Where have we been?
(Right here in Oceanside California, for more than 50 years.)
King of Kings Lutheran Church was organized as a congregation on December 12, 1960 and was officially received into the Augustana Lutheran Church on April 14, 1961. The Augustana Lutheran Church merged with two Lutheran Church bodies to form the Lutheran Church in America. In 1988, that Church merged with two others to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). King of Kings is part of the Pacifica Synod of the ELCA.
King of Kings Lutheran has been served by the following pastors: Rev. Robert C. Janes, 1961 – 63; Dr. Alfred L. Grewe, 1965 – 67; Rev. Vern D. Jeffers, 1967 –71; Dr. Stewart D. Millon, 1971 – 87; Rev. John A. Lundblad, 1987 – 97; Rev. Douglas Knutson-Keller, 1997-2001; Dr. David R. Kupka, 1998 – 2005; Rev. James Jerpseth, 2007 – 2014. In addition, four interns have served our congregation: Charles Aden in 1995, Monica Gaus-Langer in 2002-03, Tyler Crabe in 2012-2013 and Spencer Steele in 2013-2014. Three other members of our congregation have been ordained: Elli Kim-Bauer (adopted daughter of Pastor Millon), Jane Denison, and Raymond Strong. Over the years, we have provided financial support to seminarians in their study to become pastors. Additionally, we supported a mission trip of five of our members to Guyana in 2004.
We acquired a pipe organ in 1980, storing the larger ranks until we could move into our new sanctuary in 1994. In 2003, we replaced the organ console with a Rodgers digital organ that has the capability to integrate fully with the existing pipes in the church. The organ was upgraded with new technology in 2012. This upgrade allows the organ to save hundreds of different setting and use electronic voicing to reproduce the tones of many different instruments and organs.
Lynn Hieb joined the staff as Director of Music in 1990, and during his time here has built our music ministry into one of the cornerstone features of our congregation. The program now includes a full chancel choir with 18 members, an octet chamber choir, and a hand bell choir.
In 1993 the unoccupied parsonage was sold to a member of the congregation. Proceeds from this sale were used to fund the building of a much-needed new sanctuary. On Palm Sunday, March 24, 1994, we broke ground for our new Sanctuary, which was completed in the fall. On November 20, 1994, we held our Service of Dedication. The following year the Bell Tower and Canopy were built with memorial funds. In 2005, five new stained glass windows were installed in the upper side windows of the church, also built with memorial funds.
When the parsonage, which had been named Kid’s Kampus and converted into an after-school tutoring facility, became available for sale again in 2003, the congregation bought it back. Renamed King’s Kampus in 2004, it provided Sunday School and Youth meeting rooms, plus additional office space and storage. During the construction of the new Fellowship Hall, it was used as the primary meeting place for both church and community groups. From 2012 to 2014, it served as housing for our seminary interns, and from 2014 to 2017, for the organist.
Over the past few years, the Church has signed 3 different leases offering space on our facility as Cell Sites, with the funds currently designated to capital improvements and support of the mortgage.
A Memorial Court was built and dedicated in March 2006, with memorial ‘tiles’ being sold to members. The space behind the larger memorial ‘tiles’ is a columbarium for the reception of cremation urns. In 2012, the left most panel was designated as a Memorial Wall and the center panel as our Columbarium. Future memorial tiles will be placed on the left Memorial Wall and the center panel reserved for Columbarium niches. Many of the center panel niches have already be purchased and when necessary, an expansion of the columbarium into the right panel will take place.
In 2006 a Building Planning committee was organized to facilitate the replacement of the two older buildings (Parish Hall and Old Sanctuary), to be funded by a new building program, “Building Our Vision—A Golden Time for Giving.” A goal for completion was set for November 2010, in conjunction with the church’s 50th anniversary.
Construction commenced in August, 2009, and our new fellowship hall, The Gathering Place, was completed in April, 2010, six month ahead of schedule. The space features auditorium seating for 200, meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen, a professional-grade sound system, theatrical lighting for stage productions, and amenities for emergency shelter.
In 2016, both The Gathering Place and the Sanctuary were outfitted with solar panels.
King of Kings was served during a two-year transition period (2015-2016) by three interim pastors: Rev. Paul Black, Rev. David Beard, and Rev. Joel Marten. In June 2017, we welcomed Rev. Timothy Eichler, a recently retired Navy Chaplin, as our permanent, full-time pastor. We also welcomed Michael Blinko and Emily Holzer as our Music Director and Organist, respectively.