THE HISTORY OF CHRIST LUTHERAN CHURCH IN SUTHERLIN OREGON
Christ Lutheran Church was born out of its charter members' secession from St. Johns, Lutheran Church Sutherlin, a Missouri Synod congregation. Although St. Johns' Pastor, T.C. Mueller, remained in LCMS, he had done an excellent work in educating his congregation in Scriptural Truth. As a result, the great majority of voters chose, in May of 1972, to secede from LCMS because of Synod's doctrinal aberrations.
The majority consensus was to remain at the St. Johns' location, purchasing it from Synod since St. Johns was still a mission congregation. However, one or two strong members of the minority threatened a lawsuit. So immediately the majority chose to locate elsewhere.
The first planning meeting was held at Bill and Helen Ruff's ranch home near Elkton. Pastor Walter Elgin from St. Matthew, Myrtle Creek, counseled us as he had done previously. The first several worship services were held at the Grange near Drain where St. Johns' had previously established a mission outreach to North Douglas County. Worship was continued there even after the IOOF hall was rented for worship in Sutherlin. The church office was located in the basement apartment of the Basil Denison home at 345 East Sixth St., Sutherlin. Pastor Elgin conducted worship until August 1972 when Victor Starbuck arrived to serve as vicar, studying under Pastor Elgin toward his ordination, March 4, 1973. Christ Lutheran's first synod affiliation was with FAL (Federation for Authentic Lutheranism). The present property was purchased from the Sutherlin Assembly of God. Necessarily, much planning and labor went into renovating and redecorating the building. Bill Bennett donated the Wurlitzer organ which added so much to the worship service.
The dedication of the property and building was held in November 1974. The monthly newsletter stated that Christ Lutheran Church had begun with 84 baptized souls. By November, 1974, "13 souls have been transferred to our sister synod WELS and 16 souls have been released back to Missouri Synod, yet we have grown to a total of 120 baptized souls."
President Orvick from ELS visited us June 26, 1975 to give information concerning the synod. Earlier a representative from WELS had met with us. The congregational consensus was to affiliate with Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
Pastor Starbuck resigned early 1976 to serve a Minnesota parish. Pastor Willard Pultz from St. Matthew, Myrtle Creek, served us until the arrival of Vicar Kenneth Schnudt, June 6, 1976. Much time was spent renovating the building next to the church to be used as a parsonage for the Schmidts. After a year as vicar under Pastor Pultz, Pastor Schmidt became our pastor and served us until July 1979 when he was called to serve a parish in Wisconsin.
At this time the Board of Education approved and opened a day school with one kindergarten class. By the next school year, 1980, grades 1-12 were added. Due to lack of enrollment in 1983 the school was closed.
Pastor Jerrold Daike arrived in August, 1979 and was ordained and installed by Rev. Handburg on September 2, 1979. Pastor Daike left in June, 1982. We were then served by Pastor Greg Haugan from July, 1982 until August. 1988. Pastor Hugo Warnke served as Interim pastor until March of 1989 when Pastor Timothy Mutterer was installed on March 9, 1989. Pastor Mutterer accepted a call to Pierce County, Washington and left in August, 1992. We were very fortunate to call Pastor Frank Fiedler III who came in September, 1992 and was installed on December 6, 1992. Pastor Fiedler continues to serve Christ Lutheran, Sutherlin and St Matthew Lutheran at Myrtle Creek.
Pastor James Wilson has also now joined Pastor Fiedler in co-Pastoring Christ Lutheran Church as well as Pastoring Resurrection Lutheran Church in North Bend Oregon.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise
man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds
blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."