Pastor & Leadership
Pastor – Pastor Kurt Christenson
The Rev. Kurt Robert Christenson holds a BA in Philosophy and English from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN 1983, and received his MDiv from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA 1988.
He was ordained into the ministry of the ELCA by Bishop J. Roger Anderson at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Los Angeles on August 13, 1989. He served two congregations in redevelopment, supported by the ELCA Division for Outreach, now Renewing Congregations: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Ojai, CA 1989-1998 and Bethesda Lutheran Church, Springfield, MA 1999-2006. He served as the Interim at Lutheran Church of the Master, Lancaster, CA 2007-2008 and the Senior Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church and School 2008-2018.
Director of Music Jared Jacobsen
It is with profound sadness that we must share with you news of the unexpected passing of our beloved Jared Jacobsen. Jared died the afternoon of August 27 near Ashtabula, Ohio, the result of a tragic vehicle accident on a rural highway. Jared had just completed his summer at the Chautauqua Institution this past Sunday evening and was visiting friends in the nearby area before returning to San Diego Friday night. He would have resumed his place at our organ bench on September 1 for Pastor Kurt’s first day with us.
Jared has been sharing his gift of music with us at First Lutheran Church since 1996. His was the common thread that wove so many elements of our life in community together. For Jared, music was prayer, and preparing liturgies for worship a personal expression of devotion. We were blessed that we could share Jared with the summer community in Chautauqua, New York—a sacred place for Jared that he had called home since he was 5 years old. Imagine, 65 years of homecomings to the place where he developed his passion for the magnificence of the pipe organ, a place where he was also blessed to become the resident organist also beginning in 1996. Before coming to First, Jared had been the San Diego Civic Organist in the late 1970s and early 1980s, playing the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park every Sunday afternoon, and other concerts throughout the year. He continued to play the Spreckels Organ as a guest recitalist each year.
When Jared returned to San Diego each September, he also resumed another of his favorite jobs as a faculty member at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla. Students referred to him as Mr. J. If the school’s music department was presenting a recital, a choir production, or an excellent presentation of Broadway’s best-known musicals, Jared was at the keyboard bringing light and life to the musical stage. His students will sorely miss his exuberance and knowledge.
Words at such a time fail us. They are inadequate to the depth of the emotions we have arising from within our hearts for the loss of such a special person. Scripture does offer these words of comfort from our Lord Jesus for a time such as this:
“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.”
2021 Church Council
- David Pohl, President
- Kara Oien, Vice President
- Allison Emery, Secretary
- Richard Krueger, Treasurer
- Anke Hartung, Financial Secretary
- Mary Ann Horton
- Richard Phillips
- Carol Schultz