This historic 18th century church is the oldest church building still in use in South Africa. Built in 1771 as a warehouse, the building was used by the Lutheran community before being granted religious freedom by the Dutch East India Company in 1780.
Until 1780 the only form of worship allowed at the Cape was that of the Dutch Reformed Church. However, there were a large number of Lutherans in Cape Town that were anxious to worship according to their own religion. In 1742 the highest authority of the Dutch East India Company agreed to grant religious freedom to Lutherans at the Cape. This was strongly opposed by the local authorities. On February 1743, thirty nine Lutherans of the Augsburg Confession met at the Cape and elected leaders to negotiate for the freedom to establish their own church.
Martin Melck, a wealthy member of the Lutheran community, built a 'warehouse' in Strand Street which he gave to the Lutheran congregation in 1774 for services -̶ held, necessarily, in private. Finally in 1779 provision was granted to establish the Lutheran Church in Strand Street and to call a pastor. The first official service was held on 10 December 1780.