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Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

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HISTORY OF CHRIST THE SERVANT LUTHERAN CHURCH

The History of Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

3676 Centerville Road

Vadnais Heights, Minnesota

1966 - 1996

Our 30th Anniversary

In the fall of 1964, the Board of American Missions of the Lutheran Church in America, conducted a study to ascertain the feasibility of establishing a Lutheran Church in the community of Vadnais Heights. The Reverend Garry B. Anderson, a recent graduate of Northwestern Seminary, knocked on many doors. Pastor Anderson was convinced a new church definitely belonged in the new and growing community. The first interest meeting was held at the school gymnasium in August of 1965. One hundred and four people were present at the interest meeting and seventy-two adults signed the Charter Roll.

Twenty-one additional adults signed the Charter Roll at the service of organization as a congregation of the Minnesota Synod of the Lutheran Church in America on January 9, 1966, making a total of ninety-two charter members. Reverend Dr. Melvin I Hammarberg, President of the Minnesota Synod, preached on this special day. For over two years, parishioners worshipped in the school gymnasium.

***

1966 Nostalgia News Report

World Headlines:
“RUSSIAN LUNA 9 SPACECRAFT ACHIEVES SOFT LANDING ON MOON”
“MAO LAUNCHES ‘CULTURAL REVOLUTION’ IN CHINA”
“BREZHNEV BECOMES TOP SOVIET LEADER”
“NEHRU’S DAUGHTER INDIRA BECOMES INDIA’S PREMIER”
“US TROOPS IN VIETNAM INCREASE FROM 190,000 TO 300,000”

National Headlines:
“UNMANNED US SPACE SHIP FILMS MOON SURFACE”
“BEACH BOYS TOP MUSIC CHARTS WITH ‘SURFIN’ SAFARI”’
“ACTOR BUSTER KEATON DIES AT AGE 70”
“CALIFORNIA ELECTS RONALD REAGAN AS GOVERNOR”
“METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE CLOSES AFTER 83 YEARS”
“WALT DISNEY DIES AT THE AGE OF 65”

At the Movies:
Best actor was Paul Schofield in A Man for All Seasons.
Best Actress was Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
Best picture was A Man for All Seasons.

Music from 1966:
Strangers in the Night
A Man and A Woman
If He Walked into My Life
Man of LaMancha
Born Free

Sports News:
NCAA Basketball champs: Texas Western.
Heisman Trophy winner: Steve Spurrier, Florida.
NBA Basketball: Boston Celtics.
Stanley Cup Hockey: Montreal Canadians.
U.S. Open Golf: Billy Casper.
Indianapolis 500: 144,317 MPH, Graham Hill.
World Series: Baltimore

Boxing (Heavyweight):
Cassius Clay defeats George Chuvalo.
Cassius Clay KO’s Henry Cooper.
Cassius Clay KO’s Brian London.
Cassius Clay KO’s Karl Mildenberger.
Cassius Clay KO’s Cleveland Williams.

1966 Prices:
Average lncome: $6,899.00.
New Car: $2,653.00.
New House: $14,175.00.
Loaf of Bread: 22¢
Gallon of Gas: 32¢
Gallon of Milk: $1.11

Minimum wage: $1.25.

President: Lyndon Johnson.
Vice-President: Hubert Humphrey.

Life Expectancy: 70.2 years.

* * *

Ground breaking for the new church took place on December 24, 1967. The first worship service in the new church was August 14, 1968, with the dedication on May 25, 1969.

Pastor Anderson frequently mentioned to some lay people of the newly organized church that he had always had a deep desire to become a chaplain in the United States Army before he “became too old” and passed the age eligibility requirement. He conducted the first worship service in the new church August 4, 1968, and shortly thereafter, resigned to become a chaplain in the United States Army, serving in Germany and Vietnam as well as other stations. He will always be remembered by those who knew him for his tenacity and love for the people of Vadnais Heights. He served as chaplain in the Army until 1982, when a sudden heart attack caused his untimely death.

