The Lutheran Church of the Atonement began when Rev. Norbert Heins was called by the Northwest District LCMS to look into the possibility of establishing a congregation in the Sunnydale area. He was assisted by Flora Klause, a Parish worker. They surveyed the area, checked for prospective members, and selected a suitable property for a Church building. There was sufficient interest among the residents of the area that property was purchased and the Church was built. The first service held at 250 South 152nd Street was the dedication of the Chapel on June 2, 1946.
In November of 1947, "The Lutheran Church of the Atonement" was officially organized with thirty-nine charter members. The first officers were: A. Straub, President; A. Hagen, Secretary; D. Johnson, Treasurer; O. Triana, Financial Secretary.
In July of 1952, the congregation decided to relocate in the Cedarhurst area. Land was purchased on South 128th Street and 8th Avenue South, our present site. The same year, work began on remodeling the house on the property into a suitable parsonage. Rev. Heins served Atonement until March 7, 1953. He then accepted a call of the District Mission Board to be a Circuit Rider in southern Oregon.
Rev. Reinhold Jaech was the interim Pastor during the nine-month vacancy.
Rev. Walter Bartling, Pastor of a church in Colorado, accepted Atonement's call and was installed on December 16, 1953. The Church membership and Sunday School attendance continued to grow during Rev. Bartling's pastorate.
A Building Committee was formed and the plans for a new Church were accepted, to be built on South 128th and 8th South.
In April of 1956, Rev. Bartling received a call to be Associate Professor of Classical Languages at Concordia Senior College (now Concordia Theological Seminary) in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
He continued to serve Atonement while a call was extended to Rev. Kenneth Behnken, an assistant Pastor in Long Beach, California. Rev. Bartling left Atonement on Palm Sunday 1956, after the ground breaking for the new Church building. Rev. Behnken accepted the call and was installed on August 2, 1956, after a vacancy of just three months.
The present Church building was then constructed. Professional workers were hired for the placing of the high beams, the laying of the foundation, masonry work and other detailed construction. Much of the other work, however, was done by the men, women, and young people of the membership.
On Saturdays the ladies would serve lunch for the crew of workers. After two years of labor, the congregation moved the furnishings from the first church and dedication was held at the new site on January 26, 1958.
In 1961 Atonement's educational challenge was met in the building of the first education unit which was dedicated on January 28, 1962. A second educational unit was planned while Rev. Behnken was here but before it was built, he accepted a call to Great Bend, Kansas and left Atonement in April, 1964.
During this vacancy, Atonement was blessed with Rev. Edwin Weibel as interim Pastor. He served nearly full time at Atonement as well as his own parish, Beautiful Savior in McMicken Heights. While Beautiful Savior may have sacrificed a little during our vacancy, Atonement was well served and guided through a long, difficult vacancy and calling process.
On May 9th, 1965, after a vacancy of 13 months, Rev. Kenneth Boetcher was installed as Pastor. This was also the day of the "Ground Breaking" for the second educational unit. This building was finished in less than a year and was dedicated on February 27, 1966. There were eight classrooms and an assembly room on the first floor and five classrooms and an assembly room in the basement. Walls between the rooms are removable for larger classrooms in the event of a parochial school in the future. Rev. Boetcher retired in May 1992, after 27 years of service at Atonement. A retirement banquet highlighting his years at Atonement was held at Resurrection's Fellowship hall.
Rev. Erwin Gerken, a retired pastor of Immanual Lutheran Church in Puyallup, served as interim pastor from 1992 until May 2, 1993. Rev. Gerken guided us through the calling process, helping us to maintain our membership.
On May 2, 1993 Rev. Stephen Inglehart was installed as pastor of Atonement. Rev. Inglehart served at Atonement until 1998. Rev. James Koehler, retired pastor from King of Kings Lutheran Church, served as interim pastor until August 30, 1998.
Rev. Andrew Northrop accepted our call and was installed as Pastor of Atonement on August 30, 1998. The Northrops moved into the parsonage for a period of time before purchasing a home in the area. Pastor Northrop encouraged the congregation to reach out to, and befriend Hispanic, Asian, African American and other new neighbors living in the community.
At the general voters meeting in January, 1999, the congregation voted to start a preschool. The assembly room in the large educational unit was prepared for the opening of the school in September 2000. Currently, two-day and three-day classes for 3- and 4-year olds are held. Enrollment reflects a new and positive cross-cultural ministry.
Under Construction - To be continued.