Worship & Ministry

First Lutheran’s worship uses the traditional liturgy of the church dating back to the earliest days of the Christian church. This worship follows the classic shape of the liturgy:

  • Gathering: confession and forgiveness of sins; welcoming hymn; greeting and prayer of the day
  • Word: readings from Scripture (typically, Old Testament, a letter of Paul, and Holy Gospel) and sermon
  • Meal: celebrating Christ’s presence with us in the bread and wine, the body and blood of Jesus
  • Sending: a commitment to witness and to help others in the world.

While First adheres to the traditional shape of the liturgy, it also uses the finest contemporary liturgical and musical resources. Worship, while traditional, is also filled with vitality!

First Lutheran Church - Worship Service on Palm Sunday


Included in almost every service is one of the basic historical creeds of the one holy and apostolic church. The Apostles’ Creed is used most often. The Nicene Creed is used during Advent, Christmas, Lent, and festivals of the church.

Apostles Creed

The Apostles’ Creed is appropriate during Lent and at other times.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is appropriate during Advent, Christmas, Easter, and on festival days.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,*
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Lutherans celebrate two Sacraments in which Christ commands us to do them and promises to be present with us through, with, and under earthly elements.

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism occurs through the words (“I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”) and the washing with water, making a person a child of God and a member of the local community and the one holy catholic and apostolic church.

In the Lutheran tradition, babies and young children are often baptized, bearing astonishing witness to God’s grace for all people no matter their age or intellectual capability. Babies are baptized nude (if parents wish); following baptism, they are clothed anew in baptismal garb. Babies are placed into the baptismal pool and adults stand in the water, most often wearing a white alb as water washes over them- there is lots of water!

Those who wish to be baptized at First Lutheran are asked to consider their participation in the full life of the community of Christ and, in most instances, parent(s) should be members of the church so that they can keep the promises they make on behalf of the children at baptism.

Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday at First Lutheran.

Lutherans believe that Christ is present through, with, and under the bread and wine as the words, “In the night in which he was betrayed…” are used. Worshipers receive a large piece of bread and then may either drink from the cup or dip their bread into the cup (white wine or purple grape juice).

All are welcome to receive Holy Communion, including children of any age.

Music Ministry

Under the leadership of Director of Music Bill Engel, music is integrated into the liturgy at every service. Bill offers beautiful preludes, postludes, and special music on both organ and piano. The congregation boasts of several strong singers and both choir anthems and congregational hymn-singing add to the service.


The choir consists of ten to fifteen members. It usually rehearses between services on Sunday and sings most Sundays at the 10:00 a.m. service. No audition is required, and new singers are enthusiastically welcomed. For more information, contact Paul Engel (619-296-5215).



First Lutheran Church San Diego - Music Ministry