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Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) was organized in 1947 as a mission church of the American Lutheran Church. With financial support from the Ohio District Mission Board, a large 13 room home was purchased in July of 1947. The original congregation consisted of 57 charter members who spent six months organizing the new church with a young graduate from the Capital University Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, Pastor Vernon Grabel.  On February 10, 1948, the church celebrated its founding with a dinner, the adoption of a constitution, and the election of officers. The home was both a parsonage and church and saw two additions to accommodate the ever growing congregation. With a gift of land on Grove Street in Avon Lake in 1953, a parsonage was built and occupied in 1954. Pastor Grabel accepted a call to a larger congregation in Baltimore in June of 1954, and died of a heart attack a year later.


Pastor E. Harold Kettner came to Avon Lake in 1955 from Iowa and began a new era in the life of the growing church. As the church continued to experience growth, the members realized a strong desire to build an educational wing and fellowship hall, which would also serve as a sanctuary until one could be built later on. The dedication of the new building was in early 1959. In 1962, after seven years of service, Pastor Kettner accepted a call to a church in Saginaw, Michigan.

 

Pastor Samuel E. Stein became the third pastor in 1962 and during the next 23 years, there were a number of significant changes in the church. Pastor Stein inherited a congregation with a strong desire to continue the work of the church by building a sanctuary. The name of Avon Lake Lutheran Church was changed in 1964 to the present name, which members felt reflected a more Christian connotation The present sanctuary was dedicated in the Spring of 1965. Two years later, the stained glass windows were dedicated. In 1968, the church identified the need for a Christian nursery school in the Avon Lake community, and that need continues to be met today. In 1985, Pastor Stein retired, and Pastor Jon Steingass from the Medina area helped the church through an interim period of 9 months until the arrival of Pastor Lynn R. Schlessman

 

Pastor Lynn R. Schlessman arrived at CELC in September, 1986. After serving for years in North Dakota, Pastor Schlessman returned to his home state of Ohio and immediately began working to guide the church through the process of becoming a part of the new family of the ELCA. As is typical of a growing congregation, members bring more ideas and energy which creates change. Changes over recent years include a new supplemental hymnal, a folk group, a new organ and sound system, refurbished kitchen, a new constitution, and reorganized church council. A resurfaced parking lot and retiled fellowship hall and classrooms were also accomplished.  With Pastor Schlessman's retirement in 2011, we had interim Pastor David Connor serving our church until the Call Committee elected our new pastor.

 

Pastor Jeff Steeber has been serving CELC since January of 2013.  He has brought much excitement to the church with his positive attitude and humorous personality.  The youth program is reinvigorated and the church is growing.  We look forward to a bright future with Pastor Steeber. 

                                  

The future appears to mirror the past as the church experiences continued growth in membership. As in the past, serious discussions focus on a possible future expansion to add more classrooms, office and storage space, and meeting rooms. The potential for additional staff is also being explored. Given the over 69 years of responding to God's word, there is every reason to believe that God will continue to be glorified as CELC worships and prays together and is guided by God's love.