Our Story

Messiah Lutheran Church began its mission in a unique fashion.  In 1964, construction started on the church building and worship services began to be held there in April of 1965.  However, the congregation itself was not organized for another five months.

Pastor David Borreson, the first to serve the congregation, guided Messiah from 1965-1976.  During this time the building was dedicated, Sunday School classes began, the Messiah Church Women organized, and Altar Guild, Evangelism and Worship Committees were formed.  The church building itself suffered severe damage from a storm in 1969.

In September, 1976, Pastor Kenneth Jensen was called to serve as pastor until accepting another call in 1982.  Changes and additions during this time included the beginning of children's sermons, two worship services, adoption of the Lutheran Book of Worship, and the yearly tradition of giving Bibles to third graders.  Physical changes saw metal caps put on the roof beams and a rotting bell tower, an expansion of the parking lot, and new furnaces.

From 1982-1985, Pastor Steven Swonger accepted a call to serve at Messiah.  In 1984, Messiah held its first annual chicken BBQ.  It ran for 20 consecutive years.  In 1985, Messiah celebrated its 20th anniversary.  The Altar Guild provided new storage cabinets for the church, ceiling fans were installed in the sanctuary, the Cradle Roll began, and an organ and piano fund were started.

The years 1986-1987 had Pastor Leonard Halverson serving at Messiah.  During this time the Pastor/Parish Relations Committee (currently called the Mutual Ministry Committee) was formed and a building committee.  New staff were added.  A music director was hired, an all-committee meeting night was established and a part time secretary was hired.  The building received a new front entrance—doors, windows, sidewalk, railings and a handicap ramp.  A new sound system, a new cross on the front of the building, and a new rubber roof were all installed in 1987.

September, 1987, was when Pastor Larry Henning accepted a 1st call to Messiah.  He would serve until August, 2003.  In 1988, Messiah joined the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and ground was broken for a new addition.  One year later, in 1989, the Education/Fellowship addition was dedicated and the Messiah Christian Preschool (MCP) began operation with founding Director Nancy Zick.  The decade of the 1990's was filled with changes including the adoption of a new mission statement, the hiring of a youth director, youth traveling to national conventions and Bethphage mission, a new Messiah constitution, the beginning of a prayer chain, the Messiah Praise Band, offering communion every Sunday at alternating services, healing services, and the addition of a Parish Nurse, just to name a few.  The physical structure of the church received new shelving for the library and offices, new kitchen cabinets, new communion ware, new carpeting, refinishing of pews, dividers for the multi­purpose room, a new sound system, and outdoors the parking lot was paved and a new sign erected.

The new century (2001) and following years brought internet service and a digital piano.  The MCP expanded to 3 days/week.  An Associate in Ministry (AIM) was called in June, 2001 and a bell choir formed.  Youth began yearly Urban Immersion trips, a Boy Scout troop was sponsored, Ecumenical Community Youth Nights began, and communion began to be served at every service.  In 2003, the Youth Director position was vacated.  Landscaping around the church and parsonage was completed, roof repairs were done, and a facilities growth committee was formed.

In August, 2003, Interim Pastor Marcia Carrier accepted a call to help us transition and serve us until another pastor was called.  In October, 2004, Pastor Clifford Schmidt accepted a call to serve Messiah.  This began a new era when the pastor did not live in the parsonage or in the community.  The parsonage was utilized for Sunday School, Youth Ministry, and office space.  However, after the tornado in January, 2008, that devastated many homes about 1 mile north of the church, the parsonage was converted back to living space to accommodate a family displaced by the tornado until their house could be rebuilt.  Currently, the parsonage is used for youth meetings, health & wellness meditation classes, a room for the current Pastor who lives offsite, and storage.

June 26, 2005, our AIM, Dawn Keenan, went to seminary to follow God’s call to be a Pastor.  We supported her with both our prayers and our money as she completed the education needed for her calling.  In July of 2005 we paid off the current mortgage and became debt free!

Between August, 2005 and June, 2006, Corey Colburn was our music director.  He left to follow his dream of teaching music.  Church members filled in playing for Sunday services until Yvonne Fellenz, a gift from God, began playing at Sunday services in the spring of 2007.  Yvonne accepted the position of Minister of Music in August, 2007, and has been with us ever since.  In 2007, the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book was adopted for worship services.

On January 28, 2007, our Parish Nurse, Paula Strom, left.  Aurora was cutting their outreach opportunities and Messiah could not afford the full payment for Parish Nurse services.

In March, 2008, Christine Suhre accepted the position of Youth Director.  She worked 10 hours/week and provided excellent leadership for our youth.  Currently, Erin Winch has assumed the role of Youth Leader, an unpaid position.

Since 2004, facility upgrades have included new furnaces and air conditioning throughout the building.  Starting in January, 2008, a new front entrance was designed and built along with a complete roof upgrade by removing the flat roof area, peaking the roof where needed, and including the new front entrance.  The construction included the ability to add on both to the north of the building and to eventually include an additional overhang to the south for unloading passengers under a canopy.  Both the sanctuary and the preschool area were reroofed.  A new nursery was also part of the construction.  It was finished in 2009 and was completed mostly with volunteer help.  In 2008, the congregation approved a request to be annexed into the Village of Twin Lakes.  The Village accepted the request.  This year also saw the purchase and installation of an outdoor lighted sign with finishing brickwork completed in 2009.

Messiah Christian Preschool (MCP) is working to continue to be a viable offering to the community in the face of area public schools adding 4K programs of their own.  In response to the need and to help sustain the preschool ministry, MCP added a 2 1/2 year old class in the 2007-08 school year and expanded the 3 year old classes to offer a 3-day option and has continued to offer services in these age groups in each of the following two school years.  There continues to be a need for at least one 4 year old class.  At the end of the 2008-09 school year, Nancy Zick, Director for 20 years, submitted her resignation.  Lynnette Vacala, hired as the Assistant Director in 2008-09, was hired to fill the Director position for the 2009-10 school year.

Pastor Cliff retired from ministry in July, 2009 and Pastor Alice Horton accepted a call to be our interim Pastor in August, 2009.

On June 6, 2010 Messiah extended a letter of call to Rev. Kathy Brown.  Pastor Kathy has ably partnered with our congregation since that time.

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