In 1852, the Victorian village of Lutherville was established. The village is in Baltimore County, approximately four miles north of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. In 1882, the Church of the Holy Comforter began as a mission parish of Trinity Church, Towson. Towson, the county seat, is midway between Lutherville and the city line. Today, Old Lutherville maintains its historic charm, but is encompassed by suburban development.
Services were conducted in Lutherville every Sunday afternoon by the Rev. Dr. William Henry Harrison Powers, the second rector of Trinity Church. Under Dr. Powers’ guidance, the size and influence of educational and social welfare programs grew, including the founding of two missions: Holy Comforter in Lutherville in 1882 and Good Shepherd in Ruxton in 1909.
In the summer, the congregation of Holy Comforter met in the house known as “Town Hall” on the corner of Francke Avenue, across from the Lutherville Female Seminary. In the winter, services were held in the dining room of the Landon House, a summer hotel on Melanchton Avenue.
In 1888, Amos Swen and John Piersol gave the congregation land at the northeast corner of Bellona and Seminary Avenues. The congregation, led by John M. Nelson, J. Collin Vincent and the Reverend Cleland Kinloch Nelson, raised funds for the building of the church. On June 21, 1888, ground was broken and work began.
The architect was T.C. Kennedy, who designed a Gothic-style chapel with gable roof. The structure is of native pine, with ash and brass interior furnishings. German siding wainscoting and narrow horizontal clapboards are embellished by simplified Gothic tracery; decorative shingles with two rose windows flank the vestibule roof. The stained glass in the two pointed arch windows was added later.
Although the first service in the chapel was held Sept. 27, 1888, it was not officially consecrated as the Chapel of the Holy Comforter until Sept. 19, 1889 by Bishop Paret.
The parish remained small for many years. In 1932 there were only 36 regular communicants. The rector and assistants from Trinity Church conducted regular services each Sunday. The church school met in the homes of parishioners and in the local Fire Hall. Additional property adjoining the chapel grounds was acquired by Trinity Church. The church school met in the house on this property until 1959, when the present parish house was built.
The post World War II years saw a rapid growth in membership as the surrounding rural area became a suburban bedroom community. The parish had grown to 139 communicants and the construction of the parish house was undertaken as a response to the need for adequate space to provide Christian education for the children By the early 1960s the church school numbered 180 students and teachers.