Immigrants & inspiring issues enrich our church during its 106 years
Augustana is a church founded by immigrants, and today we continue to welcome those from many other cultures and nations. With over 700 members, Augustana is a vibrant and growing congregation in the heart of the city, committed to working for peace and justice for all.
Swedish immigrants to Portland founded the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Congregation in 1906. The original wooden church was built on the corner of NE Rodney and NE Stanton Streets. That building served the growing congregation until 1950, when the current brick structure was erected and dedicated.
Services and Sunday School classes were conducted in Swedish until 1932, when English became the primary church language. Adult Education offerings were also added that year. The Men’s Club was formed in 1944 and supported Colton Boys Camp, a study of race relations in Portland, and interchurch fellowship.
In 1964, the Christian Education Center was added to the church campus along NE 15th Avenue. It provided the needed space for the increasing numbers of children attending Sunday School. In 1968, in partnership with Emanuel Hospital, Augustana helped lead the development of Portland’s Model Cities efforts and the War on Poverty.
Augustana eventually opened our Education wing to community organizations including Parent-Child Services, Harry’s Mother (a teen drop-in center), VOA Family Nursery, Oregon Housing Now, and the Job Opportunity Bank. Today 6 non-profits continue to call Augustana home: Irvington Cooperative Preschool , Community Alliance of Tenants, Familias en Accion, Well Arts Institute, the Oregon New Sanctuary Movement, and the Society for Haitian Arts, Culture and Social Support. Click here to learn more about them.
In 2007, Augustana completed its centennial year. When the time capsule was opened, it included a 1906 letter that proudly declared that the women of Augustana had the same voting rights as the men on church affairs (well before women gained the right to vote in national political affairs in 1920).
Pastor Mark Knutson arrived in 1995, and the Augustana church community has continued to increase our strong commitment to serve Christ by taking action for peace and justice for all people. Click here to learn more about our social ministries in action.
Why are we called "Augustana"?
Augustana is Latin for Augsburg, the German city where followers of Martin Luther read the Confessio Augustana (Augsburg Confession) before Emperor Charles V and Catholic Church dignitaries at the Diet of Augsburg on June 25, 1530. The document aimed to explain their religious convictions. To learn more about the Augsburg Confession, please click here.
In America, Augustana was also a common name for church institutions started by Scandinavian Lutherans.
Diet of Augsburg in 1530