A BRIEF HISTORY
In 1995, as part of the 70th anniversary of Elim Lutheran Church, a history book was produced. If you would like to purchase a hard copy of this book or of the second volume that was produced for our 75th anniversary, please send us an email or give us a call: 707-762-4081.
Pastors at Elim
Martin Th. Jensen
May 15, 1924-January 1, 1928
He passed on August 11, 1940 at the age of 70.
A. W. Lund
February 15, 1928-September 1, 1935
John P. Magnussen
August 1, 1936-November 1, 1943
He was a Lutheran minister for 42 years and died at Fort Dodge, Iowa, in April 1968.
James P. C. Christensen
May 8, 1944-March 20, 1949
H. Milton Peterson
October 16, 1949-August 31, 1958
O. Victor Magnussen
January 25, 1959-August 1, 1967
died February 14, 1998
Thorval T. Evenson
September 10, 1967-October 1, 1976
died October 30, 1998 in Napa
November 29. 1976- April 27, 2014
September 1, 1986-1998
retired as of November 2022
February 1, 1999-June 6, 2010
June 1, 2004-March 31, 2010
currently serving at Muddy Creek Lutheran in Denver, PA
Amanda Beth Truchinski
4/1/2011-December 23, 2013
currently serving as Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership & Strategic Organization for the Sierra Pacific Synod
William Wessner (Interim)
May 27, 2014-July 3, 2016
currently serving at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, Rohnert Park
August 1, 2016-February 9, 2020
Currently serving at Bread of Life Lutheran Church in Minot, North Dakota
December 11, 2022 -
(Served as Interim May 11, 2020 - December 2022)
A Brief History of Elim Lutheran Church of Petaluma, CA
Petaluma was growing in 1920, with a population of 6,266 persons. The town had doubled in size in the last twenty years, due to Petaluma being the undisputed world leader of the chicken and egg industry. Included in its population was a large group of persons of Danish descent. All of these Danish immigrants had been thoroughly schooled in the Lutheran faith; this had been almost the only religion in Denmark, and where Lutheranism was taught in the classrooms by their grammar school teachers or the local church deacon. While local Danes had successfully bonded together on the social and fraternal levels, which had been essential to helping them find security in a new country, many sorely missed their religious upbringing.
The United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pacific Circle, was the closest Danish Lutheran Church organization in California. For many years, pastors from this group, known as mission pastors, would travel to Petaluma to marry, baptize or bury persons upon request. Elim's pastoral records show 58 children were baptized into the Lutheran faith from 1911 to the date of the organization of Elim church in 1925.
On January 11, 1925, the Danish Lutherans of Petaluma gathered at Dania Hall (in the McNear building), holding an all-day meeting to organize a church. 54 members including children, were enrolled on the church roster. They planned to continue for the present, holding church services at the Adventist Church.
An edition of the Argus-Courier dated July 25, 1925, announced the purchase of the Mitchell property at the corner of Baker and Stanley Streets. In February of 1926, the Elim congregation purchased the St. Vincent Church building, which was set to be demolished to erect a new Catholic Church. Elim workers were given two weeks to take the building down. The dismantling of the structure took place in March, right after Easter, and the materials were hauled up Western Avenue to the corner of Baker and Stanley Streets. On May 16, 1926, the cornerstone was laid at ceremonies with 150 persons present. By December, they were able to have their first services in the newly built church.
Where did Our Name come from?
This question has been asked by many over the years.
Here are some answers: Where is Elim?