Books: by Title: Lutherans in Western New York
During the construction of the Erie Canal in the early 1820s, the population of Western New York increased 145 percent. Many of these pioneers were European immigrants, with a high concentration hailing from the German-speaking states. These immigrants brought their Lutheran ideals and continued to practice the religion in their new homeland.
By 1827, the first official Lutheran church in Erie County had been incorporated as the German Reformed Church, known today as St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Eggertsville. Soon after, the need for mission churches arose, and by the mid-1800s, Lutheran congregations had been established in several Western New York suburbs.
During the following century, the Lutherans in Western New York would undergo growth and change. While all congregations eventually abandoned German as their primary language, many struggled to further separate from their German roots during the Nazi regime. Today, there are nearly 200 Lutheran congregations in New York.
For this work, local history author Julianna Fiddler-Woite and Rev. Jamie Retallack selected a cross section of images from Lutheran congregations in Western New York. What emerged is a visual journey through two centuries of faith and fellowship in the Lutheran community.