• Our History

    The first Lutheran Service in Sarnia was held on Sunday, November 25, 1934, and was conducted by the Rev. Albert A.Ruff, Pastor of Our Saviour Lutheran Church, of Port Huron, Michigan. Under Rev. Ruff’s guidance and inspiration the small group increased and soon moved its place of worship to what was then known as Castle Hall at the corner of George and Christina Streets.


    In 1936 the Mission Board of the English District, Missouri Synod, took over the responsibility of the Sarnia Mission and called Mr. A. V. Kuster as missionary developer in Sarnia. Within about a year and a half the group had grown sufficiently to form as a congregation, and on March 6, 1938, it took on the name of "The English Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada" and the Rev. A. V. Kuster was installed as its first Pastor.


    In 1943 the Rev. George W. Hoyer was installed as its Pastor and during his stay in Sarnia, the first parsonage, on Maria Street, was built, as was also the church on the corner of George and College streets. Due to war-time restrictions only a basement chapel was permitted at that time.


    In 1947 the Rev. C. W. Ladewig, of Texas, was installed as Pastor, and in July 1949, the Rev. Herman C. Voege became the Sarnia congregation's Pastor. During his tenure the name of the congregation was shortened to "The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer'' and later to its present name, "Redeemer Lutheran Church". Also during his stay in Sarnia, the congregation became self-supporting and the present church building on Indian Road was built. Ground was broken on July 14, 1957, and the new church edifice was dedicated on Sunday, October 20, of the same year at a cost of $181,238.93.


    In January 1962, the Rev. Paul G. Eifert became Pastor, and while he was in Sarnia a new parsonage, at 960 Princess Street was built. This was subsequently sold in 1979.


    When Pastor Eifert left in 1969 to become Pastor of a church in Montreal, Rev. Marvin P. Janz, of Monroe, Michigan, accepted our call and was installed as Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Sarnia, on August 10, 1969. He served Redeemer for nine years and then took a call to Toronto.


    Rev. Dr. Roger C. Ellis, of Edmonton, Alberta, accepted the call to serve as Pastor and was installed, on Sunday, September 9, 1979. For the following thirty-six years Pastor Ellis faithfully served Redeemer as Pastor. Pastor Ellis also served for twenty-five years as Chaplain for the Sarnia Police Service, caring for officers, civilian members and their families. Each year he also conducted a Police and Peace Officer Memorial Service for all the Police and Peace Officer organizations in the Sarnia area which included London RCMP, Sarnia RCMP, OPP, Canada Border Services, and Sarnia Police Service and U.S. Police Officers.


    On May 17, 1983 the Voters Assembly of Redeemer, expressing a desire to grow in the mission of the Lord in our community in the 1980's after hearing the report of a three-year expansion study, voted to build a new worship facility attached to the present building, doubling the present seating capacity in the nave and remodelling the current nave into parish hall and education space. Groundbreaking took place early in 1984 and the new building was dedicated on February 10, 1985. The cost of the new paved parking lot, worship and office facility and furnishings was $435,000.


    On June 27, 1991, Redeemer called its second full time ministry staff person, Sue von Fange from Arlington Heights, Illinois as Director of Nurture and Growth and she was installed on September 8, 1991 and stayed until February 1999.


    On September 9, 2002 the Rev. Ted Radke was called as Associate Pastor. Pastor Ted and his wife Lucy came to us from their parish, St. John's, in Pembroke Ontario. Pastor Ted's main area of work was in parish education and small group development and outreach. He retired from his ministry here in 2009.


    Pastor Ellis announced his retirement in 2015, and Rev. Dr. Jason Kouri accepted our call in early 2016. Pastor Kouri came to Redeemer after serving 20 years as an LCC Pastor, Missionary and Military Chaplain. Pastor Kouri most recently served with the Canadian Forces from August 2005 as a Military Chaplain until accepting our call. He was installed as our present Pastor on April 10, 2016.


    Redeemer Lutheran Church, Sarnia, has at present, a communicant membership of 252 and a baptized membership of 286, with an average yearly worship attendance of 118 at the end of 2017.

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