History of Mt Olive


Photo: Hoisted high by a mechanical lift, the workers place the outdoor cross into position.
LCMS cross is lifted into position in 2012.

A New Congregation in 1965

Rev. Richard Raedeke began proclaiming Christ Jesus to the residents of West Yakima and the West Valley area in June of 1965.  By September he had interested 50 families in starting a new congregation.  On September 21, 1965, one hundred, twenty-four people gathered at Summitview School for the first worship service as Mount Olive Lutheran Church.

Present Location 1967

The Holy Spirit guided this new family of believers, giving them a vision of what could be. During the next two years they continued to use Summitview School as the base for the ministry God had given them until they dedicated the present site and building to the Lord in 1967.

Located in Yakima’s West Valley area, Mt. Olive continues to reach out to the greater Yakima area. The church experienced steady growth since its founding in 1965 but lost some numbers from about 2012 to 2014 during the period we searched for a new pastor.

We are quietly determined “to be active disciples of Christ by attracting and leading the non-churched to Christ, encouraging uncommitted Christians to consecrate themselves to God’s plan for their lives, while providing a climate for spiritual growth which equips believers for worship and a dynamic ministry serving the Yakima area and beyond.” 

Constitution -2002

Click on this link to view.

Mt. Olive Lutheran Church Constitution and Bylaws

Photo of the A-Frame Sanctuary as seen from the street
Sanctuary seen from Tieton Drive before the current LCMS cross was installed


Mount Olive Lutheran Church’s original building only included today’s sanctuary.  Over the years since the founding of Mount Olive Lutheran Church and building on the current site, we have expanded our building several times to meet the needs of a growing family of believers.

Photo from the Narthex of the Fireside Room entrance including young ladies with palm branches in their hands
Fireside Room entrance from the Narthex on Palm Sunday

The east wing, which included classrooms and a small fellowship hall, then the Fireside Room, and then the Narthex were built during the first decades after our founding.


In September 1992, Mt. Olive established a Christian Preschool.

West Wing
Photo of the west wing showing the NW entrance with gravel parking lot
West Wing addition to our building near completion in 1995

Photo of a crane lifting roof trusses into place during construction of the west wing

Construction began in April 1995, with Laborers for Christ, on the West Wing classrooms.  They finished that project in the early fall of the same year.  Member Dick Thomas served as the project manager.

Aerial photo of Mt Olive Church with the west wing unfinished and the current Child Care building across the parking lot.
This Aerial photo was taken while the Preschool wing was still under construction.

We also hired a contractor to build the house to the north of the main church building, originally used as a parsonage, that now houses the SonShine Child Care program.

Photo of the Preschool Wing from Tieton Dr before the playground was built or the driveway paved
Preschool Wing from Tieton Dr. before the driveway was paved or the playground equipment installed.
Fellowship Hall

The Mt. Olive congregation started construction on our new Fellowship Hall project, with help from Laborers for Christ, in April 2006. Dick Thomas managed the project for his home congregation. He said that 50 people from our congregation participated in helping to lift the first wall into place by hand.

The workers finished the project and the dedication of our new Fellowship Hall was held in early 2007. On the new Fellowship Hall, 

Picture of the plaque placed on the newest addition to our building saying "Built to the Glory of God with the help of volunteers and Laborers for Christ April 2007"
This plaque commemorates the contributions of the members of our congregation and the Laborers for Christ to building our new Fellowship Hall.

In all of these building projects, many members of the congregation contributed a great deal of the labor. We thank you!


At MT. Olive we display photos of previous pastors who have led our congregation in the hallway between the Narthex and the Fellowship Hall.


Richard Raedke 1965-69, Robert Nicholus 1969-1978, Lyle Stuerhemberg 1978-84, Wallace Misterek 1984-1993, James Zirkle 1994-96, Paul Schmitz 1996-98 Vacancy Pastor, Toby Joeckel 1998-2011, Victor Lillich 2005-2011 -Visitation Pastor.

Photo of a framed portrait of a smiling man with a pastor's collar
Richard Raedke 1965-1969
Photo of a framed picture of a man with glasses wearing a tie and jacket
Robert Nicholus 1969-1978
Photo of a framed picture of a man seated wearing a jacket and a pastor's collar
Lyle Stuerhemberg 1978-1984
Photo of a framed picture of a man with glasses and a mustache wearing a jacket and a tie
Wallace Misterek 1984-1993
Photo of a framed picture of a man with a beard and mustache and wearing a pastor's collar
James Zirkle 1994-1996
Photo of a framed picture of a man with glasses wearing a jacket and tie
Paul Schmitz 1996-98 Vacancy Pastor
Photo of a framed picture of a man with a mustache dressed in black with a pastor's collar
Toby Joeckel 1998-2011
Photo of a framed picture of a man with a white shirt and jacket
Victor Lillich 2005-2011 -Visitation Pastor

The members of Mt. Olive give thanks for all the Godly men who have guided and led our congregation through the years. They gave to us generously of their time and talents and so we are grateful. Thank you!

Our current Pastor Ken:
Portrait of Rev. Kenneth L. Williamson wearing glasses and a gray jacket over a white shirt with a pastor's collar.
Pastor Ken

Kenneth L. Williamson is the current pastor 2014—present.

Pastor Ken summed up the history of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in prayer during a worship service in his first year here:

“Heavenly and gracious Father, I thank you that you are a faithful God, that the story You are writing here at Mt. Olive is a testimony to Your faithfulness and how You have guided us along step by step, all the way, since 1965 with the founding, to the building of the educational wing in 1995, through the building of the fellowship hall in 2007 and now with your calling of me as your 8th pastor.  Lord God, we trust You completely to guide us in the future.” 

—30 Mar 2014 Sermon


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