In 1944, under the leadership of Trinity Lutheran Church in Decatur, mission work was begun in the Brush College area of the eastern part of Decatur.
In the spring of 1946 the Mission Board of the Central Illinois District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod purchased property for a church building
on Brush College Road. In September 1946, a worship service was conducted in the Brush College No. 1 School, where Sunday School was still being held,
and forty people attended that first service. Plans for the building of a temporary chapel were begun at this time but the project was delayed because of the
excessive cost of construction in the immediate post-war period.
Around this time Pastor E.T. Otto was called by the Central Illinois District to serve the new mission. In 1948 the District Mission Board approved building plans
and construction of a temporary chapel was begun and the mission was organized as a congregation. On January 30, 1949 the chapel was dedicated
ďto the glory of the Triune God and for the proclamation of Godís love in Christ, our Redeemer.Ē
On September 4, 1949, Pastor Clarence A. Stenbeck was installed as the pastor of the mission. He served the congregation until 1958. In 1950 construction was begun on an addition to the chapel which would provided space for Sunday School Classes.
In 1974 the congregation began to study its mission and ministry in the eastern part of Decatur and in 1977 it was decided that the congregation should relocate in Forsyth.
In October 1977, the congregation began to worship in the gymnasium of the Forsyth Grade School and to work toward the construction of a new church building.
The congregation purchased a six acre piece of property on which to construct its new building from the Central Illinois District,
which had purchased the property as an advance site for the congregation. On October 14, 1979 ground was broken for the new building. The new building was dedicated on May 4, 1980.
On June 30, 2008 Our Redeemer Lutheran Church voted to leave the membership of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod,
and in doing so became an independent Lutheran Congregation.
On July 1, 2008 official recognition of this fact was sent to Central Illinois District office of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
via a letter signed by Congregational Officers and Pastor John Hafermann.
How did we get to the place, in a manner of speaking, that it became necessary for Our Redeemer Lutheran Church to take this step? It would be fair to say history
brought us to this point. In light of this, an important question should always be kept in mind. ďWhere is history headed?Ē This is most certainly a question this
generation needs to be assessing for itself. In leaving a Church body that was so dear to our heart, and an examination of the past will show how, we had to make
such a clear but hard choice. In a true sense of the Word, there are numerous individuals who raised this question a number of times the last three quarters of a century.
But the question was falling on deaf ears. In a manner of speaking people are turning a deaf ear and blind eye toward the truth.
As soldiers of the cross we felt compelled by the Word of God to arise for the cause of Jesus Christ and the blessed gospel of salvation. In order that we may be a witness
to why we left we refer you to an addendum. It will explain the steps we have taken in becoming an independent Lutheran Congregation. The addendum contains important
information that certainly is related to the history of our congregation, especially our more recent history that lead to our departure from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
In October of 2011, the
voters of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church; voted to join the United Lutheran
Mission Association (ULMA). With Godís help the United Lutheran
Mission Association will endeavor to: Identify mission fields in order to
establish confessional Lutheran congregations whose members and pastor share
the Associationís theological position as expressed in our Constitution.
These may be in unusual places and circumstances as God the Holy Spirit
leads. Isaiah 55:8, Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8, 1
Corinthians 1:27-28, John 3:8, Acts 8:5, Acts 8:26, Acts 11:19, 2
Thessalonians 3:1. Identify opportunities to support and assist
Lutherans who hope to form confessional Lutheran congregations whose members
and pastor share the Associationís theological position as expressed in our
Constitution. Romans 15:5-6, Philippians 2:1-2, Galatians 2:9 Acts 16:9-12,
Matthew 18:20. Identify and support confessional Lutheran pastors who
are qualified and willing to lead an ULMA mission congregation and who
support the Associationís theological position as expressed in our
Constitution. 1 Timothy 3: 1-7, Titus 1:5-9, Acts 6:7. Identify and
unite with other existing Lutheran congregations desiring to participate in
the building of Godís Kingdom through the pooling of mission funds and the
formation and support of confessional Lutheran mission congregations. Acts
2:42, 2 Corinthians 8:3-5, Acts 8:14. Serve as a resource to existing
Lutheran pastors, congregations or members within an existing congregation
who are troubled by the theological direction of a synod or ecclesiastical
body to which they belong. Acts 2:42, Acts 13:50, Acts 17:10-11, Acts 18:19.
Accomplish our work primarily through lay leadership, volunteers and an
organizational structure that eliminates bureaucratic waste and
inefficiency. Acts 1:21-22, Acts 6:1-5, Acts 18:24-25. Publicize its
existence. Matthew 5:14-16, Luke 12:3, John 18:20
Other pastors to serve the congregation have been:
Rev. Dr. Louis Brighton, 1958-1968;
Rev. Kenneth Frankenstein, 1969-1972;
Rev. Warren Smith, 1972-1974;
Rev. J. Robert Cunningham, 1974-1982;
Rev. Joel A. Cluver, 1983-1993;
Rev. Thomas W. Hoyt, 1994-1999;
Rev. Kirk R. Cunningham, 2001-2005;
Rev. John Hafermann, 2006-2015,
Rev Matthew Schmidt, 2016 - 2017,
Rev Timothy Killion, 2018 - Present.