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About Us

Christ Lutheran Church is known as the little white church with the red doors.


We're a 73 year-old congregation of God's baptized people in the heart of Bergen County, New Jersey. We are called to do God’s mission among all people where there is a need. We are called to build a community of love with others in the congregation, neighborhood, work place and world. We are centered in God's word and Sacraments through our worship and prayer. Jesus is our Savior, Lord and friend.


We welcome everyone to join with us in celebrating God's love in Jesus for all people. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate in God's mission which includes: proclaiming God's word through baptizing, evangelizing, preaching and teaching; serving our neighbor in need and advocating for justice and peace. We are a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).


We truly welcome all to join us at our Worship Service and ministries.

Our History

May 28, 2023   The Rev. Jonathan Westerlund was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's ninth pastor.

2016   The Rev. Hayley Bang was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's eighth pastor.


2001   The Rev. Kent Klophaus was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's seventh pastor.


1990   The Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Sinnott was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's sixth pastor.


1982   The Rev. Walter J. Maier was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's fifth pastor.


1976   The Rev. Dr. Richard O. Scherch was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's fourth pastor.


1971   The Rev. Willliam R.Smeltz was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's third pastor.


1954  The Rev. Stover Crouthhamel was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's second pastor.


June 3, 1951   Pastor Walter Kloetzli was called to serve as Christ Lutheran's first pastor.

In June 1950, the Rev. Walter E. Kloetzli, Jr. was called as mission developer under the supervision of the new York Synod Board of Home Missions. On June 4, 1950, a few weeks before Pastor Kloetzli's arrival, the first Sunday School session was held in the Paramus Boys Club under the auspices of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, River Edge, and its pastor, the Rev. J. Bruce Weaver. Attendance at the first session was 20; the second 50; and before the end of the year had climbed to 150.

Pastor Kloetzli conducted the first church service in the Boys Club on July 2, 1950, with 48 worshippers attending. The parsonage at 311 Farview Avenue was purchased on July 14, 1950, for use as a house-chapel, additional Sunday Church School area and the home of the parsonage family.

Our organizational meeting was held on September 26, 1950, at the Boys Club, conducted by the Rev. Eugene C. Kreider, Home Missions Superintendent of the New York Synod. At this meeting, the congregation selected the name Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paramus, NJ, and after adoption of the constitution, the congregation voted to incorporate. The charter membership was closed on October 15, 1950, with an enrollment of 136 persons. The next milestone came on October 22, 1950, when the organizational service was held on the grounds of the then Farview School, with more than 200 attending. The congregation was officially recognized by the representative of the organizing synod, the Rev. Eugene C. Kreider.

On February 21, 1951, the Rev. Edwin H. Knudten, DD, president of the newly formed New Jersey Synod, ULCA, conducted the meeting at which the congregation unanimously called pastor Kloetzli as its first pastor. At the same meeting, a recommendation was approved to proceed with plans for the erection of a church building as the necessary funds could be procured.

In April 1951, the first building fund canvass was conducted, resulting in pledges for $14,000.

The first Communion Service was conducted on Sunday, May 13, 1951.


On Sunday, June 3, 1951, Pastor Kloetzli was installed at a service in Grace Lutheran Church in River Edge.

The first section of the property of our present church was purchased by the New Jersey Synod for the congregation in August 1950. After studying several methods of providing a church building in the shortest possible time, the Church Council recommended to the congregation a design created by the noted church architect, T. Norman Mansell, of Philadelphia, PA. At a special congregational meeting on May 24, 1951, the plot plan and building plan were accepted. At a special meeting on May 24, 1951, the congregation authorized the purchase of additional property south of the original Farview Avenue site.

The first Vatican Church School, sponsored by Christ Lutheran Church and Arcola Methodist Church, was conducted  July 10-19, 1951. The Sunday Church School continued sessions through the summer.

The Women of the Church held its organizational meeting on September 18, 1951, the organization being divided into five groups; Bible Study, World Christianity, Child Study, Church and Community, and Altar Guild.

Another important milestone was reached on September 23, 1951, when 125 persons attended the groundbreaking service for the new chapel. The Rev. Henry J. Berkobin, PhD. a member of the New Jersey Synod Board of Home Missions, gave the principal address.

To be continued....

