Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church held its first worship service on Palm Sunday in 1939 in a rented vacant store front on Wilson Boulevard. Officially organized in February, 1940, the "Church Of The Lighted Steeple" has stood at its current location but has undergone numerous expansions and renovations ever since, including a sanctuary, parish hall, education building, and parsonage. RELC has continued to serve the needs of the community and the world ever since through the generosity of the time and talents of the congregation.
The first service was held on Palm Sunday, 2 April 1939 with about 30 persons present. A vacant storefront on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington was rented and became the first worship space. The services of worship during this initial period were led by The Rev. William J. Ducker of the Board of American Missions. The altar on that first Sunday was a wooden crate covered by a sheet.
The congregation was formally organized on 11 February 1940, with 39 charter members. It was a congregation of the Winchester Conference of the Virginia Synod, United Lutheran Church in America. By 1950 Resurrection was affiliated with the Shenandoah Conference. Land for a building was acquired at 6201 Washington Boulevard and construction began in November 1941. The new church, referred to by the congregation as the "chapel," was dedicated on 7 June 1942. Resurrection became known as "The Church of the Lighted Steeple." On 31 October 1947 ground was broken for the present parish hall, and construction was completed in September 1950. The current main worship space, built over the earlier-constructed parish hall, finally was completed and was dedicated on 15 March 1953.
In 1959 the congregation voted to demolish the "chapel" to make room for a much-needed educational building. The timbers from the old building were donated to Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp for an outdoor pavilion. Construction on the educational building was completed in 1960 and the new structure, including a new entrance as well as some major remodeling of the nave, were dedicated together that year on 11 December.
A series of additions and renovations to the building occurred since 1996: an elevator addition that included upgrades to the lounge and two upstairs classrooms; renovations to and upgrades of the parish hall, the chapel, and office wing. During 2001 the sanctuary and narthex were renovated and remodeled. The organ was also expanded and rebuilt by the Canadian firm, Létourneau. Shortly before the remodeling project was initiated, a completely rebuilt 1904 Steinway piano was purchased and dedicated.
The congregation has been served by many fine pastors. From the Board of American Missions: William Ducker, George Hagedorn, Carl Yeager, Dana Johnson. Pastors called by the congregation: Willard Borchers, Dana Johnson, Jesse Hangen, Jr. (Assistant), J. Luther Mauney, Melvin Lange, Lloyd Haag (Minister of Education and then as Senior Pastor), Judith E. Simonson (Associate), W. Eugene Copenhaver, David Schafer (Assistant), and currently since 1995 by Scott S. Ickert with Associates Amy Thompson Sevimli, Christopher Duckworth, and Anteneh Gebresalassie.