ICL History

A brief history

As you will see on the signs and the inscription at the entrance of this historic building, we are not the first church to meet here. The building was erected over 100 years ago by the Swiss Evangelical Methodist Church. That congregation had formed in Luzern in the late 1800’s. Through the years the Methodist Church periodically offered services for English speaking tourists visiting the city. Beginning in the early 1970/s during the ministry of Herr Denkel the English Service for tourists became a regular summer offering.

In 1978 with the encouragement of Herr Denkel a group of foreign teachers at the International School of Luzern were encouraged to gather for worship every Sunday throughout the year. Herr Denkel arranged to have students from the Baptist Seminary near Zurich to come and preach to the group on Sundays. This was done for two years as a part of the Methodist congregation.

Then in 1980 Herr Denkel encouraged the English group to incorporate as an independent English language church. As a part of a student project David Chawner led the small group, then called the International Fellowship of Luzern (ICF) through the process of legally setting up a church.

A rotation of about eight student pastors came until 1984.

  • Herm Luben was our first full time minister. He came from the United States and pastored here from 1984-1987. Herm has gone to be with the Lord but not before touching many lives here.
  • Eric Wright joined from the UK in 1987 and served for 6 years. During that time the name was changed to the International Church of Lucerne.
  • Bud and Donna Palmberg came from the US and served from 1993-2000.
  • They were followed by Ian and Jill Dodge from New Zealand from 2000 through 2006.
  • Then Brian and Bonnie Post from the US served the church from 2006-2008. In 2008 the Methodist Church was closed and ICL was invited to take over the use of the entire church facility.
  • The Palmberg’s returned for 5 months of interim ministry followed by four months of interim ministry with Randy and Joyce Klassen.
  • From July 2009 – July 2016 Reagan and Rachel Wilson came to Luzern following 15 years of ministry to missionary families around the world.
  • In October 2016 Markus Schmid and family came to lead us from Adelaide, South Australia after more than 12 years serving churches in Australia.

Today ICL is a thriving congregation of more than 100 family units. We are united by our desire to love and serve God through Jesus Christ and to worship Him in English. We come from six continents, more than thirty countries, and who knows how many denominational backgrounds. We work hard to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.