Gethsemane Lutheran Church History 1955 - 2017


pastor Lundblad(1955 - 1964) The Rev. Lauren Lundblad came to Sacramento on June 21,1955 and preached his first sermon on June 26, 1955 at the Fire Station at Donovan’s Corner, Garfield and Fair Oaks Blvd.   Pastor Lauren A. Lundblad was formally commissioned as Area Missionary in the Luther Memorial Church on June 29, 1955.   On August 14, 1955 services and Sunday school were moved to the Sierra View Chapel of Carmichael. They had to meet at 9:45 because of another church that used the same facility. In April 1955 the papers were signed to purchase the 1.6 acres lot on Arden Way and Mission Avenue for the church site.


The congregation was officially organized on September 18, 1955 with 72 baptized members—the charter roll was closed October 2 with 95 baptized members. On September 23,1956, the first worship services were held in the newly constructed church. By then the congregation numbered 91 adults and 145 baptized souls.   Pastor Lundblad left Gethsemane on July 26, 1964.

pastor wiberg

(1964-1971) The Rev. Curtis Wiberg served as Interim Pastor from September 1964 to February 1965, when he was called to be an assistant Pastor, a position he held until December 1971.


pastor dickart

(1965 - 1968) The Rev. Daniel Dickhart was installed as Pastor on February 21, 1965. It was voted to sell the parsonage to Pastor Dickhart on May 30. Pastor Dickhart left Gethsemane on November 30, 1968 to take a post with C A headquarters in Decatur, Georgia.


pastor johnson

(1969 - 1975) The Rev. George A. Johnson was called to Gethsemane and wrote a letter of acceptance on December 11, 1968 and was installed on March 2, 1969. In 1975 Pastor Johnson was asked by the Synod leadership to accept a call from a troubled congregation in the San Joaquin Valley. After a period of prayer and meditation, he decided to heed this call and planned to leave Gethsemane on July 20. However on June 30, 1975 he was called to God’s eternal kingdom. The Rev. George A. Johnson Scholarship Fund was established December 1975 in his memory, education being an important aim in his personal life. Each year Gethsemane students are selected to receive these scholarship awards.  


pastor hanson(1975 - 1993) The Rev. Lloyd Hanson was installed on November 23, 1975. Under Pastor Hanson’s direction, Gethsemane was a leader in the ecumenical movement. An Iroquois chief came to Gethsemane and they planted a “TREE OF PEACE” and miniature peace trees which still remains to this day at the East end of the church. We became involved in the Interfaith Service Bureau and the inner-city ministry of Loaves and Fishes, which serve the hungry and homeless of Sacramento. We joined in Roman Catholic/Lutheran Reformation/Reconciliation services. Beginning in 1975 Gethsemane began to experienced a decline in membership.   After seventeen years of service, Pastor Hanson retired on August 31, 1993.


No picture available...             (1993 - 1994) The Rev.  Vern Stenberg served as Interim 



Pastor Hunt(1994 -1996 ) The Rev. Milton S. Hunt was installed on January 23, 1994 as the fifth pastor of Gethsemane. Recruited from First English Lutheran Church in Great Falls, Montana by Sierra Pacific synod Associate Bishop Bruce Lundberg, Pastor Hunt was called for a two-year term call with goal of rebuilding Gethsemane’s congregation. Pastor Hunt began vigorous visitation and initiated a spruce-up program. A connecting door was cut to allow interior access between the pastor’s study and the church office. The sign in front of the church was painted, and its tiles were replaced. A volunteer crew painted the front of the chapel, and the cross atop the building was painted an eye-catching white. Pastor Hunt raised funds to install, air conditioning and carpet to the sanctuary. Pastor Hunt retired to Bend, Oregon in February of 1996.


pastor doyle

(1996 - 2009)The Rev.  Kay Doyle came to us as Interim Pastor in February of 1996 and became our Pastor on June 2, 1996. Pastor Kay retired in December of 2009.


(2010 - 2012) Stan Niemi, Cindy Beck, and Holly Feather all served as interim pastors during our call process to bring a permanent pastor to Gethsemane.   When Gethsemane was eleven years old, it had a membership of approximately 400 confirmed members. At that time they had 2 worship services and an associate pastor. At that time the worship space was very inadequate for continued growth. In fact growth leveled off.   Around 1980 and a gradual decline began to set in.   That decline accelerated and continued over the last three decades. The call committee was now looking for a candidate who could bring a fresh vision and hope for renewal of ministry. They recommended Rev. Vernon H. Holmes to the congregation.


Pastor Vernon Holmes 2

(2012 - 2016) Pastor Vernon Holmes accepted our call and began ministry on December 1, 2012. By now the congregation had dwindled to a confirmed membership of 70 and an average worship attendance of 30. Pastor Holmes comes to us with a passion for the renewal of the church and a conviction that God is not done with us yet.


 Pastor-Jason (2017-     ) Pastor Jason Bense accepted our call to share ministry with Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer on January 2017.  Pastor Bense brings to us a new outlook for our church and LCOR working together and bringing new meaning to community.

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