The sheep of Jesus were in need of a shepherd as they had moved into the Lewiston-Clarkston area, but found no church there of their confession, so they contacted the Wisconsin Synod. Pastor R. Ziegler summarizes the events that followed.
“In response to the order of the President and the itinerant pastor’s commission of the Wisconsin Synod in Wisconsin and other states, Pastor Richard Siegler of Wisconsin conducted a survey of mission here in the West in order to gather the scattered of the faith wherever there were some people who did not have the service of the Word and Sacrament. The object was to gather them as a congregation and establish preaching opportunities.
By courtesy of the brothers Walk, one of whom came from our congregation in Bay City, Michigan and the other from our church in Neilsville, Wisconsin, Pastor Siegler also went to Lewiston on March 6, 1912. After many days of concentrated mission work he found in Lewiston and Clarkston quite a number of Lutheran Christians who did not belong to any congregation and had now definite confession. They asked us to start Lutheran services. We are happy to respond to their request.
On March 24th the first service was held in the English Presbyterian Church on Main Street in Lewiston. Close to 50 people appeared for the services. An assortment of both German and English Lutheran hymnals were brought.
Since it was the Lenten season, we sang ‘Jesus Grant That Balm and Healing in Thy Sacred Wounds Find’ and on the basis of the text from Luke 4:18, Pastor Siegler preached on the theme ‘How the Lord, through the Gospel and His suffering, gathers His people.’ At the gathering after their service it was unanimously decided that regular services would be conducted once a month for the present.
On April 28, 1912, a second service was held. Although it rained, more than 50 people attended. At this gathering there were guests. The president of the Wisconsin Synod, Pastor G.E. Bergeman from Fond du Lac, Wis., and the chairman of Itinerant Preachers, Pastor H. Bergman from Milwaukee, Wis. The first was asked to deliver a sermon. After the service the congregational meeting was called. It was decided that a future meeting was to be held concerning the organization of the congregation. The meeting was adjourned to Tuesday, April 30th.
ORGANIZATION OF THE CONGREGATION
On April 30th (1912) the announced congregational meeting was held in the Presbyterian Church. There the group was organized as Evangelical Lutheran St. John’s Congregation of Lewiston Idaho and Clarkston Washington. The presented constitution of the Wisconsin Synod was adopted, a pastor called, and the following deacons chosen: Messrs. R. Walk, John P. Roos, H.W. Windram, F.C. Mueller, Max Trackmann, Chas. Maier. C.F. Ziegler, Carl Zimmer, P.J. Walk; besides a number of women and maiden.
With heartfelt thanks to God who through His Word has gathered His Christians here as a congregation; and with prayers for the future growth our meeting was adjourned.” (From St. John’s voter’s minutes 1912)
Their first pastor, W.P. Hass, was installed by President F. H. K. Soll on September 29, 1912. He lived with the R.H. Walk family at 18th & Main Street (Lewiston) until he was married. The parsonage was located on 13th & Chestnut (Clarkston). Pastor Hass served the congregation until October, 1918 when he took the call to Oconomowoc, WI. and the congregation has a vacancy for almost a year.
In September, 1919, Pastor Richard Janke accepted the call of the congregation. The conditions were exceedingly difficult then too. He lived with the P.J Walk family on Walk Lane but it was too far out of town so he lived at R.H. Walk’s family instead. Pastor Janke got his first car so he no longer needed the horse and buggy that was loaned to him.
