Names are important, for they have much to tell. When the members of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, chose their new name, they arrived at more than just a name. The name RESURRECTION was and continues to be a confession of the fact that our Savior Jesus Christ is risen.
The Church of the Lutheran Confession had a presence in the Coastal Bend area of Corpus Christi as early as 1969 with Zion Lutheran Church. When the members of Zion closed the church and sold the property in 1986, they tested the spirits with other Lutheran teaching. When they found it wanting, they were led to start again with the establishment of another CLC congregation in 1991. A new beginning was another reason for the name Resurrection Lutheran Church.
Over the years, Pastors Daniel Fleischer, Arvid Gullerud, Jay Hartmann, Paul Larsen, Dale Redlin, Norbert Reim, and Andrew Schaller have served Resurrection. The current pastor, Edward Starkey, was installed on Resurrection Sunday, April 5, 2015 by vacancy pastor Paul Fleischer. Pastor emeritus Daniel Fleischer served both Zion and Resurrection for a total of over twenty years. Resurrection has also made their pastors available to the vacancies at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Weslaco, Texas.
Located at 201 Princess Drive in the Annaville area of Corpus Christi, the church property includes about an acre of land. The church building was originally a home. The parsonage sits next door. Cardinals and hummingbirds are the most regular outdoor visitors. The neighborhood is directly behind a 400-acre agricultural field that is rotated in cotton and sorghum. There are seven oil refineries fairly close by.
Most of the twenty-eight members live in a radius of about forty miles in different directions from the church, and five younger members are studying or working away from home. There are currently few non-communicant members, though Sunday School teachers, led by Marian Burkhardt’s forty years of experience, are always prepared for visiting children.
Almost sixty percent of Corpus Christi is Hispanic; therefore Spanish is frequently heard. Two Resurrection members are first-language Spanish speakers. Three members, including our oldest members, Stella Cothran and Anita Villarreal, live in assisted-living communities where Resurrection holds services each week.
Like all CLC congregations, Resurrection Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi has the primary purpose of proclaiming the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our presence and outreach is to a city whose name is Latin for “Body of Christ.” Locally there are many confessions. Roman Catholics, Baptists and other reformed denominations, along with indifferent unbelievers, make up the majority of the population.
The Coastal Bend region of Texas is on the Gulf of Mexico, literally at the bend. Heading north, the coastline turns to the east at Corpus Christi. The population of Corpus Christi is over 320,000, and continues to grow. A good number of “winter Texans” are in the area from October through April.
Along with ranching and farming, there is much industry. Oil and gas refineries are obvious reminders to visitors that this is an area that supplies much fuel for our nation. There is also a great amount of support industry providing needed supplies for the energy sector. Gulf water commercial fishing is not what it once was, but local fishermen still provide an ample catch, and sport fishing is also very popular both from the shoreline and by boat.
Plants, flowers, and numerous kinds of birds give a particularly pretty finish to this part of Texas. The lights of the city coastline, especially the changing colors of the Harbor Bridge, also make for an attractive evening scene. Nearby are the award-winning Texas State Aquarium and the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Lexington, now a permanent museum. There is also an active military presence in the area with the Naval Air Station for training pilots. The Army Depot is the major helicopter repair station in the US, and the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol has a large presence that includes Resurrection member Alan Durham.
Padre and Mustang Islands are just off the coast, and offer fine beaches and ample opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation. Longtime members John and Jackie Fisher have operated Fortuna Bay Bed and Breakfast on North Padre Island for years. The whole Coastal Bend and South Texas offers a large variety of short-term and long-term lodging.
The name Texas is from the Caddo Indian word teyshas, which means “friends.” Your friends in Texas at Resurrection Lutheran Church welcome you. Services are at 10:30 A.M., Bible Class and Sunday School at 9:30 A.M. At Resurrection Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi, Bibles are free—one verse at time. Forgiveness of all sin at the cross of Calvary, through the risen and resurrected Savior Jesus Christ, is our sure hope and the basis of our outreach!
Edward Starkey is pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.