For years, the preaching, singing, and Sunday School were all done in the Norwegian language, and the average age of the original congregation organizers was 20 to 25 years of age.
Congregational meetings were held once or twice each month in the homes of members. The first services were held at an old store building on the corner of Broadway and California (which is now the Volunteers of America parking lot). In 1905 it was decided to rent the YMCA auditorium for church services. That same year, it was agreed by an 8 to 1 vote to buy two lots on the corner of Everett and Rockefeller and build a church building next to the alley (parking lot behind the present sanctuary). This building is today located on Lombard and 25th Street, the Parkside Gospel Chapel.
During 1905, new members were accepted and members built the first church structure with volunteer labor. The first Sunday church services were held on June 6, 1905.
Soon the Church began to grow and, in 1908, the first services in English were held. They were offered on one Sunday a month in the evening, but this soon ended because the attendance for the English service was so poor. Finally in 1913, after an exhausting debate, it was decided all Sunday services would be in English.
Central Lutheran Church was organized in 1904 when the city of Everett was only 12 years old. Immigrants from many countries had settled in the new town. Among those were people from the Midwest (North Dakota, Minnesota, etc.) and those who came directly from Norway.
On December 6, 1904, a meeting took place at the home of Hans Solie, 2321 Rockefeller. It was agreed upon to start a church and the name would be "Ebenezer Forenet Norsk Evangelisk Lutherske Menighed," or, in English, "Ebenezer United Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation." On December 13, 1904, the official organizational meeting took place at the home of Arnt Gravrock, at 1801 Rockefeller. Charter members of this new church came from 12 Norwegian families. The constitution and bylaws were approved and officers were elected.
In April of 1917, work on the new church building began and the men of the church removed 800 yards of dirt to start work on the first floor, which is now the basement.
On December 18, 1919, the name of the church was officially changed to Ebenezer English Lutheran Church.
After removing more dirt by pick and shovel, the dirt was hauled away in wagons pulled by horses. The women of the church cooked many suppers as the men worked late into the evenings. Finally, in October 1920, the basement was completed and dedicated, and a parsonage was built on the small parking lot space behind the present sanctuary.
On April 7, 1926, the name of the church was changed to Central Lutheran Church. Shortly after, the present sanctuary was completed and on October 17, 1926 , it was dedicated.
In the mid-1940's, the church began to grow rapidly. There was a push to purchase two additional lots directly south of the church and Central's first parish worker was hired.
From the late 1940's to the early 1960's, the church attendance averaged 350-400 per Sunday, Sunday School over 200, and the baptized members equaled about 900-1200 people.
The present Education Building was planned, funds were pledged and raised, and construction completed, a huge undertaking dedicated in June 1963.
In 1970, the wheelchair ramp was installed and the sanctuary was remodeled, with altar furniture that was donated by Our Savior's Lutheran. An Organ Committee was formed, and our Casavant organ was installed and completely paid for at a dedication concert in 1974.
When South Viet Nam and Southeast Asia fell to the communists in 1975, Central Lutheran was one of the churches sponsoring refugee families who came to America. Central ultimately sponsored 4 families, a total of 23 individuals.
In 1979, two classrooms in the Education Building were renovated and became what is now the much used Friendship Room.
In the early 1980's the Central Lutheran Preschool was started. The goal is to provide classes for 3-5 year olds in a Christian setting, offering competitive tuition rates for all.
In 1987 the Senior Fellowship group was started, meeting once a month to enjoy a meal, fellowship, and program together.
In 1990, the pastor, along with the Altar Guild, moved the church altar out from the back wall, allowing the presiding pastor to conduct the liturgy and prayers while facing the congregation.
During the past 10 to 15 years, many improvements have been funded and completed. The parking lot entryway was remodeled and expanded and the Library was remodeled to be both a library and a meeting room. A new sanctuary sound system was installed, and additional hearing devices for individuals were purchased. A complete new roof was installed above the sanctuary and church towers. The nursery was remodeled. New stained glass windows at the parking lot entrance and the Rockefeller Ave were given and placed. The original Blessing of Children stained glass window was restored and incorporated into a cabinet located in the parking lot entryway of the church.
Central Lutheran is indebted to the great pastors who have served and helped create what this church is today. They are:
1904 - 1906 Rev. A.J. Haugen
1906 - 1907 Rev. I. J. Skrondal
1907 - 1913 Rev. O.J. Edwards
1913 - 1915 Rev. N. J. Holm
1916 - 1919 Rev. R. Bogstad
1919 - 1921 J.A.E. Naess, D.D
1922 - 1927 Rev. O.J. Edwards
1927 - 1945 Rev. A.K. Vinje
1945 - 1954 Rev. Jerrold L. Moilien
1954 - 1956 C. P. Rasmussen, D.D
1956 - 1964 Rev. Herb Ringo
1965 - 1968 Rev. Jim Peterson
1969 - 1981 Rev. Silas Erickson
1970 - 1973 Rev. Jerry Bongard
1974 - 1979 Rev. Rich Eggen
1981 - 1990 Rev. Chris Boerger
(Later ELCA Northwest WA Synod Bishop)
1983 - 1985 Rev. Mark Samuelson
1987 - 1989 Rev. Gene Stime
1990 - 1991 Rev. Paul Running
1991 - 2013 Rev. Jeff Russell
2013 - 2015 Rev. Mike Swain
2015 - Rev. Jeremy Fuerst
Central Lutheran has been an internship site for many years. The congregation has been honored to have its lay members assist in providing experience and training for prospective Lutheran Pastors. Central Lutheran is known as an "outstanding training" site for seminary students:
1993-1994 Leslie Barnett
1994-1995 Kari Toavs
1995-1996 Darin Erisman
1996-1997 Incomplete Internship
1997-1998 Katy McCallum
1998-1999 Glen Aaberg
1999-2000 Shana Tischaefer
2000-2001 Jen Lapinskas
2001-2002 Reggie Klindworth
2002-2003 Catrina Ciccone
2003-2004 Jo Quanbeck
2004-2005 Matt Prasek
2005-2006 Chris Cormack
2006-2007 Sheila Rawn
2007-2008 Joel Langholz
2008-2009 Leslie Neist
2009-2010 Megan Koepnick
2010-2011 Katie Emery
2011-2012 Annette Andrews-Lux
2012-2013 Emily Wiles
2013-2014 C.J. Boettcher