The First Lutheran Church had its roots in a Ladies’ Aid Society, organized in the home of Mrs. H.E. Nye on May 5, 1915 with 15 members. A temporary organization was established in June 1915. The group met at Fern Hill School (also called Lake Street School) but had to move when the city made an addition to the school. At one time a tent was used for services. In 1922, a lot was purchased from T.B. Walker, and $110 was donated by Mrs. Walker, provided a certain lot was used. The address was 3208 Xenwood. (Formerly Rosslyn) at Lake Street.
The First English Lutheran Church was formally organized on October 7, 1924 in the home of Gilbert A. Larson. (The “English” in the name merely meant that services were given in English and not Swedish.) The church was incorporated the next week, at the home of Ludwig Jensen with 85 original members. Members first met in private homes and in Fern Hill School until the church basement was built in November of 1924. The congregation met there until the superstructure was completed in 1928, dedicated on October 14. It boasted a seating capacity of over 400 people – and a membership of 549 baptized persons. Reverend J. Lyle Halvorson began at the church in the 20’s, and served until 1956. The building was enlarged around 1937. The house and lot adjacent to the church was purchased for a parsonage, but was converted to a Sunday school in 1959 – a tunnel was built between the two structures. In October 1959, a different house at 5814 W. Lake Street was purchased for the parsonage. In 1961, membership was approximately 600 with 200 in Sunday School.
Minneapolis Journal, October 11, 1928
The following was written by Rev. M. Lyle Halvorsen of the English Lutheran Church, probably in the late 1930’s, early 1940’s.
A Brief History of the Lutheran Church
In St. Louis Park
Between sixty and seventy years ago, as far as we can learn, the old Norwegian Synod of the Lutheran Church began work in St. Louis Park. This work did not proper very well so they moved to Hopkins. Being affiliated with the German Missouri Synod the work was eventually turned over to them and is now the Zion Lutheran Church of Hopkins. Later on the former United Norwegian Lutheran Church began work in Oak Hill of St. Louis Park. This work was also dropped. The former is German Iowa Synod also began work in the Park, renting the Union Congregational Church. This work was dropped. The Swedish Augustana Synod began work in the Oak Hill District, meeting in the school house. This continued until the early thirties and was dropped after the First English Lutheran Church had finished and dedicated its building. The Hauges Synod of the Lutheran Church began work in the Fern Hill School in the mean time and continued until after the union of three Synods which took place in 1917, of which it became a part. This Synod is now known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
On October 7, 1924, the First English Lutheran Church of St. Louis Park was organized in the home of Gilbert A. Larson and on October 14, 1924, a formal meeting was held in the home of Ludwig Jensen, across the street from where the church is now located. At this meeting a congregation was formed, with 85 adult members. This congregation ….especially a continuation of the work started by the … Synod. A basement was built and used for [services] until 1928, when the completed structure was dedicated on October 14, 1928. Dr. J.A.O. Stub of Central Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, the present pastor, Rev. M. Lyle Halvorsen, being the pastor at the time. The present membership is about 550 baptized souls. The appraised value of the building in 1928 was $25,000. Since then an addition has been added to the basement, two new furnaces recently installed, an electric organ and here pianos added to the equipment, new cement floor in the basement last week, which might bring the present valuation to $75,000 or more. The church has a seating capacity of 400.
A new church building, located at 5801 Minnetonka Blvd., was begun in early spring 1968. The old building on Xenwood Ave. was sold to the Andahazy School of Ballet, which occupied it until at least 1987. School and church shared the old building until the new one was completed in November 1968.
5801 Minnetonka Blvd
In 2009 First Lutheran and Ascension Lutheran Church merged to form the Spirit of Christ Community Lutheran Church. The new congregation is located at 5801 Minnetonka Blvd.