The first 25 years of Triumphant King Lutheran Church
Pastor Francis Smidt and Triumphant King Lutheran Church launched their first ministry together in 1960, when the NW District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod called Pastor Smidt to be a missionary (“church planter”) following his graduation from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
After area surveys by Mission Board staffer Mrs. Boswell and additional canvassing by Pastor Smidt the summer of 1960, the decision was reached that Lake Grove was a potentially productive community for developing a new Lutheran Church. Rapid growth in the Lake Grove and Lake Oswego areas appeared likely to continue; several Lutheran families living in the area were interested in helping to establish a new church; and the neighborhood was bustling with young families and children.
The first worship service for TKLC was announced for September 18, 1960, in rented space at Lake Grove Elementary School on Boones Ferry Road. Attendance at that first service reinforced the reasons for locating a new church in this community. Sixty-two people worshipped the first Sunday, including twenty-seven children. From the start, Sunday morning included a Sunday School for children and Bible Class for adults, establishing TKLC’s life-long commitment to ministry with families and children.
That initial focus on families and children proved appropriate for the new church born in 1960. From that point the growth and development of TKLC happened at an exciting pace. Worshippers organized as a congregation on Feb 3, 1961 (Lake Grove became part of Lake Oswego in January); they elected temporary leaders, officially accepted members (some of whom still belong to TKLC). They also appointed a building committee from the beginning. The NW District Mission Board purchased three acres at the intersection of Bryant Road and West Bay Lane in 1961 (later the city constructed Lamont Way, TKLC’s present address).
After the first architectural proposal for a building proved too costly (the limit being $65,000), a building design was selected in 1962; a loan was secured from the Church Extension Fund and construction begun on our present building March 4, 1962. TKLC’s new home was dedicated Sept 23, 1962, two years after the initial worship service. God’s people joined hands and invested time and energy in the thrilling adventure of establishing a new church and developing programs for ministry. TKLC was given birth and nurtured to a life of Christian ministry by dedicated and enthusiastic people.
We call ourselves by the unusal name – Triumphant King Lutheran Church. Our name, however, is a unique reminder to us that we are called by our Lord Jesus to live in and through the triumph of God’s grace in the death and resurrection of His Son.
Even the manner in which our name came to be is a reminder to us that God brings life out of death in Jesus. The first name chosen for us was “Christ the King,” until it was discovered that another new Lutheran Church in the area had selected the same name (Christ the King, Tigard). The newspaper ad copy was already set to announce our existence, but a last minute scramble produced a new name with similar meaning. We became “Triumphant King Lutheran Church” because that name possessed an equal number of letters with Christ the King and required minimal change to our ads. A new, fresh, ringing name emerged from that little problem. ”Triumphant King Lutheran Church” has the added benefit that it lends itself well to a nick-name. Since the name is a little long and hard to pronounce, members have affectionately nicknamed our church “T.K.L.C,” reflecting the friendly and neighborly warmth that characterizes our church. T.K.L.C. has been and continues to be a trusted friend to people.
Our name was a gift to us from Pastor Francis Smidt, our first Pastor. As was the custom in our church at the time, a mission pastor would choose the name for the new church he was planting. Pastor Smidt based our name on Colossians 2:15 and 2 Corinthians 2:14:
On the cross Christ stripped the spiritual rulers and authorities of
their power; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as
captives in His victory procession.
Thanks be to God! For in union with Christ we are always led by God
as prisoners in Christ’s victory procession. God uses us to make the
knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance.
Both passages utilize the image of a victory procession to describe Christ’s ministry to us. He is our King who has defeated our enemies sin, death and the Evil One; He has included us in His victory march. In fact, we are the incense which announces and celebrates our King’s victory. Our marching orders as His people at T.K.L.C. are to live and serve as signs of His victorious love.
The sign by which we worship and by which we serve in our Lord’s mission is the unique and striking cross sculpture that focuses our vision above the altar in our sanctuary. The Triumphant King cross-sculpture expresses our name, summarized our faith, and inspires our mission and purpose as God’s people.
The Triumphant King cross-sculpture is the focal point of our praise, our faith and our mission; it reminds us that Jesus has redeemed us to be His people by His death and resurrection and that He has called us to serve in His mission to unite all people in His kingdom of grace. The victorious Christ sculpture on the cross declares the victory He has given to us over sin, death and evil. His triumphant and loving embrace of the world invites us to join Him in reaching out to His world with His forgiving love.
Our Triumphant King cross-sculpture was a gift to us from one of our families to our families in our early years. In 1963 the congregation commissioned artist-sculptor Reinhold P. Marxhausen to design a cross expressive of our name for our chancel wall. When the finished cross-sculpture was displayed on May 5, 1963 Mr. and Mrs. Ed Roth volunteered to gift the work of art to TKLC. The cross-sculpture was appropriately dedicated on one of our Anniversary Sundays, September 15, 1963.
