1952 – PRESENT
In the post WWII years, Southern California experienced a sharp population growth, and Westchester because a part of that growth.
Recognizing the mission opportunity, the Southern California District-LCMS Mission Board authorized the founding of a new congregation, and began the search for property. Initially in 1951 a nucleus of people, former members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Inglewood, began to meet in Elmer and Nina Kramber’s living room. Due to rapid growth of the congregation space was soon rented in the Westchester Women’s Club. The founding pastor a new graduate from the Missouri Synod’s Springfield Illinois Seminary, the Reverend Monroe Husfeld, shepherded the flock which became a recognized congregation of the Missouri Synod in September of 1952.
In the meantime, acreage was purchased at Emerson and 77th, and ground breaking for the multi-purpose church building occurred in May of 1954. Hubert Myer was Chairman of the Building Committee, and with countless volunteer hours by many members, construction was completed the following year with the dedication taking place in June, 1955.
By October 1963, the lowest portion of the property was dedicated as a little league field, and in May 1964, ground-breaking for an educational unit (four classrooms and offices/storerooms) took place with dedication later that same year. In 1975 the education complex was leased to the middle school of Westchester Lutheran Church and was expanded by two more classrooms to support the growing number of students.
Through all these years, the congregation has been blessed to be served in ministry by capable and faithful Pastors. The founding Pastor, Monroe Husfeld led the congregation from 1951 to 1969. In 1970, after Pastor Husfeld accepted a Call to Texas, Pastor Ronald Clawson coming from a church in Connecticut was installed. For the following twenty-eight years he served as the spiritual leader until his retirement in mid-1998.
For the next couple of years, as the congregation re-evaluated its ministry, lay minister and Lutheran school teacher Dennis Jacobson of First Lutheran, Venice, served Our Savior on a part time basis. In July of 2000 Vicar Rexford Umbenhaur was assigned from the Ft. Wayne, IN seminary to Our Savior to complete his internship. Pastor Umbenhaur was installed August 12, 2001 as the congregation’s third Pastor.
Also in 2001, the new vision of the congregation included the establishment of a preschool as a service to the community and as a mission outreach of the church. Portions of the former middle school buildings were reconstructed to meet the requirement of this new ministry. Mrs. Ronda Pata, a Christ College, Irvine (Concordia University) graduate was called to be the founding director of the preschool. Upon completion of the reconstruction and licensing by the State of California the preschool opened January 3, 2003 with 3 students. The preschool has rapidly grown to over 170 students, and is the joy of our community.
Thus the fifty plus years of God’s grace and faith continues, and we are grateful to the many living and sainted, members who have been, and are part of God’s mission in this place. Our mission is to communicate to our community the love of Jesus and the changeless Word of God in today’s changing world.