By Christ the King Lutheran Church
On Sunday, Christ the King Lutheran Church in Walnut celebrated its 50th anniversary with Rev. Dr. Larry Stotoerau, President of the Pacific Southwest, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Stoterau preached and Deacon George Pollard, the present Pastor, will served as liturgist. Rev. Martin Lundi, founding pastor, preached at 4 p.m. with Rev. Maynard Saeger, former Interim Pastor as liturgist, and Pollard as the lector.
Special music was performed on the recently rebuilt pipe organ, the only pipe organ in Walnut and harpist, Gretchen Sheetz, a recent graduate of Concordia University, Irvine.
When the Southern California District (now the Pacific Southwest District) of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod’s Mission Board decided to establish a church in Walnut in 1962, they purchased almost five acres in the rolling La Puente Hills that included a new three-bedroom house for $63,570.
In 1964, the district called Rev. Martin Lundi as missionary-at-large to establish a congregation. For the first year, the congregation worshiped at Mt. San Antonio College. In 1966, they moved to Suzanne Middle School, a block west of the church property.
In 1967, the congregation hired an architect, Dennis Wehmueller, to design a building for the hilly property and soon discovered that the property could not be built on, according to the architect, as it would need 37,000 cubic yards of fill dirt that would cost over $100,000.
When Walnut High School was being built across the street, the general contractor asked Pastor Lundi if he could dump 37,000 cubic yards of fill dirt on the church property. Lundi said he would have to compact it, level it according to the architect’s design, and get permits from the city. The contractor agreed.
Later, the architect said he had miscalculated, needing another 4,000 cubic yards of soil. The contractor asked if the church could use another 4,000 cubic yards of soil. He also agreed to pour the curbs and pave half of the streets and the church parking lot at cost.
Today the church is next to the new civic center on La Puente Road in the heart of the city of Walnut where the 45-foot high cross on the church points people to Christ.
The service of celebration was followed by a brunch and a reception in the fellowship hall. After the 4 p.m. service, members recalled the church’s history through a pictorial display, and meet with Rev. Lundi and his wife, Rev. Saeger, and Deacon Pollard.