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In 1956 the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) determined it was time to begin a mission congregation in the Eastgate area. The Reverend Don Clinton was assigned to begin this field. Faithful ministry brought a favorable response and Saint Andrew’s was organized on Sunday, May 20, 1956. The original roster of members included 71 people.
Pastor Clinton served Saint Andrew’s until receiving a Call from Central Lutheran Church, Seattle in 1962. His ministry at Saint Andrew’s marked years of superb growth in the parish and an expanding sense of being a part of the Eastside community.
On Sunday, February 1, 1963, The Reverend Homer Berner was installed as the second pastor of Saint Andrew’s. Pastor Berner came from working in the Mission Programs of the ULCA. During his years, Saint Andrew’s weathered periods of local economic decline with a resilient and growing congregation and expanding facilities. In 1978 Pastor Berner was installed as Pastor Emeritus of the Congregation.
Pastor Berner was succeeded in 1974 by The Reverend Oscar R. Rolander. Pastor Rolander came from a position as Executive Secretary, Lutheran Coordination Service – Tanzania, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Pastor Rolander’s years included a significant emphasis on the ecumenical ministry of the congregation. It was also a time of continued growth and the expansion of lay leadership. Pastor Rolander retired in 1983.
Pastor Rolander was succeeded by The Reverend James N. McEachran. Pastor McEachran had previously served as Assistant/Associate Pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church, Spokane. Pastor McEachran brought an emphasis on the concept of Shared Ministry. During his ministry, Saint Andrew’s has been served by many Certified Lay Professionals and Associates in Ministry. In addition, there has been a growing emphasis on youth ministry, music ministry as outreach, and the ministry of hospitality. Pastor McEachran continues to serve the congregation.
Saint Andrew’s has had a long-standing tradition of encouraging shared ministry using ordained and lay professionals. Beginning in 1981, the congregation has added lay professionals to the staff. A unique opportunity for shared ministry was also established in 1993-94 when two healthcare professionals, who are also ordained pastors, were added to the staff. Pastor Timothy T. Weber continues to blend these gifts in his position as Shared-Time Minister. He is a rostered professional, in partnership with the baptized of the congregation, continuing a legacy of faithful and loving service in this place.
This congregation, which began its worship in temporary quarters at the Hilltop Inn in Eastgate, purchased land on which Saint Andrew’s sits today. Prior to the extension of 148th Avenue SE, the original house-chapel was located on the present site of the gas station west of 148th. This building, which was eventually returned to the congregation, was subsequently incorporated into the present structure and houses the Counseling Office and the Nursery. With the construction of a sanctuary and attached office/meeting space, a period of expansion began which culminated most recently with the renovation of existing space and the addition of rooms specifically designed for music, youth, outreach and education ministries. This congregation has never allowed periods of economic uncertainty to forestall the growth and expansion necessary in the pursuit of its mission of service to the community.
Saint Andrew’s has moved with grace throughout its life, first as a member of the ULCA, then the Lutheran Church of American (LCA), and now the ELCA. This congregation keeps a clear vision of the Gospel in mind, and continues to grow and serve in the strong spirit of those who first met at the Hilltop Inn and said: “We will plant a church in Eastgate.”
God continues to be very gracious to us as a congregation!