A Brief History

The beginning of our Grace Lutheran Church can be traced to 1909 when missionary Rev. Doering filed a quarterly report stating that he had held two services in Columbia County. Eight people attended with an offering of $0.60, but he refused to be discouraged.

July, 1937 the Rev. Felix Janssen, who was serving St. Johns Lutheran Church, began mission stations in Scappoose and St. Helens. He served Scappoose with a borrowed car and borrowed communion vessels and candles. Rev. Janssen traveled to Scappoose for Sunday evening services and confirmation classes. The families met in a Masonic Lodge Hall above what is now Longfellow’s Inn.

In 1943 the hall was converted to apartments due to housing shortages in the area. Without a permanent place to meet, services were held in the Moose Lodge and a theater, both in St. Helens. This was hard on everyone because of gas rationing in effect due to World War II. Nevertheless, the goal of becoming a chartered congregation was not lost. August 8, 1943 Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church came into being.

September 1943, Rev. Janssen applied to the War Board for permission to build a small church in Scappoose. After demonstrating to the U.S. War Board that there was a genuine need, that building supplies were available, and that it would be a very simple structure, approval was granted. Construction began shortly thereafter.

Paul Komning supplied most of the timbers and other lumber from his small mill on Dutch Canyon. The labor was volunteer, members and young men from Concordia College. The church was built without plumbing, electrical wiring or sewer. The building was heated with wood only.

January, 1962 the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod approved a $60,000 loan to build the present brick church on South Columbia River Highway. The ground breaking ceremony was August 23, 1962. February 24, 1963 300 people joined the processional into a new house of worship.

The church expanded its vision for community service in founding Grace Christian Preschool in 1993.  The original school met in the Fellowship Hall. In 2008, under the leadership of Pastor Thomas Schoenborn, construction of a beautiful new wing was completed for use not only as a school but also as a daycare center. These remain vibrant ministries of the church today.