Our History

As we look back at the humble beginnings of Peace Lutheran Church, we reflect on the tremendous growth and abundant blessings that God has bestowed upon us over the years.

New Beginnings

In July 1964, a New Mission Committee formed at Memorial Lutheran Church, Bremerton, WA, seeking to form a new mission church on the east side. The Northwest District Board of Directors gave full approval to the opening of the new church and authorized the purchase of property.Through the efforts of Rev. Herbert Rast, pastor of Memorial Lutheran, this Committee, and many other future members, purchased 8 acres of property facing Riddell Road, in East Bremerton, and a sign erected.

Several names for the new church were recommended. Finally the name “Peace” was chosen as an affirmation of our faith to the community for the “Peace which passes all human understanding.”

In May 1965, Pastor Richard W. Gerken, graduate of Concordia Seminary, accepted the call to serve as Pastor-Missionary beginning in September 1965.

Pastor Richard W. Gerken

On September 12, 1965, Pastor Richard Gerken was installed as Pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, along with the commissioning and release of founding members from Memorial.

Rev. W. V. McCullough of Port Orchard served as Liturgist,

Pastor Herbert Rast delivered the sermon,Installation rites and commissioning were performed by the District Vice-President, Rev. Emil Jaech of Seattle.

The original Charter Members of
Peace Lutheran Church were:Mr. & Mrs. Elve Anderson
Mr. & Mrs. S. R. (Bob) Barcelon, David & Cynthia
Mr. & Mrs. August Beelaert & Carry
Mr. & Mrs. James Botz, James Jr. & Gail
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bullard
Mrs. Ralph Carlson & Rozanne
Mr. & Mrs. Harold Conway
Mr. & Mrs. Amory Cook, Laura & Barbara
Dr. & Mrs. Albert Degner and Sam
Mr. & Mrs. James Demko
Mr. & Mrs. George Duris, Judith & Steven
Mr. & Mrs. Wells Ehrhardt & Daniel
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Elvejord
Mrs. Carl Erickson
Rev. & Mrs. Richard W. Gerken and family
Mr. & Mrs. John Gillick, Thomas &John
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Koenig, Louise & Leon
Mr. & Mrs. Phillip Lang
Mr. & Mrs. Albert Liesmann & Lisa
Mr. & Mrs. Mike McGinty
Mr. & Mrs. James McKelvy
Mr. & Mrs. Alex Frood, Karen and Douglas
Mr. & Mrs. Floyd Michelson
Mr. & Mrs. Curtis O’Hair, James & Judy
Mr. & Mrs. Warren Olsen, Joyce & Steven
Mr. & Mrs. Merle Pribbenow, Merle, Robert & Ronald
Mr. & Mrs. Ken Ripley & Ken Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Rogers
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Schruhl & Cheryl
Mr. & Mrs. William Schultz, Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. Merlin Skelly
Mr. & Mrs. Verne Skinner
Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Snow, Norman & Sandra
Mr. & Mrs. Ed Sprenger, Joyce & Lyle
Mrs. Harry Tindall
Mr. & Mrs. Art Ward, Bart & Claudia
Mr. & Mrs. Clifford White
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Williams
Mr. & Mrs. Fred Yuckert & Mary

Peace Lutheran held services beginning at East High School from September 19, 1965 to March 13, 1966 and then at the American Legion Hall Post #68 from March 20, 1966 to July 2, 1967.Our first Baptism was on Sunday, October 31, 1965:
Lisa Marie Johnson, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Richard I. Johnson.In January 1966, a report was sent to the Northwest District Mission Board with the results of our initial Building fund raising. It was with a great deal of pleasure that we reported a total of cash on hand and pledges totaling $22,870.Brush clearing on the new property was an on-going effort by members of the new congregation.In February 1966, the Building Committee announced the selection of Mr. Milton Stricker of Seattle as Designer/Architect of our new church building.Preliminary building plans were presented to the congregation at a special voters meeting on June 19, 1966. After several months, final plans were provided for congregational approval.
A special note from the Architect: 
“A contemporary design was chosen because I believe that church architecture must evolve with the general trend of architecture in all fields. The use of the medieval church plan has been abandoned to return to the more ancient concept of Christianity, lost during the Middle Ages, in which the congregation has a more active participation in the liturgy. The architectural effect is to bring the chancel and nave physically closer together around the altar.The hexagonal shape is well suited for the new liturgical requirements. The broad base of the hexagonal permits the seats to be dis­tributed near the altar with equal sight and hearing for all members. The hexagonal shape is also economical and excellent for acoustics. The exterior form follows the function of the interior space. The church is located on the hilltop to provide a dominate and visual focal point in the community.”Milton Stricker , ArchitectCONSTRUCTION BEGINS  A special Dedication Service was held on July 9, 1967 and the dedication stone was laid. Pastor Richard W. Gerken was assisted by the Rev. Dr. E. W. Hinrichs, Former Executive Secretary of the Northwest District.From 1965 to 1967, the Lord permitted us to grow to over 150 communicant members and more than 250 baptized members.

NEW PASTOR: Pastor MerzOn April 29, 1973, the Rev. Robert J. Merz was installed as Pastor of Peace Lutheran Church. The officiates were the Rev. Herbert A. Rast, Chaplain Oliver H. Wetzel, and Rev. Gary F. Borges. The organist was Mrs. Carol Putt.On July 27, 1986, Pastor Merz accepted a position as Associate Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Auburn, WA. NEW PASTOR: Pastor HauschIn December 1986, the Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Hausch accepted our call. On February 8, 1987, Pastor Hausch was installed as our new Pastor. The officiates were Rev. Erhart Bauer, Rev. Dr. Erwin A. Gerken, Rev. Robert Merz, Rev. Ed Puseman, and Rev. Charles Nenow. The organist was Mrs. Cynthia Grade.

On May 7, 1978, Peace Lutheran held a ground breaking ceremony for a new Christian Education Building. Dedication of the school building was held on August 2, 1981 with Rev. Robert J. Merz and Dr. Walter Maier officiating. Mr. James R. Lynch, D.C.E., was installed as Director of Education and the first Principal of Peace Lutheran School.Through God’s continued blessings Peace Lutheran School has grown in size to approximately 200 children in grades pre-school through eighth grade. For a informative and stimulating self-guided tour, please visit our School website.
Pastor HuellePastorsClick image to see all those who have faithfully served as Pastor of Peace congregation over the years.

Rev. Denis Huelle
2007 – 2017

Shepherd’s of the Flock

Blessed to be a Blessing

Listed below are those men who have answered the call

of the Holy Spirit to serve as Pastor to Peace Congregation.

Rev. Richard W. Gerken


Sept. 1965 – Aug.1972

Chaplain Oliver Wetzel


Interim Pastor

Aug. 1972 – Feb. 1973

Rev. Robert J. Merz



Apr. 1973 – July 1986

Rev. Dr. Thomas Hausch



Feb. 1987 – Nov. 1993

Rev. Reinhold Merton Hendricks


Interm Pastor

Nov. 1993 – Feb. 1995

Rev. Jeffrey Pulse


Senior Pastor

Feb. 1995 – June 2007

Rev. Hal G. Ross


Associate Pastor

June 1996 – June 2000

Rev. Steven D. Spencer


Associate Pastor

July 2003 – Aug. 2005

Rev. Denis Huelle


Associate Pastor

July 2006 – Oct. 2007


Oct. 2007 – Aug. 2017