About Messiah Lutheran Church

Our vision at Messiah is truly to be “A Place of Welcome where God’s Love is Shared” by reaching out to all  people to bring them to faith in Christ.  We join in God’s mission of meeting human needs by supporting many local and international mission agencies as well as individual needs within the community. We have a caring congregation that is very supportive of these endeavors, both  in action and financially.

Opportunities for Participation

Opportunities for participation in the life of the congregation are many. They include Adult Study, Worship Team, Prayer Group, Alter Guild, Women’s Group, Men’s Book Study, Bible Studies, Special Music and Quilters. Youth activities include Sunday School, Confirmation Class and Youth Group.   On the lighter side we do have fun at Messiah.  Every Sunday Service is followed by a coffee fellowship. The February Sweetheart Dinner is always a hit along with  a Summer Picnic and Fall Chile Contest.  And of course there is always a potluck or two in between complete with green jello!!


A view from the lawn of Messiah Lutheran Church in Billings, MT

A Brief History of Messiah Lutheran Church

In 1956 the Reverend Ralph Sandgren was charged with the responsibility of establishing a third United Lutheran Church in Billings.  The church was to be located north of Grand Avenue  and west of 21st Street which was the area  allocated to the Northwest Synod by the National Lutheran Council.  Land was purchased on the corner of Rehberg Lane and Colton Boulevard totaling 2.87 acres.  Title to the property was transferred from Dorothy Reberg of Billings to the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod  of the Northwest Synod in Minneapolis and payment was made by the Synod.

At a get acquainted meeting in September the name “Messiah” was chosen for this new church and services began that  month  in Tech Rec. Hall on Rocky Mountain College campus.  Sunday School began in October.

The adoption of the Constitution and election of the Church Council took place on May 12, 1957 and Messiah Lutheran Church was formally organized .  A ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the church building took place in June and the first service was held in the new chapel in November. The facility was a 50’ x 26’ frame structure designed like a house. The intent was to use this building until a standard church structure on the same site could be funded and built.  The “house” would then be used as a parsonage. This was never necessary as a parsonage was built in 1959 and later sold.

Our current Church home was completed in 1974 with additional space added in 1998 to include  a new kitchen, fellowship hall, library, restrooms and office space.

Messiah Lutheran Staff

Karl Guhn

Pastor Karl Guhn of Messiah Lutheran Church

Pastor Karl Guhn began ministry in 1982. His journey as a Pastor has taken him from a small two-point parish in Minnesota, to a small two-point parish in New England, to Hospital Chaplaincy, and finally to Messiah Lutheran Church in Billings. As a chaplain for 14 years Karl served in the Fairview Hospital System in Minnesota and four years (1995-1999) at Billings Clinic.

Karl is a 1978 graduate of Dana College in Blair, Nebraska and a 1982 graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was born and lived a good portion of his early life in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. From 1966-1970 he lived on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. His family returned to New Jersey in 1970 and Karl graduated from high school in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.

The journey of faith has been part of Karl’s life from early on. It had a turning point at age 14 when a family member died at age 6 from cancer. This sent him on a search to understand God’s presence in the midst of suffering. His Lutheran faith served him well in it’s emphasis that the cross of Christ means that God is often most fully present in the painful moments of life. This awareness helped to guide Karl into ministry. He has served at Messiah since July of 2004..

Elisabeth Zant

Elisabeth Zant

I was born and raised in the small town of Hillsboro, Wisconsin. I am the oldest of four children. I have two sisters Alicia (24), Olivia (16), and one brother Joseph (18). My parents Joe and Carmen Zant still live in Hillsboro with my youngest sibling, Olivia. I graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in the spring of 2006 with a B.A. I majored in Religion. Then, I started attending the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) in the fall of 2006. I plan on receiving my M.Div in the spring of 2011 and going through the call process in the ELCA. In the summer of 2007 I completed one unit of CPE at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. CPE was an amazing and challenging experience for me.

