In the Beginning...

Christus Evangelisch Lutherisch Kirche of Germantown, or as we know it today, Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Islip Terrace, was established in 1915 with the signing of a charter by 20 congregants and 9 officers. Rev. Emil Podszus was our first pastor and the original site was on Fairview Avenue. Biweekly services were held in both German and English. Sunday School classes were also started that year. Local children, irrespective of their faiths, were invited to attend and did. In 1917, a dedicated sanctuary was constructed. Our church served the local Lutheran community exclusively until a split vote in the mid 1920's on the question of joining the Missouri Synod resulted in those in favor of leaving to form Trinity Lutheran Church in Islip. Our congregation was led during it's formative years by Pastor George F. Schorling (1915), Pastor Hermann Zoller (1917), Pastor Charles Werberig (1923), and Pastor Paul Land (1926). Pastor Werberig was the first resident pastor and the first to teach Sunday School. During his stay, the parsonage was built and Sunday School attendance was at a high 200 students and 22 teachers. In 1928, an annex was added to the original church building, which we today call the Wolpert Building. The German and English services were separated, one in the day and one in the evening in 1936. The Rev. Martin Lehfeldt became pastor in 1938 and was followed by Pastor J. Christian Krahmer in 1941. The Rev. John Schultze served one year and after a vacancy of a year, Pastor C. Wilhelm Benson was installed in 1951. In 1957, plans were developed to build our present sanctuary. All Council members co-signed to obtain mortgage approval. The new church building was dedicated in 1959. The old church building was officially dedicated as the “Wolpert Building” on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the congregation. This building continues to be used by many community groups. Pastor Cofer was called in 1960 and served until 1975 when he was succeeded by Rev John Sabitelli. Pastor William Munz who was called in 1983, served 30 years until he retired in October 2013. Rev Mark Kreemer served for 3 years from April 2015, to November 2018. Rev. Michael Poole served from February 2019 until October 2019.

In 1985, the present sanctuary was rededicated and refurbished. The old Sexton's house, which stood between the Wolpert Building and the sanctuary, was destroyed in a fire in 1988. A special congregation meeting was held in 1991 to approve the building of our Fellowship Hall. The new hall was dedicated in 1993. The Fellowship Hall has proved to be an invaluable addition to our life at Christ Church.

In 2001, the first member of our congregation enrolled in Diakonia, a program offered by our Synod, and graduated in 2003. Three more members entered the program with 2 graduating in 2005. Janet O'Mara became our first Synodically Rostered Deacon in 2005.

In May of 2008, we began to expand our ministry again by starting the process of purchasing the property on Nassau Street which was finally completed in July of 2009. Just like those council members of the past, this congregation came together, even during a tough economy, and committed money that enabled us not only to purchase the property, but only take 4 years to completely pay it off.

A constant theme during our history has been change. Indeed, the events of society and the world at large have effected and continue to affect our congregation. Once a strong German congregation, today we are diverse in our membership, our activities, and focused on our mission through ecumenism, outreach, and service to God. 100 years ago we were a stone dropped in a pond in Germantown. We built our church on the Rock and helped to shape the growth of our community, causing a significant ripple in the Terrace and the other Islips. That we have reached our 100th anniversary is a credit to the pastors who have served us and to the perseverance of the faithful. Even as you read this our history continues to unfold. Let us all remember that we are, indeed, all one in mission.


Even at well over 100 years, we continue to create a rich, blessed history,