History of St. Olaf Lutheran Church
1955 – Organization of the congregation. Dr Falde installed Rev. Rommereim as pastor.
1956 – Dedication of St. Olaf by District President, Dr. Gaylerd Falde.
1958 – Ground breaking for Windom Hall.
1959 – Pastor Rommereim resigned to go to Canoga Park.
1960 – Pastor Allan Hansen called, gave his first sermon
1965 – Charles Paulson served as assistant pastor.
1966 – Baltsersen Hall completed.
1968 – Groundbreaking service for the new sanctuary. Assistant Pastor Paulson resigned to go to San Luis Obispo. Pastor Otis Lee served as assistant pastor.
1969 – Dedication of new sanctuary.
1970 – Pastor Allan Hansen accepted position at Renewal House in Los Angeles. Pastor Otis Lee accepted position in Rowland Hights.
1971 – Pastor Erling Wold installed. Preschool and day care nursery began.
1972 – Orange County office of L.S.S. took up residence at St. Olaf.
1975 – Pastor Paul Evenson resigned. Pastor Jerry Crawford installed as assistant pastor.
1981 – Braden Canfield called to be Youth Director.
1982 – Groundbreaking for Wold Hall. Dedication of Wold Hall
1984 – Braden Canfield resigned to go to the University of Minnesota.
1985 – Assistant Pastor Jerry Crawford resigned to accept position as senior pastor in Novato, California. Pastor Erling Wold resigned to accept position as senior mentor and teacher at CLU in Thousand Oaks. Marge Wold became associate professor in the religion department.
1986 – Pastor Murray Finck installed by Bishop Nelson Trout. Puritan Korean Presbyterian congregation started worship at St. Olaf.
1989 – William and Susan Kirlin-Hackett installed as associate pastors.
1993 – Pastor Murray Finck resigned to accept position at Synod office. Pastor Scott Jenkins installed as Senior Pastor. Pastor Laura Hall installed as assistant pastor.
1995 – Pastor Scott Jenkins resigned.
1996 – Pastor Dennis Laherty installed as Senior Pastor
2004 – Pastor Laherty resigned. Pastor Minh-Hanh Nguyen accepted position as Interim Pastor
History of “THE BRIDGE” Outreach Ministry and the Center for Youth Ministry
February, 2007 – In evaluating the changes of the community St. Olaf found there was a growing need for a place where non-churched and new Christians can hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Theology of the Cross in an inclusive and inviting setting. The BRIDGE service was initiated to help serve as the “BRIDGE” between the organized church and un-churched individuals who have no history of church membership. This ministry was initially funded with donations from Mount of Olives Lutheran church and designated reserve funds from St. Olaf. The ministry was given a one year commitment to grow a viable and growing young community within this changed neighborhood.
March, 2007 – the leadership of St. Olaf was given the opportunity to have a neighboring Lutheran congregation sponsor the possibility of new outreach ministries. The surrounding community and culture changed and the traditional St. Olaf congregation was in extreme danger of losing its vision and mission for a viable future in sharing the Good News of Jesus. The congregation was also existing nearly three years without a called pastor.
April, 2007 – St. Olaf agreed to make an initial $30,000 financial commitment to make this transition possible along with special outreach funds provided from Mount of Olives Lutheran Church. These funds were taken from the reserve account to purchase musical instruments, new sound and video equipment, and a high tech projector system. These initial funds also paid the costs of a supportive praise band, new audio and visual media equipment, and major publications / advertising. After weeks of many volunteer hours in planning and preparing, the Mount of Olives and St. Olaf congregations were able to begin BRIDGE worship and Praise service on Easter Sunday, 2007. This hired/ called praise band offered its initial worship at St. Olaf which drew over 100 visitors and guests to St. Olaf. The worship continued weekly as an additional service at St. Olaf with approximately 40-60 in attendance including several families from Mount of Olives to help with Hospitality Evangelism.
August, 2007 – St. Olaf called a dynamic pastor, Anton “Tony” Scheer who accepted the call to support the traditional ministries of the church, expand the new contemporary praise worship, and lead inclusive ministries offered to the surrounding community under the name of The BRIDGE.
October, 2007 – The congregation installed 23 new members who have been attending the new BRIDGE Contemporary Praise Service and have made the faith commitment to the congregation in membership. Each week we continue to have visitors from many communities surrounding the Garden Grove area.
