Christus Victor began meeting in an old farmhouse across the street from our present location. Our first Pastor was Charles R. Fisher. He started in November of 1960.
1963-66 EARLY CHILDHOOD
Like children who outgrow their clothes, we outgrew the farmhouse and moved into our new building in 1963; there were strong small groups. In 1966 our family unit broke down; the Pastor left, families left with him, and only a remnant remained. Pastor Charles R. Fisher resigned in January, 1966. Dr. Royal E. Lesher served as Interim Pastor starting in January, then retired at the end 1966.
We were financially impoverished, hurting, had a retired Pastor as our leader who brought healing but we lost our vision as well as our confidence. We were known in the community as the church with problems. Pastor Jon David Peterson came in January, 1967.
1968-75 LATER CHILDHOOD
Pastor Jon David Peterson resigned in July of 1972. Pastor John P. Petersen became our Interim Pastor for the last six months of 1972. Pastor Charles E. Steinke served Christus Victor from January, 1973, through February, 1975, when he resigned. Pastor John P. Petersen returned as our Interim Pastor for the next three months. We had two pastors within these seven years; we had been in our first unit 12 years and still had a mission/loan of 3% interest and were not making those interest or principal payments. Many bills went unpaid and finances were the focus of many council meetings. We did grow numerically and helped start FISH (provided emergency food and transportation), an Alcohol Drug Dependence satellite office. We felt that we were being used by Pastors as a stepping stone to bigger and healthier churches.
We decided that if we were united in our commitment and vision we could develop a strong ministry in the community. Pastor Roger H. Schindel started at Christus Victor in May of 1975. At the time, we didn’t know that he would turn out to be our longest serving Pastor. In 1980 we committed ourselves to a Refurbishing Program to make the grounds and interior appear more appreciated and warm. The program lasted 10 years and raised over $250,000 and no money was borrowed.
Christus Victor's Maturational Process
We began to believe we could accomplish more than we thought. However, we also believed we were done growing and actually thought of selling part of our 5 acres to build houses. Fortunately, we decided against that.
We surprised ourselves by continuing to grow. We no longer could fit into our old fellowship hall. Sunday School classes were meeting in halls; we were seen as a warm and welcoming congregation. We were known as a church involved in, ministering to, and making many contributions to the community. In 1990, we voted to build 6,200 square feet and a larger parking lot - the project cost $600,000. 1992 marked the beginning of Joy Bells, our handbell choir. The first two octaves of bells were donated by George and Kathleen Gentes. Our next major goal was to build a new sanctuary.
CVLC’s first Associate Pastor was called in 1998: Reverend Bryant Haney. The ministry was his second career in that he practiced law for three years before entering seminary. Pastor Bryant began a youth ministry outreach.
Capital fund drive was conducted in 2000. The hoped-for goal was $400,000 to $450,000. The congregation raised $550,000. Pastor Haney accepted a call to become a solo pastor. Pastor Jim Lewis came in December of 2000. This was his first call. Construction for new sanctuary began in 2002 with a hoped-for move-in date of December. Estimated cost was $1.7 million. First worship service in our new Sanctuary was December 24, 2002.
The old Sanctuary remodeling took place in 2003. The old worship space was converted into a multipurpose room, a music supply room, two pastors’ offices and a youth room. The former offices for our pastors was converted into a new nursery. The old nursery became part of a new, large kitchen. A small group emphasis began with the “all congregational study” of the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Two hundred of our members committed themselves to six weeks of study in small groups. The study was well received and we planned to do another “all congregation study” in the fall of 2004. Total income for 2003 totaled $562,163. In 2004, we re-roofed our old sanctuary and put new carpeting down in the fellowship hall. The Congregation Council began working on a three-year strategic plan for our congregation. The focus of the year was outreach and leadership development. We understood that ministry needed to be shared among our lay members and pastors. Our congregation was too large for our pastors to lead every ministry. Therefore, strong lay leadership was necessary for our church to maintain significant ministries into the future. We began our mortgage payments for the new construction this year. Our monthly payment was $9,750 per month at 4.5% interest – the interest was a variable rate. Our Evangelism team set the goal of adding 50 new members to our church membership in the course of the year.
Pastor Schindel retired in January and moved to Minnesota. Pastor Lewis resigned and moved at the end of August 2005 to Dover, Ohio. The church was in a transition time. Interim Pastor David Dennison came in September to serve until a new Pastor was called. Congregation made changes in worship times, eliminating one service on Sunday. In 2006, Pastor Stefan Potuznik was called as our Senior Pastor coming from Duluth, Minnesota. His first Sunday was Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006. Pastor David continued on as the Interim Associate Pastor through September 3, 2006. Pastor Meghan Johnston Aelabouni came as a contractual Pastor to serve as our Youth and Family Minister. She began working on Sunday, September 17, 2006.
2010 50th Anniversary
A year of celebration! Almost every month had a “special” event. Pastor Aelabouni and her husband (also a Lutheran Pastor) moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, to serve as Pastors in the same church. We bid them farewell at the end of October. Angela Yamashita started as our Director of Youth and Family Services in November.
In May 2011, retired Pastor Don Myrom started working as our Interim (part-time) Associate Pastor. One year later, May 2012, we said farewell to Pastor Don Myrom as he ended his time with us and set off for Australia to visit his daughter. Pastor Patricia “Trish” Baik began on May 29, 2012, as our part-time Associate Pastor with a focus on Christian Education. After the birth of her second child in early 2013, Angela Yamashita decided in April to resign her position as Director of Youth and Family Services. She will maintain her membership, but will be a stay-at-home Mom.
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