After Pastor Anderson joined the chaplaincy, the Reverend Gary B. Tessman became the second pastor. He served Christ the Servant from December of 1968, to August of 1971. Pastor Tessman will be remembered by many for his active involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties. He was one of the first members of the Vadnais Heights Human Rights Department. He had great empathy toward human rights and for all people regardless of color. Pastor Tessman resigned in the fall of 1971 to become a pastor at Afton Memorial Lutheran Church, Afton, Minnesota, where he served until 1977. Later he served in Chicago, Illinois where he had a sudden cerebral hemorrhage and died at an early age in 1981.

Pastor Tom Schultz served as vice-pastor during the first two pastoral vacancies, assisted by seminarians Tom Ledbetter and Jim Nelson, respectively.

In June of 1972, the Reverend Richard J. Meier accepted his first call to the ministry and became the third pastor of Christ the Servant Lutheran Church. He served for seven years until June, 1979, when he and his family answered a call to become missionaries to Argentina. Since returning to the United States, they have served congregations in Florida and Illinois, where they are now. He will always be affectionately remembered as “Pastor Rick” and as an ardent sports lover. In 1973, he formed a softball league for White Bear area churches and was the captain and played shortstop on his team. Pastor Meier served as the first chaplain at the city council meetings. His wife, Helen, a talented musician, organized and directed a very dedicated choir during their ministry here.

In 1 975, Pastor Rick made three announcements from the pulpit that delighted the congregation. On Mother’s Day, he said he was to become a father. On Father’s Day, he said there would he two babies. In September, he breathlessly announced there would be three. Rebecca, Richard, arid Jennifer became three very special members of Christ the Servant. Pastor Meier and Helen will be remembered for their youthful, dedicated commitment to the church and community.

* * *

1976 Nostalgia News Report

World Headlines:
“MONTREAL SLIMMER OLYMPICS - NADIA COMANECI SCORES A PERFECT 10 ON THE UNEVEN BARS, AN OLYMPIC GYMNASTIC FIRST”
“INDIA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO PENALIZE PARENTS WHO HAVE MORE THAN TWO CHILDREN”
“WINTER OLYMPICS OPEN IN INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA”
“THE NUCLEAR POWERED AIRCRAFT CARRIER NIMITZ, WORLD’S LARGEST WARSHIP, IS LAUNCHED”
“8.2 EARTHQUAKE DEVASTATES CHINA, OVER 242,000 KILLED”
“100,000 BLACK STUDENTS RIOT IN SOUTH AFRICA”

National Headlines:
“JIMMY CARTER IS ELECTED PRESIDENT”
“PRODUCTION OF CONVERTIBLES BY US AUTO MAKERS IS HALTED DUE TO LACK OF SALES”
“RED DYE 1/2 IS BANNED FROM USE IN DRUGS, FOODS AND COSMETICS”
“FIRST SUPERSONIC JET AIRLINER, CONCORDE GOES INTO SERVICE”
“VIKING 1 LANDS ON MARS, SENDS BACK PHOTOS”

At the Movies:
Best Actor: Peter Finch in Network.
Best Actress: Faye Dunaway in Network.
Best picture: Rocky.

Music from 1976:
This Masquerade
If You Leave Me Now
Tonight’s the Night
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Silly Love Songs

Sports News:
NCAA Basketball: Indiana.
Stanley Cup Hockey: Montreal Canadians.
Super Bowl Football: Pittsburgh Steelers.
NBA Basketball: Boston Celtics.
Heisman Trophy Winner: Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh.
U.S. Open Golf: Jerry Pate.
Indianapolis 500: 148,725 MPH, Johnny Rutherford.
Baseball World Series: Cincinnati.
Boxing: Muhammad Ali KO’d Jean-Pierre Coopman. Muhammad Ali defeats Jimmy Young. Muhammad Ali KO’d Richard Dunn. Muhammad Ali defeats Ken Norton.

1976 Prices:
Average Income: $16,095.00.
New Car: $4,557.00.
New house: $43,340.00.
Loaf of Bread: 35¢
Gallon of Gas: 59¢
Gallon of Milk: $1.65

Minimum wage: $2.30.

