Zion Lutheran Church is an historic congregation located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and for over 155 years, we have done the characteristic work of the church: baptizing, sharing the Eucharist in Sunday worship, burying the dead, and caring for one another. 

As a distinctly Lutheran Christian community, whose history and theology is rooted in the Augsburg Confession and the Protestant Reformation, we understand our mission and purpose to extend beyond acts of worship. Lutheran theology reminds us that we are called to serve our neighbors with all our available resources; by doing so, we are enacting God’s creative intentions in the world. Martin Luther called this our Christian vocation.

Our church’s most important resources include our strong membership, our ecumenical relationships, our financial generosity, and our building. Our building at 74 First Street is really two: a neo-gothic sanctuary built in 1892 and added function space built in 1960. Our building’s central location along a major arterial roadway, near other community centers and nonprofits, and adjacent to a seven-acre park give it particular distinction in downtown Pittsfield, and the church is often asked to make our space available for music and theatre rehearsals, performances, and other community events.

In 2017, our congregation completed an ambitious $1.2 million master plan which transformed our historic sanctuary into a fully accessible, flexible gathering space. We did this because our sanctuary was overdue for a major investment, and we discerned that we can make our space better, and ultimately more useful, to artists, musicians, and nonprofits who need our space to do their work.

We added new moveable chairs, new LED lighting, a new HVAC system, and other upgrades, and a new ministry was born. We call it Common Room to reflect our vision of shared, common space, as well as recall our proximity to the Pittsfield Common, the adjacent city park.

Our vision for Common Room is to use our historic sanctuary to strengthen the work of local nonprofits and neighbors. This is inseparable from our sense of Christian vocation; with Common Room, we make supporting others’ vocations one of ours. Our goals:

•  To rent our space to 501(c)3 nonprofits whose activities are consistent with our core values of acceptance, creativity, leadership, and friendship, and to do so at below-market rates; and

•  To form relationships with creative individuals and nonprofits, to provide people from among our church membership, and to work together to create an array of musical, educational, and pro-social activities at Common Room, particularly those that attract the foot traffic that is sought in the Downtown Pittsfield Master Plan.

As Lutheran Christians brought together by the Holy Spirit to be a church, we are called to baptized, share the Eucharist, bury the dead, and care for one another. We are also called to use what we have to contribute to the vitality of our community; we are also called to foreshadow God’s promised future of a flourishing creation. One way we can do that, and do it well, is through Common Room.

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