Two historic Waterbury churches have taken a step forward to keep their Lutheran faith alive and avoid the trend of church closings. Zion Lutheran Church and First Lutheran Church, both founded in 1891, have decided to consolidate and become one, under the new name, “Cross of Christ Lutheran Church.” The name was inspired by the church’s proximity to Holy Land and its illuminated cross.

Both churches are currently housed at the longtime Zion building, 1555 Hamilton Avenue. On June 9, the churches will officially join forces as one consolidated church.

The journey toward consolidation began in 2014, when First Lutheran Church began sharing space at Zion’s church. Previously First Lutheran had been housed at the corner of Cooke and Grove Streets. Eventually both congregations worked together toward a shared vision of unity, writing a new constitution, and choosing a new name from 44 suggestions offered by church members.

The two churches have withstood decades of economic and social change. Both were founded to serve the waves of Swedish and German Lutheran immigrants who had arrived in the city at the turn of the twentieth century, often finding work in the brass mills.

Pastor Kathy Read commented, “At a time when so many churches in Waterbury are having to close their doors, I’m gratified to see our two Lutheran congregations coming together to make one strong and unified church…under the Cross of Christ.”

For more information, call the Zion Lutheran Church at 203-754-5469, or email the church office at, or call First Lutheran’s office, 203-753-0223 or email First Lutheran at