Church History

Our Saviour's has been ministering to the people of Arlington Heights and the northwest suburbs of Chicago since 1955. In June of 1990, a new worship space (capacity of 600) was completed, following several years of planning and construction. The original worship space, on the north end of our building now serves as both the contemporary worship space and a fellowship hall. In 2004 and 2005, Our Saviour's celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

church historial photo  church historial photo 

Throughout our history, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church has been blessed with many talented and dedicated pastors and lay ministers.

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church began as a mission congregation of 81 adults and 55 baptized children in 1954. A mission developer, Pastor George Hoog, worked with a group of six couples in the fall of 1954 to begin establishing a United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) congregation in Arlington Heights.

The first service was held in Dryden School in Arlington Heights, on November 21, 1954, and the congregation was officially organized on February 20, 1955. Pastor John Petersen became our first permanent Pastor in 1955.

Pastor Donald Pritz came to lead Our Saviour's in August 1964.

Pastor Pritz resigned in 1974.

Pastor Richard Jessen began serving Our Saviour's as Senior Pastor in March 1975.

Pastor Jessen accepted a call to Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1982, and he eventually became bishop of the Nebraska Synod.

Pastor Frederick Aigner, served Our Saviour's as Senior Pastor from 1983 through 1997.

Pastor Aigner resigned in 1997 to accept a call to serve as President of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.

Pastor Russell Sorensen served Our Saviour's as Senior Pastor in 1999, and he left in January 2006 for a call in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

Pastor Dan Hoeger began serving as our Senior Pastor in May of 2009 and left at the end of 2014. 

Pastor Pete Warmanen began serving as our Lead Pastor in June of 2016. Pastor Pete is our current Lead Pastor.

For a more detailed history and photos of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, scroll down to view Our Saviour's historical photos and descriptions.

worship 1996  ourdoor signage 

 

Make Christ Known-Mission of OSLC

Throughout our history, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church has been blessed with many talented and dedicated pastors and lay ministers. We continue to be served by people who are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, and unselfishly serve and nurture their fellow members. They use their unique talents, creativity, innovativeness, and enthusiasm to bring God's Word to life in ways that make sermons, worship, adult and youth education programs, and fellowship events meaningful and enjoyable. They also have provided a stability that weaves a common thread and consistency to our ministries.

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church began as a "mission" congregation of 81 adults and 55 baptized children in 1954. A mission developer, Pastor George Hoog, worked with a group of six couples in the fall of 1954 to begin establishing a United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) congregation in Arlington Heights.

The first service was held in Dryden School, Arlington Heights, on November 21, 1954, and the congregation was officially organized on February 20, 1955. Pastor John Petersen became our first permanent Pastor in 1955.

First congregational meeting, 1955
Pastor Peterson installation, 1955

Worship services continued to be held at Dryden School until 1958 when the first unit of the present church building at 1234 N. Arlington Heights Road was dedicated. A church parsonage was maintained at 944 N. Kaspar.

Church groundbreaking, February 1958
Church foundation along Arlington Heights Road, Summer 1958
Dedication of original church, November 1958
The new church's sanctuary, November 1958
The original church's sanctuary, 1980s
The new church's cornerstone, 1958
The original church's cornerstone, as seen today

Rapid growth continued under Pastor John Petersen's leadership and an educational wing was constructed in 1962.

Pastor Donald D. Pritz came to lead Our Saviour's in August 1964. Growth continued and Assistant Pastors were called to serve at Our Saviour's. Pastor Wilfred Hendricks served as Assistant in 1968. Pastor Gerald Myers served as Assistant from 1969 to 1972. At that time, Carla Haubrich was called to direct the education and youth programs. She served two years in that position. Pastor Pritz resigned in 1974 and the parsonage was sold.

Pastor Richard Jessen began serving Our Saviour's as Senior Pastor in March 1975 with baptized membership at 1302. In 1976, Pastor William Zieche came to begin a strong staff ministry that developed each team member to his fullest potential and helped the congregation realize its goals of growth and fellowship. Pastor Zieche resigned to accept the challenge of a mission church developer in Wisconsin and Pastor Christine Anderson Stiger accepted the call in July 1980 to become the Associate Pastor of our church. A few months later, Mr. James Valentine accepted the position of Youth Director and all the elements were in place for a staff (Jessen, Stiger, Valentine) that was to bring unprecendented strength to Our Saviour's. Adminstrative skills, coupled with enthusiasm and creativity were combined to offer direction and vision to a receptive and eager congregation. Upon leaving Our Saviour's in 1982, Pastor Jessen accepted a call to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and eventually became bishop of the Nebraska Synod.

Pastor Frederick Aigner, Ph.D., served our congregation as Senior Pastor for 14 years, from 1983 through 1997. During his tenure, he guided us through four fund raising campaigns that led to the building of our current sanctuary (1990); renovation of the old sanctuary into the Fellowship Hall, a $100,000 contribution to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), and debt reduction (1993); the acquistion of a Gabriel Kney pipe organ (1995); sponsorship of the New Day Lutheran Church, a mission congregation (1996); and expansion of our administrative offices (1997). Pastor Aigner presided over a significant growth in membership, from 1739 baptized members in 1982 to 2507 in 1997. To handle this growth, the staff was increased to include two full-time Associates.