Through these formative years the congregation their worship services were held in the old Methodist Church (for about a year), Our Savior’s Lutheran Church until church was built. Often both pastor and members became discouraged but God granted them His grace and in the year 1921 St. John’s purchased property at 7th and Diagonal in Clarkston, WA. The decision to construct a church building was made in May, 1923. With a loan of $1250 plus the church building treasury of the Synod and of friends in the East the church was built. On November 18, 1923, the St. John’s congregation dedicated to the Triune God, a very modest frame building (26’X36’ with a 10’X12’ vestibule) as their new house of worship. At the morning service Pastor A. Sydow (father of Pastor Gilbert Sydow) of Tacoma, WA preached in English on the text, Mark 8:35-37 and Pastor F. Soll of Yakima, WA preached on Psalm 84: 2-9. At the evening service Pastor A. Sydow preached in German on John 3:22 and Pastor Soll in English on Hosea 2:19-20. All services were well attended.
“The altar, pulpit, hymn rack and baptismal font were made by a member, Peter Arp after Pastor Janke showed him some pictures in a catalog. The furnishings were made of pine lumber, stained and varnished a dark walnut color, trimmed with gold beading and rosettes. The Yakima congregation donated the communion set and the red and gold altar pieces. Mrs. Kirst and Mrs. Barfty made the linens. R.H. Walk donated the altar vases and the rug in front of the altar. Dad (Mr. Walk) borrowed a bench from Our Savior’s – took it to Troy Lumber and told them to copy it, then put in an order for enough for our chapel” (From 75th Anniversary Scrapbook by Francis (Walk) Weaver). The church building served the congregation for the next 40 years.
In 1924 Pastor Janke accepted a call as a professor at Dr. Martin Luther College (DMLC) in New Ulm, MN. He was succeeded by Pastor Ewald F. Kirst who was installed February 10, 1924. He also served a small congregation on the Palouse. Services were held in the Elmer family home. He emptied the front room, provided an organ and some chairs and benches. In 1928 the Palouse congregation called Pastor Zimmerman.
On June 30, 1935, St. John’s celebrated the mortgage released of the church building. Pastor F. Soll of Yakima, WA addressed the congregation. A picnic at Asotin Park followed the service. Pastor Kirst was released on April 14, 1941 and Pastor George Frey accepted the congregational call on July 12, 1942. Pastor M.J. Witt from Palouse, WA served the congregation in the interim.
In October, 1943 St. John’s renovated the basement of the church with new lights and plumbing.
On July 20, 1947 the congregation celebrated 35 years of worship. Pastor Kirst was the guest speaker.
Pastor Frey was released as he accepted a call to serve the congregation in Yakima, WA. in 1947. The congregation was served by Pastor Leland Grams, Faulkton, SD until July 17, 1949 when Pastor Leonard Bernthal was installed as St. John’s new shepherd of God’s flock.
During Pastor Bernthal’s pastorate the purchase of an electric organ in July 1950 brought forth more music to praise the Lord and new tile was installed in the church and vestibule. A cement driveway and retaining walls were also built.
In the June 1957 voter’s meeting there was discussion on starting a parochial school – a committee was formed. The cost of meeting the county requirements ($1440) and after much research, the voters decided that the church should not start a new project before other projects needed to be finished. The subject wasn’t brought up again until many years later.
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE WISCONSIN SYNOD – 1957
After much Bible study and prayer it was decided that St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church was not in agreement with the Wisconsin Synod. On October 6, 1957 “The membership of St. John’s Ev. Lutheran reviewed the history of the controversy between the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Wisconsin and Other States and the Lutheran-Missouri Synod. The pertinent resolutions and the Protest of the Pacific Northwest District, the Pastoral Conference Protest and our Pastor’s declaration to the Wisconsin Synod have been carefully studied. After prayerful deliberation the Church Council of St. John’s Lutheran Church finds itself bound by God’s Word to make the following recommendations… Since the ELJSW (WELS) continued to be in fellowship with the Missouri Synod contrary to the Word of God…; Continues in this fellowship in spite of admonition…; Justifies unscripturally this disobedience to God’s Word, as shown by its resolutions of 1955, 1956, 1957…; God instructs us to “avoid those who continue to cause divisions and offenses contrary to Christ’s doctrine…; Resolved that SJLC of Clarkston, WA suspend fellowship with the ELJW.., and no longer support nor receive support from said Synod until they have removed the divisions and offences contrary to Christ’s doctrine…;Resolved that we instruct the Secretary of SJLC to forward this report to the President of the PNWD of the Wisconsin Synod and to the Chairman of the Mission Board of the PNWD of the Wisconsin Synod……”(From letter written to the President of the Wisconsin Synod)
After settling property and financial matters, St. John’s Lutheran Church joined the Interim Conference – Later known s The Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC). There were approximately 70 souls at this time.
50TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY- 1962
“April, 1962- St. John’s celebrated their 50th anniversary. The guest speaker was Pastor W. Karnitz, Wenatchee, WA, who was the assistant pastor of St. Paul’s Church, Ellensburg, WA. He spoke at the 10:30am service. The only surviving member of the original congregation, Anna Walk, was present. She was accompanied by her daughter, Francis Weaver of Lenore, ID. A special mission service was combined with the anniversary observance, since it had been originally started as missionary endeavor of the Wisconsin Synod. Pastor Karnitz reminded the congregation the church existed 50 years ‘in the grace of God’. He encouraged them to be thankful and to continue working in behalf of the church.” (From newspaper article – Lewiston Morning Tribune, 1962)
On July 21, 1963 the congregation decided that it would be for the best interest of the Gospel to relocate to another location. It was resolved to sell the Diagonal property. The final service at this property was held on August 25, 1963.
THE BUILDING OF THE NEW CHURCH-1964-65
The former building of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church again was used for worship services, while the members of the congregation set about to build their own new church. In July, 1963 the offer of $775.00 to sell the church property on Diagonal was accepted. September they resolved to buy their new property at 14th and Birch St in Clarkston, WA at a cost of $5,500. The next months were spent making the necessary plans for the building so that the construction could begin the first part of 1964. The Building Committee was formed with Keith Caton, Chairman; Albert Gephardt, Secretary and General Supervisor; Adolph Riggers; Marvin Jackson; and Pastor Leonard Bernthal.
The ground breaking ceremony at the new site was held the 16th of February, 1964. Work at the site began the next day and by the end of the week the footings for the new structure were poured.
Work progressed steadily even though it was being done by volunteer labor. Except for the cement flooring, the glass and brick work, which was hired out, the labor came from willing members of the congregation.
The laminated tresses were raised the 11th of April, with the framing and sheathing completed the roof was being shingled at the end of the month. The next weeks were spent laying ducts, pipes, and steel rods in preparation for the cement flooring. It was poured on the 8th and 13th of June.
With the wood siding on and painted, insulation was being stapled in place the middle of July and by the middle of August the large areas inside were covered with sheetrock. The brick outside was laid the last weeks of September and on the 19th of October the first paint was applied to the finished walls of the worship area.. With the blessed gift in carpentry, Pastor Bernthal constructed the chancel furniture and the “fish” symbol above the altar, with efforts from Walter Weaver. He began his work began the 24th and was finished the middle of November. The interior of the worship area was enough along to have the first service in the new church on Sunday, November 22. The first Sunday School classes were held in their new rooms on February 23, 1965.
Finished work went along at a more leisurely pace. Tiling was on the floor by the end of March, and while molding was being finished inside, the curbing and sidewalks were being poured outside. The light green carpet (from Skelton’s) was laid the last week of April and on the 9th of May the congregation enjoyed the comfort and beauty of their new pews.
The cabinet work was completed with the landscaping to come in the future. With the building fund donations and the sale of the old property, and with the help of volunteer labor, the new church was dedicated debt free!! The total cost of the church project was about $16,000.
The church dedication was held on September 5, 1965 at 10:30am. Pastor Robert Reim of Spokane, WA spoke at the morning dedication. His sermon text was Isaiah 6:1-8. The evening service held at 7:30pm was conducted by Pastor Gilbert Sydow of Ellensburg, WA, whose late father was the guest speaker at the first church.
