100th Anniversary

Serving Others in the Name of Christ – A Community of Faith for All People 
A Brief History

Christ Lutheran Church
Great Kills, Staten Island, New York

In 1924 a group of German American Lutherans met in a store on Amboy Road and planned to organize a Lutheran congregation in Great Kills. With the help of The Rev. Dr. Frederick Sutter and Synodical Officials, the first service was celebrated in the Great Kills Theater, now the Village, with The Rev. Carl F. Knoll as pastor.

In 1925 the congregation was formally organized and chartered as Christ Lutheran Church. Worship services were held in a rented room above the Volunteer Fire Company quarters on Hillside Terrace. The first full-time pastor was The Rev. William G. Klett, who served the congregation from 1926-1928.

The congregation grew under the Rev. Frank H. Nickel from 1929 - 1942. The Clarion was first printed in 1932. After Pastor Nickel left to serve as an Army Chaplin, the Rev. Norman Sutterlin served the congregation for three years. From 1945 - 1950, The Rev. William E. Paul was Pastor.

The Rev. Henry J. Cornish came to Christ Lutheran in 1950. During the following twelve years, the congregation grew and purchased property on Cleveland Avenue, where the present church was erected and dedicated in May 1953. By 1955, the parsonage was completed. In 1957, an extension was made to the sanctuary, and the parish hall was built in 1962. Much of this work was done with volunteer labor.

In the following years, Pastor Cornish was assisted by many interns and chaplains. In 1972, a former intern, the Rev. David Asplin, became the full-time Assistant Pastor for Christ Lutheran Church. Also, in 1972, Christ Lutheran became debt free and burned its mortgage.

On January 21, 1973, The Cornish Christian Education Fund officially emerged. The Cornish Fund exists to aid educational endeavors financially.

In 1975, Pastor Asplin resigned to accept a call to another congregation.
In 1976, the organ in the church was replaced with an electronic one.

In 1979, Kathleen Koran became our part-time Professional Lay Assistant.

In 1982, Walter Herold, who had served as Organist and Choir Director for many years, retired.  The Rev. John Allan followed Mr. Harold as Organist and Choir Director.

In 1983, the first “Free Standing” Altar was placed in the sanctuary.

In 1985, the 60th anniversary year of Christ Lutheran Church, Pastor Cornish celebrated his 35th anniversary as our pastor and the 40th anniversary of his ordination. At that time, the congregation served as a training field for a seminary student, a part-time intern, Virginia King.  

In February of 1985, 12 members of the congregation completed the 2 ½ year Word and Witness Study. The congregation’s first annual summer picnic was held in June at Camp Kaufmann, and a folk choir was again organized and led one of the Christmas Eve Services.

1986 saw the first Lay President of the council and the congregation elected, Mr. Ken Bulcroft.

On June 30, 1987, Pastor Henry Cornish resigned from the Pastorate and retired to Syracuse, N.Y., with his wife, Ruth. The Rev. Paul Egensteiner served as vice-Pastor for seven months. Kathleen Koran also left CLC in 1987.

On January 1, 1988, Christ Lutheran became part of the new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In February, The Rev. Paul Britton began his pastorate at CLC.

In 1990 and 1991, the congregation began studying the changing community in which we live and changing our focus for Mission and Ministry. Worship opportunities expanded, as well as new opportunities for Education and Fellowship. The congregation began to ask, “What are we being called to do today to meet the needs of our Changing population on Staten Island and in Great Kills?” The church building became a “Full Access Facility” as a lift and a handicapped bathroom were added.

On August 31, 1994, Pastor Britton resigned from the pastorate to accept a call to Gloria Dai Lutheran Church in Huntington Station, New York.

From September 1, 1994, through June 30, 1995, The Reverend Kathleen R. Koran (former Lay-Professional at CLC and, at that time, Assistant Pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Stapleton) served as the Interim Pastor. During 1994 a new mission statement was formed, job descriptions drawn up, and consideration was given to hiring a full-time sexton for the congregation.

July 1, 1995, The Reverend William H. Peacock, Jr. began his pastorate at CLC.
In September of 1996, we agreed with Pathways Preschool to share our facilities and offer a quality educational experience for children of the congregation and the community. In 1997, a new sound system was purchased for the sanctuary.

In 1998, the congregation began a move to Weekly Communion at all the regular worship services and started a Chancel Re-Arranging Project. Also, in September of 1998, seminarian Eric Olsen began his ministry at CLC as a field worker from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Eric continued his ministry to and with us until June 11, 2000. 
On January 1, 1999, The Reverend Kathleen R. Koran began her call to the congregation as a part-time Associate Pastor.

During the 1999-2000 school year, the congregation hosted a Universal Pre-K Program in the church’s fellowship hall to help elevate the overcrowding in the public schools.

On May 6, 2000, the congregation’s fellowship hall was officially named “Cornish Hall” in honor of the ministry of the late Pastor Henry Cornish, Mrs. Ruth Cornish, and daughters Candy and Jennifer. The Reverend David Asplin preached the 10:30 worship hour, and the Asplin family (now living in Maryland), along with Ruth, Candy, and Jennifer, were in attendance and our honored guests at a luncheon served by the Priscilla Circle of the Congregation.

From the First Sunday in Advent (1999) through Christ The Kings Sunday (2000), the 75th Anniversary Year was celebrated with special worship services and fellowship events of Thanksgiving for the past and with anticipation for the Mission and Ministries God is calling us to be a part of in the future.

The Outreach and Fellowship Team began a new ministry in 2000. The Telecare Ministry, made up of volunteers, makes phone calls to the congregation members periodically to check in with how they are doing and report back to the pastor.

Also, due to increasing membership and educational ministries at CLC, in September 2000, Pathways Preschool and the Universal Pre-K Program were no longer housed at the church.

In September 2001, like many churches throughout the New York area, CLC was affected by the tragedy of 9-11. There were memorial services for those directly affected by the attacks. Also, in the months following 9-11, there was a slight resurgence in attendance and involvement at church. 

On November 30, 2002, The Reverend Kathleen R. Koran resigned from the Associate pastorate to accept a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Brewster, New York.

CLC was blessed with Clown Ministry beginning in 2003. Occasionally, the clowns grace the congregation with their presence in worship and other church events.

In September 2004, an agreement between the TRACK (Truancy Reduction Alliance to Contact Kids) Program and CLC brought the program to the church’s grounds. Since then, the TRACK Program has used the downstairs portion of the Parish House on weekdays during the school year.

2007 saw the refinishing of Cornish Hall. New radiators were put in, and the wall and floors were redone. This room of fellowship was revitalized and renewed—allowing for further revitalization and renewal of the fellowship we share there and of the work of outside organizations which use the space.

On August 31, 2008, The Reverend William H. Peacock, Jr. resigned from the pastorate, entering retirement.

Throughout 2009 members, primarily volunteers, worked on refinishing the parsonage. First built by members, the parsonage has now been renovated by members, including a new kitchen, refinished floors, re-plastered walls, and refinished bathrooms.

On January 6, 2010, The Reverend Danielle Fey began her pastorate at CLC.  She left in 2013.

The Rev. Wolfgang W. Laudert began his call to CLC in 2015.  Christ Lutheran commemorated the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s reformation ecumenically with St. Clare’s Catholic Church in October 2017.  Christ Lutheran weathered the covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2022. 
Looking ahead, CLC is looking forward to celebrating our 100th anniversary as a congregation in 2025.  
God has blessed us with these many years.
We pray that God continues to bless us with many more years together in ministry.