Pastor Aigner continued growth in outreach and he instituted many new programs. Those programs include Stephen Ministers, expanded adult education, small group ministry, a homeless shelter as part of the Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) program and involvement in United Power for Action and Justice. Pastor Aigner resigned in 1997 to accept a call to serve as President of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.

Pastor Russell Sorensen served as the Our Saviour's Senior Pastor beginning in 1999. Prior to joining us, he had was an Associate Pastor in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Under Pastor Sorensen, membership continued to grow and a contemporary worship service was added in September 2000. Pastor Sorensen left in January 2006 for a call in northern Wisconsin.

Pastor Dan Hoeger was called to Our Saviour's in May of 2009 and served as our Senior Pastor until the winter of 2014. Pastor Hoeger helped the congregation articulate our Call to “Live Beyond Our Walls”, and encouraged us to initiate a Capital Campaign, “Building for the Next Generation”.

Pastor Pete Warmanen was called to Our Saviour's in April of 2016 and began serving as our Lead Pastor in June of 2016. Prior to Our Saviour's, Pastor Pete served at House of Prayer Lutheran Church in suburban Houston, Texas. Pastor Pete also served at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Medford, Wisconsin from 2004-2013. He is a fourth generation Lutheran pastor. He was chosen as the new Lead Pastor for Our Saviour's because of his innovative thinking, his creativity, and his desire to build community within and beyond our walls.

In August of 2001, Pastor Gail Heidtke, after serving as pastor and senior pastor at several churches in Illinois and Wisconsin since 1980, was called to Our Saviour's. She faithfully held her position of Associate Pastor at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church until December of 2020. This is almost 19 and a half years, making her the longest serving pastor in Our Saviour's history.

Paul Hanson served Our Saviour's as music director from 1965 to 2005. An organist by training, he combined a traditional approach to church music with an appreciation for musical variety and varied vocal and instrumental presentations. Matt Haider is our current Director of Worship and Music. Matt offers amazing musical and technical talent, as well as his ability to reach and move members (ages 0 to 99 years old) through music.

In 2002, Our Saviour's started a Contemporary Worship Service, which has grown tremendously and now is the preferred worship service of many dedicated and enthusiastic OSLC members. Our current Contemporary Music Director is T. Duncan Parker.

Jim Valentine, our Congregational Operations Officer, has served Our Saviour's since 1980. His energy, enthusiasm, good humor, and dedication to Our Saviour’s is a blessing to this congregation. As a former Lay Associate for over 20 years, he was in charge of all youth programming, including Sunday School and Confirmation. In 2003, Mr. Valentine took on his current responsibility of overseeing the office staff, church administrative functions, finance and property concerns.

Pastors Who've Served at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church
George H. Hoog (Mission Developer) October 27, 1954 to October 23, 1955
John P. Petersen, ** October 16, 1955 to May 24, 1964
Donald D. Pritz,** August 1, 1964 to May 1, 1974
Wilford P. Hendrix, July 1, 1968 to September 3, 1968
Gerald L. Myers, September 1, 1969 to May 15, 1972
Richard N. Jessen,** March 30, 1975 to March 15, 1983
William W. Zieche, July 1, 1976 to May 1, 1980
Christine Anderson Stiger, July 15, 1980 to July 23, 1989
G. Frederick Aigner, ** November 1, 1983 to August 15, 1997
Jeffrey R. Fricke, August 1, 1985 to February 1, 1987
Michael Alan Ostrom, June 9, 1987 to February 17, 1991
Lois Anne Pallmeyer, August 21, 1989 to July 20, 1997
Donald L. Wink, July 1, 1991 to January 24, 1999
Janice L. Wiersma Halverson, August 23, 1993 to August 13, 2000
David J. Irgens, August 1, 1996 to December 31, 2002
Naomi M. Hawkins, August 1, 1997 to August 31, 1999
Russell A. Sorensen,** January 25, 1999 to February 7, 2006
Todd A. Eckblad, January 18, 2000 to June 30, 2002
Gail L. Heidtke, August 25, 2001 to November 22, 2020
Seth Moland-Kovash, June 16, 2003 to December 14, 2006
Larry Morkert, June 16, 2003 to July 31, 2008
Patricia M. Baik, February 15, 2009 to August 29, 2010
Daniel M. Hoeger,** May 1, 2009 to January 14, 2015
R. Adam Berndt, December 10, 2010 to February 15, 2015
Peter Warmanen,** June 5, 2016
Rhonda Pruitt, January 1, 2018
** denotes Senior Pastor

Interim Pastors at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church
G. Everet Arden - 1975
Alden Salstrom - 1984
Thomas Livernois - 1991
Gerhard Knutson - 1998
Kenneth Olsen - 2006 to 2009
Susan Rippert - 2007 to 2010
Trish Baik - 2009
Don Myrom - 2015
Rhonda Pruitt - 2015 to 2017
Leslie Weber - 2015 to 2016

In 2020, Our Saviour's celebrated its 65th Anniversary. The congregation looks forward to serving and growing with the next generation by leaning into and living out Our Call: to "Live Beyond Our Walls".

  LBOW