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Our History

St. James Lutheran Church received its charter in January of 1962, with Rev. Edward Hammer serving as the mission pastor. On March 11, 1962, 90 worshippers attended the first service held in the Lake Bluff Jr. High School. 

By January of 1963, the church constitution was adopted. Two months later, Lutheran Church Women organized, and in April, the first confirmation class was confirmed.

Groundbreaking for the first church unit occurred in October of 1964, with the dedication in 1965.

Rev. Edward Livingston became our second pastor in November of 1966, and nine years later, in 1975, G. Anton (“Tony”) Danielson received the call.

By the end of 1979 baptized membership surpassed the 500 mark, and an expanded facility to include an educational wing seemed imminent. This unit was dedicated in November of 1980.

The Rev. Barbara S. Gazzolo joined the staff in September of 1982.

In keeping pace with increasing membership, the present sanctuary was dedicated in 1990. A pipe organ was installed by March of 1992. The 24 rank tracker pipe organ was built by Robert Sipe.

The Memorial Garden was dedicated in 1999.

In 2000, Pastor Danielson retired after 25 years of service.

In July 2001, Richard E. Holmer accepted the call and became our new senior pastor.

In April 2005, Pastor Gazzolo retired after 22 years of service.

Pastor Karl J. Hester was called to serve as full-time Associate Pastor in April 2005. Pastor Hester accepted a call to Portland, Oregon in November 2007.

In 2018 the church held a mortgage burning ceremony.  

After skillfully shepherding us through two years of a global pandemic, Pastor Holmer retired on Christmas 2021.

During the process to call a new pastor, our interim pastor was Mark Sundberg. He lead us steadily and faithfully during the time of transition from January 2022 - November 2022.

On September 25, the Call Committee put forward Amy Gillespie as a senior pastor candidate for a congregational vote. Pastor Amy Gillespie accepted the call to be St. James's new senior pastor and began ministering to us in November of 2022.

Currently, there are 360 baptized members. 

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