Congregation History

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Rev. Clifford O. Larson is sent by the American Lutheran Church to establish a congregation in the growing Clairemont suburb of San Diego. The first lay staff member for the congregation, a secretary, is hired one week after Rev. Larson arrived.


The first worship gathering is held in a duplex on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. At least 70 people were in attendance.


A Sunday School program is established for the neighborhood children. Soon after, land was purchased for the church campus on what is now the corner of Clairemont Mesa Blvd. and Kleefield Ave.

Construction begins on the first church building on the campus, a multi-purpose worship space. The cornerstone is laid on March 15, 1954.


The first worship gathering on the church campus is held in a less-than half-way completed building. The congregation charter is signed and Clairemont Lutheran Church officially comes into being with 75 members.



Luther Hall and an additional education wing are built on the church campus. 


Construction of the new 300-seat Sanctuary, designed by leading San Diego architect Robert E. Des Lauriers, is complete. The structure incorporated the education building, which was converted into a chapel and offices. The original church building is converted into a multi-purpose Fellowship Hall building.

During the 1960's, Sunday School enrollment surpasses 500 children. Ministry programs for children, high school youth, women and senior citizens are established.


Church membership surpasses 1,000 persons. Additional pastors are called and additional lay staff members are hired. Multiple church programs, including numerous bible and theology classes, are in place.  The handbell choir is established. The church is holding three morning worship gatherings and one evening worship gathering every Sunday. 



The American Lutheran Church holds its convention in San Diego, and approves the groundwork for a national merger with two other Lutheran denominations in the U.S.


The congregation votes to join the newly created Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a result of the merger between the American Lutheran Church, Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in America. 

Throughout the 1980's, music ministries continue to grow with additional choirs.


The congregation becomes home to Mision San Pablo, an outreach ministry to the Hispanic population, which originated at Christ Lutheran Church in Pacific Beach. The congregation would go on to formally adopt and absorb Mision San Pablo into it's own ministries, becoming one congregation worshiping in two langues; "Iglesia Luterana Clairemont"is used for worship and other ministries in Spanish. 

Our current Senior Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Doolittle, is called to our church in 1998 as an Associate Pastor.



A new 48 rank Shantz pipe organ is installed in the Sanctuary, replacing a former Allen digital computer organ.  The organ contains more than 2,700 pipes as well as chimes and a zimblestar. For specifics on the organ, read here


The congregation calls Pastor Jon to be our Senior Pastor, after having served 10 years as Associate Pastor, and after the departure of longtime Senior Pastor, the Rev. David Jorstad.

The move towards family oriented and modern/contemporary worship begins in this decade. 



The Youth Music Program is started when the church hires Katy Lundeen as a music instructor. 


The Rev. Nathaniel Allen is called to be our Bilingual Associate Pastor.


The congregation celebrates 20 years of ministry with Senior Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Doolittle and his family. 


The congregation celebrates 65 years in ministry in the Clairemont suburb of San Diego.