CLC History

The vision for Christ Lutheran Church began in 1919 when a group of women gathered to begin praying for the establishment of a Lutheran Church in the little logging and railroad town of Whitefish. This community formerly known as “Stumptown” was strategically located at the conjunction of the Great Northern Railroad and the lower end of Whitefish Lake where a sawmill worked the logs that provided railroad ties and building needs for the growing Flathead Valley. Worship services were periodically provided by pastors from Kalispell and Libby.

On October 13, 1925, Christ Lutheran Church was officially organized as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Reverend Gerhard Arrested was called as pastor. These early worship services were held in homes, in the Masonic Temple, and in the Episcopal Church.

In 1933, a building site was purchased at 2nd Street and Kalispell Ave and the next year in the midst of the Great Depression the church built its first building from salvaged lumber. Over the next few decades the congregation continued to enlarge and remodel its facility.

In 1961, several Lutheran church groups merged to form the denomination later known as the American Lutheran Church. It was at this time that the congregation changed its name from American Lutheran Church of Whitefish to Christ Lutheran Church of Whitefish.

The congregation continued to grow. In 1962 the Sunday School became so large two sessions were needed every Sunday morning. Adjacent property was purchased in 1963 and a library and education building were added to the original sanctuary. In 1991, the original building was replaced with a beautiful new sanctuary and fellowship hall.

By 2000, the congregation had outgrown these facilities and was in 3 services every Sunday morning. In 2003, land was purchased south of Whitefish for a complete relocation of the church and its ministries. In 2007, the congregation moved into the new facility at 5150 River Lakes Parkway. Special consideration was given in the design of this building to the growing ministry needs of Shepherd’s Hand Clinic and the FISH Children's Sunday School.

In 2009, Christ Lutheran Church left the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and became a member of the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) whose mission more accurately reflects the congregation.

The vision of those early Whitefish pioneers, whose Christian faith, fortitude, prayers, and sacrifice, laid the foundation for the present mission and ministry of Christ Lutheran Church. This vision and their attributes are still vibrantly alive among the people of this church. We invite you to join us as we continue to: “Take the light of Christ into the world!”

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Christ Lutheran Church • 5150 River Lakes Parkway, Whitefish, MT 59937 • 406-862-2615

CLC building and address