MLC- The First Ten Years

The First Ten Years of Mandarin Lutheran Church

Incorporated in 1985, Mandarin Lutheran Church has been a part of the Mandarin Community for 37 years. From our humble beginnings, worshipping at the Catholic Center in Mandarin, to our current 3.6 acre property on San Jose Boulevard, MLC has grown and continues to be a church who welcomes all.


brochure announcing the formation of a new church in Mandarin, Jacksonville, Florida

Invitation to join Mandarin Lutheran Church

In the early 1980s, the American Lutheran Church sent a young pastor, Lee Magneson, to begin a new Lutheran church in Mandarin. Joining Pastor Lee were his wife, Julie, and their young children, Robbie and Missy. Pastor Lee immediately began calling on virtually every household in Mandarin to introduce himself and Mandarin’s new church, known then as the Lutheran Ministry of Mandarin.






First worship service at MLC

The first worship service of the young congregation was held January 6, 1985, at the Catholic Center at the northeast corner of Old. St. Augustine and Greenland Roads. The Diocese of St. Augustine generously allowed the congregation to meet there until they had a building of their own. Marilyn Whitford’s family was among those who attended services at the Catholic Center.






The future site of Mandarin Lutheran

In December 1985, the church was incorporated as Mandarin Lutheran Church and 11 months later it closed on 3.6 acres at the present location.







Fellowship Hall Groundbreaking- 1987

Those shown in this photo include Pastor Lee Magneson (far left) and Pastor Dave Winter (second from right). In 1987, construction was completed on the current Fellowship Hall. It served as a multi-purpose facility for MLC and was also rented out to Merry Pat’s Preschool during the week.







Sunday service at MLC

Holding two Sunday services (8:00 and 11:00), with Sunday School in between, presented logistical challenges. Each Sunday morning the space had to be changed from the preschool arrangement to church seating, to Sunday School configuration, back to church seating and, finally back to the preschool setup. With many willing hands, the transformation could be accomplished in surprisingly short order.






Sanctuary Groundbreaking

It was a happy day when construction began on the new sanctuary and an even happier one when it was ready for worship.








Dedication service for Mandarin Lutheran

The dedication service was attended by the Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, local Lutheran pastors and Protestant and Jewish clergy from Mandarin. The stained-glass windows had not been installed yet.







Early services at MLC

Initially there were no pews, and the chairs were arranged in a semi-circular pattern facing the altar. Pews were later acquired from a Baptist church in the Southside Estates area that was, ironically, replacing them with chairs.

Mandarin Lutheran Easter Egg Hunt

You won’t want to miss the Mandarin Lutheran Easter Egg Hunt for the children of Jacksonville on Easter Sunday, April 17th, 2022. This event is open to the entire community and ALL are invited to attend.

We invite you to worship with us at 9 a.m., and/or join in the Easter festivities following worship at 10:30 a.m.

Children will be divided into age groups for the hunt, treats will be aplenty, and there is fun to be had by all. No need to bring anything but a basket and a smile.

There is no need to RSVP, but if you would like to let us know you are coming (or share with your friends!) you can see our Mandarin Lutheran Easter Egg Hunt Facebook event here.

If you would like to learn more about Mandarin Lutheran Church, and who we are, what we do, and what we believe, click here.

The Welcome Center Has a New Look

We are excited to reveal a beautiful new mural in the welcome center of our church.  The mural, hand painted by local artist Kimberly Miller, is a unique touch with a special message for all who enter. The mural begins with a rainbow, representing God’s work and his promise to us.  Out of the rainbow come hearts, signifying God’s love for us. The hearts transition into butterflies, signifying the life changing power of Christ, which then transform into birds, representing the Holy Spirit sending us out into the world to. Finally, the mural ends with our new MLC logo which reminds us “God’s Work, Our Hands” as we leave church each time to spread the message of Christ and do God’s work in the world.

