The history of
Christ Lutheran Church
The history of Christ Lutheran Congregation dates back
to 1870, when it was known as Zion Evangelical Lutheran
Church. Mr. Frederick Lukas and a number of Lutherans
living in the Pierce and Norfolk area requested the Rev. R.
W. Frese, a Missouri Synod pastor, of Rock Creek area near
Beemer, Nebraska, to serve them. He served this group
for a short time making the trip from Beemer to Norfolk
as circumstances permitted. Rev. J. C. Rupprecht was
installed on July 23, 1871. Soon after, the Pierce members separated from the congregation due to the consider-
able distance they had to travel, and formed St. John’s Lutheran church in Pierce. The formal organization of
Zion Congregation was held October 9, 1871 with these people as charter members: Jacob Kaun, William and
August Buntrock, William Koepsel, Gottlieb Brummond, Gottlieb Tiegs, August Neitzke, Julius Degner, Fred-
erick Lukas William Dommer, Ludwig Maas, William Leu, K. Lindsteadt, August Brummond, H. Brummond,
K. Klentz, August Pofahl, William Donner, E. Boldt, August Kaun, F. Gall, William Siedschlag, William Mar-
quardt and Pastor Rupprecht.
The first services were held in a rented house, the home of Frederick Lukas. That same year 36 acres of land
located about three miles northeast of Norfolk was purchased. In 1872 a parsonage was built, which also served
as the church and school. Ten acres of the original property is still retained by our church today. About half of
the property is a cemetery and lies just north and east of Eastern Heights
In January of 1876 a parsonage was built in Norfolk. Soon after an annex was added and used as a school.
Moving into Norfolk caused a split with some members leaving to form the Spring Branch Reform Church.
The remaining members held their first voters meeting on January 3, 1876 and adopted the name German Evan-
gelical Lutheran Christ Church. In October of 1877 a church was erected on the corner of Fourth and Norfolk.
The church building, dedicated on June 2, 1878 included a steeple 46 feet high. At that time it was decided that
the bell would toll during the praying of the Lord’s Prayer during worship. The parsonage was located on the
corner of Second Street and Braasch Avenue.
When Pastor Rupprecht left this vacancy was filled by Rev. August Leuthaeuser, who was installed in August
of 1879. He remained six years during which time an acre of land was purchased between Fourth and Fifth
Streets from Mr. Pasewalk. The church building was moved to its current location because businesses were
being established on Norfolk Avenue; the property on Norfolk Avenue was sold for $1,805. At the new loca-
tion, a school house was erected east of the church facing Fourth Street. A parsonage and teacherage were also
constructed in 1883.
Pastor Rupprecht accepted a call and Rev. Immanuel A. Mayer of St.
Louis was installed shortly before Christmas 1885. He remained two
years; with Pastor J. P. Mueller of Dodge County, Nebraska installed Sep-
tember 30,1888. In 1889 the congregation joined the Missouri Synod.
With more than 122 families it was decided that more space was needed.
A new church building was constructed with the cornerstone being laid
on June 12, 1892. The completed structure was dedicated December 4, 1893. It is
significant that this church was built during a time of serious financial depression. As
with so many other instances in our congregation’s history, the voters moved forward in
faith. The young people, along with a teacher and a lay person raised money to provide
a pipe organ. The total cost of the building cost less than $10,000!
Two bells were dedicated on the occasion of the church’s 25th anniversary celebrated on
July 26, 1896, one weighing 1,486 pounds and the other 816 pounds. During 1911 a
new parsonage was built, with the old structure being moved to 805 South Sixth Street.
During 1919 some of the congregation’s members preferred the worship services con-
ducted in the English language rather than in German, so Grace Lutheran Church was established two blocks
north of the church to continue the German speaking tradition.
The 50th anniversary of the church was celebrated in October 1921 at Kruse Grove east of Norfolk. The 25th an-
niversary of the Ladies Aid was also observed at this time.
After 34 years of faithful service Pastor Mueller retired and
Rev. M. E. Mayer became pastor in 1922. During his ministry
the original part of the present Christ Lutheran School was
built and dedicated in 1924. In 1937 the weekly church bul-
letin was established with one side printed in English and the
other in German.
Pastor Mayer left in July of 1941 and Pastor Theodore Harms
The 50th anniversary in Kruse Grove – 1921. was installed on January 11,1942. Rev. A. Knoll became the
first Assistant Pastor from 1936 until 1939 and Rev. Fred Lam-
mert from 1947 until September 1949.
In January 1945 the voters changed the name of the congregation to Evangelical Lutheran Christ Church.
Rev. Albert T. Bostelmann was installed as Senior Pastor following the departure of Pastor Lammert, and Rev.