THE CONTINUATION OF OUR HISTORY
In August, 1965 Pastor Bernthal accepted a call to St. Louis, MO. The congregation went out a call to Pastor Kenneth Hallauer serving the congregations in White River and Mission, SD. He accepted the call was installed November 28, 1965. Pastor Robert Reim, Gethsemane, Spokane conducted the service. Members from our sister congregations in Seattle, Spokane and Orofino joined us and the church was full. Theme for the day was “God’s Word is our Great Heritage”. However, through careful and much thought Pastor Hallauer felt that he could no longer fulfill his duties in the ministry and in July, 2, 1967 he announced his resignation from our call.
Our Lord’s guiding hand led us to call Pastor Helmuth E. Rutz, serving our sister congregation in Jamestown ND. He accepted our call to be our Shepherd in August, 1967. Installation ceremonies were conducted by Pastor M.J. Witt of Trinity Lutheran in Spokane, WA., who had served the congregation as interim pastor.
ADDITION OF SOUTH FELLOWSHIP HALL-1972
During Pastor’s duration the parsonage on 11th St was paid off October, 1971 and in April, 1972 the addition of 2 new Sunday School rooms and a pastor’s office was started. Once again, the majority of the work was done by volunteers and we were able to complete the work debt free. Most of the interior work was done by Howard Ceske.
THE CONTINUATION OF OUR HISTORY
In January 1975 the vacant lot to the south of the church property was purchased with the intent to build a parsonage in the future. September brought the congregation to seek a new organ. They purchased a Thomas electric organ. The older organ was put in the new Sunday School rooms as was used for social gatherings and the like.
Through the volunteer work of Marvin Jackson and other the kitchen was remodeled with new kitchen cabinets and a serving counter. The work took place in the months of November and December with work completed by Christmas, 1976.
In February, 1980 a Building Committee was formed to look into the feasibility to constructing a parsonage on the property that was purchased south of the church. The parsonage on 11th Street was appraised at $39,500. March, 1980 brought the congregation to call another Shepherd as Pastor Rutz had retired from the ministry and was moving to Cheyenne, WY to be close to his children. Pastor Paul Schaller, serving the congregation in Hayward, CA accepted our call.
March 1980 brought St. John’s to call another pastor to be their Shepherd as Pastor Rutz was resigning his call to us and also was retiring from the ministry after 45 years. His plan was to join his children living in Cheyenne, WY. The Lord’s hand guided us to call Pastor Paul Schaller, who was serving a sister congregation in Hayward, CA. He accepted our call and was installed by Pastor M.J. Witt from Trinity Lutheran, Spokane, WA.
NEW PARSONAGE – 1981
In January, a Building Committee was formed to look into the feasibility of constructing a parsonage on the south property. With the old parsonage (on 11th St) valued at $40,000, a loan of $7500 at 10% interest and with pledges from the members it was decided that we could build one. Construction on the house was done during the spring and summer of 1981. Within months of starting the construction, we ran into trouble with the main builder. It was reported that he had not paid any of the sub-contractors with the $10,000 cash advance. A number of lawyers were hired to handle the legal matters. In 1982 the matter was still to be resolved with the contractor in default and the money that was owed could be collected from the Washington State Builders Bond, which when collected we could pay off the loan, with the congregation paying the sub-contractors out of pocket of $5566.00. The matter was finally settled in 1984- two years after we had started the project.
The parsonage, however, was completed and in September, 1981 we held our dedication services and the Schaller family moved in. The upstairs was completed but only one room (a pastor’s small office) in the basement was finished with the intent to finish the basement sometime in the future, when our finances were in better shape. Landscaping and fencing still had to be done but we were joyed in having the parsonage on our church property.