President: Gerald Ford.
Vice-President: Nelson Rockefeller.

Life Expectancy: 72.9 years.

* * *

From June 1979 until November 1979, the Reverend Reinhold Peterson served as our interim pastor.

In November 1979, Reverend Dr. Duain W. Vierow accepted the call to ministry at Christ the Servant. Pastor Vierow, who grew up in North St. Paul, served as a missionary for over nineteen years. With the experience of working for over fifteen years in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, he brought a new dimension in ministry to Christ the Servant. Just prior to accepting the call to Vadnais Heights, he had been serving the larger church in the Upper Midwest and Central Canada region in interpreting global concerns. His marriage to Donna Ford was celebrated at Christ the Servant in December of 1980.

With a growing church in a growing community, Pastor Vierow and the congregation saw the need to expand facilities. Ground breaking for the church addition was June 1985. The spirit of volunteer help was seen in this “self built” project undertaken by the congregation. Well over 9000 hours of volunteer labor were put into the building of the church addition, which includes a beautiful sanctuary (proclaimed by many to be one of the most beautiful in the Twin Cities), a narthex in which there is plenty of room to welcome people and have fellowship, and a larger kitchen. Dedication was presided over by Bishop Herbert Chilstrom on May 11, 1986. Pastor Vierow and his wife, Donna, gave sacrificially many hours of their time to the labor of love that ultimately became the beautiful church worshipped in today.

In December 1986, Pastor Vierow resigned and accepted a call at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN.

* * *

1986 Nostalgia News Report

World Headlines:
“EXPLOSION AND FIRE AT NUCLEAR PLANT IN CHERNOBYL, USSR, RELEASES DEADLY ATOMIC RADIATION”
“FERDINAND MARCOS IS EXILED FROM THE PHILIPPINES; AQUINO TAKES OFFICE”
“US & LIBYAN FORCES CLASH IN WATERS OFF LIBYAN COAST”
“PALERMO, SICILY OPENS LARGEST MAFIA TRIAL WITH 474 DEFENDANTS”
“US ADMITS TO SECRET ARMS SALES IN IRAN”
“3,000 US TROOPS BEGIN MILITARY EXERCISES IN IIONDLIIIAS”

National headlines:
“IRAN CONTRA SCANDAL ERUPTS OVER DIVERSION OF 3 MILLION DOLLARS”
“SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER EXPLODES DURING LIFT-OFF”
“CONGRESS APPROVES BILL, BARRING HIRING OF ILLEGAL ALIENS”
“MILLIONS FORM HUMAN CHAIN TO AID HOMELESS IN ‘HANDS ACROSS AMERICA”’
“THE SUPER LIGHT PLANE ‘VOYAGER’ CIRCLES THE GLOBE NON-STOP ON ONE 1500 GALLON TANK OF GAS”

At the Movies:
Best Actor: Paul Newman in The Color of Money.
Best Actress: Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God.
Best picture: Platoon.

Music from 1976:
That’s What Friends are For
Graceland
Tutu
Friends
Higher Love

Sports News:
NCAA Basketball: Louisville.
Stanley Cup Hockey: Montreal Canadians.
Super Bowl Football: Chicago Bears.
NBA Basketball: Boston Celtics.
Heisman Trophy Winner: Vinnie Testaverde, Miami.
U.S. Open Golf: Ray Floyd.
Indianapolis 500: 170,722 MPH, Bobby Rahal.
Baseball World Series: New York.
Boxing: Tim Witherspoon defeats Tony Tubbs.
Trevor Berbick defeats Pinklon Thomas.
Mike Tyson KO’d Trevor Berbick.
Ames Smith KO’d Tim Witherspoon.

1986 Prices:
Average Income: $22,339.00.
New Car: $9,281.00.
New house: $89,463.00.
Loaf of Bread: 98¢
Gallon of Gas: 89¢
Gallon of Milk: $2.19

Minimum wage: $3.35.

President: Ronald Reagan.
Vice-President: George Bush.

Life Expectancy: 74.9 years.

