
2014

A Center for the Community

We opened our building to host two regular Alcoholics Anonymous groups, one Narcotics Anonymous group, and allowed several entities to use its commercial kitchen. This outreach enabled our church to turn from being inward focused to being outward focused. In addition, Pastor Gruenwald helped us to grow into a tight community, a true family, through various events and was instrumental in establishing our current church logo.

2014
2015

Simply St. Paul’s

In 2015, in conjunction with our updated logo, the church modified our name to “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church”.

2015
2018

Onward Faithful Servant

In February 2018, Pastor Gruenwald left St. Paul’s to take a Call to Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Louis, MO. 

2018
2018-2019

A Fresh Start

During our vacancy we were fortunate to have a strong vacancy pastor, and college professor, to guide us to a new vision in Rev. Steven Ware. Driving nearly two hours each way he now is serving closer to his home at Timothy Lutheran Church in Walden, NY.

2018-2019
June 2019

Our New Future Begins

Knowing that the next few years would mean great change in the churches in Albany, we welcomed Rev. James Dorner II and his family to our congregation. Bringing experience as a lay minister in Long Island we are now looking at a bright future.

June 2019
July 2020

Our Joint Mission

Always focused on moving forward in Christ, St. Paul’s officially rejoined St. Matthew’s in ministry with a joint parish agreement.

July 2020