History

50th Anniversary logo
50th Anniversary logo

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church was established on September 10, 1946 when 52 members of Trinity Lutheran, Muskegon, officially organized the daughter congregation and transferred memberships.  Rev. Harold Iben was installed as Pastor and services were held in the WKBZ building at 432 Apple Avenue.  The Charter Membership closed on December 31, 1946 with 74 communicant members.  Groups were formed and auxiliaries were founded.

On February 28, 1948 there was a ground-breaking on the corner of Roberts and Isabella for a small auditorium and 1 classroom.  The first worship service held in the new facility was on January 30, 1949.

The day school opened February 7, 1949 with 29 students and Gerhard Bode as teacher.  The first graduating class of Our Redeemer School was in June of 1951.  A new auditorium and 2 classrooms were dedicated late that year.  The church/school library was organized in 1952 with Tina Rosen as librarian.

Our first daughter congregation, St. Mark Lutheran, Muskegon, was established in 1953 and our second daughter congregation, Faith Lutheran, Whitehall, was established in 1954.

Rev. Vernon Schwartz (Pastor Emeritus 1990-1995)
Rev. Vernon Schwartz (Pastor Emeritus 1990-1996)

In 1958, the facility was expanded with the addition of 2 classrooms and a separate kindergarten class was established.  The reorganized church library opened in 1967.

On May 10, 1970, there was a ground-breaking on the corner of Apple and Roberts for the new church building and was dedicated on April 25, 1971, the year of our 25th anniversary as a congregation.

The next several years brought continued growth through the forming of several organizations including the Elder/Shepherd Program, Handbell Choir, Braille Center, Stephen Ministries, VBS, and the Koinaonia LWML to name just a few.

In 1995, Our Redeemer School and Trinity Lutheran School consolidated to form what is currently known as West Shore Lutheran School.  Classes are held in the expanded Trinity School building.

Our Redeemer Lutheran has been blessed with faithful shepherds including: Rev. Harold Iben (1946 – 1956); Rev. Tessman (1957 – 1958); Rev. Walter Gienapp (1958 – 1966); Rev. Victor Fry (1967 – 1973); Rev. Toshio Okamoto (1974 – 1990); Rev. Vernon Schwartz (Pastor Emeritus 1990 – 1996); Rev. Robert Conradt (1992 – 2018); and Rev. Alexander Koppel (2018 – present).  Our thanks for the their faithfulness in Christ Jesus.