Saint Paul Lutheran Church: A Brief History
St. Paul Lutheran Church has been part of the community of downtown Vancouver for over 100 years. Today St. Paul is a small congregation with a large building and an influence on a large number of people in down town Vancouver.
We invite and encourage all people to join us for Sunday worship and to share in our commitment to people in the local area and beyond. St. Paul Christian Day Care currently serves about 60 children freeing their parents to work locally. In the winter we provide food and overnight shelter, (Winter Hospitality Overflow or W.H.O.) for 24 homeless men, protecting them from the cold wet nights. St. Paul is a community of believers working together and supporting each other in large ways and small.
Annually the women of St. Paul make 30 to 50 quilts and collect other materials to send to Lutheran World Relief. This spring we donated $2,400 to the Clark County Food Bank and continue to support F.I.S.H. (Friends in Service to Humanity) which St. Paul housed for 40 years until they moved to their new building in 2015. While located at St Paul, F.I.S.H. served approximately 3,000 peopleeach month with food, clothing, and other basics of life. We support Friends of the Carpenter in their work with the homeless. In providing shelter for the 24 single men we work cooperatively with SHARE House, Council for the Homeless, and St. Andrew Lutheran Church to create the Winter Hospitality Overflow. We have a close connection with an Alcohol Anonymous group which has been meeting at St Paul for decades and we welcome requests for other uses of our facilities. Several of these points of outreach have grown and thrived in the rooms that were originally the church offices and many Sunday school classes.
In 1948 following World War II St Paul voted to build the current church building at 13th and Franklin Streets and in 1960 added the education building to house the Sunday school with additional space for the church office and to fill other congregational needs. These were the years when church membership was high and the organizations of the church included Sunday School, Ladies Aid andMissionary Society, Altar Guild, Lutheran Brotherhood, Lydia Circle, Luther League, St. Paul’s Fellowship, Tri-C’s, and two choirs. During this time, St. Paul was the first church in Vancouver to host a Red Cross blood drive and set up a library of religious books.
St Paul was organized on December 14,1902, with twenty-five people signing the charter. The congregation first met at Sohn’s Hall at 6th and Main Streets but the following year they moved to “the edge of town” at the corner of 13th and Franklin Streets. The congregation built a church, paid off the debt, and aided the start of several congregations in the area. St. Paul was a major source of support in the area during World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II, providing food and other items to those in need, as well as supporting the soldiers, shipyard workers, and their families. In September 1948 the congregation voted to construct the church we find today at 13th and Franklin Streets.
What we believe
The ELCA confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
ELCA teaching or theology serves the proclamation and ministry of this faith. It does not have an answer for all questions, not even all religious questions. Teaching or theology prepares members to be witnesses in speech and in action of God’s rich mercy in Jesus Christ.
Scriptures, Creeds and Confessions
ELCA’s official Confession of Faith identifies the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (commonly called the Bible); the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds; and the Lutheran confessional writings in the Book of Concord as the basis for our teaching. ELCA congregations make the same affirmation in their governing documents, and ELCA pastors promise to preach and teach in accordance with these teaching sources. This Confession of Faith is more than just words in an official document. Every Sunday in worship ELCA congregations hear God’s word from the Scriptures, pray as Jesus taught and come to the Lord’s Table expecting to receive the mercies that the Triune God promises. Throughout the week ELCA members continue to live by faith, serving others freely and generously in all that they do because they trust God’s promise in the Gospel. In small groups and at sick beds, in private devotions and in daily work, this faith saturates all of life.
Teaching for a life of faith
This connection to all of life is the clearest demonstration of the authority that the canonical Scriptures, the ecumenical Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions have in the ELCA. The Holy Spirit uses these witnesses to create, strengthen and sustain faith in Jesus Christ and the life we have in him. That life-giving work continues every day, as Martin Luther explained in the Small Catechism: the Holy Spirit “calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.”
Pastor Linda A. Marousek
Pastor Linda A. Marousek is a synodically authorized minister serving as the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church. Her first career was as a lawyer, most recently for the Vancouver City Attorney’s Office.
She is joyfully committed to serving the people of St. Paul as together, we serve God and the people who need us in downtown Vancouver.
Geri Hiller – Lay Staff Minister
Geri Hiller is on staff at St. Paul as the Lay Staff Minister, and she is part of the Community of Lay Ministers for the Southwest Washington Synod.
Geri is involved in many areas of ministry, including visiting the homebound, communion minister, as well as Southwest Washington Synod activities.
Geri offers leadership within Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO) at St. Paul, which houses homeless single men during the winter months.
Leslie Relth – Administrator
Leslie Relth is serving as Administrative Assistant for Saint Paul beginning early 2018.
Leslie and her husband make their home in downtown Vancouver, Washington.
Leslie has served in an administrative capacity in nondenominational churches and retreat centers in California and in human resources in private education in Morocco.
Lori Thomas – Church Musician
Lori Thomas, Vancouver native, serves as our church musician. She graduated from Concordia University – Portland with a BA in Parish Music 2014. Lori is a member of the Community of Lay Ministers.