As we prepare to call our next shepherd in 2019, we celebrate and thank God for the men who have
faithfully served First Lutheran Church of Boston—the historic Lutheran church in New England’s
largest city—for more than 175 years. As today’s FLC family, we are particularly in awe of the
wonderful pastoral leadership over the last 50 years: The Rev. Walter Reuning led us for 30 years
beginning in 1967 and The Rev. Ingo Dutzmann has been our shepherd since 1997.
As Pastor Dutzmann prepares to retire in 2019, we rejoice that FLC is atypical with respect to the
demographic trends across the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). In 2016, the Synod’s senior
research analyst confirmed “widely held beliefs that there are larger-than-expected numbers of senior
adults in LCMS church membership” (24 percent, compared with 15 percent of the U.S. population)
“and a significant shortage of young adults ages 19 to 35” (17 percent, compared with 22 percent).
Contrast that to the membership of FLC. We are a young, vital (yet small) faith community that
typically has less than 200 in worship each Sunday – 60 of whom are Sunday School children!
Vitality and youth bring unique ministry challenges to FLC on the local mission field. FLC shares the
Gospel in a city where more than one-third of its population is between 20 and 34 years old and the
median home price is reported at $588,200. Housing is two times higher than Chicago, three times
greater than Dallas, and more than four times what a comparable home costs in St. Louis! Boston
“has the highest concentration of millennials in the country…and their biggest challenges are finding
affordable housing and economic mobility,” The Boston Globe recently reported.
Furthermore, Boston is the renowned home to many of our nation’s most respected institutions of
higher learning. This dynamic is reflected in the FLC community. FLC has rich history of growing and
strengthening students and young adults for a season, then boldly sending them out with the Lord’s
blessings and our prayers to serve Him virtually around the globe.
But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be
clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John. 3:21
As the FLC call committee prepares to call Pastor Dutzmann’s successor, our prayer is that our collective
generosity can help ensure our next pastor is able to return to living in close proximity to our Berkeley Street
church home. The Shine in Faith opportunity includes the congregation’s desire to provide adequate funds
for an ‘out of the box’ solution to the unique housing dilemma for an LCMS congregation in one of the most
expensive neighborhoods in America. Our prayer is that our collective generosity equips us to meet the
challenge to house a pastor who lives and works in the city he is called to serve.
We fervently desire a shepherd who lives near the city and therefore is readily able to share the Gospel
message with a community where 33% identify as religious ‘nones’ and 10% identify with non-Christian faiths.
Pew Center research tells us 43% of Bostonians seldom or never attend worship, while 79% of Boston adults
across Boston state a belief in God.
As we accelerate our engagement on the local mission field, we plan to enhance our 60-year-old midcentury
modern home designed by Pietro Beulluschi. He was named dean of architecture and urban planning at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1951, and earned a national reputation as a collaborating
architect on both coasts – the Pan Am Building in New York City, and San Francisco’s Bank of America.
Beulluschi was also a strong mid-century voice relative to modern church buildings.
FLC trustees have developed and prioritized a comprehensive plan for necessary facility repairs, campus
improvements and enhancements to ensure our facility is equipped and ready to share the Gospel message in
and around the vibrant, ever-changing 21st century city FLC calls home.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have
fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice
the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have
fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us
from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7
In 2013, FLC boldly responded in acts of mercy bathed in the Gospel message in the aftermath of the Boston
Marathon. Pastor Dutzmann and others responded to victims, bystanders, and first responders. In close
partnership with the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dog ministry, the Gospel Shined brightly in those days
and weeks. Our Mercy ministry around the Boston Marathon continues to this day.
Now five years later, FLC leadership is compelled to Shine in Mercy every day to those around us, as Jesus
lived and models for us. Our desire is to Shine even brighter through our ongoing partnership through
Boston’s Light of the World ministry to the visually impaired, as we accelerate our intentional connections and
act of mercy and care on the local mission field.
We also boldly desire, as God’s people generously respond, to call and resource a missionary, as a partner
to our next shepherd, to intentionally Shine to the students, young adults and families drawn to Boston, the
self-proclaimed Hub of the Universe. While we have enjoyed a vibrant young adult ministry during Pastor
Dutzmann’s ministry, we know that a missionary specifically called to reach out into Boston’s education
community, workplaces, and neighborhoods where millennials learn, work, and live is a vital mission with
With God’s help, this missionary will identify, engage and equip the next generation of leaders for our church
locally, nationally, and globally.
Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore, my soul keeps them. The
entrance of Your words gives light. Psalm 119:129-130
Have you met the new families with children that have joined us in the FLC community? We are blessed with
a vibrant Sunday School led by a talented pool of committed volunteers who have helped our kids share the
Gospel, encouraging and leading them to write 26 original songs! Our urban context requires ingenuity and
‘out of the box’ approaches to ministry. Each Sunday in June, Vacation Bible School engages our FLC children
and other kids from our community in Gospel-centered learning, activities, and fun! Our Easter Egg Hunt on
the lush greenway down Commonwealth Avenue boldly takes the story of our Risen Savior right into the Back
Early in the 21st Century, God’s people joyfully and generously raised funds for an exquisite Bach era, North
German style organ that still today allows us to share our vibrant ministry of music. Increasingly, in a city that
values the arts, FLC uses music to connect with faithful believers and non-believers alike, as we boldly Shine
in Joy celebrating 17th century music of Bach and others, the ‘golden age’ of Lutheran hymnody. FLC’s Bach
Birthday celebration brings visitors to our campus each year. In 2018, the first-ever Boston Bach International
Organ Competition will have FLC’s renowned organ front and center for the competition, bringing a master
class onto our campus.
As you – our members and friends – respond in generosity, FLC leaders will carefully invest resources in ways
that further our exceptional music programs for children and adults, today and always.
Our fervent prayer is that 100% of those who call FLC their home church will generously respond. We also pray
and invite FLC friends, and beyond, to celebrate and rejoice as FLC endeavors to accelerate its Gospel impact
in Boston as the East Coast’s ‘millennial powerhouse’.
Coming together, our collective generosity will enable us to make these important new investments, as we
also provide resources for ongoing mission and ministry
September-October 2018: Gather together and study “Our Generous God”
September 23 2018: Shine together as God’s people at FLC
October 6 2018: FLC leaders Shine together and present early commitments
October 28 2018: Rite of Commitment for our church community
November 18 2018: Celebrate together as our church generously Shines
Beginning in December 2018: Invite our alumni and friends to Shine with us
May 19, 2019: Celebrate Pastor Dutzmann’s retirement as we all Shine