About us

We’re an historic downtown church, eager to be a helpful presence in our changing neighborhood.

The sanctuary has high ceilings and is cozy with wood.   Some drive long distances to experience the moving sacred music.  Some might be planning what to serve with Cajun Meatloaf at the next dinner we put on for struggling neighbors in East Palo Alto.   Parents relax into their pews; their children might be coloring at the craft table in the back. During worship you might hear deeply felt prayer concerns and a good belly laugh.  We’re an LGBTQ friendly community long in the practice of providing welcome to strangers.

Our Vision and Values

A key word for us is grace.  The vision of our church at a national level (the ELCA) is “a world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ make for all people and creation.”  We at FLC yearn to see the difference grace makes right here in Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley.

Grace, of course, isn’t a narrowly religious concept.  When we look it up in the dictionary, we at FLC find much that resonates with us.  Grace is:

“Simple elegance or refinement movement,” as in music that delights, or wisdom, a graceful way forward with life in difficult times.

“The free and unmerited favor of God” – how do we hear the word “free” in an area that can be so expensive?  “Unmerited” in Palo Alto, where distinctions, status, merit can matter so much?

Grace can mean relief to someone who’s in debt or just weighed down, maybe trying to cope with stress, make ends meet with multiple jobs, navigate the immigration system.

You grace us – you honor us – with your presence, with your particular life experience, your questions, struggles, gifts.

Finally, grace is a prayer of gratitude said before a meal.  The center of our life together, making music and seeking wisdom, seeking ways to provide relief to neighbors and welcome to one another – the center of it all is the table where we gather to break bread and drink wine – the presence of Christ himself at worship.

As worship begins, we hear the greeting: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

And also with you!