On a Sunday morning Aug. 17, 1947, North Heights Lutheran Church opened its doors for the first time.
“What makes North Heights different is the Holy Spirit came alive here,” Senior Pastor TJ Anderson said. “Which means that we came alive as a church.”
North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills and Roseville is celebrating its 75th anniversary at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, August 21, with a joint service at the Arden Hills campus.
“We’re going to have a family luncheon picnic celebration along with just being able to hang out,” Senior Pastor TJ Anderson said. “We have the back plaza, and it’s just incredible out there.”
Four senior living pastors will join in the celebration — Morris Vaagenes, Bob Cottingham, Per Nilsen and Anderson.
The anniversary celebration kicked off in July with a showing of the “Passion Play” movie.
“It takes the life and ministry of Jesus to the crucifixion and resurrection,” Anderson said. “It was a reunion of the passion play cast, extras and fans to watch together.”
According to Anderson, the “Passion Play” ran for 19 years from 1989 to 2007. There were 296 performances, approximately 450,000 attendees, and 71 animals at each performance.
Throughout the 19 years, the total revenue from the play was approximately $6.8 million. Oldfield noted that once the basic expenses for the production were paid, the rest of the money went to support other ministries of the church.
An Alpha 25th reunion was held on Aug. 13 as part of the anniversary celebration.
“Alpha helps people discover the truth about Jesus in the Scriptures,” Anderson said, “having people walk the journey and answer any questions they have. It’s designed for people either new to faith or (who have) always been involved with the church.”
Another event for the 75th anniversary was held on Aug. 14 at the Roseville campus.
“It’s a historical walk-through at the Roseville campus where people can reminisce, reflect and remember the history of North Heights through stories and pictures,” Anderson said. “This is to honor the Roseville campus as the roots of North Heights Lutheran Church.”
“North Heights started when some ladies decided they wanted to have Sunday School, and they had 11 children at the North Heights Elementary School,” said John Oldfield, senior director of finance and administration. “That progressed until they did a basement church just north of the school.”
Oldfield continued, “They held the service in the basement for a number of years. They built the worship center in 1958 in Roseville above the basement church and later expanded and added a fellowship hall area.”
The church later bought the school from the Roseville School District. Now, it is the North Heights Christian Academy and the North Heights Christian Preschool and Daycare.
“In 1986 we built the worship center in Arden Hills and sequentially we built the educational wing out here,” Oldfield said. “The Arden Hills campus sits on 42 acres.”
North Heights Lutheran has grown throughout the years to include the Celebrate Dance Academy and Christian Karate Academy. It also caters events to faith-based nonprofits.
The church even has its own chef, Sarah Hearn. Both Anderson and Oldfield said she is a “spectacular cook.”
“The key thing that has made North Heights who we are is we have people that love Jesus, love others and are full of the Holy Spirit,” Anderson said. “We have the greatest people here.”
Oldfield said the continuous goal of the church for the next 25 years is to help people find three things in life.
“North Heights equips all people to find faith in Jesus, discover their God-driven purpose and live life with eternal significance,” he said. “Everybody needs, everybody’s looking for a purpose and everybody wants to be significant.”
For more information on North Heights Lutheran Church, go to https://northheights.church/.
Shoreview Press Editor Noelle Olson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-407-1229