Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634

History of Messiah | Our Pastors & Vicars

In 1924, the Northern Illinois District of the Missouri Synod canvassed the Dunning Park neighborhood of Chicago to determine whether there were enough Lutherans residing in the area to warrant a new Lutheran Church. Response indicated that there was and the wheels were set in motion to form a Mission.

On October 24, 1924, letters were sent to Lutherans in the area, inviting them to attend Sunday Services at the new Mission. On October 26th, the first service was held in the community hall, on nearby Addison Street -- the home of the Dunning Park Improvement Club. Rev. Theodore L. Blanken led nine adults and four children in the first worship service.

With increased interest in the Mission, a congregation was formed on February 8, 1925. At that time the congregation decided to call Rev. Blanken as Pastor.

Two weeks after extending the call, Rev. Blanken was installed as Messiah's first Pastor.

It became immediately obvious that a formal church building was necessary to properly accommodate the growing congregation. On August 29, 1926 the first permanent chapel and day school were dedicated on the site of our present school.

The Messiah congregation continued to flourish. Only a few years after the building had been dedicated, increasing enrollment in the Christian day school necessitated the construction of an addition. And by early 1936, three services were held every Sunday to accommodate the 600 communicant members of the congregation.

In December of 1936 Pastor Blanken became ill with a severe throat ailment. Upon the advice of his physician, he moved South for a time in hopes that his health would return. Early in 1937 Rev. Blanken was extended a call from the Central Illinois District to become the Institutional Pastor in Bartonvill, Illinois. Realizing that his failing health would not allow him to continue his ministry at Messiah, he asked for the congregation's approval to accept the call. On July 7, 1937, at a testimonial given by the congregation Rev. Blanken bid the church farewell.

Between December 1936 and April 1937 Rev. Franklin C. Giese assumed all pastoral duties. When it became apparent that Rev. Blanken would be unable to return to Messiah, a call was extended to Rev. Giese. Pastor Giese served as Pastor of our congregation from 1936 until his retirement in 1979.

Because of a steady increase in the growth of the congregation a south wing was added to the church, increasing its seating capacity to 300. However, the congregation soon felt growing pains as it quickly outgrew the new wing. By 1948 a considerable amount of money was donated and Messiah proceeded with plans for a new Church building.

On March 13, 1949 ground was broken on the southwest corner of Melvina and Patterson. At a special service on Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 1949, the cornerstone was laid. On Pentecost Sunday one year later, May 28, 1950, the new structure was dedicated.

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Messiah Congregation has been served by five Pastors. In 1925, our congregation was founded by Rev. Theodore L. Blanken, who left in 1937 because of ill health. In that same year, Rev. Franklin C. Giese was called to serve as our Pastor. In 1975, Rev. Richard T. Drews was called to assist Rev. Giese. In 1979 Rev. Giese retired and Rev. Drews became our Pastor, serving until 1987. Rev. John Mueller served Messiah from 1988 through 1998. Rev. Steven R. Geske served from 2001 through 2010.

Our current Pastor, Rev. Dr. Vernon E. Wendt Jr., started his service at Messiah on July 1, 2012.

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Our congregation has helped to train future pastors by participating in the Synod's vicarage program. The following are those who spent part of their student days in our midst preparing for a life of service in the ministry.

Donald A. Tubesing   ——   1966-1967          Lealand L. Meyer   ——   1971-1972
Ronald J. Wiese   ——   1967-1968   Arthur J. Wienandt   ——   1972-1973
Robert D. Koebernick   ——   1968-1969   Daniel F. Ognoskie Jr.   ——   1973-1974
William D. Merrell   ——   1969-1970   Paul A. Jagusch   ——   1974-1975
Richard T. Drews   ——   1970-1971   Steven R. Geske   ——   1994-1995

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