Celebrants at our 50th Anniversary light candles of hope for another 50 years
Carrying On the Work
Our Legacy Partners are organizations that have contributed significantly to the mission of SF Night Ministry and whose spirit of serving others we carry forward into the future.
St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sunnyvale
Night Ministry recognizes St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sunnyvale as one of our Legacy Partners for its generous gift to our endowment fund in 2020 from the proceeds of the sale of its church building. Thank you St John’s!
St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sunnyvale was established in 1957. In 1961 the church was so well established that it was able to purchase almost 5 acres of land from an orchard property on Fremont Avenue.
Church buildings were dedicated in June 1962 – just two years before the founding of San Francisco Night Ministry in 1964. St John’s membership has always supported local and church related outreach. While Night Ministry was tending to runaways who flocked to the City around the Summer of Love, St. John’s was growing its ministry of compassionate action.
As time went by, St John’s membership declined and the surrounding orchards were sold. In 2017, St John’s decided to sell its land and merge with a larger congregation.
At its final congregational meeting, the members of St. John’s gathered to help the church’s governing Congregational Council decide how to disperse any profits from the sale of the property.
The Council decided to include the San Francisco Night Ministry as a worthy recipient whose mission was aligned with the decades of soulful service.
These photos were provided by Carol Wilser, who was an officer and church archivist. Wilser, said, “Our sale provided a chance to bless many worthy religious organizations and charities, including San Francisco Night Ministry.”
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco
Night Ministry recognizes Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco as one of our Legacy Partners for its generous gift to our endowment fund in 2021 from the proceeds of the sale of its church building. Thank you Grace Lutheran!
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church began as a Sunday school in 1940 when Dr. Olive Erickson volunteered her home on 19th Avenue and Quintara so that the area’s children didn’t have to travel all the way out to the Mission district for their tutelage.
The group outgrew the doctor’s office and began renting a place at St. Francis Episcopal Church Parish House, but actual services for the fledling congregation had to be held in midweek. Soon after a vacant storefornt was rented at 22nd Avenue and Vicente and Parkside Lutheran Church officially formed with the first services held on November 28, 1944.
In 1945, Omar Otterness arrived as the first pastor and the name “Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church” was adopted. Naturally, a storefront was a step up from a room in a private residence, but the congregation sought a more permanent home. With a loan from the United Mission Advance, Grace Evangelical puchased a suitably-sized lot at 33rd Avenue and Ulloa Street.
When enough sand was cleared away on the corner, a metal-roofed barracks went up as a temporary home. It was cold at night and on rainy days the din on the roof drowned out all sound within, but the barracks provided a home for services, Sunday school, community meetings, luncheons and more from 1947 to 1949. Finally, on May 1, 1949 the first permanent building was dedicated on the western part of the property. In the late fifties, the congregation outgrew the modest building and commissioned architect Alfred W. Johnson to design as an addition a new sanctuary over a meeting hall which was completed in 1960.
Images: 1) Parkside Lutheran Church, 1944. 2) The barracks building beside the first permanent structure bing built, 1947. Both from “Celebrating 50 Years of Amazing Grace”, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1994. 3) Altar of Grace Evangelical Lutheran, 1967. Postcard courtesy of Bernice Lassiter.