History

THE HISTORY OF LUTHERAN CHURCH OF MESSIAH

Colorado District Mission Board of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod – In 1923 when the Colorado District Mission Board sent Pastor Kreutz to look things over in the area around Glenwood Springs, Colo. They called it an “exploration trip.” The Board later brought in Pastor John Knippenberg in 1928 to assist with the mission work in the Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Aspen, Grand Junction areas. Upon his arrival in Colorado from California in 1928, Pastor Knippenberg wrote: “I arrived in Glenwood Springs by train from California on Aug. 25, 1928, a Saturday, and was installed early in the afternoon on the following day … The circumstances were very unusual to say the least. Most of the people attending were originally from Germany and originally Lutheran. (Thierfelder, Thomas, “Changes in the Roaring Fork Valley,” Peaks and Valleys, Rocky Mountain District).

Lutheran Church of Messiah, Grand Junction CO – The Church began with its first meeting in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Al Nestler, June 4, 1929. The First service was held Nov. 8, 1931, in Labor Temple, 541 Rood Ave. Subsequent to the Colorado Mission Board efforts, Pastor Knippenberg was called to serve as Messiah’s first pastor in 1933.

First Sanctuary Building – During the service of Pastor Martin E. Meyer, a sanctuary building was secured. After WWII, a surplus chapel was obtained in 1946 from Camp Hale CO, home of the 10th Mountain Division. This served as Messiah’s sanctuary from 1946-1967. (Military use of use of Camp Hale included the 10th Mountain Division, the 38th Regimental Combat Team, 99th Infantry Battalion, and soldiers from Fort Carson conducting mountain and winter warfare training exercises from 1942 to 1965. “Camp Hale Site History,” http://www.camphale.org/History/History.htm )

New Sanctuary Completed – The surplus sanctuary building that had served for the ministry to the Lord’s flock at Messiah was replaced during the service of Pastor Bernard Staake. The construction of a new sanctuary was completed in 1967.

School Wing Added – During the service of Pastor Marcus Lang, an educational wing consisting of a gymnasium and four classrooms was added in 1978, and Lutheran School of Messiah was opened in 1979. The church was now officially named Lutheran Church and School of Messiah.

Fire of 1989 – On September 11, 1989, during the time that John Meyers and Timothy Puls were pastors, an arsonist started fires at five church locations in Grand Junction. The sanctuary of Lutheran Church and School of Messiah was destroyed. Through a marvelous miracle the original communion ware and a 2-foot high sanctuary cross were recovered in the rubble. Although badly covered in black soot, they were lovingly restored and became a continuation of the artifacts that were so dear in the Word and Sacrament ministry to God’s flock at Messiah.

Sanctuary Rebuilt – In 1990 the new sanctuary and fellowship hall were completed. The main office suite, library, and gymnasium were restored, having survived the fire. The second education wing was added in 1992 which included 5 additional classrooms and a teachers’ work room.


Pastors:

Pastor John Knippenberg (1933-1940)
Pastor Martin E. Meyer (1940-1048)
Pastor Norman W. Heinsoth (1949-1955)
Pastor M.F. Scheel (1955-1961)
Pastor Henry Rische (1961-1963)
Pastor Bernard Staake (1963-1976)
Pastor Marcus Lang (1976-1981)
Pastor John W. Meyers (1982-1992)
Associate Pastor Timothy R. Puls (1989-1992)
Pastor Gary Buss (1993-2014 – d. Aug. 19, 2014)
Associate Pastor Bruce Skelton (1998-2004)
Associate Pastor Timothy D. Storck (2007-2015)
Pastor Michael Redeker (2017-present)

First wedding: Harry and Dorothy Hall (Feb. 9, 1947)

Lay Missionary to Japan: Lisa Spengler (1986-1990)


MESSIAH TODAY:

Messiah Today – Lutheran Church and School of Messiah continues to serve the Grand Junction area from its location in town at 840 N. 11th Street. We are located across 12th Street from Lincoln Park, Stocker Stadium, and Suplizio Field. Two blocks to the north of Messiah is the Colorado Mesa University campus. Our membership includes families from throughout the Grand Valley including Fruita, Clifton, and Orchard Mesa. The parochial school provides quality Christ-centered education for preschool through 8th grade students. All the fulltime faculty are graduates of Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod colleges and universities.

