A Brief History

"Ministering to the Ellensburg Community Since 1908"

The First Lutheran Church of Ellensburg was organized on May 16, 1908. The lot and church building were purchased from Central Christian Church on January 8, 1909, for $1,205. On December 16, 1908, the congregation was incorporated under state law. The church was dedicated the following year on December 12, 1909, during a district convention held in Ellensburg.

Between 1914 and 1916, the first parsonage was built. It was paid for by subscription from the congregation with the Ladies Aid assuming obligation for the debt. Pastor Blessum contributed his woodworking talents in the early 1920's and constructed our first altar which framed a beautiful painting. [This altar and painting reside in the Chapel room.]

From the organization of the congregation until 1924, all the services had been conducted in the Norwegian language. The following year, Norwegian was used only at the morning services with English spoken at the evening services. It was then decided that both English and Norwegian would be used in consecutive half-hours on Sunday mornings. Finally, in 1927, it was decided to switch to English entirely except for Christmas Day services. Until 1931, all annual congregational reports were written in Norwegian.

In 1937, due to marked growth of the congregation, the church was remodeled and a basement was constructed. The congregation was led to assume the full responsibility of financing its activities in 1942. It had previously been dependent upon subsidy from Home Mission. The church was enlarged and remodeled once again in 1945.

Through increased membership and attendance, additional space became necessary, and a 12-room duplex adjoining the church property was purchased in the early 1950's. On July 26, 1958, the 50th Anniversary of First Lutheran Church was observed and Mrs. Hans Jensen, the only living charter member, was honored. The growth pattern continued and the Church Council advised expansion into larger, more modern facilities. This project became the present Sanctuary which was dedicated on April 8, 1962.

A building committee was formed in 1972 to consider plans for an education-fellowship building. As a result, the duplex was demolished and the present Fellowship Hall was built in 1982, joining the old church and sanctuary. The Rise and Shine Preschool was founded in the Fall of 1984. In the early 1990's, a newly-renovated Lane pipe organ was purchased. It was dedicated at a special concert on February 9, 1992.

After completing a Church and Community Study in 1996, there was much discussion about what to do with the old church and the need for more education space. The Chancel was remodeled and the Sound System was updated in 1998. We celebrated our 90th anniversary at First Lutheran with a Scandinavian Smorgasbord in November of 1998. After much congregational input and generous financial commitment, the Education / Multipurpose project was unanimously approved and groundbreaking began in June of 1999. The Educational / Multipurpose Facility was dedicated to the Lord in a special service on April 9, 2000.

As we have seen God work in our past, we trust God in the present, and we move and grow together toward a future which is secure in the grace and love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.