503 Stuart Circle
On May 8, 1841, a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a church to serve the German people of Richmond. Just over two years later on October 8, 1843, the first service of St. John’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Richmond was held at a home at 412-14 East Marshall Street. It wasn’t until Christmas day in 1847 that the first service in a dedicated church building (located on North Fifth and Jackson Streets) was held. Five years later, a group of members parted with the church in protest of its liberal views and became Bethlehem Lutheran. The separate groups operated independently for thirty years before St. John’s united with Evangelical Synod of North America in 1874 in order to secure a minister. The united churches’ new sanctuary at Eighth and Marshall Streets, in the heart of the German community, was dedicated on October 8, 1881. As time passed, the younger generation of the church’s members preferred English sermons, forcing the church to deliver two separate services–the morning service in German and the evening service in English. Another problem the church faced was its members moving west, which ultimately forced the church’s relocation to its current location at Franklin and Lombardy Streets. The church was built in Tudor Gothic style, using windows from the old sanctuary, and dedicated on February 19, 1928. After World War I, German language services were completely eliminated and only occasionally used on Christmas Eve as a reminder of the church’s heritage.
Griggs, W. S. (2017). Historic Richmond Churches and Synagogues. Charleston, SC: History Press.