Who We Are
Christ the King Lutheran Church was started with services in September 1955, and organized in January 1956 by Rev. Donald Hansen. A group of people from the Evangelical Lutheran Church Synod wanted a Lutheran Church in newly developed Southwest Denver.
The synod purchased a large lot on the corner of South Patton Court and West Iliff Avenue with a house on it. This is where Pastor Hansen and family lived. This house also held the office and many community meetings. After the first service with 87 people present, the services were then held at Gust Elementary School until a building could be built.
Charter Sunday was February 12,1956 with a membership of 237 individuals. The first building was completed and dedicated on June 3, 1956 – 550 people attended.
The church grew very quickly. The present sanctuary was built in 1965 and dedicated on September 13, 1965.
Staff & Leadership
Hope & Purpose for All
A Brief History of Christ the King Lutheran Church
From the very beginning, Christ the King Lutheran Church, has been a Spirit-inspired community of hope and purpose for all, focused on the surrounding neighborhood of Harvey Park, located in the southwest part of Denver. On September 11th, 1955, 87 people gathered in a small white farm house for the first worship service and Sunday school meeting. Under the leadership of Pastor Donald Hansen, the congregation grew rapidly from there and became a central resource for the families and children of the local community. At that time, Harvey Park was also growing rapidly, with new schools being built and families moving into the area almost on a daily basis.
Over time, Christ the King became an even stronger community presence, with a robust worship life, hundreds of kids and families participating in the life of the church, and people finding ways to serve with their gifts, including singing in choirs, teaching students and adults, and preparing and serving meals at the church.
The corner of Iliff and Patton Court has been the primary location for Christ the King, with that original small white farm house serving as both an office and parsonage house at different times. The Sanctuary at Christ the King was dedicated on Sunday, September 13th, 1964, having been built after the rest of the current building.
Through the 60 years of Christ the King’s ministry there have been many changes in the life of the Harvey Park neighborhood, and September 11th, 2016 marked a significant change in the life of the congregation. 61 years to the day of the very first meeting of Christ the King, the congregation entered into a redevelopment phase, looking to the Spirit again to inspire a new sense of vision and mission for our witness as Christ’s church. Looking again outward toward Harvey Park and the surrounding neighborhoods, we want to see where God is already active in bringing hope and purpose to people and families in the neighborhood and how we are called to help participate in that work.
Christ the King Lutheran Church is not just a building or the result of 60 years of history. It is an active, inspired and forward-looking faith community that is made up of people, desiring to love, live and give like Jesus. We would love for you to join us on this journey of renewal and redevelopment, trusting that God is not only bringing new inspiration to the church, but also to each of us as we experience transformation through God’s love being known in our lives.
CTK began as a mission project of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church with a $48,000 grant. Pastor Donald Hansen became the first pastor.
87 people attended the first worship and Sunday School at Gust Elementary. CTK worship space dedicated June 3, 1956.
Pastor Donald Hansen left CTK in 1959, and was replaced by Pastor Bill Hanson.
Construction began on extension to the chapel space.
Membership was 952, with 236 family units. Average attendance was 429.
Fund-raising campaign began for construction of new sanctuary. Two sessions of Sunday School were held: 9:15 and 10:15 a.m.
In 1961, Pastor Bill Hanson left to establish a congregation in Denmark. Replaced by Pastor John Refsell. Wilma Schardt hired as Parish Worker.
In 1963, Groundbreaking ceremony for new sanctuary. July 1964, cornerstone laid. September 1964 Dedication of new sanctuary.
In May 1968, Pastor John Refsell left, replaced by Pastor Wayne Weissenbuehler.
Council voted to allow young people to take communion before confirmation. Began to have laymen help serve communion.
Evelyn Henning became the first woman to serve on the church council.
CTK preschool began. 180 students enrolled in Sunday School
In 1976, 20th anniversary festivities were held. In 1977, Pastor Wayne Weissenbuehler accepted a call to be Asst. Bishop of the Central District of the ALC. He was replaced by Pastor Warren Sorteberg.
Church Building mortgage was paid in full, and a mortgage burning held. New choir room completed at east end of basement
In 1981, 25th Anniversary held. All former pastors attended.
