The 1950’s and 60’s were a time of booming population in the South Bay. Aerospace and related industries were expanding and hiring employees from the Midwest and other areas of the country. The Home Mission Department of the Evangelical Lutheran Church decided to build a Lutheran church and school to serve the growing needs of the people in the South Bay. The site chosen was an open field of 2.5 acres next to the two-lane road that paralleled the coastline. The church was officially organized on October 21, 1951, and the name “Lutheran Church of the Resurrection” was selected. The charter closed on December 31, 1951, with 99 members and Pastor Lyle Gangsei as the shepherd to this new flock.
“It is my hope and plan to organize a congregation that will appeal to men and women of every background, to present a program that will meet the spiritual, intellectual, and social needs of the individual and the family, and to lead people to a realization that the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the solution to every problem confronting mankind.”
-Pastor Lyle Gangsei
Groundbreaking took place on May 11, 1952, and membership began to grow even before completion of the chapel. The first worship service and Sunday school classes in the new chapel were held on November 3, 1952. What was the chapel then, is today our fellowship room, known as Rygh Hall. It’s named after Pastor Marvin Rygh, the second pastor of this congregation, who served for 28 years.
The congregation surged in number of members in the early 1960’s, and a larger church building was planned, along with alterations to the existing chapel and parish hall. Groundbreaking for the new edifice was March 10, 1963, and the dedication for the current sanctuary took place on March 9, 1964. The height of membership soared to over 1800 people in 1965. While the “Lutheran Church of the Resurrection” is still the official name of our church, most people today know us as “Resurrection Lutheran Church”, or “RLC".
Resurrection Lutheran Church is part of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church or America, www.socalsynod.org, comprised of 120 churches in the greater Southern California area.
The Elementary School of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection opened in 1952. On September 12 of that year, classes began with 48 students enrolled in Kindergarten through 2nd grade.
The school also expanded quickly and in 1956 added eight classrooms, enrolling students in Kindergarten-8th Grade. The preschool was added in 1968 and the schools were renamed Riviera Hall Lutheran School and Riviera Hall Lutheran Preschool. Over 50 years later, enrollment for the schools is over 200 students. We are so proud to have this wonderful school and preschool as part of our ministry.“ To God be the Glory “