Our Story / History
It’s been a busy 50 years for Community of Christ Lutheran Church. As we look ahead to our sixth decade of Making Jesus Known, we are grateful for a past that includes 3 pastors, 3 building projects, hundreds of families, and a field full of pickles!
It was 1966 when the American Lutheran Church purchased 6 acres of land at the corner of Dutch and Finzel in Whitehouse, OH with the hopes of starting a mission church in the Anthony Wayne area. By 1973, Pastor Ray Gottschling led 92 people in our first service held in the Anthony Wayne High School cafeteria. By 1975, it was decided that the church would indeed use the land purchased to build Community of Christ. Up until construction began, church members planted peppers and pickles on the site and sold them to Vlasic to raise money for the building. The new church building, a multi-use space used for worship, fellowship, and community needs was dedicated in June of 1977 with 64 member families.
From the late 1980s through the first two decades of the 2000s, the church saw two more building projects and two more pastors. In 1989, a classroom addition was completed and in May 2008, a major project included adding a dedicated worship space, a new industrial grade kitchen, improved office space, and a new nursery. In 1998, Pastor Gottschling was called to be the Assistant to the Bishop leaving room for Pastor Rich Ferne to come in 1999 as Community of Christ’s pastor. In 2009, Pastor Ron Heinz was hired as a part-time pastor to help fill the needs of a growing congregation. In 2010, Pastor Ferne retired and Pastor Matt Lash became the church’s third full-time pastor. Pastor Lash retired in 2020 and retired Bishop Pastor Marcus Lohrmann filled in as the interim pastor. Pastor Steven Bond is now serving as our Senior Pastor.
As we look towards the future, we at Community of Christ also look back proudly on our half a century of Making Jesus Known in the Anthony Wayne community. For a more detailed timeline of Community of Christ’s history, click here: church history