Nazareth Lutheran cel­e­brates 90 years

The Progress-Index Weekend - - LOCAL - Con­trib­uted Re­port

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.

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