From the Office of Development & Alumni Relations
Messiah Lutheran Church in Austin began with the dream of a group of worshipping members in two other local churches: First English and St. Martin's. Membership peaked at more than 550 in 1970 when the church was holding two services each Sunday. Unfortunately, as the city of Austin grew and demographics changed, attendance began to decline. In 2017, the congregation could unfortunately no longer afford to maintain the costs associated with running the facilities. In October 2017, the congregation voted to sell the property, and in July 2019, it was sold to a private school with the provision that worship services still be held in the sanctuary for the next two years.
From the sale, $1 million dollars were used to start an endowment through the Lutheran Foundation of the Southwest with 30 percent to the ELCA Foundation for relief, disaster and development programs; 15 percent to Upbring; 15 percent to Cross Trails Ministry; 20 percent to the Concordia Lutheran Choir, and 20 percent to fund a scholarship at Texas Lutheran University, starting with a $75,000 contribution.
Although their ministry at 5701 Cameron Road Austin will end, the funds from the sale will continue as a legacy for the church and will help Lutheran students attend TLU through our scholarship fund.
Some funds have been held to pay for ministry needs for the next two years including support for two part-time pastors. In addition, the congregation also supports a Mission of the Month contributing to the ministry of worthy nonprofits like Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Central Texas Table of Grace, Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders, ROCK equine therapies in Georgetown Texas, and the Salvation Army's Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. The congregation will contribute monthly to more nonprofits until closing.
More About Messiah Lutheran:
Officially organized in April 1955, more than 1,251 people have claimed membership over the years. Messiah has had an active ministry: funding and training seminary students; assisting refugee families from Uganda, Nigeria, Bosnia, and Burma; host site for the AAIM Refugee School; assistance to hurricane victims; support of Lutheran World Relief and World Hunger; support of treatment centers for runaway teens; host site for Meals on Wheels; yearly participant of Crop Walk; our own food pantry; Christmas parties for men at the Austin State School; tailgate Halloween for neighborhood; National Night Out; Harvestfest; Spring Fling; Living Nativity; Walk Through Jerusalem; free guitar lessons for the community; Vacation Bible School; inexpensive summer daycare; English as a second language classes; basic computer training classes; a voting place for the community for many years; Dutch Treat night for members; WELCA; Christmas caroling; healing services; choirs and musicians; midweek advent and Lenten services; a trophy-winning softball team; support of the Girl and the Boy Scouts; providing rental space for Narcotics Anonymous, theater groups, opera groups, lifetime learning groups, sororities and others; and support for many nonprofits with offerings.