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In a 1972 edition of the Morgan Hill Times, a brief article invited anyone interested in the formation of a Lutheran Church to call a specific telephone number and five families responded to that invitation. From there, a committee was designated to contact the American Lutheran Church Office of Missions for further information and assistance.
In 1973, Reverend Gary L. Berkland was called as the Mission Developer and installed as the Pastor of Advent Lutheran Church. Regular Sunday morning worship services began and Advent Lutheran Church became an official organization in the American Lutheran Church on October 13, 1973. In 1974, the new congregation purchased a site at 16870 Murphy Avenue in Morgan Hill and the groundbreaking ceremony took place on September 8, 1974.
The Morgan Hill Parent Child Nursery School co-op formed in 1975 and has rented space from Advent from its beginning until now. 12 step groups have also had a home in spaces at Advent. The Rev. Eric Walbolt was called and served Advent Lutheran as Associate Pastor from 1988-1991.
From the beginning, community outreach has been stressed by the congregation with continuing expansion of programs necessitating the construction of further buildings. As a relatively young church undergoing rapid growth, both stability and consistency were provided by the founding Pastor, Gary Berkland, who retired in 2001 and by the current Pastor, Reverend Anita R. Warner, who was ordained and installed as the Associate Pastor in 1994, then issued a new call as Pastor in 1999.
Through Christ’s Love
became the mission statement of Advent Lutheran Church in 1997. It continues to be the vision of the church, as Advent Lutheran Church builds, trains and equips their people, through transformation, and by transformation, to share the love of God and the grace given through Jesus Christ to the community and the world.
With growth and stability, the congregation has placed an importance on expanding ministries. Lay leaders, working with lay staff and the pastor, have developed small groups for Bible study, learning and support; community outreach programs such as the Community Table and Sew Seeds; lay caring ministries such as Pastoral Partners, Lay Eucharistic Ministers and Healing Prayer Ministers.
Spiritual Life ministers in the congregation have helped individuals in the congregation learn and live their vocations; music and drama ministry leadership, and children and youth ministries leadership. In retirement, Rev. Lee Tyler provides support as a Parish Associate since 2010 a few hours each week.
In the spring of 2015, a newly approved local charter school, Voices College Bound Academy, a dual immersion (Spanish-English) school, approached Advent about renting space for their inaugural year. The school grew out of a grassroots organizing effort of local Latino families who are seeking better educational options for their children. Providing for a rental arrangement was the first step in developing relationships and partnership with this new public school.
Advent’s two senior pastors have been leaders in local ecumenical relationships, and Pastor Warner is a leader in Interfaith relationships and events.
Current strategic planning has led the congregation to articulate our core values and expand mission outreach through a focus on Growing The Beloved Community in South County through service and the creative arts. Look for a new initiative developing to support this focus!