In 1982, Pastor Warren Sorteberg left CTK, and was replaced by Pastor Arlyn Saathoff.
CTK began a clown ministry through the ALC with Barbra Dreith as the resource person.
In 1984, remodeling began on Fellowship Hall. A new kitchen, larger restrooms, a dropped ceiling, and new heating system were added.
In January 1987, CTK approved the proposed merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. CTK became part of the Rocky Mountain Synod.
In January 1988, Pastor Arlyn Saathoff left CTK. He was replaced by Pastor Jim Norlie.
Funds began to be raised for long-range beautification of the church courtyard.
Forty-six children were enrolled in CTK Preschool going into its 18th year.
In 1991, the Church council voted new bylaws to allow for restructuring of church council positions. CTK’s Preschool closed with the retirement of Jean Appleyard.
A 35th Anniversary celebration was held with monthly events. $3,500 was raised for mission outreach. All living former Pastors attended on special Sundays.
In 1992, Ministry Teams were put into action. Eight teams enabled each CTK member to be involved in service, care and fellowship.
The Parish House was sold. Improvements were made to the Sunday School area in the church basement. Individual rooms with windowed doors were constructed to replace the moveable walls. Phase I of the courtyard expansion and beautification was begun. Basement nursery was remodeled.
In 1994, all of CTK’s women’s circles, except Dorcas, were disbanded. CTK began a relationship with Brentwood Care Center to provide a monthly church service and visitation program.
In 1995, Pastor Jim Norlie left CTK. He was replaced by Pastor Linda Henke.
In 1995, two worship services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. were replaced with one service at 9 a.m.
Courtyard brick wall, lighting, benches, fountain, sidewalks and landscaping were completed. Vacation Bible School was discontinued and replaced with Rainbow Trail Day Camp.
In February 1996, a 40th Anniversary Reception Held. 10 Charter Members attended.
CTK sponsors a Rwandan refugee family with a mother and five children
In 1997, work began to relocate the church office from the parish house to the south end of the main facility. The courtyard and memorial garden was dedicated.
In 1998, Pastor Linda Henke left. She was replaced in January 2000, with Pastor Jim Peters.
In April 2003, Memorial bricks were installed in the Memorial Garden. Summer worship was held on Saturdays during the summer at Loretto Heights Park.
With Memorial Funds, new padded chairs and round tables were purchased for Fellowship Hall with Memorial Funds. Due to hail damage, CTK’s large sanctuary roof was replaced
In 2005, 50th anniversary activities began. September kicked off the celebration. Pastors Bill Hanson, John Refsell, Arlyn Saathoff, Jim Norlie, Linda Henke all visited.
In July 2006, summer Camp Sunday worship began. New Red Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnals were purchased.
In 2007, The Healthy Congregation Project begun.
In 2008, twenty children attended Rainbow Trail Day Camp.
The church organ was moved from the balcony to the main floor of the sanctuary, which facilitated the removal and relocation of four pews.
Four southwest Denver congregations continued to meet to discuss partnering in ministry.
In 2009, Pastor Jim Peters celebrated 10 years at CTK. CTK received a large donation from the estate of Wilma DeLong.
Combined summer worship and ice cream social was held with the four S.W. Denver congregations.
A new modern lighted outdoor sign was installed on the church lawn.
CTK began The Grand Sweep through the Bible to read the Bible in a year.
In May 2011, Pastor Jim Peters left CTK. He was replaced by Pastor Korey Finstad.
In January 2013, 10% ($33,600) left to CTK by Wilma DeLong was distributed for benevolence: ELCA-wide, Rocky Mtn. Synod-wide and CTK scholarships and discretionary fund.
CTK partnered with Lutheran Church of the Resurrection for Day Camp. CTK took the lead in planting, weeding and harvesting the Community Ministry Garden.
In January 2015, conversation began about the future of CTK – close or merge. In April 2016, the RMS approaches CTK about the possibility of teaming up with Abiding Hope Lutheran.
In July 2016, CTK voted to team up with Abiding Hope. Pastor Korey Finstad left. Pastoral duties began to be shared by ministers at Abiding Hope.