The creation of Christ Lutheran Church (CLC), as a congregation of believers followed the 1966 decision of three major Lutheran church bodies at the national level to establish mission churches in areas where there was a need for a church and the opportunity for growth. The congregation at Zion Lutheran Church in Custer accepted the challenge and subsequently we became a two-point parish, sharing Pastor Don Cornell and financial responsibility.
The ministry of Christ Lutheran Church began on July 9, 1967 when the first worship was held in the American Legion Hall on Main Street in downtown Ferndale. Worship continued there for nearly one year. The church was officially organized on October 22, 1967. The first service was held in the completed sanctuary on Pentecost Sunday May 19, 1968.
The life of Christ Lutheran progressed wonderfully. Sunday school was a busy place as most of the members were families with young children. Pastor Cornell spearheaded the organization of Project Concern, a food and clothing bank for the needy. This is still in operation today. A preschool was begun during the early years and also thrives today with waiting lists for children wishing to attend.
Pastor Cornell accepted a call in Saudi Arabia, and in October 1974 Pastor Bob Johnson came to lead at CLC. The congregation purchased a parsonage in Ferndale, which served as a home for the pastor until 1978. At that time it was decided to sell the parsonage and grant a loan and housing allowance to the pastor for his own personal residence.
Christ Lutheran received a large financial gift during its second decade. A portion of this gift was designated for a new organ and the remainder helped with planning for the future. Creating larger and better facilities for the Sunday School was the first goal. The original Fellowship Hall was remodeled and four new classrooms were added in 1982. The busy preschool now had a real home. The next phase of the building program was a new sanctuary. The old building became today’s Fellowship Hall and the current kitchen emerged from what was the office and kitchen.
The first service in the present sanctuary was held on Easter Sunday 1986, a few weeks short of the 19th anniversary of the first service held at the American Legion Hall.
In 1989 CLC became a one-point parish with Zion Lutheran and Christ Lutheran calling separate ministers to serve each parish. In January of 1990 Pastor Eric Ranum arrived to serve the congregation. During Pastor Eric’s years at CLC programs and membership flourished.
The fall of 1994 saw the need for an additional worship opportunity for families with small children, and the 11:15 service began. Since then the service has grown to a spirit-filled praise service.
In 1998 Pastor Ranum accepted a call in Idaho. After a long search, Pastor David Hustoft was called and came to us all the way from Hawaii in November of 1999. Pastor David stayed with us until August 2001.
During the spring of 2003, members felt drawn to help the hungry in our community. Planning began for what is now the Ferndale Community Meal, serving the hungry two Saturday mornings a month.
In June of 2003, Pastor Phil Petrasek arrived as the fifth pastor of Christ Lutheran Church. Community outreach grew with Pastor Phil’s passion for those in need. In November of 2009 Pastor Phil entered a well-deserved retirement.
In March of 2011 CLC extended a call to Pastor Jana Schofield. She began ministry with us on July 1, 2011. The excitement is growing as CLC sees a bright future in Ferndale for God’s people.
Countless people have been involved in the ministry of Christ Lutheran Church. The congregation continues to be led by the working of the Holy Spirit to proclaim God’s Word of “Good News” to the neighborhood and community.