EDMONDS -- A small Lutheran church in Meadowdale area is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
That's a good milestone for an aging, traditional church in the suburbs, say its members.
Saint Timothy Lutheran Church was established in 1963. On Sunday, the church plans an anniversary celebration as part of its Pentecost service.
Bea Zaske, 85, lives a mile away. She's been a member of the church since 1965.
"The demographics of our community have changed," Zaske said. "In the 1980s and '90s, we had a very active youth group. Now our challenge is to attract younger families."
Karen Herrick, 66, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, still remembers the warm greeting she received when she first attended Saint Timothy.
"Here, we love babies and children," Herrick said. "We're all very friendly, and we're all quietly involved in the community. We help with the food bank and the clothing bank and at Christmas."
Their building also is home to a Ukrainian church, a Boy Scout troop and several Alcoholics Anonymous groups.
Janet Anderberg, 57, grew up in the Lutheran church. She believes that if her college-age daughters are able to move back to the area, they will return to Saint Timothy to raise their own families.
"My kids still love this church and count it as their own," Anderberg said. "There is a sense of belonging and shared experience here. We sing the same hymns as my grandmother and my mother did, and I am moved by the sound of the organ. Not everybody has that anymore."
Earlier this month, church organist Sharron Kennedy stopped by for her regular practice session.
The theme of Saint Timothy's golden anniversary year is found in the lyrics of the hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness," which Kennedy plays in a robust, upbeat tempo.
"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not; Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou has been Thou forever will be."
"God has been faithful to Saint Timothy," said anniversary organizer Karl Simon.
Saint Timothy was established on May 13, 1963, and met first at Beverly Elementary School across the street.
In August of that year, the church broke ground for its building on 4.8 wooded acres at the corner of 52nd Avenue and 164th Street W.
The first worship service in the new sanctuary was on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 12, 1964. In 1966, 52 founding families signed the charter to became part of the Northwest District of Missouri Synod Lutheran Churches. Over the 50 years, about 15 pastors have served the church, including the first, the Rev. F.A. Schweim, and current pastor, the Rev. Richard E. Flath.
The church building was designed by the late Seattle architect Robert Chervenak, whose firm designed 350 churches in the region, including the award-winning Our Savior's Lutheran Church on Mukilteo Boulevard in Everett.
Saint Timothy is a notable mid-century, Northwest-style building. In the sanctuary, a sculptural bronze cross by Chervenak and Norman Warsinksi dominates the room. Skylights brighten the high pine ceiling.
The church's educational wing was built in 1970 and a new narthex, or entryway, was added in 2007. Above the main door is displayed a stained glass window of the Luther Rose donated by church member Lloyd Nelson, a direct descendant of Martin Luther. Outside, all the plants mentioned in the Bible are growing in a special garden and tall Douglas firs shade the lawn.
"We've been blessed," Simon said.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
Saint Timothy Lutheran Church's 50th anniversary celebration service, 10 a.m. Sunday at the church, 5124 164th St. SW. The community and all current and former members are encouraged to attend. More info: www.sainttimothylutheran.net
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