In the first ordination in its 66-year history, the First Lutheran Church of Venice ordained and installed Chris Spelbring as its new pastor last month.

Spelbring’s ordination was celebrated July 17 in a gathering of over 200 at the church and a dinner catered by Tony P’s restaurant of Marina del Rey.

Pastor Kenneth Frese, the former pastor of First Lutheran, delivered the sermon at the ceremony. The Rev. Dr. Larry Stoterau, Pacific Southwest District president of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, presided over the ordination.

“After returning to the Midwest to complete my seminary studies, I’m thrilled to be back in Southern California. It was while living here in Los Angeles – and pursuing another career entirely – that I began to feel the call to ministry,” Spelbring said.

“Now that I’m back on the Westside, I look forward to serving our Venice community through our ministry at First Lutheran — whether it’s doing service work or meeting folks for coffee by the beach.”

Spelbring began seminary in 2007. He successfully completed all the requirements for graduation from Concordia Seminary and certification for ordination as a pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod on June 30.