THE CONTINUATION OF OUR HISTORY
Through all our financial difficulties the Lord still blessed our church with an increase of membership, the ability to pay our bills and the pastor’s salary (with increases yearly), having the pews upholstered (1983) in time for Christmas services), putting in a fence/landscaping around the parsonage and church property, adding a deck onto the east side and finish the basement bathroom of the parsonage, a new copy machine, making our bathroom doors larger to accommodate our wheel chair bound members, replacing the four windows in the fellowship hall with energy efficient ones. In 1986, St. John’s had our first vicar, David Naumann, who was here for a 6 week period (unbeknownst to us that he would be our pastor 26 years later!). Howard Ceske volunteered to house the vicar. David Naumann reported later that he was very pleased with his experience here (and at Peace).
75TH ANNIVERSARY- 1987
October 4, 1987 – our 75th Anniversary celebration was held at a 10:30am special worship service. Theme for the day was “God’s Word is our Great Heritage”. Leading the service was Pastor Paul Schaller with Pastor Leland Grams (retired and living in Aberdeen, SD) served St. John’s as vacancy pastor in 1947-48 and in 1990, preached the special sermon using the text from 1 Kings 8:57. He also led the morning Bible Class. A songfest was held at 2pm that was open to the public. Tom Caulton, from our sister congregation Redemption Lutheran, Lynnwood, WA was the guest organist. Thanks went to all those who put in so many hours and so much effort to prepare the church grounds, meals, and remembrances. We were thankful for this display of joy in the ministry of the Gospel of Christ, and the willingness to share it with others. Women from the Ladies Aid worked on a 75th year scrapbook (much input by Francis Weaver). Members of our sister congregations in Seattle, Spokane, and Orofino joined us for the festive day. Many pictures were taken of members, past and present. A wonderful day for all attending.
THE CONTINUATION OF OUR HISTORY
After much thought and prayer, Pastor Schaller accepted the call to Trinity Lutheran Church, Spokane in November, 1989. In the absence of a pastor it was decided to call Pastor Leland Grams to be the vacancy pastor till our call was answered. Since he would be here on a temporary basis the members offered household furniture/items and a car if it was needed.
After several calls to various pastors (including former vicar David Naumann) Pastor Peter Reim, Jamestown, ND accepted our call. Art Pochardt volunteered to move the pastor and his family. Installation was in April, 1990.
St. John’s Ladies Aid, hosted a Women’s Seminar with sister congregations from Spokane, (Trinity and Gethsemane) Seattle, and Orofino joining in. Saturday, October 3, 1992 was a full day of discussions, song and fellowship. Although it was quite an undertaking it was so rewarding to share the Gospel and our thoughts with other Christian women.
April, 1994 became a special year as St. John’s was once again in need of an organ. It was decided to purchase a new Allen organ from Spokane using some of the funds donated from our beloved Francis Weaver’s estate. She held a very special place in the congregation’s heart and was an organist for the congregation for many years. Members felt it was a good tribute to her. It has served us well.
The basement in the parsonage was remodeled and finished around 1998. 2 bedrooms were completed along with a large family room, pantry, and laundry room with the option of a ½ bath. The volunteer work by Ken Martin and Pastor Reim made the parsonage have more living space. Carpeting was put in to make it much warmer during the winter.
Once again St. John’s was calling for a new shepherd after Pastor Reim, in 1995 accepted a call to Loveland, CO. Pastor Paul Krause from Hecla, SD answered our call. Art Pochardt again volunteered to move the new pastor and family. Installation services were held May 12, 1996 with Pastor Paul Schaller from Spokane officiating.
Through the years the congregation wrestled with upkeep of the church, new roof, installing central air, broken windows, sprinkler heads needing replacing, new copy machine and replacing the carpet in the church proper with a commercial grade one. (1998).
In 1999 it was decided to replace the large shrubs in the front of the church with a rose garden in memory of a dear member, Armin Penkert- a lover of roses. It has provided beautiful roses for the summer for our altar.
