Christ the King began in 1960 when a group of faithful, committed people joined with the Evangelical Lutheran Church to begin a new congregation in White Bear Lake. They purchased three acres of farm land near Birch Lake, and while the church was being built, they met in the former First Presbyterian Church building on second street, which was then occupied by the Lake Shore Players Theater. The first worship service was held in its current location on September 4, 1960.
In the five decades since, Christ the King has seen six senior pastors, four associate pastors, three building expansions, two organs and three choir directors. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ the King has remained a church committed to the needs of the local and global community. We also celebrate our strong music ministries, our inter-generational connections, and our commitment to teaching and building up our youth.
History of Christ the King Lutheran Church
White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Christ the King Lutheran Church was born in 1960 when the Evangelical Lutheran Church saw the potential for a new congregation and purchased three acres of farm land near Birch Lake. Rev. Myrwood Bagne was called as the developer of this infant church. By January 1961, the congregation was formally constituted and the American Lutheran Church had been created. A first unit was constructed on the property on Birch Lake Avenue in 1961.
In 1962 the Rev. Thomas Herbranson became the church's second pastor bringing the church through its early growing pains. In June of 1967 the Rev. Bruce Boyce arrived to begin serving as the third pastor of the still young congregation. Shortly after his arrival an educational wing was constructed to provide classroom space for a growing Sunday School. In 1983, a building program was undertaken for a new sanctuary, library, offices and sacristy, as well as the renovating of the old structure.
In 1988, a call was extended to the congregation's first associate pastor, Reverend Jeff Kjellberg who developed the congregation's youth program and introduced contemporary music into the worship services.
The first education director, Renee Jensen served in 1990 and in 1992 Mary Severson accepted the position expanding the program to two Sunday Schools.
A building renovation completed in 1995, expanded the fellowship hall, carpeted the education wing, added a sprinkler system and converted the great hall to classrooms, youth, media and conference rooms. Ten percent of building fund contributions was tithed to mission projects.
Pastor Bruce Boyce retired from full-time ministry in 1994 and was named pastor emeritus in 1996. Pastor Roger Schwarz served as Interim Minister during the 1994-95 year and in October, 1995; the Reverend Betsy Dartt was called as Senior Pastor.
In 1998, Pastor Betsy resigned from Christ the King to pursue ministry with the ELCA. Pastor Duane Salness served as Interim Minister and in September, 1999, a new chapter in the life of the congregation began when pastor Bill Boettner was called as Senior Pastor. In 2001 we added Associate Pastor Heidi Binstock. She began working with the Youth Program. Pastor Heidi left Christ the King in 2004 for a congregational call in South Dakota, near her hometown. In 2005 we added Associate Pastor Leesa Lanik, whose joy is Youth Education and Confirmation.
Unfortunately, Pastor Bill Boettner's call was revoked in January 2007 and in June 2007, Pastor Leesa accepted a call with St. Michaels Lutheran in Roseville. Between September 2006 and June 2007, it was an unsettling period in our history. Fortunately, Pastor Ramona Anderson came to Christ the King as an interim and restored a sense of calm during her call as interim Pastor. Ramona was at Christ the King from June, 2007 until November, 2008.
In December, 2008, a new chapter in the life of Christ the King began when Pastor Jennifer Hackbarth accepted a call as the solo Pastor. Pastor Jennifer’s husband Tim is the pastor at Hosanna Lutheran in Forest Lake, Minnesota. They live in White Bear Lake and have two wonderful children. Jennifer's first service was Christmas Eve! How daring!
In September, 2010 Christ the King youth gained a new leader as Anna Kitt Helgen accepted the position of Youth & Education Program Director. Anna comes to the church with an exuberance for youth and will work with Pastor Hackbarth on all phases of youth leadership.
Christ the King has been a contextual education site through Luther Seminary. Besides several students in both M. Div. and M.A. programs, four members of the congregation have been ordained into pastoral ministry; Dale Skramstad, Warren Jorenby, Kathy Rothman and Tom Hansen.
November, 2011 Anna Kitt Helgen enrolled full-time in Luther Seminary in St. Paul full-time. Anna is following God's call and we wish her continued success in Seminary. In the interim Lisa Rykken Kastler from InterServe Ministries was hired to continue the Youth & Education ministry in coordination with Pastor Jennifer.
