On Jan. 6, 1969, Living Christ began with a formative meeting in a private home with the Rev. Arthur Klemp, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Excelsior, attending.

Living Christ became the daughter congregation of Our Savior Lutheran. Pastor Klemp led Sunday evening services for this new group at Frontier Hardware in Chanhassen.

The new church called its first pastor, the Rev. Dennis Lorenz, in March 1969, and was able to move its time of worship to Sunday mornings. Banquet rooms were provided for their meeting place, courtesy of Herb and Carol Bloomberg, owners of Frontier Hardware and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. God provided!

Wanting to proclaim the Living Christ in bigger ways, the new church immediately began planning for a permanent structure. The Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod had purchased property south of Highway 5 in Chanhassen for a possible location. On Sept. 13, 1970, ground was broken for the new facility.

The church charter comprised of adults and children was officially closed with 224 members on that day. Eleven original charter members have retained their membership for the entire 50 years. The new facility was dedicated by the congregation on Aug. 15, 1971. God was faithful!

Pastors that have served LCLC over the 50 years are: the Rev. Dennis Lorenz (1969-1975), the Rev. Nate Castens (1976-1980), the Rev. Howard Kramin (1980-1981), the Rev. Norman Ruthenbeck (1982-2005), and the Rev. Mark Tewes, (2006-present). One associate pastor, the Rev. Steven Latzke, served from 2000-2004. God called!

Living Christ has hosted three ordinations — the Rev. Paul Nelson (July 1981), son of the congregation, and is currently serving as a vacancy pastor in Anamoose, North Dakota; the Rev. Steven Latzke (July 2000) who served his vicarage at Living Christ, was ordained and called as an associate pastor of LCLC, is currently pastor at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana; and the Rev. Brett Snider (2007), son of the congregation, currently in Florida working in church planting for the LCMS. God ordained!

Remodeling projects that have been done over the 50 years include a kitchen remodel in 1985, a major sanctuary remodel completed in 1990, additional offices, nursery, and narthex enlargement in 1994. A committee was formed in 2017 regarding the feasibility of expanding our church again, and this is still being studied. God led faithful stewards!

Strengthening families is part of the mission of LCLC. It is partly upheld through Living Christ Early Learning Center. The lower level was rented by Chanhassen Child Development Center from 1975-2000. LCLC then decided to fund its own childcare center with a capacity of 94. LCELC is nationally accredited (NAEYC) and also maintains a 4-Star Parent Aware rating through the state of Minnesota. It provides Christian curriculum and weekly chapel, as well as, quality, nurturing care. God is proclaimed!

The vision of developing disciples equipped to impact the world for Christ goes beyond the sermons, Sunday school, choirs, and Bible studies provided. Another part of LCLC’s mission is serving the community. We are committed to being the hands and feet of Jesus as God presents opportunities. A few mission endeavors we participate in are named here, but there are many more.

LCLC serves the local community as a voting site, bloodmobile site, Alcoholics Anonymous weekly meeting site, monthly collections for the local food shelf, delivery of Meals on Wheels and partner with Love INC, (an organization which is a network of churches to support our neighbors in need). LCLC provides diapers that are delivered to homes that Love INC indicates are in need of them. Members have been actively involved in donating to and building Habitat for Humanity houses in our area. Annually, the church welcomes community youth to our vacation Bible school, which over the years has been an outreach to share the good news of Jesus. God equipped!

LCLC serves the state in providing quilts to children in emergency situations through our Binky Patrol that makes and donates the quilts to the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association to give to children in crisis.

LCLC serves the nation through numerous mission trips to disaster areas: clean-up after flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; sandbagging in Fargo, North Dakota; hurricane rebuilding in Houston, Texas; and clean-up/home remodeling in Idaho. God facilitated!

Since its inception, Living Christ has been committed to supporting the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod at the district and national level. Ten percent of the annual budget is designated for this support.

LCLC serves the world as we participate in Operation Christmas Child and Feed My Starving Children, where gifts and food are shipped all over the world. LCLC has supported several missionaries, currently these are receiving regular support: Joe and Cara Herzberg, in Senegal, Africa; and Don Leonard in Asia for his Project Video, a video that shares the life of Jesus in the native tongue where it is being shown. Mission trips have been made to an orphanage in Jamaica and to the Ysleta Mission in Mexico. God impacts the world!

Living Christ welcomes you to the 50th year anniversary celebration worship services on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with refreshments between the services. Former Pastor Norman Ruthenbeck will preach at the 8 a.m. service and former Pastor Dennis Lorenz, the first pastor called to Living Christ, will preach at the 10:30 a.m. service. Pastor Mark Tewes, current pastor, will lead both blended services. All are welcome to attend these services!

Living Christ Lutheran Church has continued to proclaim the Living Christ and serve those in need during its 50 years. We celebrate God’s faithfulness to LCLC!

Fran Gustafson is a member of the Living Christ 50th Anniversary Committee.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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