Nazareth Lutheran celebrates 90 years
HOPEWELL — On Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, Nazareth Lutheran Church, located on the corner of Grant Street and City Point Road in Hopewell, will celebrate 90 years of continuous ministry to Hopewell and the surrounding communities.
The first service of Nazareth Lutheran Church was conducted on Oct. 2, 1927, in the auditorium of the old John Randolph School. Eighty adults and 10 children attended this first service. A second service was held on Oct. 23 in a former lodge hall at 127 Poythress Street in Hopewell because school officials would not rent their building for regular worship services. Starting Dec. 2, 1927, regular worship services were held every Sunday evening at 8 p.m.
On Feb. 19, 1938, a new congregation formed when nine adults and nine children gathered at the Odd Fellow’s Hall to organize as Nazareth Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Missouri Synod in Hopewell.
In 1934 the first non-pastoral president of the congregation was elected and plans were made to build a permanent church on the corner of Grant Street and City Point Road.
Pastoral candidate Frank G. Koehler arrived in Hopewell in mid-August 1938, after graduating from Concordia Seminary. After his arrival, a change was made from night services to morning. The church was dedicated on Sept. 18, at 4:30 p.m. Pastor Koehler was called to be the resident pastor and was ordained on March 31, 1940 in a special installation service conducted by previous pastor Paul A. Plawin.
By 1947, there was a need to provide suitable housing for Pastor Koehler and his growing family. Many members of the congregation provided materials and labor for the parsonage.
As the church continued to grow and was holding two services each Sunday the decision was made to begin plans for the expansion of the church. On Dec. 16, 1956, the new church was dedicated in a special afternoon service. Two years later Pastor Koehler celebrated 20 years of ministry at Nazareth. The last Sunday in March 1978, after serving at Nazareth for 40 years, Pastor Frank G. Koehler preached his last sermon and began semi-retirement.
In 1985 the Koehler Scholarship was formed in their pastor’s name to help members of our congregation continue their education after high school. Several members of Nazareth have been ordained including Rev. Preston Wagner, Rev. Roy Minnix, and Rev. Gary Lawson, all from Hopewell.
This Sunday, the Rev. Preston Wagner returns to his home congregation in celebration of their 90th anniversary. A special service will be held at 10:30 a.m. A dinner will follow immediately after in the church fellowship hall. Friends, former, and current members of the congregation are welcome and encouraged to attend.
The church is located at 1711 Grant Street. For further information, contact Charlene Logan, family life coordinator, at 804-926-3396.