Our History

The first activities that led to the establishment of Grace Ev. Lutheran Church of Glendale, Arizona, were services that were conducted irregularly at various places in the Glendale Area between 1921 and 1924.  These services were conducted by the Rev. Immanuel G. Frey who was at that time pastor of Zion Ev. Lutheran church of Phoenix.  According to his best recollections, these services were held largely for the benefit of members of Zion church who lived in this area.  In 1924 Pastor Frey was replaced at Zion by the Rev. H. Koch, who asked Pastor O. Hohenstein to assist him in the work at Zion.  In that capacity Pastor Hohenstein continued to hold services in Glendale from time to time.  On November 21, 1926, regularly held services were begun.  At first the services were held every other Sunday, but in January, 1927, weekly services with Sunday School were begun.  The first of these services, held at the Woman’s Club building at the corner of N. 56th and W. Glenn Avenues, was attended by 19 people with nine attending Sunday School.

On February 1, 1927, a meeting was held at Zion of the parents of the children attending Zion Lutheran School.  It was noted that all the families with children in Zion school, except two, were located in the Glendale area and it was proposed that these families seek a release from Zion for the purpose of opening another school in Glendale which would be associated with the Glendale Mission.  As a result of these discussions seven families of Zion requested transfers to the Glendale Mission.  Because it was felt that granting these transfers would seriously disrupt the economy of Zion and might possibly bring about the closing of Zion’s school, Zion was loathe to grant these releases.  An appeal was made for assistance to the District Mission Board of the Southeastern Wisconsin District of the Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod.  In a voters’ meeting on April 27, 1927, attended by Pastors Wm. Mahnke and John Jeske, both the Glendale Mission and Zion Lutheran School were promised support from the Synod.  Thereupon a peaceful release was granted the seven families.

With the nucleus of these seven families, including that of Pastor Otto Hohenstein, the Glendale Mission became a growing concern.  In the Fall of 1927 a day school with the pastor as the teacher was opened in a garage building just north of Glendale Avenue on 58th Avenue at the site of  the present city hall.  This building also served as a temporary place of worship.  On September 25th, 1927, in a meeting at the home of Mr. & Mrs. George Keim at W. Bethany Home and 19th Avenue, a constitution was adopted and the mission was named Grace Ev. Lutheran Church of Glendale, Arizona.  The first officers were:

Pastor O. Hohenstein, chairman
Mr. Claus Harders, vice-chairman
Mr. Eugene Malchow, secretary
Mr. Geo. H. Abel, treasurer
Mr. Wm. O. Meier, trustee
Mr. Geo. Keim, trustee
Mr. J. M. Quamme, trustee
Mr. H. Holm, deacon
Mr. J. M. Quamme, deacon

These men together with their families were also the charter members of the congregation.  Other families whose names appear in the early records include Carl Benson, Eda Amend, Geo. Franzmeier and Newton R. McMillan.


Christian Education

This congregation has from the very beginning been greatly interested in the cause of Christian education.  A Lutheran elementary school was being conducted before the church was organized.  Pastor Hohenstein was the teacher until his release in 1947.  The 1946-47 school year was completed by Pastors H. Rosin, G.P.Eckert and R. H. Zimmermann.  In the days when the school was a one-room venture, lessons were conducted by. . .

Mrs. Lydia Griffin
Mr. G. P. Bertram
Miss Erdeen Baken (Mrs. J. L. Quamme)
Mr. Fred Radtke


Principals: Past & Present

Mr. Fred Radtke 1951-54
Mr. Howard Woldt 1954-57
Mr. John A. Meyer 1957-64
Mr. Dale Schaumberg 1964-97
Rev. D. L. Halvarson 1997-99
Mr. Steve Bremer 1999-2006
Mr. Matt Herbst 2006-2011
Mr. E. John Fredrich 2013-


Others who have taught in our school are . . . .

Miss Marjorie Greenfield   (Mrs. Ben Inoshita) Miss Dawn Umnus  (Mrs. Steven Toth)
Miss Barbara Zeman Miss Mary McCain
Mrs. Howard Woldt Mrs. Joel Mischke
Miss Helen Sitz  (Mrs. Howard Morse) Mr. Daniel Thiel
Mrs. John Meyer Mr. Joseph Martin
Miss Charmaine Marti  (Mrs. M. Widman) Miss Christine Lincoln (Mrs. Gerald Morgan)
Miss Beverly Dix Mrs. Carol Plath
Miss Nancy Cole Mr. David Stoltz
Miss Ruth Brockoff  (Mrs. Ray Rovey) Mrs. Sue Schaumberg
Miss Miriam Kitzer  (Mrs. Vernon Tisdale) Mr. Guy Gast
Mrs. Roger Sievert Mrs. Shawna Tech
Miss Carol Kerth  (Mrs. R. Pagels) Mr. Jonathon Floerke
Miss Carol Friebus Mrs. Pat Koch
Miss Teri Richmond Mrs. Rachel Plitzuweit
Miss Barbara Kuether Mrs. Brenda Jeffers
Mr. Dennis Lemke Mrs. Alice Thiesfeldt
Mrs. George Duin Mrs. Shelle Dummann
Miss Lynette Johannpeter Mr. Paul Blakely
Mr. Mark Ricke Mrs. Stacey Hill

In addition to our Lutheran elementary school a Sunday School has been operated and maintained during Grace’s entire history. This includes a Bible class for the young people and the adults. To list all who have served as teachers in our Sunday School would be an impossible task. . . and, at best incomplete. Deep appreciation is given to those who given of their time and talent and energy to teach the children of our congregation the basic truths of the Christian faith.