In early July, 2000 St John’s was a part of the “Traveling Vacation Bible School” as coordinated by Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, WI. Pastor Terrel Kesterson (Trinity) and his son Jeff came down in early July along with Matt Hanel (from Mankato, MN, who was our vicar in 2002, to help hand out several hundred flyers advertising our VBS. The next week the Wuerch family drove here to serve as our teaching teach. Each of them took one of our four class levels. Over the course of the week 33 children were in attendance, 26 of them as visitors. A vast number of members helped out in many ways to make the VBS a success.
The Ladies Aid took the task of making “Chrismons” for our Christmas tree in 1999-2000. They were made with sequins and Styrofoam. Our Christmas trees are still, today, being graced with their efforts in creating some beautiful trees.
By 2001 Pastor Krause was serving a small group of believers in the Walla Walla area at George Sack’s house. Pastor had a few families in the Hermiston, OR area that he was also serving. Trips to these two places were done every 3rd Saturday of the month (weather permitting). These services had fallen during the bulk of 2003, due to George Sack’s health and partly due to scheduling. As of December, 20003 they were back on track again at George’s house with Judy and Stacy Boman coming over from the Tri Cities area for communion and confirmation for Stacy once a month-typically the 2nd Saturday of the month. These services had now been discontinued but contact is still being done through e-mailed sermons and Ministry by Mail. He was also having weekly Bible Story videos with our members: Kirby Seiblist, Julia Palmer and Francis Couch.
June, 2002 the TVBS crew of 11 came to help pass out flyers and in July, Professor Ross Roehl and family and several others from various CLC congregations came and help with the teaching, crafts and music. All told there were 47 children in VBS with only a handful were members of St. John’s.
SUMMER PALOUSE BIBLE STUDY
The spring of 2003 brought us some new members from the Palouse. (Ken and Carolyn Hallauer were among them). They presented the idea of carrying on with a weekly Wednesday night Bible Study during the summer months (from after Easter to Reformation) but to be held in Colfax, WA. The first place was in a community room at the Sterling Savings bank- free of charge. They were about 8 members who came on a regular basis with open discussions on various topics. The bank was the meeting place for 2 summers when scheduling conflicts appeared. The group then moved to Pullman, meeting in various rooms at the Gladdish Center – even met a hallway once! Again the group was forced to move due to higher cost of the renting the rooms, so started meeting in the 1912 building until 2008. Attendance had grown to about 12-14 people on any given Wednesday night. In 2010 the group started meeting in a back room of the shopping mall in Moscow, however, the room has since been taken over by a business and the group has been looking for another place to meet. God willing they will be able to start up again in the spring of 2012.
2003 – For Midweek Lenten services the three area pastors started exchanging pulpits. Pastor Krause, Pastor Terrel Kesterson and Pastor Robert List, both from Spokane. This exchange continues to date (2012) with Pastor Nathan Pfeffer replacing Pastor Kesterson who has taken a call to CA. Soup suppers before the services started in 2012-visiting pastors enjoy the free meal and fellow-shipping with members of the congregation.
A POSSIBLE PAROCHIAL SCHOOL?
In 2005 a committee was formed to look the feasibility of opening a Christian Day School at St. John’s. The committee spent many months/hours getting the property changed and approved (May, 2005) from residual to public/semi-public (amidst some strong opposition from a few neighbors); building inspections; designing a playground area for commissioner’s approval; looking at all the financial aspects (using some of church saving as start-up cost); seeing how many children we could have enrolled; insurance; and teacher’s salary/ housing. After much prayer for God’s answer, it was decided that St. John’s it was not feasible at that time. Reasons given: There did not seem to be enough children/parents interested in our midst to form a “core” group; too many unanswered and unanswerable questions concerning having a school; and the committee wanted to avoid divisions that were forming within the members. It was their hope and prayer that sometime in the future this effort could become viable.
