EDMONDS — Three separate Lutheran church congregations came together five years ago to form Edmonds Lutheran Church.
At the time, the new congregation had things they didn’t necessarily need three of, including church buildings, choirs and other multiple church groups.
While each individual congregation brought their own attributes with them, Edmonds Lutheran Church started in January 2005 with shared core values and bedrock beliefs, said Dave Gerlach, a church member who served as the first congregational president.
“We knew we wanted to focus on people with a direction or passion for ministry instead of a dictated program and from that we let the spirit move us and supported those ministries,” he said.
One example of a church ministry that started with one church member’s idea at Edmonds Lutheran Church is the free Wednesday community dinner, Annie’s Kitchen. Church member Annie Fortnum proposed the idea in late 2004 and cooked the first of many dinners shortly after.
Another example of church members following a passion for ministry, Gerlach said, are volunteers who work at the Jeremiah Center on 212th Street SW. and at the church’s Learning Center in the main building at 23525 84th Ave. W. in Edmonds.
At the time of the merger of Christ Lutheran, St. Matthew’s, and St. Peter By The Sea churches, there were skeptics who didn’t believe three Lutheran churches could become one, Gerlach remembers.
“There were those who said, ‘This church is going to fall on its face’ and it was really a true step of faith that we decided we were going to try this to see if some how and some way we could make it happen,” he said.
The church congregations did make it happen in 2005 and continue to make things happen as one congregation, including a recent $44,000 renovation project that added new flooring and freshly painted walls in the narthex and fellowship hall.
The fifth anniversary of Edmonds Lutheran Church is a celebration and a chance for people who don’t belong to the church to learn about it, said Paula Laughtland, children’s ministry coordinator.
“This is an opportunity to invite people to come see who we are and what we do,” she said. “We’ve kind of just gotten our feet under ourselves and it feels like now we know where the passions are and that’s exciting.”
The Edmonds Lutheran Church fifth anniversary celebration will start with a concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 27 featuring The Phinney Ridge Gospel Choir. Everyone is invited to the concert where donations will go toward Haiti relief efforts.
A worship service will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 28 and will feature all church music groups and a blessing of the completed renovation project. The program following the service will include brunch and a history and celebration of five years as Edmonds Lutheran Church.
Representatives from each church ministry will be available after the concert and on Sunday morning to meet with people and answer questions.
“It’s hard to bring three groups of people together and so it’s been five years of figuring out how to do that,” the Rev. Julie Josund said. “I feel like we’re at a turning point now, that five years is significant. We want to acknowledge the hard work it has been and part of that is our renovation.”
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491, firstname.lastname@example.org.