Community Outreach and Involvement – Our local Sunday morning radio broadcasts can be heard on KNZZ, which carries our local Sunday morning sermon broadcast (8:00 am) and the Lutheran Hour broadcast (9:00 am). We have had a Blind Ministry program for many years, with monthly Blind Ministry dinners here at Messiah. Pastor Buss (deceased 8-19-2014) was quite active in the local Right to Life group, and he played his guitar and sang for them each year on the January 22 commemoration date. Members of our congregation continue to be actively involved in this endeavor, both the Life Chain in the fall and the commemoration in January. Karen Skoog, our kindergarten teacher, is a gifted cellist and plays for the Grand Junction Symphony, along with percussionist, Lonni Karly, who is active in all aspects of our music program. Corky Miller, 7th/8th grade teacher, is a gifted artist and has a number of paintings, gym floor logos, etc. around town.


LUTHERAN CHURCH AND SCHOOL OF MESSIAH AFFILIATIONS

LCMS – Messiah is a church of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. The LCMS is full of wonderful stories of career churchworkers – men and women who grew up in LCMS congregations and schools. Many came from humble beginnings as young people struggling to decide whether to commit their lives in this way. They went on to LCMS colleges, universities, and seminaries, struggled through academic rigors, enjoyed academic successes, played sports, participated in choirs and bands and orchestras … things young people have such an opportunity to do only once in life. And they developed lifetime friendships with others from all over the country. They had devoted their lives to fulltime churchwork, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Concordia University System – The Concordia University System of ten universities (NY, AL, MI, IL, WI, MN, TX, NE, OR, CA), and two seminaries (St. Louis MO and Ft. Wayne IN) is owned and operated by the LCMS. These award winning institutions prepare students for full time church work vocations (pre-seminary studies, teaching, director of Christian education, parish music, etc.).They also prepare students for Christian service in other vocations such as business administration, arts and sciences, music, pharmacy, nursing, behavioral sciences, communications and technology, biology and environmental sciences, English and foreign languages, kinesiology, pre-professional programs (pre-medical, pre-engineering, etc.), and many more. We encourage our young people to attend one of these universities, and to prayerfully consider full time churchwork.

KFUO Radio –


LUTHERAN CHURCH AND SCHOOL OF MESSIAH – SCHOOL HISTORY

School Wing Added – During the service of Pastor Marcus Lang, an educational wing consisting of a gymnasium and four classrooms was added in 1978, and Lutheran School of Messiah was opened in 1979. The church was now officially named Lutheran Church and School of Messiah.

Preschool Added – A volunteer-led preschool and pre-kindergarten opened by the congregation in the fall of 1983 expressly to “teach our children about Jesus.” It operated as a separate volunteer-led program for 24 years. It has not been a part of the K-8 Christian day school. In 2007 the first full time director was hired. At that time it officially became a part of the school.

Fire of 1989 – On September 11, 1989, during the time that John Meyers and Timothy Puls were pastors and Corky Miller was principal of the school, an arsonist started fires at five church locations in Grand Junction. The sanctuary of Lutheran Church and School of Messiah was destroyed, and the office suite, library, gymnasium, and classrooms were un-usable. The school continued its operations at the Salvation Army building while the sanctuary was rebuilt and buildings were restored.

Sanctuary Rebuilt and Second Education Wing Added – In 1990 the new sanctuary and fellowship hall were completed. The main office suite, library, and gymnasium were restored, having survived the fire. The second education wing was added in 1992 which included 5 additional classrooms and a teachers’ work room.

Our School is owned and operated by Lutheran Church and School of Messiah. The chief administrator of the school is the Administrator/Principal, who is directly responsible to the Board of Education of this congregation. The Board of Education works under the Church Council and is responsible to the General Assembly, which is the chief governing body of Messiah.

The School is one of 1376 Lutheran pre-schools, 871 elementary schools, 88 high schools, 170 Campus ministries, 10 universities and 2 seminaries owned and operated by Missouri Synod congregations, associations of Lutherans, or the Synod itself, throughout the United States.

In addition, more than 570 career, short-term and long-term missionaries, and 623 military chaplains and civilian counselors are currently serving around the world. Today, they are lovingly teaching, preaching, discipling and caring for God’s people. Messiah, along with over 6,000 other congregations, pray for these missionaries and the mission of the LCMS each week. (LCMS At-A-Glance: http://www.lcms.org/cic click on Fact Sheet, 2014)