EARLY HISTORY OF LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE CROSS
submitted by member and “church archivist,” Mrs. Joan Maxwell
Interest in a new Lutheran mission developed in the East Kent area when the population growth in the community increased rapidly – and also when the “mother church, “King of Kings Lutheran Church,”outgrew its facilities.
A survey of the area was made by a synodical planning board and subsequently a piece of property,
comprising approximately five acres on the SW corner of SE 240th and 112th SE was purchased about
the year of 1965.
On November 3, 1968, a preliminary meeting of 27 interested persons was held at King of Kings
Lutheran Church in Renton, Washington. On November 10, 1968, a commissioning service was held for
the approximately 17 families who met at King of Kings to form the nucleus of the new Lutheran mission.
It was decided to conduct the services at the East Hill Elementary School, with retired Pastor R. J.
Troeger of Auburn, as temporary pastor, under the supervision of Pastor 0. H. Markgraf, Pastor of King of
Kings Lutheran Church. The first worship service was held on November 17, 1968, in one of the
classrooms at East Hill Elementary School, with 87 persons present. After several Sundays, the worship
services were held in the gymnasium.
Officers and Committees were appointed, and on December 8, the name “Lutheran Church of the
Cross” was selected. On February 2, 1969, a meeting was held at East Hill School and the congregation
applied for a candidate from one of our seminaries. On April 30, 1969, the news was received from
President Bensene that Candidate David Chamberlain was assigned to Lutheran Church of the Cross.
Pastor Chamberlain arrived from Springfield, Missouri, on June 5th and was ordained at King of Kings on
the 15th of June.
Plans were made to consider a church building program and organizational committees were
formed. The church attendance average over 124, and Sunday School enrollment was in the
Pastor Chamberlain left, and on January 6, 1971, Pastor Wayne Bayer from San Diego,
California, accepted a call and was installed as new pastor of Lutheran Church of the Cross on
January 24, 1971, in a worship service at the “mother church”, King of Kings.
The Northwest District board granted a loan to construct a new church facility and on February 7,
1971, ground breaking services were held at the new East Hill site. Ron Scott, the Building Chairman,
announced that architectural drawings were ready for final approval at that time. Construction ensued and
on Sept. 12, 1971 (less than 3 short years) the sanctuary dedication service, followed by the cornerstone
laying was held. At the time of dedication, Lutheran Church of the Cross had 102 communicant members
and 185 baptized members. Average attendance was 160 and Sunday School enrollment was 90.
The ministries of Rev. David Chamberlain and Rev. Wayne Bayer covered the years of 1970-1977.
In Spring of 1977, communicant membership was 83, with 140 baptized members.
Pastor Arnold Walta, called from a large pastorate in Minnesota, was installed on July 31, 1977
at Lutheran Church of the Cross to promote the Kent mission.
The congregation experienced growth from the Lord’s Hand. Dial-The-Word (854-1040) daily
telephone devotions available to the Kent-Seattle area began in December 1977 and has continued to the
During Open House Services in September of 1978, new church pews were installed and dedicated.
A Christian Preschool was started in November of that same year. The 10th anniversary of the congregation was celebrated on November 17, 1978. The church basement was carpeted in the summer
A two-Sunday church service schedule began in September of 1979. Members helped build a new
parsonage which was dedicated in August of 1979. The congregation became a self-supporting church
no longer requiring LCMS Northwest District subsidy in January of 1980.
A major landscaping improvement, sparked by Mark Senger’s Eagle Scout project, gained
approval by the city of Kent for the trailer classroom expansion unit. This included parking lot and
God blessed the average Sunday church attendance to reach 200 a week. After numerous years of
advanced site planning bythe Northwest District, our church was ready and responded to the plan of
“mothering” a new mission and organized a Steering Committee. In consultation with and through the
Northwest District, the Dubisar home was purchased for a new Covington mission parsonage when its
owners went to the Ft. Wayne Seminary.
The vicarage of Rodney Flohr, 1983-1984, was co-supported by the District and Lutheran Church of
the Cross to help initiate mission development. Evening and morning services were started in November
1983 in the Timberlane Community Club House and Covington Elementary School gym. A new land site
was acquired on Kent-Kangley where new church facilities were completed. The District called Rev.
Robert Kunz, from Peace Lutheran in (?), as mission developer in the fall of 1984. Approximately 20
families from Lutheran Church of the Cross were the nucleus released to begin the new mission in
Covington. And that new church, Peace Lutheran, was received as a congregation of the Lutheran
Church— Missouri Synod at the Northwest District Convention in June 1985.
During this period, Little Sunbeams Christian Preschool, of Lutheran Church of the Cross,
experienced continued growth. Additional and full sessions were held. Teachers through the years were:
Mavis Akset, Beth Flohr, Beth Meyer, Diana Hennig and Kathi Reichert. In July of 1987 the congregation
called and installed Janet Unger as full-time teacher for work with Christian Education agencies and the
Additional improvements to the church included: the carpeting of the upstairs Education/Fellowship
area by the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League in the summer of 1985. The LWML also added new
blinds to the upstairs wing in 1987. In the 1987-1988, the church contracted and completed a major new
composition roofing, new church furnace and electrical improvements. Current communicant membership
is 227 with 317 baptized souls.