The roots of Christ Lutheran Church reach back to 1855 when a group of German settlers traveled to Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Paul to worship. Due to the distance and difficulty of travel, they arranged for Pastor Tirmenstein of Trinity to travel to North St. Paul to preach. In our century and a quarter history, we have been blessed to gather not more than a few blocks away from our current location and to once again travel to preach the gospel.
One of the first gathering places belonged to a founding family and is still standing today on the corner of 17th Ave. & Henry St. It was in this house, that on June 20, 1887, ten families established a congregation and adopted the constitution prepared by Pastor Tirmenstein. They began under the name Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Christus Gemeinde, U.A.C., (or the German Evangelical Lutheran Christ Congregation, Unaltered Augsburg Confession.) As the congregation grew and began to conduct services in English the name was changed to Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.
It was also in this house on 17th Ave. & Henry St., that plans were made to build a church on 16th Ave. & Helen St. At the cost of $839.70, this church was completed and dedicated in December of 1887. Within two years our congregation had outgrown the building and moved into an unoccupied church on the NW corner of 14th Ave. & Helen St., with the purchase of this building finalized in 1902. As the church continued to grow, a building fund was created in 1909, land was purchased in 1911 and a church constructed in 1912 on the corner of Helen St. & 17th Ave. Christ Lutheran worshiped in this building for approximately 50 years before it was decided that a larger building was needed. In 1959, the property to the north was purchased and plans were approved in 1961. The building was dedicated on May 24, 1964, and continues serve as a place for worship and education today.
In 2005, Christ Lutheran began a second worship site at Oneka Elementary School in Hugo. After eight years of worship at Oneka Elementary School, Christ Lutheran completed construction on a church and early learning center (Cornerstone) in Hugo. Cornerstone Early Learning Center began classes on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. The church’s dedication is scheduled for November 16, 2014.
Our School’s history is nearly as old and is closely tied to that of the church. In Christ Lutheran’s first pastoral call in May of 1888, it was stipulated the new pastor was “to conduct a Parish School in the church building for four or five days of the week throughout the customary school year.” This school operated for over 20 years before closing possibly due to anti-German feelings during WWI. The depression and hard financial times kept the reeastablishment of the school out of consideration until the new building was built in 1964. But it was not until the start of preschool in 1975 that Christ Lutheran School was reestablished. Grades K-3rd were added in 1976, and steadily grew in the following years to include grades Pre-K through 8th. We now have over 150 students enrolled and are fulfilling the goal that was established in 1888.
While visitors from 1855 would marvel at the changes in lifestyle, communications and technology, they would be comforted by the consistency and clarity of the message. As we gaze with gratitude on the events of the last century and a quarter, we also look forward with confidence to the road ahead. The medium and the method may change, but the Message is eternal.