Lakewood Lutheran’s History
The history of Lakewood Lutheran is strongly tied to the fellowship that fostered it, that is, Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Our synod has its historical roots in Norway. In 1891, the Rev. Bjug Harstad came to the Pacific Northwest to establish a Lutheran high school. Local families gathered in his home for Lutheran worship services. Soon, in 1893, Parkland Lutheran Church was organized. The high school grew into the present day Pacific Lutheran University.
In 1946 the members of Parkland Lutheran congregation in Tacoma, Washington advised Evangelical Lutheran Synod that there was a need for mission outreach in neighboring Lakewood. Acting on that information, the synod called The Rev. Alf Merseth to serve as a missionary at large and he arrived in September 1946. The funding for this mission project was made from the offerings gathered through the ELS Thank Offering at the conclusion of World War II.
The first worship services were held on November 27, 28, and 29, 1946. The newly formed congregation continued to worship at Custer School until services were moved to the pastor’s residence, 8941 Gravelly Lake Drive, in August 1947.
During that summer, a portable chapel building was purchased, along with some land on Meadow Road. By November 1947 the first worship services were held in the “new” building. Forty-six persons attended that day. The following year, eighteen baptisms were performed. In 1948 the congregation was received as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Washington Secretary of State on October 8, 1953. In 1954 a parsonage was purchased and moved onto the property next to the church on Meadow Road.
By 1962 the call for a new church site was evident. A two-acre lot was purchased near 112th Street and Farwest Drive, and plans were made for the construction of a new church. The properties on Meadow Road were sold and worship services were temporarily held at the Lake City Community Center. The new church was dedicated on the 24th of February 1963.
In 1966, the congregation purchased the Taylor Farm property and home, which now serves as a teacherage. Lakewood Lutheran School also began that year with a kindergarten class taught in the lower level of the church. By 1969 the enrollment had grown to 43 students and two newly constructed classrooms were added within a few years. The church has operated its school ministry for over forty years.