NATIVITY HISTORY

PASTORS OF NATIVITY

Gordon Loren 1969 - 1973

Jack Kelly 1974 - 1977

Randall Olson 1977 - 1986

Robert Bilanski 1987 - 1989

John Clauson 1989 - 2001

Arden Barden 2001 - 2004

Bob Lewis 2004 - 2013 

Phil Reitz 2014 - 2015

Karen Hanson 2015 - 

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF NATIVITY LUTHERAN CHURCH

On January 1, 1969, the Board of American Missions, Lutheran Church in America placed a Mission Developer for a new LCA congregation in the Fairwood area. Led by Pastor Gordon Loren, Nativity Lutheran’s first worship service was held on May 22 at Lake Youngs School. The young congregation grew and moved to nearby Fairwood Elementary School on September 7. Here the Lutherans shared worship space with the fledgling Fairwood Methodist congregation, alternating services weekly. The first Sunday School was held on September 7; the charter was signed by 147 persons on January 11, 1970; and Nativity was officially organized as a congregation of the LCA on March 8, 1970.

The 1970s brought growth and change to Nativity. The congregation became the first sponsors in this area of refugee families from Southeast Asia. Ground was broken in the spring of 1976 for the “round church” on the five-acre site of land on 140th just south of Petrovitsky Road. The building was dedicated on May 22, 1977. Pastor Jack Kelly, followed by Pastor Randall Olson, served at Nativity during these years.

Nativity continued to grow and find a place and purpose in Fairwood. A second Sunday worship service was soon added. Nativity left “mission congregation” status in 1985 and fully assumed the mortgage on building and property. The congregation’s youth program was quite active, with church plays and retreats to Ocean Shores drawing the attention and interest of the community and the synod.

In 1988 Nativity became part of the newly-formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Now other area congregations such as Cross and Crown, Lord of Life and Kent Lutheran were in the same synod and denomination. The outdoor worship area was constructed in October, 1989 and continues to be enjoyed each summer.

The modular building was purchased and installed in 1993. The 1990s also saw new paint, carpeting, and chairs brightening the interior of the church. Pastor Bob Bilanski, then Pastor John Clauson, served at Nativity through the late 1980s and into the new millennium.

Beginning in March 2001, Nativity entered a time of “re-visioning” our place, both physically and spiritually. The Northwest Washington Synod appointed Interim Pastor Arden Barden to help lead the congregation through this time of discernment and change. Road construction on 140th Avenue to widen the street to four lanes necessitated a new landscaping and signage plan for the church. The congregation’s organizational structure was also changed to a “ministry team” approach instead of the traditional committee format. Adult Education was re-emphasized with Sunday forums and mid-week Bible studies.

After three years of interim ministry, the congregation was prepared and ready to call a new servant leader. Pastor Bob Lewis was installed in September 2004. At the end of 2013 Pastor Bob answered God's call to Faith Lutheran Church and School in Redmond, Washington. 

In 2014 Nativity began the process to call a new Pastor to our congregation with Pastor Phil Reitz serving in the interim.

In September 2015 Pastor Karen Hanson answered our call for a new pastor and started her new call as Nativity's new Pastor.

Today, Nativity is an active, growing congregation of the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA. Attendance at weekly worship averages 100 each week. We also continue to be a community center for Fairwood, providing meeting space for many organizations ranging from the Boy Scouts to LaLeche League. Other new congregations have begun their worship life here, the latest being El Shaddai Hispanic congregation. The building is a Red Cross disaster relief center for Fairwood.

In the community, the people of Nativity continue to serve through Crop Walk, Luther’s Table, the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA, ARISE men’s shelter, community charitable organization boards, and community sports organizations. We share confirmation and youth activities with the other congregations of our South King Cluster of the ELCA. And after forty years, our softball team continues to play in the local Church League.

The people of Nativity continue to live, work and witness by the guiding words of our mission statement, focusing us on what we are working for as a community of God’s people in Fairwood: 
We are called and empowered by God through Christ to serve, witness, nurture and love.

Summer Worship

June 18th-September 3rd

One Sunday worship service at 9:30 a.m.