The formative years and first church building
In 1961, Pastor Arthur Knudsen was called to establish a congregation in the Barrington area by the American Lutheran Church (ALC). After knocking on many doors, five families founded this congregation.
In 1962 the 5 acre site, our present location, was purchased by the ALC to build the first building. There were a total of ten mission congregations started by the ALC in 1961 and all would have ‘Atonement’ as part of their legal name. The original building was built in 1961. On Easter Sunday, April 22, 1962 the Lutheran Church of the Atonement had its first services in the new building. One week later, the first baby was baptized.
In 1963, the Lutheran Church of the Atonement paid off its loan to the ALC.
Atonement adds administration and education wing
A second building was added in 1964. The upper level was devoted to a fellowship hall and the lower level was devoted to Sunday school.
In 1975, Pastor Knudsen retired and Pastor Marc Gravdahl came to the congregation.
New worship space built
In 1981, a new sanctuary was completed and dedicated. The lower level included a kitchen, fellowship space, stage, and storage areas.
In 1987, Pastor Said Aliabouni was installed as Senior Pastor by the congregation.
In 1988 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) was established in a merger with the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), the Association Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) and the American Lutheran Church (ALC). Atonement became a member of the new ELCA.
In 1998, Pastor Said Ailabouni resigned to accept a call issued by the ELCA to become the Director Of Global Missions Programs in the Mid-East, Eastern Europe, and Africa.
Pastor Don Wink was installed as the Senior Pastor in January 1999.
Atonement grows for the future
In 2010, Atonement completed phase I of a construction plan and space renovation. The additional 16,000 square foot of space helped eliminate overcrowding on Sundays and Wednesdays nights. Parking was more than doubled and a storm water detention pond was added.
In 2012, phase II of our building program was completed. The original worship space was razed to make room for a 6,200 square foot multi-purpose room, a dedicated room for our high school youth ministry, a new drop-off zone in the front of the church, a new facade and “bridge” to span the church and school areas, new classrooms and day school office. The addition also included 50 additional parking spaces and the ability to create an entirely new, enclosed outdoor play area for the day school.
In 2014 Pastor Charisse Jensen was called as Minister of Serving Others. Our restructuring streamlined our focus, helping members move along their personal faith journey.
In 2018 Jen Bradbury joined the staff as Minister of Youth and Family.
We are a vibrant and generous community of faith, sharing the beauty and struggle of life through a Lutheran perspective.
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with almost 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.
You can learn more about the ELCA on their official website.