Abiding Presence Lutheran Church, located in a new location in the Beltsville Professional Center 10774 Rhode Island Avenue in Beltsville is a small and welcoming community of Christians that belongs to the Metropolitan Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Church began its ministry in 1958 under the leadership of Pastor William Gunther as Mission Developer. In March of 1960, the Rev. Samuel F. Frank was called and led the congregation. In July of 1963, the first section of the church building on Montgomery Road was completed. Later additional Sunday School rooms and office facilities were added and the nave was expanded.
In 1980, Pastor Frank decided to retire. The Rev. Elizabeth Platz then served as interim pastor until the Rev. Dr. Michael Taylor was called to serve as Pastor. Pastor Taylor served from 1980 until 1999. To better serve its growing congregation and the community, a building program was launched in 1989. The architect for the project was Larry Cook, whose design positioned the altar platform as the central focus with congregational seating on three sides. Round stained glass windows on the north and south walls incorporate two important symbols of the church: the descending dove, representing the abiding presence of Christ in our lives; and the Luther Rose, a symbol designed by Martin Luther, leader of the Lutheran Reformation. The interior wood furnishings including the altar, communion rail, hanging cross and tables, were handmade by Craig Jubar, a woodworker and member of the church at that time.
Between 1995 and 2000, a needlepoint project was undertaken to design and stitch colorful kneeling cushions for use around the altar at the communion rail. We engaged the talents of Catherine Kapikian, Director of the Center for the Arts and religion of the Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., to create the designs. The Needlepoint Committee of the Washington National Cathedral offered support and advice throughout the project. The twelve cushions created remind us of God's love for us through the depiction of Biblical events and symbolism. Members of the congregation did all of the needlepoint stitching, and the kneelers were dedicated at a special service on March 5, 2000.
In 1999 Pastor Taylor left to take a position in Virginia. The Rev. Michael Koch, served as interim pastor until Pastor Hebbeler was called. The Rev. Art Hebbeler began his ministry with us in February of 2001. During Pastor Hebbeler's leadership, the congregation invited a Korean congregation that was renting space in our building for their worship services to join our congregation. Pastor Jongkil Na took additional training to become ordained as a Lutheran Pastor. For a period of time Abiding Presence had two pastors and two services: one in English and one in Korean. In 2008 Pastor Hebbeler left the church, and Pastor Na became the sole Pastor.
In 2007 we fell on such hard times that we had to sell our beloved building on Montgomery Road. Happily, we were able to relocate to a smaller space nearby, and continue our presence in Beltsville. Our new altar and pulpit are modeled after the ones we left behind, and our kneelers fit perfectly under the new communion rail.
Abiding Presence strives to be a friendly and open place where people can learn about and practice their Christian faith, serve others, and enjoy the fellowship of other Christians. The Lutheran tradition is rooted in the Gospel and is rich in liturgy where the word and sacrament are primary. We invite you to visit our parish, worship with us, and join us in fellowship.