First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colorado Springs has ministered to its members and the greater Pikes Peak Region since 1892. It was founded by Rev. Abraham W. Howbert, a Civil War veteran who had served parishes in Ohio and Kentucky. First Lutheran is somewhat unique among Lutheran churches in that two of its pastors preached and taught for lengthy periods - Rev. Robert B. Wolf from 1910 to 1948 and Rev. Paul R. Peel for an inspiring 48 years, from 1968 to 2016.
Until 1896, the congregation worshiped in various rented quarters. It then built a small chapel at the corner of Platte and Weber Avenues in downtown Colorado Springs. A large worship center was added at this location in 1928. In 1959 the congregation moved to its present location on North Cascade Avenue, having outgrown its old building. The present sanctuary was dedicated in 1966. In the intervening years from 1959 to 1966, a large turn-of-the century mansion on the church property was used for worship. It eventually became the church's parish house, known since 2016 as the Rev. Paul R. Peel House. Also over the years, the church campus expanded with the addition of a Ministry Center and an Education Center.
Social Ministry has been especially at the heart of First Lutheran's mission since its founding. Concern and care for refugees dates from Belgian Relief efforts during the First World War to support for the Lutheran Family Services Refugee Program today. As early as 1926, First Lutheran's Women's Missionary Society partially funded a member of the congregation as a missionary to Liberia. As of 2017, First Lutheran led all ELCA churches in financial provision for missionaries out of its annual member giving. Over the decades, the people of First Lutheran also have become deeply involved in a number of local ministries, including food banks, daily meals for those in need, housing for the homeless, a women's shelter, a medical clinic, programs for teenagers, help with medical prescriptions, and Habitat for Humanity.
The vision of the 48 charter members of First Lutheran has been carried forward for more than a century and inspires its 2,043 members today.