Our Pastors Throughout the Years

Rev. Walter Kloetzli


Rev. Dr. Richard O. Scherch


Rev. Kent Klophaus


Rev. Stover Crouthamel


Rev. Walter J. Maier


Rev. Hayley Bang


Rev. William R. Smeltz


Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Sinnott


Rev. Jonathan Westerlund


The First Fifty Years

As Paramus was becoming a suburban sprawl
And homes were spreading like ants on a crawl,
Families were arriving on an hourly basis
With cars and vans and packing cases.
And when they gave the area a search
They met and said “We need a church.”
Meetings were held and Synod sent aid.
People were canvassed and surveys were made.
Two congregations were started, that seemed to be best.
Christ Lutheran in the East and Prince of Peace in the West.
This was done, everyone being of one accord
In order to fulfill the Word of the Lord.

There were gatherings to be held and Sunday School sessions,
And fund raising and services in various locations.
Properties were bought with buildings in place
That served as temporary parsonage space.
A church was built for the group in the East,
While a garage became a chapel over in the West.
All the work focused on the same reward
A place to hear the Word of the Lord.

The congregations grew according to plan
As the area population continued to expand.
And most were young families with lads and lasses
Increasing the size of the Sunday School classes.
So a school was added at the Christ Church location,
While Prince of Peace built a church and ed. wing creation.
Doing all that they could afford
So as to pass on to others the Word of the Lord.

The next part of the story is harder to tell,

For it’s of a time when things did not go so well.

When the congregation sizes stopped their climb

And reversed direction into a decline.

But needs and expenses were still in full bloom

With mortgages whose payments had begun to balloon.

So the leaders met to see what could be done

And decided that the two churches must become one.

Prince of Peace had to close its doors

And all their hopes and plans were no more.

And Christ Lutheran reorganized with what was left

Serving the people, both East and West.

Keeping the focus on the road

Of preaching and teaching the Word of the Lord.

Now as for the church of today
We all see it in our very own way.
We’re active, we’re busy, we’re beginning to grow
We still have a long, long way to go.
We collect food, serve some dinners
And Senior Christians look for “Jeopardy” winners.
We have ESL and Sunday School classes
And Sociables for older lad and lasses.
And Easter breakfasts and Advent fun
Along with a Summer Program for everyone.
There is a lot of cleanup and tons of weeding
And a cabin at Beisler that needed fixing.
There is a Choir, the Library and lots, lots more
It’s hard to maintain an accurate score.
We have good help, quality’s stellar
Need lots more, men in particular.
Whatever the load, it’s always the top straw
To always recall the Word of the Lord.

Now tomorrow is very near at hand
And it’s prudent to have a plan.
To meet its very particular need
And on this the Council has been busy indeed.
But what is the feeling, what is the sense
As to what our church will be fifty years hence.
Will it be a very large cathedral
Or only existing in an electronic ethereal?
With sermons and chat rooms in cyber space
Where people rarely meet face to face?
I pray that whatever the form, or the act
The Word of the Lord remains intact.
So please join us as we send up cheers
During this semi-centennial year.
At the dinners and picnics and other feasts
I’m sure that there will be plenty of seats.
Seek out our leaders, give them a hand
You still may be able to add to the plans.
Above all join us at the services when
We all shall hear the Word of the Lord again.

©2008 J.F. Michael


What Lutherans Believe

Some brief definitions for Christianity and Lutheranism

Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus is God's son, sent by God to become human like us.  In his life and being he broke through the prison of sinfulness and thus restored the relationship of love and trust that God intended to exist between himself and his children. Though he is eternal, with God at the beginning of time, he was born on earth of a virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was at once truly God and truly human.

The man, Jesus of Nazareth, lived and died in Palestine during the governorship of the Roman administrator, Pontius Pilate; we believe him to be the Messiah chosen by God to show his love for the world. He is God, yet with all the limitations of being human. His relationship to God, however, was not one of sin but rather of perfect obedience to the Father's will.  For the sake of a sinful world, Jesus was condemned to death on the cross.

But death could not contain him. On the third day after his execution, the day Christians observe as Easter, Jesus appeared among his followers as the risen, living Lord.  By this great victory God has declared the Good News of reconciliation. The gap between all that separates us from our Creator has been bridged. Thus, Christ lives today wherever there are people who faithfully believe in him and wherever the Good News of reconciliation is preached and the Sacraments administered.

Why a Lutheran Church?
Martin Luther (b. November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, d. February 18, 1546 in Eisleben) is known as the Father of Protestantism. He had studied to become a lawyer before becoming an Augustinian monk in 1505, and was ordained a priest in 1507. While continuing his studies in pursuit of a Doctor of Theology degree, he discovered significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the theology and practices of the church. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the church door at Wittenberg University to debate 95 theological issues. Luther's hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible.

