Who we are

CrossOur Mission

“Christ’s Lutheran Church exists to welcome people to faith in Christ Jesus, to equip persons with a faith that works in real life, and to send us in service into the world in Jesus’ name.”

Our mission statement is not simply “words on a web page.” We deeply believe that it describes the unique character of our church and community. Our “heartbeat” at Christ’s Lutheran Church is welcoming, equipping, and serving others!

Our History

Christ’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (CLC) began on a cold, wintry, Sunday afternoon in January 1903, when the Reverend J. Eugene Dietterich and several members of the Whitemarsh (Zion) Lutheran Church met to make arrangements to hold services in a little white-framed church on Plymouth Ave. in Oreland. What began around a pot-bellied stove with a few dedicated people has grown into a congregation of over 600 baptized members. The congregation outgrew that little church on Plymouth Ave. and built a 380-seat sanctuary, parish hall, and educational and office wing at the current site on Pennsylvania Ave. in 1959.

The early years of CLC had some moments of challenge, transition, and growth. After Pastor Dietterich left in 1907, the congregation had many supply pastors, as well as a shared pastorate with St. John’s Lutheran, Ambler.

During the 1940’s the Oreland community expanded with new housing and a growing population, making this a time of growth and vitality as well for the community of faith at CLC with the calling of our first full-time pastor, Rev. Ernest Huston, a young and energetic pastor who began the first Parish Newsheet, Vacation Church School, Junior Choir, and Women’s Missionary Society. In addition, CLC began a sponsorship of Oreland Boy Scout Troop #1, which continues to this day.

With the post-war housing boom, the community and membership at CLC grew dramatically. Pastor Huston was followed by Pastor Kenneth Zimmerman (1951-1961), who grew the church to a communing membership over 500. The little white church was bursting its rafters – it could only seat 155. A building committee was formed and at a congregational meeting in 1956, it was decided to build a new church a short distance away at its current location on Pennsylvania Avenue. The new church, complete with a parish hall and an office wing, was dedicated in 1959.

Over the next 45 years, CLC experienced several leadership transitions as it continued to grow and play an important role in the community. Our Weekday Nursery School was formed in 1956 and is a well-known ministry in the community. Over 2,500 neighborhood children, ages 2-5, have attended this program since its inception.

CLC has always had a strong focus on education leading to the building of a new educational wing and chapel in 1965 and an active youth ministry, in which the youth are involved in the total life of the congregation. This focus continues today with a full-time Director of Spiritual Formation, an active Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Confirmation Program.  In ministry, Faith in Action projects are undertaken and summer youth mission trips have been taken to Costa Rica, Alaska, and the Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota, to name a few.

In addition, to our Sunday worship services, CLC has several adult fellowship programs including Adult Bible Study, Women’s Circles and a Men’s Group.  Our music program serves as an integral part of our worship and has a dedicated Director Music and strong choir membership. CLC’s Chancel Choir offers special music throughout the year.  A Service of Lessons and Carols is offered in Advent and a Music Sunday is offered in the Spring.  Our music ministry is complemented by soloists and special instrumentalists to enhance our worship services throughout the year.

Despite changing economics and demographics, CLC has been fortunate to have a dedicated congregation both spiritually and financially. In 1986, the church became debt-free when the chapel mortgage was retired. Extraordinary Benevolent Acts was started to fund worthy ministries close to home or far away. Within the last decade a successful $800K capital campaign allowed for a major renovation of the building and the facilities including installation of a new digital organ and an elevator along with other physical improvements.

In 2003, CLC celebrated 100 years of service to its members and the community. Despite its humble beginnings and many transitions, CLC has demonstrated its ability to embrace change and move forward. Recently calling a new pastor, Rev. William Vanderslice, our church is looking forward to a new chapter of ministry and service as the congregation welcomes others to join us in this effort.

*Source: 100 Years: Active, United, Doing Good Service. A History of Christ’s Evangelical Lutheran Church written by: Sarah Klos, 2003; Feedback from congregation given at Remembering Our Past meetings – April 2014.

 

 

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