A BREIF HISTORY OF OUR CHURCH

On September 28, 1920, a small group of 15 people organized The First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Long Beach in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Elling Boe.  Pastor Thoralf Castberg served as pastor for the group with services being held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Third Street and Walnut Avenue.  A year later property was purchased at Sixth Street and Dawson Avenue where the basement was hurriedly finished so it could be used for services.  The congregation worshipped in this basement until the autumn of 1924.  Five years after the congregation had been organized, on October 25, 1925, Pastor N.B. Thorpe conducted the dedication services for the new and completely furnished church.  It was the Ladies’ Aid, forerunner of today’s W.E.L.C.A. who raised the money for the purchase of pews, chairs and carpets.  The Luther League provided the organ.  In the early 1940’s, the influx of Lutherans from the Midwest had swelled the membership so that a larger church was needed.  While Pastor Arnold Nelson was serving the church, the site for the new church at the corner of Carroll Park and Junipero Avenue was purchased, and our present church was erected and dedicated in October 1949.  In November of 1953, Reverend Virgil Bjerke was installed as pastor of Our Saviour’s. 

As the congregation grew, an office complex, Fellowship Hall and educational unit were added.  The last unit was completed in 1972.  Other significant dedication services held during these years were the new church organ and the stained glass windows, both in 1965.  Although this completed the master plan on the main church site, the congregation had for years planned on building a Lutheran retirement home.  Property for this home was purchased along Fourth Street adjacent to the church property.  Perseverance, prayer and dedication on the part of many finally prevailed, and Lutheran Towers became a reality.  Pastor Richard Andersen and the congregation dedicated this facility in May of 1984.  The community surrounding Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church has changed considerably over the years.  During the past few decades the church, under the leadership of pastors Clyde Showalter, Wayne Bacus, and Nancy Toensing, has served a multiracial, multilingual community with numerous opportunities to share the good news of Christ.  The church looks forward to the challenges ahead and is excited about reaching out to the unchurched and extending a warm welcome to all.


Pastors of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church

Rev. Thoralf Castberg

1920-1921

Rev. C.J. Stadem

1922-1923

Rev. N.B. Thorpe

1923-1941

Rev. J. Doerman

1941-1942

Rev. Arnold M. Nelson

1942-1953

Dr. Virgil F. Bjerke

1953-1977

Dr. Hans A. Stub

1959-1959

Rev. Kenneth Caudill

1963-1965

Rev. Alfred Storvick

1965-1973

Rev. Norbert J. Boer

1968-1972

Rev. Thomas L. Lange

1973-1977

Dr. Richard Andersen

1978-1986

Dr. Clyde Showalter

1979-1990

Rev. Wayne Bacus

1989-1993

Rev. Nancy Toensing

1991-1994

Rev. Hartley Lee

1992-2011

Rev. Jim Proper

2003-Present

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Our Saviour's Lutheran Church (ELCA) 370 Juipero Ave. Long Beach California 90814 (562) 434-7400 © Our Saviour's Lutheran Church