Christ Lutheran Church marks 100th anniversary
The Glenside parish began as a Sunday school in 1914.
WRITTEN BY READING EAGLE
Bishop Samuel Zeiser of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was the special guest at a service Sunday marking the 100th anniversary of Christ Lutheran Church, 1301 Luzerne St. A luncheon was held afterward.
On Nov. 22, 1914, a group from St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Fifth and Elm streets, arrived in Glenside to help organize a much-needed Sunday school. Their leader was the Rev. Norman S. Wolf. The first of these services were held in the schoolhouse on Lehigh and Allegheny avenues.
The congregation, Christ Lutheran, was organized on Sept. 5, 1915, as a result of the growth of the Sunday school. On Jan. 2, 1916, the new church was dedicated at Lehigh and Luzerne streets.
After the arrival of Dr. G. Robert Heim on Sept. 18, 1946, Christ Lutheran Church was rededicated and many other renovations were done to the building.
In 1962 a new era began under the leadership of the Rev. Paul J. Hoh. A sanctuary was sorely needed, and the church took on the big project of constructing a new church building that would incorporate the old one. Ground was broken on July 28, 1963, and the cornerstone was laid on Oct. 27, 1963. The new building was dedicated on May 3, 1964.
The outstanding feature of the new sanctuary was a large chancel window of colored glass dominated by a large circle, the symbol of the work for which Christ died. The rays of light spread from the bottom of the window up and across the face of the "Earth." These suggest that the light upon the altar is indeed the light of the world.
In the spring of 1964 the "Luden Organ" was installed into the new sanctuary.
The Rev. Bruce Osterhout began his ministry in 1990 and continued the central mission of the congregation: outreach to the community. Summer and after-school programs were held yearly that welcomed in many children from the neighborhood. In 1992 a local food pantry was started through the Greater Berks Food Bank, and still serves the community.
A partnership parish was formed between Christ and St. Luke's, Ninth and Green streets, in 2009 and the Rev. Rebecca Knox began working alongside Osterhout. The Rev. Katie Lyon joined the staff in 2012 with a concentration on Latino outreach. Lyon is the current pastor along with interim pastor Wayne Heintzelman. Outreach continues to be central to the congregation. On Sunday mornings the congregation sings some hymns in Spanish and has the service projected onto the wall as a way to be more welcoming to the many visitors and neighbors. Former pastors have been back throughout the year to preach and celebrate 100 years in the Glenside community.
1915-1917 Rev. Norman S. Wolf
1917-1919 Rev. George W. Swartz
1920-1926 Rev. Otis O. Leidich
1926-1929 Rev. Niels R. Christensen
1929-1931 Rev. Elmer P. Truchses
1931-1944 Rev. Paul D. Witman
1946-1958 Rev. Dr. G. Robert Heim
1959-1965 Rev. Paul J. Hoh
1966-1969 Rev. Roger N. Goodling
1970-1981 Rev. Charles J. Charles
1982-1988 Rev. Myrna Kysar
1990-2014 Rev. Bruce G. Osterhout
2009-2014 Rev. Rebecca W. Knox (called to St. Luke's/Christ Partnership Parish)
2014 – Present Rev. Katie Lyon (called to St. Luke's/Christ Partnership Parish)