Kent Lutheran Church 1889-2015

126 years of ministry in the City of Kent

Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Psalm 90:1

On August 4, 1889, eight families assisted by Pastor C. O. Rossing , formed DEN SKANDINAVAISKE EVANGELISKE LUTERSKE MENIGHET.  The members were immigrants from the Scandinavian countries so the Norwegian language was used for services.  It was 1926 before the English language was used exclusively.

The first church building was built in 1890 at the site which is now Kent Elementary School.  Pastors who served after Pastor Rossing included I. Tollefson (1891-1898), E.B. Slettedahl (1898-1907), Peder Dreyer (1907-1908), O. Skattebol (1908-1910), C. j. Olson (1910-1917), A. B. Anderson (1917), L. B. Snartemo (1917-1920), J. S. Sneve (1920-1928), A. N.Eggen (1923-1931), M. M. Londahl (1931-1933, J. M Adskm (1934-1934 and N. L. Nesvig (1937-1938).

In 1938, the property was needed for the school, so the building was moved to 5th and Gowe, and land was purchased at 2nd and Saar for construction of the second church.  This church building was dedicated Sept 10, 1939, fifty years after the organization of the congregation.  The ground adjoining the church was purchased for a parsonage which was completed in 1942.  Pastor E. N Torgeson came to Kent Lutheran and was pastor until 1946.  Pastor A. Rogen served from 1946-1950.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it Proverbs 22:6

Enrollment in the Sunday School reached 350 by 1945.  The Education Building was added and dedicated July 24, 1949 as part of the 60th Anniversary celebration and continues to serve as the Education Building to this day.  Ground-breaking ceremonies were held April 13, 1969 at the site of the former parsonage, for the construction of the present church building.  The fellowship hall was later built where the former church stood on the corner of 2nd and Saar.  Pastor G. Bo Stromberg was installed as pastor in 1960 and served until 1965. Pastor Vern T. Skarstad served from 1965 to 1970.  Pastor Stromberg also served until 1971.  Pastor Gerald L. Hickman began serving in 1972.  In 1982 Pastor David Pederson was called to be Associate Pastor and served until 1987.  Pastor Hickman served until 1988.  Pastor James T. Wilson served in 1988.  Pastor Terri Rae Anderson served as Associate Pastor in 1989.

A cornerstone laying service was held on April 5, 1970 with Pastor G. B. Stromberg and Associate Pastor Vern Skarstad officiating.  The following articles were placed in the cornerstone; Kent Lutheran Constitution, the New Testament, Membership Directory, The Lutheran Standard, The Scope Newsletter, the ALCW Directory, bulletins and photographs.  Laying the cornerstone was done by Norman Anderson, Building Committee Chairman, and Willis Calhoun, contractor.

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; pray therefor the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”  Luke 10:2

Many pastors and many members have carried forward the legacy that began in 1889 with the eight founding families.  In 1992, Pastor Vern Flesner was called and served until 1994.  Pastor Kristofer A. Skrade served 1994-1998.  Pastor Don Little and Pastor Linda Milks served from 1998-1999.

Kent Lutheran Church has supported seminary students and interns since 1976, including:  Jeanette Strandjord, Dennis Hanson, Russell Tessman, Carl Florea, Michael Gustafson, Jorgen Kappel-Hansen, Eliza Daniel, William Rima and Linda Stockham.  Missionaries supported by Kent Lutheran Church members include Wendell and Faith Friest, Rob Nelson and Cheryl and Al Jensen.

Pastor Jane Prestbye has been leading Kent Lutheran Church for the past 16 years. Through her leadership, the congregation has become known as a community church whose love, service and compassion empower all to lead, grow and share the love of Jesus Christ with all people.  Pastor Jane has helped to develop strong lay leadership teams and lay preachers.

When a large group of families who had emigrated from South Sudan decided to make Kent Lutheran Church their church home, conversations began, experiences were shared, and hearts joined in an outpouring of love for the communities and families still in South Sudan.  The KLC South Sudan Community Restoration program was initiated in 2011, and fundraising efforts resulted in a mission trip to South Sudan.  The goal was to create systems that would provide fresh water.  The full story can be found at http://www.klcsouthsudan.blogspot.com/. This program has led to conversations with other congregations in the Pacific Northwest who wish to provide support for community development projects in South Sudan. Due to the country’s civil war such projects are on hold. However, ongoing fund-raising helps to send needed items with the South Sudanese members visiting back home.

We Are On Our Way Rejoicing….

Caring actions at and through Kent Lutheran church vary from being the site of Kent Community Supper, a weekly dinner serving 150+ with no one turned away to hosting homeless shelters for men and women two times a year. Other creative service opportunities include an emergency feeding program providing homeless snack packs and baby packs, a semi-annual “Un-sale”, giving our household items away at no cost), holiday gifts and food baskets, youth-sponsored service projects, hosting  men two months during the year and jail visitation.

In partnership with the City of Kent and Catholic Community Services (CCS), Kent Lutheran Church serves as one of the South King County locations for a Severe Weather Shelter when the City of Kent declares the conditions warrant the need. Kent Lutheran Church is prepared to open its doors to homeless people between November and March. It is also the only emergency shelter in South King County with a generator if there is a power outage affecting the downtown Kent area.

At Kent Lutheran we nurture faith through enriching worship and music, children and youth gatherings, and adult ministry experiences. Adults participate in faith conversations through Sunday education classes, ‘Master Builders’ monthly Bible study for men, small group studies, topical forums, music ministries, and service opportunities. Kent Lutheran Church is a vibrant faith community in the midst of the larger community of Kent. We are located in the downtown core which provides unique advantages for being a place where people can converge, communicate, and contribute. The community we build with one another in ministry and mission is freely offered to those among us and around us.