Atonement Lutheran began as a mission church in 1963 with a vision to bring the hope we share in Christ to all. In March of 1964, Pastor Ed Novak and 229 charter members celebrated the official beginning of our ministry in the Billings Heights. As Atonement grew, we broke ground on a new sanctuary at 407 Wicks Lane in 1975 and called our first associate pastor. In the following years, we built classrooms and purchased hymnals. During this same time, Leo Olson designed the unique metal crosses and door pulls that became a visual part of Atonement’s heritage.
Over the last six decades, Atonement achieved many milestones in our journey of faith and mission, including but not limited to: paying in full and burning the church mortgage; calling our first full-time Youth Director; building a one-room school in Tanzania from funds collected by our Sunday School; opening Atonement Lutheran Preschool; forming the Friendship Club, Men’s Square, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) and other group ministries; support for World Hunger, the Rescue Mission, the American Bible Society and Love Offerings. We also began mission partnerships with St. John’s Lutheran Church of Jordan and St. John’s Lutheran Church of Poplar, as well as provided a space for St. Bernard’s to conduct Saturday evening mass while awaiting completion of their building. Community involvement grew as well, with Atonement supporting several groups, joining a coalition of churches to help build Habitat for Humanity homes and providing housing and hope to homeless individuals and families.
Our core worship, education and evangelism ministries grew beyond our expectations, exceeding the capacity of the original church building and resulting in the formation of a building committee in 1992. In a huge step of faith, Atonement purchased 22 acres in the High Sierra subdivision in 2002 to expand our reach and meet the needs and of the global community. With an eye to future expansion and relocation, we launched the Building on the Hope we Share in Christ capital campaign and developed a partnership with St. John’s United. This partnership included donating nine acres for a senior independent living complex as well as preserving Faith Lutheran Church of Box Elder, MT. During this same time, Atonement began renting to and then sold, in 2010, the Wicks Lane property to City Church, sharing space and time for services and activities. Through faithfulness and generosity, we broke ground in July of 2012, and in a defining moment, moved sacred items and documents on foot from the original building to the new church on October 23, 2013. Three years later in October 2016, St. John’s United opened WyndStone, its second senior living community, fulfilling the vision for a multi-generational campus. While the vision for Atonement may expand, our faith, values and mission remain the same…to continue bringing the hope we share in Christ to all!