|Christ the King Time-Line|
|1959-60||The Evangelical Lutheran Church purchases 3 acres of land near Birch Lake in White Bear Lake and calls Pastor Myrwood Bagne to be Mission Developer. The Lakeshore Players Theatre in downtown White Bear Lake rented for church services until the First Unit of the Church is built. First service in the new building is held on September 4, 1960 with Karen Schoeller (Mrs. Warren Carlson) as organist and Don Torgersen as Choir Director.|
|1962||Pastor Myrwood Bagne resigns to accept a call to Hayfield, Minnesota. Pastor Thomas Herbranson installed as 2nd Pastor of Christ the King Church.|
|1964||The adult Bible study series, "The Bethel Bible Study" begins with the training of teachers.|
|1965||Janelle Torgersen becomes organist following Karen Schoeller.|
|1966||A new Hammonds Electronic Organ was received as a gift from the Axel Newman’s. Pastor Tom Herbranson resigns to accept a call to Mexico City, Mexico.|
|1967||Pastor Bruce Boyce installed as 3rd Pastor of Christ the King Church. Construction starts on Education Wing.|
|1972||Vo-Tech 916 begins its new program for mentally disadvantaged children in classrooms leased to them by Christ the King Church. Christ the King becomes a part of the Field Education Program of Luther Theological Seminary. This continues a tradition from the congregation's beginning to have seminary students involved in the church's programs.|
|1973||Mrs. K's Pre-School leases space at Christ the King Church.|
|1975||Christ the King Church undertakes the sponsorship of four young Vietnamese men--Phat, Dinh, Binh and Minh--in the refugee resettlement program.|
|1979||The Eng Yang family from Laos were added to our refugee sponsorship.|
|1983||Jeff Schlukebier hired as Youth Director under the "Tentmakers Program". The congregation votes to undertake the building of a new sanctuary.|
|1984||On April 3 the new sanctuary, new offices and library are dedicated.|
|1987||A new Allen Electric Organ is installed.|
|1988||Pastor Jeff Kjellberg is called as the 1st Associate Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church.|
|1989||The congregation votes to hold Contemporary Worship Services on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month.|
|1991||Renee Jensen becomes the 1st Education Director and Tom Hansen becomes our first Seminary intern.|
|1992||Mary Severson succeeds Renee as Education Director.|
|1993||Iola Meyer resigns after serving 23 years as organist for Christ the King Church.|
|1994||The congregation's 4th building program is undertaken to enlarge the Fellowship Hall, remodel the first unit into classroom space and to provide a rehearsal room and office and storage space for the music department. Pastor Bruce Boyce retires from active ministry. Pastor Roger Schwarz provides Interim Pastoral Leadership.|
|1995||Pastor Betsy A.H. Dartt is called as Christ the King's 4th Senior Pastor.|
|1996||Associate Pastor Jeff Kjellberg resigns to accept a call to St. Marks Lutheran in North St. Paul.|
|1997||Pastor Kent Gubrud is called as Associate Pastor.|
|1998||Pastor Betsy A.H. Dartt and Associate Pastor Kent Gubrud both resign. Pastor Gubrud accepts a call to Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Eagan.|
|1998-99||Pastor Duane Salness provides Interim Pastoral Leadership.|
|1999||In August Pastor Bill Boettner accepts call as Christ the King's 5th Senior pastor.|
|2001||In July Associate Pastor Heidi Binstock accepts call as Christ the King's Associate Pastor.|
|2004||Christ the King church sponsors the Yee Bang Hmong family. Pastor Heidi Binstock leaves Christ the King for a pastoral call to South Dakota.|
|2005||Christ the King calls Pastor Leesa Lanik as Associate Pastor. She comes with joy and a commitment to our Youth ministry program, especially the confirmation age youth.|
|2007||Pastor Bill Boettner's call is revoked in a January congregational meeting. In June Associate Pastor Leesa Lanik resigns to accept a pastoral call to St. Michael's Lutheran church in Roseville. Pastor Mona Anderson accepts an interim ministry call. Karie Osmek an Associate with an educational group called InterServe Ministry, is hired on an interim basis to run the Youth and Education program.|
|2008||Pastor Jennifer Hackbarth is called as solo Pastor. Her first sermon is Christmas Eve service. Pastor Jen continues today as a vibrant Pastor of our congregation. She is connected with other Pastors in the White Bear Lake area as well as the St. Paul Synod. Her husband Tim is a Pastor at Hosanna Lutheran church in Forest Lake and they have two wonderful children.|
|2009||Anna Kitt Helgen is hired as the full-time Youth & Education Program Director. Anna came to us as a new graduate from St. Olaf College. She has had many summers of youth camping and educational experience.|
|2011||In November Anna Kitt Helgen enrolls in Luther Seminary full-time to pursue her Master of Divinity toward becoming a Pastor. Christ the King wishes her well on her call and will continue to keep in touch with her. Anna brought a much needed enthusiasm to the Youth and Education ministry program. In the short term Christ the King once again looks to InterServe Ministries and Lisa Rykken Kastler becomes our interim Youth & Education Program Director.|
|2012||In July, Christ the King awards its first scholarship to a student attending a Lutheran College. The first award went to Matthew Freburg who is currently a sophomore at Luther College in Decorah, IA. In September, Laura Gorton is hired and installed as our Youth and Education Director|