During the early 70’s WELS members began making plans for establishing an area Lutheran high school in Arizona. The result of these discussions is Arizona Lutheran Academy which opened the fall of 1978 with an enrollment of 43 students. The academy is supported by a Federation of congregation throughout the state of Arizona, of which Grace is a member.



In the history of Grace there have been only six resident pastors. Pastor O. Hohenstein was the founder and first pastor.  He continued to serve until 1947. Pastor R. H. Zimmermann actively served the congregation from 1947 to 1983. Until his death in 1987 he served in a semi-retirement role by making hospital calls and visiting our elderly and shut-ins.

In 1944-45 the congregation was cared for temporarily by Pastor L. Wenzel while Pastor Hohenstein was on leave-of-absence to serve the prisoners of war who were confined in this area.  In 1976-82 a vicar was requested to assist the pastor with the growing workload in the congregation.  Beginning in  2013, Vicars again became a part of our ministry.

In February of 1983 Pastor D. L. Halvarson received and finally accepted the congregation’s call to be pastor. He was installed April 17, 1983 and served until March, 2002. In 1986 the congregation applied for a graduate of our Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to serve at Grace as a second pastor. T. W. Biedenbender was ordained and installed as second pastor of Grace on August 10, 1986. He accepted a call to Detroit, Michigan in May of 1991. In July 1991 Pastor David R. Clark accepted the congregation’s call and moved from White Rock, New Mexico. He was installed in September of the same year.

In April, 2002, the congregation applied again for a graduate from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Pastor Hernandez Daylo, Jr. was assigned. He was ordained and installed on July 28, 2002. He accepted the call of Prince of Peace, Yuma, Arizona in April 2014.

In December, 2014, Pastor Mark Jacobson received and accepted the congregation’s call as an Associate Pastor.  He relocated from Marana, Arizona and was installed on January 11, 2015.

Vicars: Past & Present

Thomas A. Schulz
Victor Headrick
James Nelson
Cary Grant
Roger Neumann
Tom Jeske
Brock Groth
Andrew Stuebs
Joel Hering

Property and Buildings

Even before the congregation was organized, arrangements were made to purchase five lots on N. 56th Avenue, beginning at W. Palmaire Avenue. In the Fall of 1927 a loan of $6,900 was obtained to build a chapel-parsonage. Most of the labor was supplied by the members. By April 30, 1928, the building had proceeded to a point where Pastor Hohenstein and his family were able to take up temporary living quarters in one end of the church. By the end of May the parsonage was completed and the first services were held in the chapel. The entire unit was dedicated on November 28, 1928. Pastor E. E. Guenther of Whiteriver and Pastor C. Albrecht of Douglas were the guest speakers for the occasion.

Beginning in 1946 the congregation embarked upon a period of planned expansion. All the property in the block on which the church is located was purchased as it was offered for sale. Only the property on the southeast corner was and has been passed by. A permanent teacherage was purchased across Myrtle Avenue opposite the school playground. In March of 1986 additional property was purchased by the church across 56th Avenue. This was done for possible future expansion.


A Timeline…

1946 – a temporary frame school building, later removed, was built;
1947 – a building with stage and storage was built – later removed;
1952 – church was built and dedicated;
1953 – parsonage was built;
1956 – the old parsonage was remodeled into a kindergarten room, the first chapel was used as the fellowship hall; a kitchen and some rest rooms were added;
1957 – the two-room classroom building north of the first church was added;
1960 – a pastor’s study along with a conference room (now also a pastor’s study) along with a classroom and principal’s office was built;
1964 – the balcony of 1952 church was extended to accommodate 75 additional worshippers;
1969-70 – an additional classroom with restroom and a work room was built;
1972 – The organ in the 1952 church, a custom Conn complete with three manuals and 10 speakers, was dedicated in December;
1973 – basketball/volleyball courts and play area was installed on the northwest corner of the property and also serves as a parking lot;
1981 – old parsonage/Kindergarten room was torn down and replaced by Zimmermann Hall. The old chapel was then remodeled into new conference room (now church/school office), Kindergarten room and storage;
1986 – a new four-room classroom building with rest rooms and storage was built and dedicated November 2;
1987 – the Kindergarten room in old chapel was expanded by eliminating storage area that was on east end.
2005 – new church and fellowship hall built and dedicated.
2006 – classrooms air-conditioned.
2007 – Zimmermann Hall converted to a preschool.
2014-15 – Courtyard between 1929 Church, 1952 Church, and Zimmerman Hall is renovated with new landscaping, planters, and audio/visual cabling.

The future…

Remodeling the 1952 Church Building