Mountainside Lutheran Church, Auckland

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Mountainside Lutheran Church, Auckland, New Zealand

Mountainside Lutheran Church is a Lutheran Church based in Auckland, New Zealand. It was commemorated on 27 May 2000 replacing a smaller Our Saviour Lutheran Church and also merging with another Auckland based sister Lutheran congregation, St Johns Lutheran Church (Mt Eden, Auckland) to form one single congregation for the whole of Auckland. Its origins date back as far as 1907. It currently has a congregation of approximately 150 members.

Mountainside Lutheran Church is a community of people of a journey. It has gone through significant changes in the last few years, all in hope of more effectively fulfilling its mission, which is:

A diverse caring community reaching out with the awesome power of God's Word and Spirit that all may know and celebrate Jesus' love and hope.

The church[edit]

The Mountainside congregation have built a new church (replacing the previously existing Our Saviour Lutheran Church <photo>) and community facility on the corner of Ellerslie-Panmure Highway and Harris Road in Mt Wellington.

The Mountainside congregation is a regional community of people from all over Auckland. They are an ethnic community of people from 20 nations/ethnic groups (which include Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Denmark, England, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Latvia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Tahiti, United States, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe). Some of the congregation are a local community of people who live and work in the Ellerslie/Mt Wellington community.


The congregation gather together to worship on Sunday mornings at 10.00am. The worship has diverse styles of music from 16th century hymns to songs written in this new millennium from all over the world. They are people of all ages and several languages.

Important beliefs[edit]

The Lutheran Church is a mainline Christian denomination, and shares central biblical truths with other Christian churches. Along with other mainline churches of all times we confess the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.

  • Lutherans believe in the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Lutherans believe Jesus Christ is both truly God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and truly human, born of the Virgin Mary.
  • Lutherans hold the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the authoritative source for our teaching and practice.
  • Along with other Protestant churches, Lutherans teach that people are put right with God by God's undeserved love on account of Jesus’ death and resurrection and that this right relationship is received by people through faith. ‘Grace alone’, ‘Christ alone’, ‘Faith alone’, ‘Scripture alone’ is a simple summary of Protestant teaching in this area.

Part of LCA and LCNZ[edit]

Mountainside Lutheran Church is part of a larger group of Lutheran churches in Australia (LCA) and in New Zealand (LCNZ) known as the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA). Each of the member congregations of the LCA has agreed to band together into a church body called a ‘synod’ for the purpose of mutual support and to work together on projects that are too large for a single church to do by itself. While each of the individual churches is an autonomous body responsible for its own program, they also agree to work together. They also work together in mission ventures, in providing teaching institutions for the training of pastors and other church workers, in preparing materials for use in local congregations plus many other tasks. Clearly there are many benefits in being involved in the larger body, not the least of which is being part of a wider family, which is joined together by common beliefs. While there are different ways in which individual churches operation and practice their faith, there is an underlying unity in this diversity, which lends strength to the ministry of each local church.

History (Timeline)[edit]

Period Activity
1907, 1949 Long before this, as early at 1907, services were conducted in private houses by Pastors Tyler, Hassold, Dierks and Frese. The latter was resident in Auckland. World War II terminated these meetings and it was not until 1949 that they recommenced with the visit by Pastors Hamuera Te Punga and Clem Koch. <(Photo)>
1952 The congregation in Auckland constituted itself at a meeting held in the Y.W.C.A. building in Queen Street on 6 January 1952. It formally adopted a constitution and adopted the name ‘St John’. At this time it consisted mainly of new settlers from Latvia and Estonia. (Photo)
1949 The spiritual needs of the congregation were met by periodic visits from Rev C.I. Koch and Rev R.R. Reinfelds. (Photo)
1952 When the congregation was organised in 1952, services were held in the Y.W.C.A. building, and later in All Saints Anglican Church in Ponsonby Road.
1949, 1955 In the meantime Danish people were settling in Auckland. These were ministered to by the Rev. A. Christensen of Palmerston North. Their first service was held in the Presbyterian Church at Ellerslie in 1949. In between visits, their spiritual needs were met by Mr Viggo Pedersen. By 1955 these two groups were worshipping together. (Photo)
1953 Pastor Reinfelds moved to Christchurch and the spiritual leadership was taken over by Pastor Clem Koch (1953), under whose ministry the congregation grew. The following year ‘St John’ was affiliated with the Lutheran Church of New Zealand.
1954 In 1954, a manse, which also provided space for worship, was built in Panmure. (Photo)
1955, 1957 An old house in Crummer Road, Grey Lynn, was bought and converted for use as a central place of worship (dedicated 7 November 1955) until a central church could be built. A Sunday School, Youth Society and Ladies’ Fellowship were established, so that in late 1957 it could be said that ‘the various organizations of the congregation are now fully functioning’. (Photo) (Photo)
1954 During 1954, Pastor Koch was assisted by Mr Ben Koch who served for a year as a layworker. (Photo)
1956 Lutheran worship services in the Mt Wellington-Panmure area began in 1956, during the ministry of Pastor C.I. Koch. Services were first held in the manse on a monthly basis until the church was built on this corner site, adjacent to the manse. The first service was on 7 October 1956. (Photo)
1960, 1961 Work commenced on the building of the church in 1960, and took almost 18 months to complete. At the time of the opening the building was valued at around $16,000, although actual costs were kept to $8,000, largely because of voluntary labour. After the opening and dedication of the new church on 7 May 1961, regular services were held each Sunday (with both morning and evening worship). (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo)
1961, 1964 With Pastor Clem Koch concentrating his efforts in Auckland, the membership and contact list grew rapidly. A large city church such as this demanded a second pastor, and received one when in mid 1961 Rev C.L. Janetzki became assistant pastor and a second manse was bought, located in Pakuranga. (Photo)

