Our Pastor and Our History
Matthew H. Diegel
Pastor Matthew has served Our Saviours's congregation as its Pastor since November 9, 2015. This continues his call to the former Immanuel-Our Saviour's Lutheran parish, beginning January 1, 1995. He earlier served as Pastor at Christ Lutheran Church, Windsor, Ontario, 1987-1994. Pastor Matthew was ordained in 1987, graduating from Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (Martin Luther University College). He also holds an Honours B.A. in History from Huron College (Huron University College, at Western University), 1983. Matthew enjoys reading, walking, comedy, and cooking. Matthew is the spouse of Kaija Ranta. They are the proud parents of grown daughters Elina, Stacie, and Alexa, and are the loving owners of Chloe, a Golden Retriever.
Our journeys began as the First Norwegian Lutheran Church of Port Arthur, 1907, and Swedish Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1906.
During the 1920s First Norwegian Church of Fort William merged with its sister congregation in Port Arthur.
First Norwegian changed its name to 'Our Saviour's' in 1938, reflecting its changing demographics and outward focus. (Immanuel officially dropped 'Swedish' in the 1950s.)
From 1906-1963, Immanuel formed a joint parish with Zion Lutheran Church of Fort William (Thunder Bay).
In 1963, Zion became a parish on its own, and Immanuel became a part of a parish with Zion (later called St. Mark's) Lutheran Church of Port Arthur (Thunder Bay).
In 1981, St. Mark's became a parish on its own, and Immanuel became part of a federated parish with Our Saviour's.
In 1983, St. Mark's merged into Our Saviour's.
On Nov. 8, 2015, Immanuel merged into Our Saviour's.
Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church
We also celebrate the heritage and gifts shared with us by the former Lutheran congregations of Zion - Thunder Bay (Fort William), Estonian - Thunder Bay (Port Arthur), and Gethsemane - Port Arthur. Gethsemane built the building Our Saviour's now occupies. So too, we give thanks for the former St. Angsarius Scandinanvian Anglican Church, whose building Our Saviour's bought in 1912 and used until moving to Farrand Street in 1969.