The rainbow has also come to symbolize LGBTQ community pride and conveys that all are welcome to worship and fellowship with us.

The welcome center serves a very important role on Sundays as the place where we greet visitors, share information and make everyone who enters feel welcome. This is an important ministry and sign ups for volunteers at this desk will be added to the Sign Up Genius we use for all Sunday Service positions.  Training will be provided to anyone who would like to support this ministry.

Our mural artist, Kim Miller, holds a degree in fine arts from UNF and is the Executive Director and Founder of FemArt Gallery, Inc. (A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization committed to promoting and supporting women artists.)  The organization will be opening a gallery in Riverside soon, and we invite everyone to check out the artists’ work!

Learning to Forgive

One day, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life on this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought
about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.
His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had, that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment, and frustration.
Standing there, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the One he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed:
“Lord, You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot, I don’t know how. It is not fair Lord, I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray you teach me to do the one thing I cannot do: Teach me to forgive.”
As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt. He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground.
He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them. He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man’s tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.
“Have you ever told a lie?” He asked?
The man answered, “Yes, Lord.”
“Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?”
The man answered, “Yes. Lord.” And the man sobbed more and more.
“Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours?” Jesus asked?
And the man answered, “Yes, Lord.”
“Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?”
The man, crying now, answered, “Yes, Lord.”
As Jesus asked many more times, “Have you ever”? The man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer – “Yes, Lord”.
Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.
Jesus said, “I didn’t deserve this either, but I forgive you.”
As we enter into the season of Lent and as we reflect again on what separates us from a full relationship with God, remember what Jesus has done for you. Remember that God loves you so much that he gave Jesus to die for you and Jesus did it willingly.
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Anna

Dream Team Opportunities- Week 3

“Coming together is the beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

One last reminder!!  This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and Team Day at MLC! 

Grab your favorite sports team gear (any sport, any team) and show your MLC spirit by signing up for Dream Teams! The ministry areas are Council/Administration, Education, Fellowship/Discipleship, Finance, Outreach, Property, Worship/Music, Youth, Talents for Jesus. This is the last week we are highlighting different areas of ministry to help familiarize you with the teams available to join. If you aren’t able to join us for Team Day, you will also have access to a Sign-Up Genius tool to choose the ways in which you’d like to get involved and share your talents and abilities.

This week we’ll feature Fellowship/Discipleship, Worship and Music and Talents for Jesus.

Fellowship/Discipleship teams plan and execute various events intended to bring the congregation together. Celebrations include coffee hour each Sunday following service, Easter breakfast and special receptions.

Worship and Music teams are responsible for all aspects of the worship experience including worship assistants, altar guild and musical performance.

Talents for Jesus – this ministry covers everything that the prior teams haven’t yet captured.  What skills, talents, abilities and special gifts do you have that you are called to share?  Gardening? Photography? Social Media?  Art? Creativity?  Share with us where you love to shine!

Dream Team Opportunities- Week 2

“Teamwork divides the task and multiples the success.” – Unknown

February 13 is Super Bowl Sunday and Team Day at MLC!  

Plan to wear your favorite team gear and show your MLC spirit by signing up for Dream Teams!  The ministry areas are:  Council/Administration, Education, Fellowship/Discipleship, Finance, Outreach, Property, Worship/Music, Youth, Talents for Jesus.

Each week leading up to the 13th, we will feature areas of ministry to help familiarize you with the teams available to join.   If you aren’t able to join us for Team Day, you will also have access to a Sign-Up Genius tool to choose the ways in which you’d like to get involved and share your talents and abilities.


This week we’re featuring Council/Administration, Property and Finance.

Council/Administration teams help oversee the administrative work of the church including communications, safety and security and financial oversight.

Property teams maintain the physical facility, both indoors and outdoors. This includes repairs, workdays, improvements, vendor selection and oversight.

Finance teams lead the stewardship effort and scholarships/camperships.