REMODELING PROJECT- Fall, 2007
It was decided that decided to put aluminum siding be put on the church exterior. Marvin Jackson paid for the siding with the church paying for the gutter work. The voter’s passed the remodeling project to the south annex. Plans to put in 2 new Sunday School rooms (with wall heaters), a larger pastor’s office and to restore the hallway from west entryway to the kitchen. With the ability to close both doors to kitchen it would recreate a quieter environment for Bible Study classes. To reduce the cost, it was decided to reuse paneling and doors whenever possible. Volunteers – Jerry & Verlene Coleman, Ken and Sue Martin, Pastor Krause, Dwight and Alyssa Krause with Rebecca and Stephen helping pull nails. When project was completed new carpet was laid for all rooms on the south side of church. Estimated cost was around $1900 – debt free.
THE CONTINUATION OF OUR HISTORY
Fall of 2008 brought the congregation to calling another pastor as Pastor Krause had accepted a call to Faith Lutheran Church in Markesan, WI. Congregation was quite saddened by the events but they put all things in God’s hands. After a returned call from Pastor David Schaller it was decided to call Pastor Scott Schiermeister, who was a spring graduate from ILC and had no call at the time. He accepted our call and was installed January 4, 2009. On November 8, 2009 Pastor Schiermeister resigned his call to St. John’s and Peace in Orofino. He returned to his home congregation in Bismarck, ND. This left the congregations on their own with doing lay services. Pastor Terrel Kesterson agreed to serve as the vacancy pastor, conducting communion services once a month.
March and April of 2010 were spent replacing old and used galvanized water lines from the main service to inside the church with new plastic lines. Volunteer help from Ken and Sue Martin helped keep the cost to a minimum. Every Saturday afternoon was spent cleaning up kitchen area to get it ready for worship services.
Celebration for the 50th Anniversary of The Church of the Lutheran Confession was held at various churches with in the Synod. St. John’s and Peace’s celebration was held on May 23rd with Pastor Terrel Kesterson conducting the special service. A potluck meal was served after the service.
Calls were sent out to several pastors with answers being returned. God once again granted His blessing on His flock for in May, 2010 Pastor David Naumann accepted our second call to him. Installation services were held on August 1, 2010 with a BBQ held at the church. He is continuing to do God’s work and preaching to us God’s Word.
100 YEARS! 2012
Celebration of St. John’s 100th year is on May 27th 20. A number of projects were put into action. The sanctuary was in need of updating. The ceiling peak was repaired, walls and ceiling got a fresh coat of paint, and track lighting was installed in the front. Photo albums, scrapbooks, and church history have been updated as well. Invitations were sent out and everyone has great expectations of God’s continued blessings for the big day.
As Pastor Bertram Naumann wrote 25 years ago to us, it still holds for us today: “May the Lord of the Church, who by purest grace moved your forefathers to establish your congregation in times past, also continue to inspire you with that same undeserved love and mercy until the Great Day when the Church militant shall be transformed into the Church triumphant.”
SCHOOL REVIVED AND REMODELED
Beginning In 2013 the Lord, once again, caused a fervent desire in the congregation to open a Christian School in the near future. A fund was started that in a year’s time totaled over $90,000. After various options were explored, including nearly purchasing an additional property, it was decided to remodel our existing building to bring it up to WA state code for a private school. Under the project management of Ed Lapsley (a friend of the congregation), the project was begun and completed in the fall of 2014 at a cost of around $50,000. An HVAC system was added, bathrooms upgraded, walls gutted and remodeled, windows replaced, an additional door was added, handicap parking and sidewalks were added, electrical was upgraded. Most of this was volunteer labor. At the Annual Voters’ meeting in January 2015 the school was named “Valley Bible Academy – St. John’s Lutheran”. The divine call was extended to Desirae Naumann, wife of Pastor Naumann. Desirae accepted the call and plans on teaching beginning in August of 2015.