Our History

"A traditional, liturgical, Biblical congregation in the heart of Cedar Falls, ministering to sinners with the forgiving presence of Christ." 

In the late 1950's and into the early 60's, it was apparent that College Hill Lutheran Church was not going to meet the long term congregational needs of both the campus community and the more established residents of Cedar Falls. Under these circumstances a decision was reached by members of College Hill and the leadership of the Iowa District East to establish
a daughter congregation in Cedar Falls. 

On October 25, 1961, a meeting was held to discuss the possibility and process of organizing a mission congregation. The following week, on November 1, 1961, the proposed congregation held its first meeting and elected a steering committee of five members. The Rev. Marcus Zill, representing the District, served as advisor to the steering committee. 

The first service of the new congregation, named Our Redeemer, was held on Ash Wednesday, March 17, 1962, at the American Legion Hall in Cedar Falls with Rev. Zill serving as Pastor. 
The present facility was purchased from Nazareth Lutheran on August 17, 1962, and the first service in this building was held on September 16 of that same year. 

Much has transpired in the years that have passed since Our Redeemer was founded. The church building was renovated in the early years of the congregation and then completely remodeled, with a dedication of the remodeled facility taking place on February 16, 1992. As part of the remodeling, the old pipe organ was replaced, and the present organ was dedicated on the same day. The old parsonage was removed and a new parsonage built, being dedicated on May 22, 1977. 

Numerous pastors have served Our Redeemer throughout its history. Those who have been Called are the following:

  • Rev. Erwin Meyer: 1962 - 1968
  • Rev. George Perlich: 1969
  • Rev. Norbert Firnhaber: 1970 - 1974
  • Rev. Theodore Will: 1975 - 1988
  • Rev. Jerry Storm: 1989 - 1996
  • Rev. Michael Knox: 1996 - present
  • Rev. Dr. Brian Saunders: 2016 to present

The years that mark the history of Our Redeemer have witnessed some significant events in the life of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod as well. These have had no small influence on the congregation. The effects of liberalism were becoming evident in the Synod even as Our Redeemer was first forming. But just as the Synod survived these tumultuous years, so has this congregation, all by the Grace of God. By this same Grace, Our Redeemer remains a congregation committed to the inerrant, inspired Word of God and its right interpretation, the Lutheran Confessions. Today, Our Redeemer is a congregation with an identity that is conservative, liturgical, confessional, and sacramental. She is a Christ-centered congregation which means that she draws her life from Christ, who is present in her midst through the preaching of His Word and the administration of the Holy Sacraments. 

As one looks back on the history of Our Redeemer, much has changed - her membership, buildings, and pastors, to name just a few. But one thing has not changed - Christ! Christ has been present with this congregation, through all the changes, to forgive and strengthen her members. It is Christ who is the one, unchanging thing which makes the history of this congregation important and which makes the future promising.