The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

1628 Brownsville Road Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15210 Church Phone: 412-881-4404 E-mail:

A Brief History

In 1901 the Pastor and members of Grace Lutheran Church observed that there was a growth of population along Brownsville Road. They proceeded to visit persons in that area to determine the feasibility of a new church. Ground for a building was broken on November 1902. Grace Church encouraged their members living in that vicinity to help create the new church.

The cornerstone for the building was laid April 19, 1903. The first worship service was celebrated May 23, 1903. The building was dedicated September 20, 1903 and the congregation was officially organized and accepted April 4, 1904.

By 1910 the congregation numbered 192 members. In 1922 the Rev. Herbert Messner became the Pastor and the church would flourish during the next 37 years of his pastorate. He was gregarious, visited most of the homes in the area, encountered people in public places and the congregation grew. The building was remodeled in 1926. By 1948 the membership grew to 1500 souls, with several hundred in attendance at Sunday Church School. Confirmation classes were large; many with 40 or more confirmands.

The much needed Educational Building was completed May 1959. Pastor Messner retired November 22, 1959, exactly 37 years after his arrival at Redeemer Church. Pastor Richard Bartley arrived in 1960 and both revived and help create groups and organizations in the congregation. In 1961 the chapel was dedicated, and continues to house the mid-week Lenten and Advent services.

The Rev. David Jensen became the Pastor in 1964. He was the Director of "Listening Ear", a 24 hour telephone counseling service which was enabled by a trained corps of laity. During his Pastorate, the renovation of the sanctuary was accomplished.

Perhaps one of the saddest moments in the congregation's existence was the death of Pastor Richard Hopf, who died after serving 20 months. The congregation knew him as a most caring and compassionate leader. In the 100th anniversary booklet we read these lines of remembrance:

"He cared for his people. He fought his illness until he had no strength left, yet his last and greatest concern was for our congregation. He showed us how to unite as one where there was division; he taught us compassion, forgiveness, caring and love. We thank God for the privilege of knowing him, loving him, and the impact he made in our lives."

Redeemer Church celebrated her 100th anniversary on November 9, 2003. For 100 years the congregation has proclaimed the Word and Gospel of Christ, celebrated the Holy Supper, prayed for themselves and the community and the world, gathered to sing praise of God and to be nurtured and sent by God; Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

It has served others through counseling ministry, food bank, clothing distribution, and weekday Christian education for youth.

Redeemer is wholesomely proud that four of her sons and daughters have been ordained as Pastors of the Lutheran Church. They are:

Charles Stadler- ordained 1969

Elizabeth Platz- ordained 1970

Carl Jensen- ordained 1972

Emilie Theobald- ordained 2008.

The Rev. Elizabeth Platz was the first woman to be ordained to ministry in the Lutheran Church in North America. A celebration of her 40th anniversary of ordination was held at Redeemer Church in November 2010.

The congregation currently hosts an A.A. group, 2 N.A. groups, an Al Anon group, a veteran’s organization, and English as a Second Language classes for the Bhutanese friends who live in Carrick.

The congregation is quite small in number. Approximately 35 persons worship each Sunday. We are increasing in age and declining in membership.

The final words in the 100th Anniversary Booklet provide a fitting conclusion to this brief history.

"Redeemer's future is uncertain as this time. We can lift our future to the hands of God and know that He will lead us and guide us to a healthy, vital and enthusiastic House of God."

We continue to gather and sing, listen, speak, pray, eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ, do liturgy, hear the Word and do it, and be blessed by God to be a blessing for others.

The Rev. William A. Hower

Interim Pastor since November 15, 2005

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