* * *

Again it became necessary for Christ the Servant to put out a call for a new pastor. Pastor Tom Schultz agreed for the third time to help out as our vice-pastor during the interim period. Christ the Servant will always be grateful to Pastor Tom for adding this church to his workload when asked to do so.

During this time, our church was also fortunate to have Stanley Berntson, a seminary student, do his intern work here. During their brief ministry at Christ the Servant, Stan and his wife, Kathy provided many inspirational hours of worship. Both Stan and Kathy are very talented musicians. One of the most memorable experiences within our church was the performance of Godspell, which Stan directed. He used the talents of fifty or more persons from the church; and after many hours of practice, five performances, open to the public, were put on at the church in April of 1987. Stan subsequently became Pastor Berntson and accepted his first call to the ministry at Ward Cove, Alaska.

Reverend R. Ray Singleton began his ministry at Christ the Servant on September 9, 1987. In January 1994, he left Christ the Servant.

From January 1994, to the present, we have received into our church many excellent pastors who have brought us messages of hope and love and caring. Pastor Gary Koutsopoulos preached at Christ the Servant for several weeks as a graduate seminarian, who was awaiting his first call in California. The members of this congregation considered the time “the Preacher Man” spent here with his wile, Stephanie, and sons, as their “first call.” Today they serve a church in California.

Pastor Elder Bentley was the Sunday preacher plus for the summer months of 1994. Pastor Bentley’s sermons of hope and love filled the sanctuary of Christ the Servant that summer. This congregation will be forever grateful to this wonderful pastor for his messages. He is considered to be a very special pastor in the life of this church.

In September of 1 994, Pastor Keith Knoff, agreed to serve our church as a part-time interim pastor. Pastor Knoff was with us for 22 months until he accepted a call in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Pastor Keith and his wife Outi became very special people to this congregation as they helped us through some difficult times. Their care and concern for us will always be remembered.

In July of 1996, Pastor Kathy Sukke was asked to serve our church as a part-time interim pastor for three months as we began our call process for a permanent pastor at Christ the Servant. In the past two months, she has given us some valuable direction as we prepare for the arrival of a permanent pastor.

On this, our 30th Anniversary celebration, we want to express our thanks and appreciation to all the pastors who have served at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, whether for one Sunday or for many. The messages of God’s love which have been heard from the pulpits in the church have been very important in our lives. At one time or another, at several times or maybe just once, the gospel has touched those of us who have worshipped in this house of God.

We want to express our thanks and appreciation to all the members and friends of this church. We thank God for all of you. We thank God for all the hugs, the smiles, the songs, the love we have received from the children. We thank God for all the hotdishes eaten, for all the words of comfort received, for all the floors cleaned, for all the blades of grass mown, for all the love of family, for all the talents shared, for all the songs sung, for all the prayers on our behalf, for all the meetings, for all the wonderful fellowship.

Continuation of "History of Christ the Servant Lutheran Church"

On February 12, 1997 Christ the Servant extended a call to Richard Allyn White to serve as our pastor. Pastor White accepted our call and was ordained here at Christ the Servant on March 2, 1997. Pastor Rick and his wife Kathy have two children, Christine and Jason. Since his arrival at Christ the Servant, we have been very busy! Christ the Servant has once again become a growing church in a growing community. Under Pastor Rick’s leadership and care, much healing has taken place as we now strive to identify our vision and our ministries for Christ the Servant.

In June of 1999, Christ the Servant became a teaching church when Roberta Flood came as an Intern Pastor. She has preached, taught, led retreats, helped with planning in committees, and learned about being a pastor. We wish her well as she continues her studies at Luther Seminary and prepares to lead her own church someday.

Future site of CSLC - 1966

Future Site of Christ the Servant Lutheran Church



Church Council - 1966

Church Council

CHRIST THE SERVANT LUTHERAN CHURCH     3676 Centerville Road, Vadnais Heights, MN 55127
Phone: 651-429-6595 - Email

Pastor:  Rev. Dick Mork; Email

Lead Musician:  Bob Smith; Email

Church Office:  Email

Webservant:  Lois McKeag; Email

LINKS TO THE CHURCH BEYOND CHRIST THE SERVANT
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