Our Triumphant King cross-sculpture has proved to be a stimulating and enriching symbol for us. In 1982 Greg Holly, graphic design artist and member of TKLC, used the Triumphant King cross to design a special worship folder, letter head and calling cards for us. Greg’s designs serve to enhance and expand our identity as people of God living triumphantly through God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
It has happened quite naturally in recent years that a new hymn of the church became a fitting theme song to complement our name and our sign. “Lift High the Cross” rings with the triumph of God’s grace in the cross and resurrection of Jesus and beats our marching rhythm:
Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore his sacred name.
It was also natural for us to adopt the last Sunday of the church year in the new Lutheran calendar as our name day and our sign day — Christ the King Sunday is a day of rejoicing for us.
The gift of the Triumphant King cross keeps on giving to us as it highlights our congregational life. Our commitment, our hope, and our prayer is that we, too, as people who live under the sign of the cross of Christ, keep on giving God’s victorious love to one another and to our community.
Our mission as a community of God’s people is graphically pictured for us in the two Scripture passages that provide the origin for our name (Colossians 2:15 and 2 Corinthians 2:14). The image is that of our Lord Jesus Christ leading a victory parade celebrating the triumph of His death and resurrection. We are portrayed as the prisoners who have been rescued by Him for life in the freedom of God’s grace. We are part of His victory parade, we live freely and walk proudly through His salvation. And we are the sweet fragrance that heralds His victory; our redeemed and forgiven life is used by God to “spread the knowledge of Him everywhere.” It is for this purpose that we exist, it is to this end that we plan and work.
Congregations, like people, grow, change and mature during their lifetime; our congregation, too, has experienced the seasons of life. We were given birth in 1960; we grew up; we developed a unique character and style; we established a home, we nurtured and raised our children. After twenty-five years we are entering mid-life for a congregation (twenty-five years is long enough for the youngest child-member from 1960 to grow up, leave home and establish a family elsewhere). Unlike people, however, congregations can recycle the seasons of life. In our mid-life we are once again reaching out to include young families and children, to start anew the cycle of life.
As we focus our ministries toward a new season of life, we build on the legacy of our formative years. The people of TKLC have always enjoyed ministry to children. Our Midweek School for children has been an enduring and effective ministry for us. In 1983 we added a preschool ministry in partnership with Barbara Wood, Director and teacher. Discoveries Preschool has very quickly become a thriving and exciting ministry for us. Once again, the Sacrament of Baptism has become a regular celebration among us as we incorporate children into the family of God. These ministries are providing new and challenging opportunities for us to share Christ’s victory with people.
Our legacy also includes a commitment to spiritual growth and nurture for all ages, a commitment encouraged by our second Pastor Corliss Stockamp. We continue to create and provide opportunities for people to study and share and pray together: prayer breakfasts, Bible fellowships, Bible study groups. And we continue to offer spiritual sustenance to adults and children through our Dial-A-Devotion ministry (thanks to former DCE Steve Endicott). In 1985, with help of our present Pastor Cliff Kaufmann, we developed initiated a new ministry for adults, a week-end experience we have called Faith Encounter, a way for people to renew their relationship with God and with His people. Faith Encounter promises to be an enriching ministry for us.
We do not know what new opportunities and new possibilities God will lead us to, but we do know that because Christ is our Triumphant King and because we are in His victory parade, we will march into His future boldly and expectantly, open to His leading, confident of His presence.
Our Sounds of Praise
From the beginning of our life as a congregation we have found our center and our energy in worshipping our Creator and our Redeemer. We have valued and maintained our heritage of Lutheran liturgical worship. We have also enjoyed and appreciated opportunities for variety and change in our worship. We love to sing our praise to our gracious God, thoroughly enjoying occasional hymn sings, including both old and new songs of praise. Whatever our form or style of worship, we give high honor to the proclamation of the Gospel of our Lord and to the celebration of His Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. We want our worship to nourish and sustain us in our faith in our victorious Lord Jesus, to invigorate and stimulate us for our faithful and loving service in His mission.
For almost twenty-five years our worship and our songs of praise were supported faithfully by a Conn Electronic Organ. The organ was a gift to us from an endowment fund administered by our Northwest District Mission Board for mission churches. As we began to anticipate our Twenty-Fifth Anniversary in 1985, we dreamed of replacing our faithful but ailing electronic organ with a pipe organ. Little did we realize that God would fulfill our dreams and answer our prayers before we had asked. We were suddenly and unexpectedly given the opportunity to purchase a Wicks self-contained, split manual pipe organ, one that was designed for our church size and financially within reach for us. In one week-end the purchase of the pipe organ was researched, approved and funded by TKLC members. We even had sufficient resources to plan the addition of an octave of 16-foot bass pipes. Our new pipe organ was dedicated to God’s glory on February 17, 1985.
We were blessed by God once more with an early anniversary gift. Even our organ reminds us of the unexpected surprise of God’s grace. It is the joyful surprise of God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ that we seek to experience and express in our worship.
For All That Has Been – Thank You!
For All That Will Be – Yes!