2020 has been a difficult year with pandemics, continuing racial injustice, hurricanes and a contentious election season. There have, however, been some things to celebrate. One is the 75th anniversary of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston’s Rice Village, across from Rice Stadium and a short walk from the Medical Center.

Photos from this weekend will be added at the bottom of this post. First, a little bit of history.

In 1944, while World War II was still raging, the Board of American Mission of the Augustana Lutheran Church, established a new mission on the corner of Rice Boulevard and Greenbriar, according to Christ the King’s history.

On June 24, 1945, nine people attended CTK’s first service. On December 2, 1945, new Pastor Kenneth Larson preached his first sermon. By 1946 membership was 46. In 1948, they began their newsletter, The King’s Banner, as seen below. By 1949 they had built their first building.

After Pastor Larson, who stayed about eight years, came Pastors P.O. Bersell, Earl M. Bengtson, George C. Benson, Marlo Petersen, Edwin Peterman (1968-1998), Robert Moore, and currently Duane Larson.  The history also lists the many associate pastors who have served Christ the King.

Pastor Edwin Peterman
Pastor Robert Moore

In October 1955, a new educational building was dedicated. 

In 1982 the current Nave was dedicated and the Bach Society was founded in partnership with the music department at the University of Houston. In 1986 the bell tower was dedicated. In 1987 an AIDS respite team was formed. In 1995 the current Noack pipe organ was installed. In 2003 the four-story administration/education building was dedicated.

A 30-minute video of the church can be found HERE.

This weekend, November 21-22, 2020, Christ the King Sunday, we celebrated 75 years of ministry.The weekend began with a fun online variety show of sorts, in which members shared music, acting, and so forth.

Saturday morning we recorded worship for those who cannot be present Sunday for the outdoor service. Rice village has grown up a little bit in the last 75 years.

Recording worship was indeed worship, just with a small group of 10 people. We started with the pregame huddle. Director of Music Deacon Rick Erickson is in the black cassock:

You can watch the video on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ctkelc/videos/1024124548101695

The Prelude (2:00-9:00) is St. Anne’s Fugue in Eb by JS Bach (BWV 552). You will know the melody as O God Our Help in Ages Past. I love the increasing tempo at 4:40, then more at 6:30. This has always been one go my favorites. The organist is Mary Joy Silmaro, Music Associate at CTK. She finished her Masters at Rice this past year. The flat pedalboard of this Bach organ is an adjustment for those familiar with the fanned pedalboard of modern organs.

The singers were strong, and Deacon Rick Erickson’s organ-playing inspired participation as usual.

We sang a hymn written a few years ago by Duane Larson and Rick Erickson:

Sunday morning photos. About 50 gathered outdoors.

Pastor Duane suggested a slight repositioning of my mask. Not trying to impersonate a cardinal…