HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HISTORY OF RESURRECTION LUTHERAN CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE
This is a brief overview of the twenty-five years which we began celebrating on Easter Sunday (you will see why in a minute).
We set the scene in 1957 . . .
Airman George Miller*, who was stationed at Lakenheath Air Base, was disturbed at the complete lack of Lutheran sen vices at Lakenheath or, in fact, in East Anglia. He managed to locate the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England's office in London and learned that they were planning to open a theological training centre in Cambridge. One of their pastors, the Reverend Norman Nagel, had just arrived in Cam bridge to begin setting up the programme. Having hunted down the Lutheran Church, George Miller began to hunt down Lutherans. The group which formed under his leadership contacted Pastor Nagel in Cambridge and asked if he could spare the time to hold an Easter Service for them.
So, in 1958 the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Resurrection had its birth on Easter Sunday, when twenty two worshippers met at Lakenheath to celebrate the Lord's Resurrection.
It was not called Resurrection. It was not organised. It had no permanent pastor, but it was agreed that Communion services be held at Lakenheath once a month. Word got around, and Lutherans from the University in Cambridge and at other military bases joined in. Somewhere more central was needed. ...
On Reformation Sunday, October, 1958, supported by well wishing Lutherans from London, too, ninety-eight people worshipped together in St. Michael's Church, Trinity Street, in Cambridge. From then on monthly services were also held in Cambridge. Each worshipper came equipped with a paraffin heater to stand over during the service in St. Michael's. Professor Holland C. Jones, from Concordia Lutheran Seminary, St. Louis, on his sabbatical year in Cambridge, shared the pulpit with Pastor Nagel. He led a Bible Class on Sunday afternoons in the parsonage.
1959: "Although we have a psychiatrist, a doctor, and a dental surgeon in our group," said Pastor Nagel, "that does not indicate anything as to the health of the congregation. We are in good health and spirits." A decision was made to call a full-time pastor, when Professor Jones left and Pas tor Nagel became busier at the University. So, Pastor Blank was called, and at the same time a Lutheran Chaplain, Elmer Schwartzkopf was assigned to Lakenheath.
1960: The congregation drew up a constitution and organised, choosing the name Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. The name was to signify that the congregation was a living witness to its living Lord in a world of doubting Thomases.
1961: Westfield House was founded to house the seminary programme, and with the help of Pastor Kenneth Mahler weekly services were held at Laken heath and Camb-idge and monthly services at bases Woodbridge, Wethersfield, Alconbury, Chicksands, Sculthorpe, and Chelveston.
In 1962, worship continued to be held at St. Michael's in the summer and in the winter.
In 1963, Pastor Blank was called to Venezuela, and Pastor Norman Heintz was installed.
In 1964, Sunday School and Bible Class were held at Westfield House after the service.
1965: Sunday services were held in Abbey Church in New market Road where there was ample room and a fine organ. In 1966, Pastor Heintz left and Pastor William Gittner was installed.
In 1967, Pastor Gittner was travelling 500 miles between bases.
In 1968, there were forty people under instruction leading to Confirmation.
In 1969, Pastor Gittner left for Illinois.
1970: Pastor Ron Feuerhahn was installed.
1971: The Geldbeutel or money bag was made. Its iron handles were made from an old electric light fitting found in the basement of Westfield House. After alteration and cleaning by Ian Fletcher, the metal part was handed over to Alice Franzmann, who did the cloth work.
In 1972, there was a meeting with Westfield House and the E.L.C.E. to plan the Lutheran centre in Cambridge. The architect presented the proposed plans.
In 1974, a loan was approved from the E.L.C.E. for the first phase of the construction.
In 1975, the planning approval came through from the City of Cambridge, and groundbreaking ceremony took place in June.
In 1976, the parsonage in Woodlark Road was purchased.
1977: The dedication of this church building took place. The first Baptism here was of John Christopher, son of Dean and Barbara Bahrke of RAF Alconbury, who recently left the congregation to return to the States. A film festival was organised as the first major out-reach into the local community.
1978: Pastor Feuerhahn was called to be Preceptor of Westfield House.
1979: Pastor Leonard Laetsch was installed. Kneelers were made by Renee Mejer. Bases Chicksands, Woodbridge, and Alconbury were served.
1980: Woodbridge had its own Lutheran Chaplain so no longer needed the services of Pastor Laetsch. be te
1981: Pastor Laetsch became pastor of the twin parishes of Resurrection, Cambridge, and Redeemer, Harlow. Children's Club began for 7-12 year olds on every other Monday.
1982: A Youth Group was started for the 14+ age group, meeting alternate Fridays. The Chicksands and Upwood bases were served. There was an attempt to get a street sign on Huntingdon Road pointing to our church.
1983: The 25th anniversary of Resurrection was celebrated.
Whether future developments bring fewer or more Luther and into the Cambridge area, whether the congregation consequently grows larger or smaller is not the primary concern of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. It is rather that Christian people, be they permanent or transient, must be the Church where they are if they are to take seriously that they are the Church at all. And that being the Church where one is means not only receiving the Word of the Resurrected Lord but witnessing to the Resurrected Lord where one is--in fellowship with one's fellow believers, students or foreigners. For only thus do the people of the living Lord really live. And only thus do a people of the resurrection become a Church of the Resurrection.