Lutheran school answers congregation’s prayers

ST. ALBERT, Alta. – On September 1, the prayers of a congregation and the continuing ministry of a Lutheran school merged when Faith Lutheran School of Edmonton relocated and began its future as King of Kings Lutheran School in St. Albert, a suburb northwest of Edmonton. “The journey has been a challenging one,” said principal Dr. Ken Albinger, “but the result is that our congregation is moving into a school ministry that has a chance to grow and prosper.” First-day enrolment saw 12 students enrolled for Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Students Fred Hansen (l) and Lowell Hansen (r) greet Pastor Jan Pastucha on opening day

From its beginnings in 1991, King of Kings’ Lutheran Church hoped for, and prayed about establishing a Lutheran school. But for a number of years the issues and problems of congregational life took precedence over allocating resources to go ahead with school development.

Three years ago the congregation undertook a study under Lutheran Church–Canada’s Genesis program to find out if starting a school was feasible. The final report said yes—under certain conditions.

At the same time, Faith Lutheran School (operated by five congregations and church members who made up the Edmonton Lutheran School Society) declined. The school sold the land on which it stood in 2007, but the proceeds only provided the Society with sufficient funds to survive for three years. The choice was simple: find a way to make the school financially viable, or close down. Events came to a head during the Christmas break of 2008 when a fire in the furnace room caused serious smoke damage and loss of the school library.

A fire at Faith Lutheran School in 2008 created further hardship.

The dream at King of Kings and the needs of Faith Lutheran School began to converge. After several months of discussions came two important decisions. In September 2009 King of Kings invited Faith to relocate to St. Albert, and in October the Edmonton Lutheran School Society accepted the invitation.

These decisions triggered 11 months of intense work to move the school. King of Kings’ formed a 28-member development committee under the chairmanship of Mark Wolgram. It planned facilities, developed a governance structure, solved a host of financial issues, set up a major publicity campaign, organized the move and worked through a thousand details.

After considering the high cost of building a school using portable structures, the congregation decided instead to renovate its current building to create more classrooms. Members Carole and Keith Hoveland developed a plan making good use of available space. Clark Builders of Edmonton tendered a reasonable price and the work began.

Following the close of the 2009-10 school year, Faith’s teaching staff and a team of volunteers from Edmonton Lutheran School Society congregations packed up the school into three containers and moved everything to St. Albert. As soon as renovations were far enough along, a 38-member King of Kings team—ranging in age from schoolchildren to grandparents—unpacked the containers, and teachers began setting up for the school year.

Rev. Jan Pastucha sums up the results: “Now the congregation has a new vibrant direction in its mission to St. Albert.” The prayers of students, teachers and congregations members have found an answer, even though it may not be exactly what anyone expected.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, September 26, King of Kings will celebrate the opening and dedication of the school facilities with a service of thanksgiving and praise. For more information about the school visit its website.

Posted By: Matthew Block
Posted On: September 8, 2010
Posted In: ABC District News, Education News,

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