What started as an academic debate escalated to a religious war, fueled by fiery temperaments and violent language on both sides. As a result, there was not a reformation of the church but a separation. “Lutheran” was a name applied to Luther and his followers as an insult but adopted as a badge of honor by them instead.

Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and still hold to the basic principles of theology and practice espoused by Luther, such as Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura:

  • We are saved by the grace of God alone — not by anything we do;

  • Our salvation is through faith alone — we only need to believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who died to redeem us; 

  • The Bible is the only norm of doctrine and life — the only true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.

Another of Luther's principles was that Scriptures and worship need to be done in the language of the people.

Many Lutherans still consider themselves as a reforming movement within the Church catholic, rather than a separatist movement, and Lutherans have engaged in ecumenical dialogue with other church bodies for decades.

Luther's Small Catechism, which contains teachings on the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayers, is still used to introduce people to the Lutheran faith, as is the Augsburg Confession.  These and other Lutheran confessional documents included in the Book of Concord may be ordered from the ELCA Publishing House at 800/328-4648.

How Do Lutherans Look Upon the Bible?
To borrow a phrase from Luther, the Bible is “the manger in which the Word of God is laid.” While Lutherans recognize differences in the way the Bible should be studied and interpreted, it is accepted as the primary and authoritative witness to the church's faith. Written and transcribed by many authors over a period of many centuries, the Bible bears remarkable testimony to the mighty acts of God in the lives of people and nations. In the Old Testament is found the vivid account of God's covenant relationship to Israel. In the New Testament is found the story of God's new covenant with all of creation in Jesus.

The New Testament is the first-hand proclamation of those who lived through the events of Jesus' life, death, and Resurrection. As such, it is the authority for Christian faith and practice. The Bible is thus not a definitive record of history or science. Rather, it is the record of the drama of God's saving care for creation throughout the course of history.

What Do Lutherans Believe About Creation?
Lutherans believe that God is Creator of the universe. Its dimensions of space and time are not something God made once and then left alone. God is, rather, continually creating, calling into being each moment of each day.

Human beings have a unique position in the order of creation. As males and females created in God's image, we are given the capacity and freedom to know and respond to our creator. Freedom implies that we can choose to respond to God either positively or negatively.

“Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice,” an ELCA Statement on caring for God's creation, is available from the ELCA Distribution Service (800/328-4648) free (+ postage and handling). Order Code: 67-1185.

Where Do Lutherans Stand on the Question of Sin?
Lutherans believe that all people live in a condition which is the result of misused freedom. “Sin” describes not so much individual acts of wrongdoing as fractured relationships between the people of creation and God. Our every attempt to please God falls short of the mark. By the standard of the Law, of which the Ten Commandments are a classic summary, God expresses his just and loving expectations for creation, and our failure to live up to those expectations reveals only our need for God's mercy and forgiveness.

What Sacraments Do Lutherans Accept?
Lutherans accept two Sacraments as God-given means for penetrating the lives of people with his grace. Although they are not the only means of God's self-revelation, Baptism and Holy Communion are visible acts of God's love.

In Baptism, and it can be seen more clearly in infant Baptism, God freely offers his grace and lovingly establishes a new community. In Holy Communion — often called the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist — those who come to the table receive in bread and wine the body and blood of their Lord. This gift is itself the real presence of God's forgiveness and mercy, nourishing believers in union with their Lord and with each other.

Do Lutherans Believe in Life After Death?
While there is much we do not and cannot know about life beyond the grave, Lutherans do believe that life with God persists even after death. Judgment is both a present and future reality, and history moves steadily towards God's ultimate fulfillment.

This of course is a great mystery, and no description of what life may be like in any dimension beyond history is possible. Anxiety for the future is not a mark of faith. Christians should go about their daily tasks, trusting in God's grace and living a life of service in his name.

What Must a Person Do to Become a Christian?
Jesus said, “Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

What Must a Person Do to Become a Lutheran?
To become a Lutheran, only Baptism and instruction in the Christian faith is required. If you are already baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it will be necessary only to attend a membership class in a Lutheran congregation and thus signify your desire to become a part of its community. Active members of other Lutheran congregations usually need only to transfer their membership.


For more information, please call the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church Office at 201.262.0138 or email us at


Adapted from “What Lutherans Believe,” published by Evangelical Outreach, Division for Parish Services of the former Lutheran Church in America, now out of print. Developed by the Department for Communication, ELCA (4/98)

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