A brief history of Our Savior Lutheran Church
In November, 1957, the Reverend William H. Swarbrick was sent to Pekin as a missionary of the Board of American Missions of the United Lutheran Church in America. Shortly after his arrival in Pekin, he began calling on homes primarily in the north end of town to inquire about the religious status/church affiliation of each family. In the evenings, Rev. Swarbrick made evangelism visits to those families who had no church affiliation.
By February, 1958, a steering committee had been formed. This committee of eight men and Rev. Swarbrick proceeded to make decisions and guide the formation of the congregation. On February 3, 1958, the steering committee voted to approve plans for a house chapel at 1307 Sheridan Road. This would serve as a temporary worship facility until the congregation was in a position to construct a permanent facility. Ground was broken for the house chapel on March 3, 1958. On March 22, 1958, the steering committee selected “Our Savior Lutheran Church” as the tentative name for the congregation-to-be. As official name would be adopted at the organizing business meeting of the congregation in the fall. The name was chosen to both designate ‘Christ’ and a central Christian doctrine.
The first worship service in the house chapel was held on May 16, 1958, with 101 persons present. A reed organ donated by a Chicago church was used for this service and for services through the next 21 years. On July 4, 1958, the first Sunday School was held with 30 students and seven teachers.
In March, 1960, a site on the north side of Pekin was selected for the construction of a permanent church facility. A five-acre tract on Sheridan Road across from Sheridan Estates was purchased for $35,000. A new parsonage was constructed on 1960, in Sheridan Hills approximately four miles from the new location for the church. On August 19, 1962, ground breaking services were held for the new church building.
During 2007, and continuing in 2008, the congregation has been challenged to continue its ministries both in the community and within Our Savior. Overall, the situation has been an opportunity for members to grow in faith, service, and unity. 2008 was “the year of anticipation” as members have looked forward to the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of OSLC.
The congregation has been blessed by the special gifts and talents that each individual pastor has brought to the life and ministry of OSLC.
As a community of faith in relationship with one another and God, we move forward with the sure knowledge that “…all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Pastor Stephen Barnes was called to OSLC in September of 2013. Together we celebrate our life, time and gifts shared. We look forward to a bright and growing future.
The Pastors who have serviced Our Savior Lutheran Church
Rev. William Swarbrick 1957-1960
Rev. John D. Meyer 1961-1965
Rev. Anton P. Weber 1966-1971
Rev. Phillip Hougen 1971-1977
Rev. Lyle Steinfeldt 1978-1989
Rev. Paul D. Balaban 1989-2008
Rev. Dennis Scoville (Interim Pastor) 2008-2013
Rev. Stephen D. Barnes 2013-current