Social Ministry & Outreach

True faith is one that makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest and more humane … it makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome but a brother or sister to be loved, served and helped. 

-Pope Francis

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, First Lutheran Church has an active, vital outreach to the San Diego community.  For over 40 years the church has sponsored a weekly Bread Day.  The Bread Days grew from an idea to serve bread and coffee to the people working in downtown to what today is a twice a week meal to the at-risk population in the surrounding area.

First Lutheran Church - Worship Service on Palm Sunday
In 1997 this program expanded to include free medical, dental, legal, acupuncture, and eye clinics together with health counseling services, on church grounds.  These outreach efforts were organized under a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO), and continue thriving today while they passionately serve the local community. Learn more about TACO by visiting:

First Lutheran Church is also host to several AA / Al-Anon groups throughout the week. Visit our calendar to see dates/times.

Social Justice

Throughout its history, the Lutheran church has had a history of caring for persons in needs through its many social ministry organizations, heeding the instructions of St. Matthew (25:40):

Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and affiliated agencies and ministries, over $3-billion in services and aid is provided annually to persons regardless of their faith, race, gender, or creed. As a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, First Lutheran Church takes very seriously its calling to be a place of respite and sanctuary for those who seek the church for healing, restoration, and reconciliation.

Our congregation pursues an active social justice ministry with outreach to homeless persons, the incarcerated and ex-offenders, the local gay/lesbian community, and through affiliations with other faith-based organizations, participates in mission to a variety of persons who find themselves living on the margins of society. Our congregation regularly studies issues of significance, and in doing so prayerfully considers what our appropriate responses can and should be. We are guided by the Social Statements of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; through the shared convictions, moral deliberations and discernment of our members and neighbors; and by our daily commitment to live out our Christian calling to be “in the world,” but “not of the world,” as disciples of Christ when we serve His people.

Latest Happenings at TACO

TACO welcomed the “Livewell on Wheels” mobile unit August 23-25 for residents to access community health and wellness services.

Global Outreach

Beyond our local outreach programs, First Lutheran and its members participate in many ways in the building of the Body of Christ through participation in partnerships with other faith-based organizations, such as: