Brief History of St. Philip Lutheran Church


The story of St. Philip Lutheran Church began in 1971 when the Rev. Dr. N. Everett Hedeen, former Bishop of the Central States Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, was called by the Board of American Missions to serve as a mission developer in the unincorporated Southwest Littleton area. The first Sunday worship service was held on September 19, 1971, at Ken Caryl Junior High School. The congregation grew rapidly; and on April 30, 1972, the Charter of St. Philip was signed by 79 adults and 49 children. Three weeks later, on May 21, Pentecost Sunday, St. Philip was officially organized as a congregation of the Lutheran Church in America. Pastor Hedeen was called and officially installed as pastor on August 6, 1972. Groundbreaking Ceremonies were held on December 10, 1972, for a church to be constructed at Ken Caryl Avenue and South Kendall Boulevard. The first unit was dedicated on July 8, 1973. Shortly after the date of dedication, Pastor Hedeen retired from full-time parish ministry.

The Rev. Gerald C. Kline commenced his ministry among the people of St. Philip in early 1974. With continued devoted leadership, the congregation continued to grow. On All Saints’ Sunday, November 3, 1974, two worship services on Sunday mornings were begun to ease the crowded conditions. In July 1975, the congregation became self-supporting. Groundbreaking Ceremonies for a new worship center were held on August 27, 1978. The worship center was dedicated on November 11, 1979. Pastor Kline resigned his pastorate and moved to Texas in August 1984, to serve as a mission developer.

On August 1, 1985, the Rev. Dr. Daniel R. Leslie assumed the pastorate of St. Philip. In September, a Future Growth Committee was appointed by the Church Council to study the ministry needs of the congregation. Based upon input from many members, programs were begun and a recommendation was presented to the Church Council by the Future Growth Committee that the congregation consider adding a new space, and with the growth in programming and space, additional staff. A Building Study Committee was appointed in the spring of 1986. On September 11, 1986, we began participation in the Internship Program of the national church. Following many months of study and input from the membership, the Building Study Committee evolved into the Building Executive Committee which eventually brought a recommendation to the Church Council that we build a new addition. The congregation agreed and on September 20, 1987, groundbreaking ceremonies were held. As he had at the previous groundbreaking and dedication services, the Rev. Dr. Franklin C. Heglund, Bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod helped to officiate.

A new church was born on January 1, 1988. St. Philip Lutheran Church is now a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. With a new church comes a new and larger Rocky Mountain Synod.

In January 1990, Pastor Daniel Leslie accepted another call in New Jersey. Pastor Donald G. Marxhausen was called as pastor and began duties in September 1990. On Pentecost Sunday, May 18, 1997, St. Philip celebrated its Silver Anniversary. A new sanctuary was dedicated on June 6, 1999. In August 2000, Pastor Marxhausen accepted a call to another church in Illinois.

In January 2002, Pastor Nathan Doerr was called as Senior Pastor. On March 23, 2003, the newly remodeled ministry center was dedicated to the glory of God. It included a choir practice room, adult education space, a youth room, space for an infant nursery, and room for our growing outreach to the homeless through our participation in the Interfaith Hospitality Network. In July 2004, Pastor Sara Wirth was called to serve as our Associate Pastor. In 2011, Pastor Sara Wirth accepted another call in Colorado. Pastor Bradley Doty was called as associate pastor and began duties in August 2012. Pastor Nathan retired from ministry in June 2019. After the call process was completed, it was decided to call Pastor Brad Doty as Senior Pastor. He was installed August 8, 2020. The decision was made to call a deacon instead of an associate pastor to further St. Philip’s mission of service; in February of 2022 Deacon Korra Looschen was installed and became an important part of the staff, focusing on service and ministry. In May of 2022, St. Philip celebrated 50 years of ministry!

St. Philip Lutheran is a growing congregation. It continues to build on the foundation of God’s love, sharing that love through its outreach into the community. Many lives have been transformed through the ministry of the people of this congregation. God continues to bless the work of our hands as we reach out in new and exciting ways. To God be the glory!