On the departure of Pastor Koch during 1963 he was replaced by Rev R.J. Matthies. With the arrival of Pastor Matthies the Pakuranga manse was sold and a replacement bought in a central location, Wairiki Road, Mt Eden. In the following year, Pastor Clem Koch returned to Australia and was replaced by Rev Edwin W. Koch, who was installed on 31 May 1964. (Photo)

With the return of Pastor Matthies to America, graduate pastor John Fraser was called to serve specifically in the Mt Wellington area. Pastor John was born in Palmerston North and prior to going to America to train as a pastor, had been working as a farm adviser in the Pukekohe area. He also spent many weekends as a volunteer working on the building of the Panmure church plant.

1967 At this time the Lutheran Church in Auckland was functioning as a congregation with two worship centres. With the arrival of Pastor Fraser in 1967 the decision for the Panmure church to operate as a ‘stand alone’ congregation was made, and Pastor Fraser appointed as the first pastor.

Following the dedication of the Panmure church plant (now Our Saviour), major events such as confirmation and reformation services were held as combined services, as the Crummer Road plant could no longer cope with numbers attending.

1963, 1965, 1966, 1968 Though the central church did not materialise as quickly as expected, the central congregation remained the strong point of the work. A relocation committee was appointed in 1963 and the Mt Eden site for a new central church plant was purchased in 1965 for $24,000. After much debate on whether or not to build the new church immediately, the old house on the property was finally altered and renovated and dedicated as a place of worship on 28 August 1966. Next the old Wairiki Road (Mt Eden) manse was sold, and a new manse was built on the property by J.B. Wishnowsky, a member of the congregation. This manse, built for $11,000, was dedicated on 3 March 1968. (Photo)
1969 The planning and building of the long-awaited central church posed the congregation with many problems until finally the present building was erected for $19,374. With furniture and fittings added the cost came to little over $25,000. The church was dedicated on 14 December 1969. (Photo) (Photo) (Photo)
1977 Special celebrations took place on 18 September 1977 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of St John. The guest preacher on this occasion was Pastor Clem Koch, the first pastor of St John, and now second Vice-President of the Lutheran Church of Australia.
1984 Disaster! The old house which St John were now using as a resource centre was burnt down due to a fault in the old electrical wiring. The building was demolished by volunteer labour and a hall attached to the chapel, built. (Photo) (Photo) (Photo)
1980, 1986 Returning to Panmure: During 1980 the Panmure church plant was renamed ‘Our Saviour’. (Photo)
1986 It was the time for Our Saviour Lutheran Church to celebrate 25 years of service.
1990 The next significant event was the combining of the two worship centres to form the present Parish. This took place in June 1990. While St John was a self-supporting congregation, Our Saviour was receiving a substantial subsidy from the Lutheran Church of New Zealand to meet expenses.

We come now to period of major change within the Parish.

With the introduction of a Strategic Planning process to the Parish a key task set was for the investigation of the possibility of establishing a Lutheran school in Auckland.

1 June 1999 A block of land was purchased for this project in the Greenhithe area. (Photo)
21 November 1999 Ground breaking at Gateway Lutheran School site. (Photo) (Photo)
1999, 2000
July–August 1999 Plant options for the best use of both plants to meet our mission objectives was presented to the Parish. Plans and a model were presented to the Parish showing development possibility on the Mt Wellington site.
29 August 1999 The decision was made to sell St John church and manse and redevelop on the Mt Wellington site. The redevelopment plan being approved by the Parish on 16 October 1999. (Photo)
2 January 2000 The Parish accepted an offer of $1.2 million for the St John plant, to be vacated by June 2000. Then on 14 May the congregation decided to change its name to ‘Mountainside Lutheran Church’. (Photo)
Easter Easter 2000 at Our Saviour. (Photo)
21 May 2000 The final service held at St John and Mountainside Lutheran congregation comes into being. (Photo)
28 May 2000 The first worship service of mountainside Lutheran Church at the Mt Wellington site. Standing room only.
June 2000 A manse was purchased at Botany Downs for Pastor Adrian Kitson.
26 November 2000 The final service and closing of Our Saviour worship facility. (Photo)

From the closure of the old building and the dedication of the new building, services were held at Christ Church Anglican in Ellerslie (Auckland, New Zealand). (Photo)

30 November 2000 The old church is demolished and construction of new building begins. (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo)
Easter 2001 A time when we were reminded of the Israelites wandering through the wilderness. Maundy Thursday service held in Ellerslie Town Hall, Good Friday at Christ Church, and Easter Sunday at the Panmure Community Hall. In spite of worship being held in three different locations, each service was well attended. (Photo)
27 May 2001 Opening for worship and dedication of the new building. (Photo) (Photo) (Photo) (Photo)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°53′47″S 174°49′58″E / 36.8965°S 174.8328°E / -36.8965; 174.8328