William J. Hassold was installed as Assistant Pastor in August of 1951. He remained until January 1958. He
was followed by Rev. James P. Rath and then by Rev. Donald Reed. Two Vicars served Christ Lutheran fol-
lowing Pastor Reed: Leland Settgast from 1962 to 1963 and Ernesto Gracia from 1963 to 1965. Rev. Thomas
Stephan was installed as Junior Pastor on July 18, 1965 and remained until December of 1966.
Pastor Bostelmann left in 1967 after delivering the last German service
on Good Friday. Rev. Arthur P. Weidner was installed as Assistant Pas-
tor July 9, 1967 and Rev. Leland Settgast was installed June of 1968 as
Senior Pastor. He remained until December 1973 and Rev. Karl Davies
was installed as assistant Pastor in August of 1971 and later assumed the
role of Senior Pastor.
During the 1960s five lots located between the church and Pasewalk Av-
enue were purchased for future expansion. Ground breaking ceremonies
were held November 8, 1970 for the current house of worship. On April
11, 1971 (Easter Sunday) the cornerstone was laid which included the
only salvageable item from the old church cornerstone – a medallion from
the Jubilee of the Augsburg Confession. On April 9, 1972 the new church was
formally dedicated. It was built in the shape of a Latin Cross which reminds
us of Christ whose name the congregation bears and who redeemed us
on the cross.
Rev. Edwin Iverson joined Pastor Davies from 1975 with Rev. Daniel
Cloeter serving as Assistant Pastor 1978 to 1982. Pastor Davies left in
April of 1980 and Rev. John Bass served the congregation from 1980
to 1994. Rev. Craig Boelke served from June of 1994 to July of 1996;
his emphasis being Evangelism. Rev. David R. Moore was installed in
May of 1991 and remained until 1993. Rev. William T. Hering was installed
on July 7, 1991 and remained until August of 1999. His main emphasis was Youth
Ministry. Under his leadership many adults were involved in leading Servant Events as well as recreational activi-
ties through the Board of Youth Ministry.
Rev. J. Dirk Reek served an Intentional Interim position from February of 1996 to July of 1997. Rev. Norman
A. Hannemann joined the ministry at Christ Lutheran in October of 1982 as Associate Pastor and then served as
Visitation Pastor to our shut-ins. This position had been carried out by Rev. Walter Buss who joined the staff in
1982 but retired in June of 1996.
Rev. Jack Thiesen was installed in February 1986 as Associate Pastor. He served the congregation as well as
those outside the congregation as Christian Counselor. Donald Weber arrived in 1994 as our school's princi-
pal. Weber was instrumental in our school becoming nationally accredited. Rev. Frank Maurer was installed
as Director of Ministries on January 4, 1998. On March 14, 1999 Rev. Roger Leavitt was installed as Assistant
Pastor with emphasis on Evangelism. He left Christ Lutheran in Fall 2002. Mr. William Laesch was installed
on October 3,1999 and served the congregation as Director of Music and Adult Education. Rev. Steven Hein-
sen accepted our call to be Assistant Pastor and Youth Minister and was installed on December 5, 1999. Mr.
Laesch left in the summer of 2000. On August 28, 2000, Mr. Stephen Hakes was installed as the Director of
Music Ministries, and in July of 2001 he was also given the responsibilities in the area of contemporary wor-
ship. Pastor Thiesen retired from his work here in December of 2001, concluding the chapter of professional
Christian counseling. In April 2001 the Voters authorized and the congregation went on to purchase the Amen
property (north side of the Youth House) for future expansion purposes. On October 14, 2001 the congregation
celebrated its 130th year of ministry.
Pastor Maurer left Christ
Lutheran in December
2001, and Pastor John Fale
served as interim until
July 2003. Most recently
on July 27, 2003, Rev.
Frank Winter was installed
as Director of Ministries.
In 2004, William Meyer
became our school's new
principal. Under Mr.
Meyer, the school started
its successful plant sale
fundraiser, SCRIP sales,
and marketing efforts. Pastor Leon Rosenthal joined the pastoral ministry and was installed on January 29,
2006, working with junior high youth and the confirmation ministry.
The last of the church's parsonages was removed from campus and a new playground area was added. In 2004
the northernmost school addition was constructed, providing more classroom space, expanded and updated li-
brary and computer services. In Spring 2008, Mr. Meyer accepted a Call. Steve Stortz stepped in as the interim
principal for the 2008-2009 school year. Under Mr. Stortz, the school's '04 addition's mortgage was burned, and
the school entered into its reaccreditation process.
For nearly 140 years now God has blessed the people of Christ Lutheran Church with His grace, giving us
strength, guidance and help through His Word and Sacraments. May He bless us with many more!