During high school and college I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant and felt God’s presence very strongly during that time. I also worked at Sugar Creek Bible Camp during the summers. While I was at Luther, I facilitated the student-led contemporary worship service, which is called FOCUS. At LSTC I have been involved with two advocacy groups, Green Zone, and Thesis 96. For Ministry in Context I learned at Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church. Reformation is an African American Congregation on Chicago’s South Side. It was a phenomenal learning experience for me. When I wasn’t doing school related actives at LSTC I worked as a waitress at a Middle Eastern restaurant where I have come to love falafels. I also spent time baby-sitting for Darius the cutest 6 year-old on the planet!

For fun I enjoy being outside, reading, and listening to music. I especially like live shows of almost any kind. In ministry I am really interested in pastoral care. I find some of my strengths in ministry to be relationship building and the willingness to try new things. I am really excited to be here this year, working part-time at Messiah Lutheran Church and part-time for St. John’s Lutheran Ministries.

The Congregational Council

The Council has responsibility for the general oversight of the life and activities of the congregational and shall be responsible for all financial and property matters.  Pastors in ELCA churches are members of the Church Council with full voice and vote and provide leadership and spiritual direction.

The President

Mike Kilroy: Serves as president of the Congregation and the Church Council as well as chairing the  Executive Committee. In conjunction with the pastor, sets the agenda for the meetings.

The Vice President

Hal Haefer: Assumes the responsibilities of the president in his or her absence.

The Secretary

Open: Keeps accurate minutes and records of all meetings of the congregation and the Council.

The Treasurer

Marlee Kimmell: Using established guidelines, keeps accurate records of all financial transactions of the congregation and provides a written report on a monthly basis to the Church Council, and to the congregation at its annual meeting.

The Financial Secretary

Curtis Whittmeyer: Receives and keeps records of all income from contributing members and depositing the gifts in the appropriate accounts, i.e. general fund, memorial fund, capital fund or other special ministries.  Provides quarterly statement of giving to each contributing member.

Other Council Members

Karl Guhn, Elisabeth Zant, David Benkley, Darrel Coram, Willard Dale, Sylvia Peterson, Eugene Wadas



The Education Committee is responsible for all learning ministries at Messiah paying particular attention to the pre-school and sunday school while being alert to timely and appropriate adult education.  They also recruit teachers and/or leaders and encourage all members to support  these activities

Committee Members: Hal Haefer, Jerry Dye, Willard Dale, Eugene Wadas, Marlee Kimmell, Bob Peterson, Dani Whittmeyer, Valeri Kaae, Carol Dye, Mildred Tombre, Paula Coram, Kevin Stubbs, Krista Prill.


The Finance Committee is responsible for overseeing all financial aspects of the Church.  They look at budget needs and aid in the development of the budget  presented to the congregation for approval at the annual meeting.  They also communicate financial needs to members and friends of Messiah.

Committee Members:  Hal Haefer, Jerry Dye, Eugene Wadas, Marlee Kimmell, Bob Peterson


The Property Committee looks after the well being of the entire church facility. This includes routine structure and ground  maintenance and providing  guidance on the long term needs of our church home.

Committee Members:  Vernon Hanson, Bob Peterson, Ty Jensen, Jerry Hartnett, Jerry Dye, Willard Dale, Kevin Stubbs


The Worship Committee strives to honor and maintain the integrity of the Church year and Lutheran worship.  They work closely with the pastor to select or make recommendations for hymns during various seasons of the year, They recruit and encourage leaders of worship  i.e. singers, choir times, lay readers, alter guild and lay participation.

Committee Members:  Rose Kilroy, Brianne Logan, Mona Nutting, Joyce Hartnett, Meghan Kilroy, Mike Kilroy, Chrystee Ballan, Laura Haefer, Dani Whittmeyer, Valeri Kaa, Carol Dye, Mildred Tombre, Paula Coram, Kevin Stubbs, Krista Prill.


Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a separately incorporated, self-supporting organization within the framework of the constitution of this Church.  Messiah women donate many hours of their time and talents to accomplish their ministry within the congregation and community.

Co-coordinators             Dorothy Hanson and Peg Guhn

Secretary / Reporter       Laura Haefer

Treasurer                          Mary Morup