November, 2007 – The Council extended an invitation for a 75 member Samoan Seventh Day Adventist Congregation to share facility and sanctuary space. A monthly donation to St. Olaf was agreed upon to share expenses.
December, 2007 – The sponsoring Mount of Olives congregation provided $5,000 additional funds for special advertising and music for the Christmas season and BRIDGE Worship service.
With a passion for youth and family ministries the Pastor sensed a growing need for a youth gathering space. Increasing participants in the St. Olaf after school program also increased the number of younger families worshipping at The BRIDGE. In December, 2007 the Council approved of designated memorial and reserve funds be used to renovate space to create a youth center.
January, 2008 – St. Olaf congregation approved on a spending budget increase of $137,897 including an increase of $3,000 in benevolence for the Pacifica Synod and ELCA. This budget included a contribution pledge increase of $80,688.
January, 2008 – We were encouraged to hear that the Mount of Olives Lutheran Church in Mission Viejo, CA has provided $10,000 for the year of 2008 in support of the Outreach ministries and the BRIDGE Praise Service. Continual support cannot be promised or counted on for 2009.
April – Easter 2008, At the BRIDGE service 98 people worshipped. Most of the assembly have become a part of this worshipping community. Many also have been regular worshippers but have not become members of the St. Olaf Lutheran Church. After one year this ministry has begun to establish a following and is filling the need of church for the un-churched.
May, 2008 – Through congregational special gifts we were able to fund a part-time Youth and Music minister for 9 months who will be working closely with the church leadership in evolving and enhancing the ministries within our BRIDGE community, the St. Olaf Preschool and Faith Kids Club after school programs.
May, 2008 – The Wold Center for Youth Ministries has been created and fully funded through monetary donations and memorials within the congregation to be an active “safe haven” for the youth of the community to worship and gather in community. The completion of the center took place with a cost for the renovations on our existing building of $38,000.
May, 2010 – Because of budget cuts we had to discontinue the youth minister and music minister staff position and created a part time Youth Minister position to work only a few hours per week at the Wednesday night MERGER program. (See attached B)
May, 2011 – Merger youth night continues to grow and we have added a second adult leader on a volunteer basis. We are currently planning for the summer events of the Western States Youth Gathering and the 2012 National Youth Gathering and have a great response. We however are lacking the trained adult leadership to make such events successful. More staffing is the first priority in the goals of the church for 2011 -2012 planning.
April, 2012 – Largest Easter Sunday Attendance in 6 years! Our Bridge Service attendance was 158 and our Traditional Service was 89! Since the beginning of 2012 both services have seen an increase in attendance and in the number of visitors. We have at least three family units ready to become new members. The Youth Night, called the MERGER, is now bringing in over 20 youth per week. Funding still remains an issue.
We have 8 youth and 1 Adult scheduled to attend the National Youth Gathering in summer of 2012.
May, 2012 – We registered 8 youth and one adult to attend the National Youth Gathering. These individuals were able to fundraise over $8,000 in church events such as Easter Breakfast, Rummage Sales, the fireworks stand, and the Strawberry Festival. All the youth registered attend the weekly youth group. We also became licensed to open a toddler program for children at 20 months to pre-school age within the Preschool. We are licensed up to 11 children at this age group and already have 5 registered.
October, 2012 – Neil Harrison from the ELCA office along with three synod representatives came to do a comprehensive ministry assessment on the ministries of St. Olaf. They were impressed with the number of ministries we are successful with in a congregation our size. They left us with a number of affirmations and suggestions that will help guide us into a stronger future in our ministry goals.
April, 2013 – We held a special congregational meeting to vote and approve our new mission and vision statements along with our set Guiding Principles. The Renewal team continues to work on completing the LIFT document as requested by the ELCA.
May, 2013 – The Korean Presbyterian church that has been sharing our facility for over 20 years gave notice to end covenant so they could move and merge with another Korean congregation that owns its own property. A new mission Korean Baptist Congregation was scheduled to be in covenant with St. Olaf’s beginning June 1.
June, 2013 – With a special memorial gift provided by the Ruby Cordes Memorial Fund we were able to hire Mrs. Libby Corneau as a ¾ time Youth Minister to lead our Youth and Family Ministries.
May, 2014 – We installed our Intern Steve Otte from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) to complete his 9 month internship at St. Olaf
May 2015– With special memorial gifts from Bob Burkhart Memorials, we were able to hire Mrs. Libby Corneau as our full time Youth Minster.