3319 Alabama Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20020
p: 202.584.1597
f: 202.528.1270

The Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter was established in February of 1942. See below for a timeline of important events in the history of Holy Comforter.

Pastor Franklin G. Senger III has been at Holy Comforter for over 40 years and is proud to be a part of the services and giving that Holy Comforter has provided to our members and others in the community.

Assistant Pastor Bernard Ruffin became a member of Holy Comforter in 1977. He is a third generation Washingtonian, born in 1947, and is a graduate of Roosevelt high school. He earned his A.B. in History in 1969 from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut in 1972.

Ruffin served as intern pastor in Loganton, PA from 1972 to 1973. He was a parish assistant at Luther Place Memorial Church from 1973-1974 and Pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Alexandria, VA from 1974 until 1976.

Pastor Ruffin is a teacher at South Lakes High School in Reston, VA where he as worked since 1982 and has written at eight books on various religious and historical topics.

Holy Comforter's Service to the Community

Holy Comforter has been an important part of the Souteast Washington community since it was founded. Use of our church building for civic and community groups has occurs frequently. The Meals on Wheels program, which was started in 1974, is community-based and continues to hold its monthly meetings of its Operating Committee at Holy Comforter.

The Hillcrest Civic Association, which Holy Comforter helped to start in 1989 has held its monthly meetings, and many committee meetings in our church regularly. They have nearly 400 dues-paying households and an average attendance of 50 to 100 people. Pastor Senger has served as president of the organization. The Skyland Area Revitalization Task Force, which we organized in 1992, has met monthly in Holy Comforter's common room to oversee the formation of a Merchant's Association and to redevelop the old shopping area while the new Good Hope Market place ..

February 1942      Survey of area by United Lutheran Church of America Board of American Missions.

September 1942      The Rev. John T. Keister, Jr., arrived as Mission Developer.

June 15, 1943       First service held in what is now Fort Davis Branch U.S. Postal Service Fairfax Village

October 1943      Charter Membership list opened

March 30, 1945       The Rev. Ralph E. LaTontaine, successor.

August 19, 1945       Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter incorporated with 49 members.

November, 1 1945      The Rev. H. Luther Rhodes became the first Pastor of Holy Comforter.

December 2, 1945       Charter membership closed with 53 confirmed members

January 1946      Eleven-room house at 3319 Alabama Avenue purchased (at corner of Branch and Alabama avenues)

September 29, 1946       First service held in "house chapel"

November 17, 1946      Chapel dedicated

January 18, 1953       Mortgage on Chapel burned

November 1955       Purchased property at 3309 Alabama Avenue for use as rectory

September 1956       The Rev. Charles P. Gartner succeeded Pastor Rhodes

November 3, 1957       Dedication of newly-purchased rectory at 2533 34th St, Southeast

March 30, 1958       Groundbreaking for first increment of proposed church building

September 21, 1958       Cornerstone laid for new building

November 9, 1958       First service held in new building

Juen 5, 1969       Dedication of new building

September 1959      The Rev. Franklin G. Senger, III succeeds Pastor Gartner

Early 1964       Participated in organizing Southeast Neighbors

April 2, 1967       Mortgage of 3309 Alabama Avenue property burned

May 11, 1969       Mortgage on recotry at 2533 34th Street Southeast burned

August 30, 1970      Site blessed and broken for six-room Educational Unit

1971       First Ecumenical Palm Sunday Service held on lawn of East Washington Heights Baptist Church, Branch and Alabama avenues, Southeast (area churches participating).

September 19, 1971       Educational unit dedicated

Early 1974       Strong participation in organizing Meals on Wheels

1975       Assisted in locating Vietnamese refugee family

March 9, 1976      Karl Wilhelm 14-rank Tracker Organ blesssed and dedicated; renovated nave rededicated.

1980       Pastor C. Bernard Ruffin III, named Assistant to Pastor Senger

1981-1983       Participated in "Community Connections" at Holy Comforter in cooperation with St. Elizabeth's Hospital

1984-1988       Provided office space for members of Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS) under D.C. grant with Lutheran Social Services

August 18, 1985       40th Anniversary of Holy Comforter celebrated with Bishop Zumbrun

1987       Ascension Day - "Interim Sharing of the Eucharist" - St. Timothy's Episcopal Church and Holy Comforter

February 26, 1989       Lutheran Ministry with the Developmentally Disabled begun

August 19, 1990      45th Anniversary of Holy Comforter celebrated

1992       Replacement of entire church roof and restoration of our facilities

1994       Ownership of rectory transferred to Pastor Senger

1999       Pastor Senger honored on his 40th Anniversary of service to Holy Comforter and Edgar "Pat" Heflin honored on his 30th Anniversary as organist and choir director. Bishop Schneider present. Also present were DC Mayor Anthony Williams and Councilmen Brazil and Mendelsohn.

August 13, 2000       Holy Comforter marked its 55th anniversary. The Right Reverend Theodore Schneider, Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Washington, DC Synod acted as Celebrant and Preacher for the occasion.

Directions to Holy Comforter