A Brief History

Our History

Messiah Lutheran Church was started in January 1977 as an ALC (American Lutheran Church).  In September the congregation chose the name Messiah Lutheran Church of North Fort Myers, consisting of 57 baptized, 53 confirmed, and 24 associate members.

In 1978 the first settled pastor, Rev. Perry Hanson, accepted a call to Messiah,  and a building committee was formed.  Land was purchased on Pine Island Rd. at Corbett Rd. Groundbreaking took place on June 17, 1979, and on Dec. 9, 1979, the first service was held in the new church (attendance 229), which was dedicated on March 2, 1980.

Pastor Harold Popp led Messiah to be involved in many mission and service projects, including Refugee Resettlement, community worship services at various parks, and German and Norwegian worship services. Rapid growth made it necessary to build a new sanctuary in 1986. With the merger in 1988, Messiah became a member of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.) The first of Messiah’s concert series was started in 1988; Donna and Art DuBrule started Christmas and Easter Dioramas; the Kid's Connection Daycare was started in 1993. The Christmas Diorama is still presented annually in December.

Pastor Rusty May was called to serve as pastor in 2004. Under his leadership the congregation continued to thrive and flourish as they explored new ways of ministering to the community together. Pastor Rusty led the congregation until his retirement in 2016. Pastor Gary LaCroix served the interim from 2016 to 2018.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the congregation called Pastor Richard Leseganich in May of 2018 to serve as pastor. He joined Messiah as pastor in July of 2018 and has brought a fresh perspective to the ministry life of Messiah. Under his guidance we have established Messiah as a Stephen Ministry Congregation.

The love of God in Christ has surely been evident in the service of Messiah members to one another, to the church, to the community and the world. Truly we have found the Messiah and He dwells among us as He continues to lead us in our joys and sorrows.