In October 1955, the Board of American Missions of the Augustana (Swedish) Lutheran Church claimed an area in Northeast San Antonio with the intent of beginning a new congregation. Five years later, a call was extended to Pastor George Schwanenberg, who would serve as Mission Developer. After securing a meeting place in an office building (503 Crownhill Blvd) and hand-delivering invitations to area residents, Pastor Schwanenberg led the first worship service for MacArthur Park Lutheran Church on December 4, 1960. Eighty-four people were in attendance. The first Sunday School class met a month later, at the nearby Barn Door Restaurant.
MacArthur Park Lutheran Church was so named for its context; it is near both MacArthur Park and MacArthur Park Senior High School.
On April 28, 1961, the church purchased 2.5 acres of land at 2903 Nacogdoches Rd for its site. Officially organized by December, construction of the church's first building began. Those first members brought rocks and stone for the building project. Some rocks came from members' home states and native countries while others came from Pike's Peak (Colorado), the Alamo grounds, and the hillside of Galilee. The cornerstone was laid on March 18, 1962; the first worship service took place place a short time afterwards, on Easter Sunday, in the not-yet-completed building. The building was dedicated and Pastor Schwanenberg was installed as first pastor of MacArthur Park Lutheran Church that May.
Four land purchases between 1961-1985 resulted in today's existing campus. The Education Building was built in three stages (1962, 1967, and 1979). The sanctuary was built in 1972, and again, members donated significant rocks and stone for the construction. An Early Education Building was built in 1983. In addition, the Faith and Agape (Senior Center) buildings were included in land purchases; the Hope (Morgan) building was added in 1975.
In 1963, the MacPark Child Care Center began as a ministry to the community. The program was accredited as a preschool in June 1997, and today, MacArthur Park Lutheran Preschool offers faith-based education and programming for children ages two thru kindergarten.
Pastor Schwanenberg served as Pastor until December 31, 1989. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the title “Pastor Emeritus.”
Pastor Paul R. Ziese is the fourth to serve as senior pastor at MacArthur Park Lutheran Church. He began in August, 1996.
Today, MacPark is strengthened and encouraged by its mission to "Live the Gospel. Change the World."