A Brief History


Pastors who have served the congregation are:

Rev. Reinhold Jaech (1944-1948)
Rev. Edward Imme (1948-1951)
Rev. Walter Wendland Sr. (1952-1966)
Rev. Mervin Kellerman (1966-1980)
Rev. William Haak (Vacancy Pastor 1980-1982)
Rev. Laurence Meyer (1982-2005)
Rev. Loel Haak (Intentional Interim Pastor 2005-2006)
Rev. Todd Schroeder (2006 to present)

While Redeemer Lutheran Church officially chartered in 1945, it was born in 1944 as feverish home building in in Richland provided housing to workers for the new Manhattan Project.  The United States government had bought that village as well as the villages of White Bluffs and Hanford and the area farms of the area for the secret Hanford Energy Works to accommodate the Manhattan Project.  The Northwest District commissioned retired pastor Rev. Wert Janssen to conduct Christian worship and spiritually serve God’s people who had been uprooted and relocated from all areas of the country.  As the gathered number of worshipers grew, they called Rev. Reinhold Jaech from Tacoma, WA who was installed as pastor in October, 1944. Response to his ministry led to Redeemer Lutheran Church being chartered on January 22, 1945.


The members met at Lewis and Clark School.  Outgrowing their meeting space, they petitioned the government to use a separate building.  Authorities gave permission for the congregation to use a former Seventh Day Adventist church building which had  been converted to a storage building.  Members needed to ready the building for their use which they did in ten days time.


By 1949 the congregation leased land from the government along Thayer Drive and broke ground in 1950 for a new building. Volunteer laborers did much of the construction.  It was renovated in 1988 to use for improved Christian education, fellowship and administrative space.


By 1954 the government prepared to sell homes in Richland for private ownership. In 1955 the congregation purchased the land it had been leasing and in 1956 built the first home (its parsonage) which the Tri-City Herald featured as the ‘first home built on privately owned land’ in the city. The walk-out basement provided increased Sunday School space which was used for that purpose until 1982.


A new church building was erected in 1963 and is the current facility for worship and Christian education purpose.  It was renovated and enlarged in 2005.


At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 Pastor Todd Schroeder, Director of Music Dan Niebuhr and IT Specialist Nathan Gruzs installed equipment to live stream worship services and Bible studies on You Tube to proclaim God’s Word around the world.


Prominent servants of the Lord in the congregation’s history were Evelyn Hartman who served as President of the International Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) from 1967-71 and Teacher Art Dawald who, until 2023, coached the most winning Richland High School basketball teams and in a 1993 Tri-City feature story called him ‘a legendary figure in high school basketball around the state.”


Former Pastor Laurence Meyer served as Northwest District Vice-President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod from 1985-1988 and from 1994-2009,


Redeemer’s Lydia Guild has hosted and co-hosted several Washington-Alaska District LWML conventions.  The Men’s Club has also hosted the Washington-Alaska Lutheran Laymen’s League – Lutheran Hour Ministries convention.