History

American Lutheran Church held its first worship service on July 13, 1941.  According to founding Pastor T. O. Danitschek, it was originally going to be named Grace Lutheran Church.  However, when canvassing the neighborhood and welcoming and inviting new residents to join them for worship, the question was often asked if they were the German Lutherans.  Since patriotism was a very important issue during World War II, the name of the congregation was changed to American Lutheran Church.  Pastor Danischek served as Pastor from 1941 to 1964.  Succeeding Pastors have been Pastor Creatis Shira, Pastor Fred Henke, Pastor Randolph Hahn, Pastor Laura Gentry, and most recently Pastor Ron White who served the congregation since 1981 and retired in June of 2009.

In the early years, many of those who joined the congregation were Lutherans who came to the Burbank area during World War II to work for Lockheed Aircraft.  Today, Burbank is a major media center, including NBC, ABC, Warner Bros. Disney, and many other media related businesses.  The membership of the congregation reflects the change that has taken place in the city over the past 15 years from a major aerospace employer to entertainment and media employer.

In 1946, the congregation founded American Lutheran Elementary School.  Initially, the school primarily served members of the congregation, who sought a quality education for their children in a Christian context.  As the years past, more and more of the students came from families who were not members of the congregation.  As the school grew, many of these families became members of American Lutheran Church.  American Lutheran Elementary School continued to offer a quality academic education in a Christian environment for 60 years, until its closure at the end of the 2006 school year.  The closure of the school was the result of a declining population of elementary age children in Burbank, a consequence of high housing costs.

The congregation’s facilities include a 300 seat sanctuary, completed in 1955, an Education and Administration building completed in 1964, and a Fellowship Hall which was purchased and remodeled in 1978.  In September of 2012 the church began leasing its former school building to Brighton Hall, a K-12 college prep school for professionals.  In addition, the church hosts Cheerleading, Self-defense, 12 Step programs, Zumba, Kickboxing, Behavior Buddies dog training, and other community groups.  The congregation continues to seek ways to witness God’s love for all people through word and service.  Its goal is summarized in its mission statement: American Lutheran Church is called to witness the Good News of God’s love through service in our community and beyond.