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Our Savior Lutheran Church evolves into Faithful Savior Ministries


Changes are afoot at the former Our Savior Lutheran Church at 11100 N.E. Skidmore St.

Our Savior Lutheran Church, established in the early 1960s, has combined operations and congregations with Faith Lutheran Church, formerly located near Northeast 60th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard.

The new church is called Faithful Savior Ministries, and the combined churches, operating from one site at Northeast 111th Avenue and Skidmore Street, held the first Sunday worship on Jan. 6.

Our Savior includes a pre-K through 8th-grade school as well. It will be now be known as Faithful Savior Community School.

The original pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, Kurt Luebkeman, and ongoing pastor at the former Our Savior Lutheran Church, Stan Aufderheide, will have different roles at the new combined church. Luebkeman will serve as administrative pastor, while Aufderheide will serve as executive pastor.

The church’s name change reflects an emphasis on reaching out to the community at large, said Arleene Anderchuk-Frecke, principal of the community school.

The congregation at the former Our Savior was composed of an aging population, with the church not attracting a significant number of new members. Faith Lutheran Church was experiencing some of the same concerns, yet had a strong younger congregation.

The two pastors got together, created a bond and realized they were of the same mind. In fact, both pastors wanted to open a community center, with child and adult sports programs and ministries available to the community.

The church’s goal is to serve the community through various ministries, said Anderchuk-Frecke. “We’re trying to reach the community through God,” she said enthusiastically, “and also let the community know that we’re creating a community center for them.”

Aufderheide sees Faithful Savior Ministries as having a great impact on the local community. “We were two challenged congregations that had reached a plateau and were in danger of stagnating,” he said. “Both decided that instead of dying a slow death, they could combine their resources to better serve the community in which they live. What unified us was the school as our primary mission.”

Anderchuk-Frecke was adamant about the church’s desire to serve the Parkrose community.

“We’re not here to make money or to bring in more people,” she said. “We merged because we want our church body to serve this community. That’s why we have the new name.”

She emphasized that the community center in planning is meant for participation by the entire community, not just the congregation. “Family, youth and senior citizen outreach will play a predominant role in what we use that building for,” Anderchuk-Frecke said.

She added that the former Our Savior Lutheran Church has always been involved in the community, including housing Parkrose Neighborhood Association meetings.

“The community knows about us now,” she said, but plans for a community center will definitely affect the entire community in a big, positive way.

The presence of the school at the church has affected the community as well, and plans to contribute even more in the near future. The former Our Savior Lutheran Church has had a preschool on and off throughout the years, but the school’s been a steady presence since 2001.

In the beginning, the school had just eight students in a preschool. “And then parents started asking if we would start a school,” said Anderchuk-Frecke. She said a preschool through 8th-grade school opened in the fall of 2004, and is now at 102 students.

Class size is limited to 12 students; tuition is only $250 per month for each student. The school also offers a summer school. And “Parkrose School District, although we’ve taken students from them, has been very supportive,” Anderchuk-Frecke said.

“Starting with so few students, and now having so many,” she said, “is proof that we’re trying to serve the community.”

The community seems to be as enthusiastic as Anderchuk-Frecke is about the church merge. The first Sunday service with the combined congregations held, Jan. 6, drew over 180 people. Under average conditions, each church separately received between 60 and 70 people.

Sunday School and Adult Bible Class are held each Sunday at 9:30 a.m., while worship services are held at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday.

On Sunday, Feb. 10, Faithful Savior Ministries will hold an open house, beginning with services at 10:30 a.m. Guest speaker will be the Northwest district president of the Lutheran denomination, Pastor Warren Schumacher. The church plans to unveil its new sign at the event. The public is invited.

For more information, call Faithful Savior Ministries at 503-257-9409.
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