About Us

A BRIEF HISTORY OF REDEEMER LUTHERAN CHURCH

Bellingham, Washington
About Redeemer Bellingham
In the fall of 1968 a survey was conducted by the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod to determine if there was a need to organize a new congregation in the north Bellingham area of Whatcom County, Washington. This was done at the request of a group of interested members from Trinity Lutheran Church in downtown Bellingham who lived in the area being surveyed. The results of the survey projected that there would be a need for a new congregation within the next ten years, and a follow-up survey in 1977 indicated an even more definite need.

Redeemer congregation began then as a preaching station of Trinity Lutheran Church. The first public worship service was held on October 9, 1977, and it was led by Vicar Jon Ahoyt. When he left to return to seminary studies, retired pastor Louis Wetzel and Trinity’s own pastor, Carl Fischer, served Redeemer until another vicar, Richard Husman, was assigned to Redeemer in July of 1978.

A congregational constitution was written and officers were elected for the new church, and through the newly-elected leadership a call was issued to Vicar Husman to serve as pastor upon completion of his vicarage year. Pastor Husman was installed as the first pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church June 24, 1979.

When Redeemer congregation began, an educational ministry for pre-school children also was established. The Redeemer Lutheran Church Pre-School began in 1978, holding its first classes in the North Bellingham Grange Hall on Northwest Avenue.

By the early 1980s Redeemer congregation had grown to over one-hundred baptized members. The need for a permanent church facility had become apparent, so a building committee was formed. March 16, 1980, ground was broken for the new church facility at the corner of West Smith Road and Waschke Road. The church property of 4.5 acres was given for this purpose by charter members Arnold and Dorothy Waschke. Architectural plans were drawn by Wayne Sorenson, a local building designer. Members Bernie Quiram and Marvin Waschke were contracted to build the facility. The service of dedication for the new church building was held on November 23rd, 1980.

The church building at that time had 7,696 square feet of floor space, 5,964 on the ground level and 1,732 in the balcony and upstairs classrooms. Seating capacity of the new sanctuary was approximately 350, with overflow space out into the narthex immediately to the rear. The ground level also included a fellowship area, a kitchen, a library-meeting room, and restrooms, along with office spaces for the pastor and church secretary.

The colored-glass windows along the walls of the sanctuary were assembled by the women of Redeemer, and they were designed to create a “rainbow effect” as the sun’s rays pass through them. Above the west exit door in the sanctuary there is colored-glass representation of The Seal of Martin Luther. Redeemer’s balcony contains a Wicks 12-rank pipe organ, installed in March of 1992. It was first used Easter morning of 1992 and was formally dedicated May 31, 1992.

As the congregation continued to grow in the 1990s, more room was needed for Sunday School and Vacation Bible School classes. Plans were developed for a new educational wing on the east side of the original facility. Ground was broken Easter morning of 1996, and work begun in May of that year. With the assistance of the LC-MS’s “Laborers for Christ” group of retired workers and many other volunteers, the new wing was completed and ready for use early in September 1996. It contained six new classrooms, a storage room, and a complete preschool area with its own restrooms and exterior playground. Dedication was held November 10th, 1996.

Pastor Husman retired from the pastoral office at Redeemer June 24, 2001, having served for the congregation’s first twenty-three years. Rev. David J. Meyer was installed as Redeemer’s second pastor May 19, 2002, and served until November of 2004. Rev. James H. Hahn was then called to be Redeemer’s third pastor and began serving in July, 2005, until his untimely death later that same year. Rev. Dr. Tom Wolbrecht came to serve as the congregation’s fourth pastor beginning in January 2006.

Pastor Tom had served previously as a teacher and administrator in Lutheran schools following his ordination in 1970 until coming to Redeemer. He retired on December 31, 2010.

In 2009, Redeemer was blessed to partner in its Christian education efforts with Bridgeway Christian Academy, a non-denominational grade school for grades Kindergarten to 5th grade. The school was founded by Roxann Rose-Duckworth and Kerry Syre and they are now in their sixth year at Redeemer. It is located within Redeemer Lutheran and has enjoyed a very successful relationship with our ministry efforts.

In June of 2012, our current Pastor, Dan Haugen was installed and he brings with him many years of ministry experience in mission ministry and theater ministry. Along with his family, Cheryl his wife and Emily his daughter, they hope to reach as many people as possible with the Good News of salvation through Christ Jesus.

Redeemer Lutheran Church has been an active part of north Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1977 and intends to continue to be a confessional Lutheran witness into the bright future that God has for this congregation.