St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Built: 1956

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On January 21, 1923, the congregation decided, by a rising vote, to organize a Luther League. Devotional meetings and fellowship nights were conducted but groundwork was also laid to support a future building program.

On November 13, 1927, the Women’s Missionary Society was organized. By 1943, after obligations were met, action was taken to purchase Series F Government Bonds, with a common understanding that this money would be used someday as an objective for the building fund.

From the beginning, Fleetwood was always a part of a larger parish. In December 1945, the first full-time pastor was called and a separate parish was inaugurated. A parsonage was purchased at 115 East Washington Street.

During 1947 special congregational meetings were held and favorable action taken to purchase a piece of property, to start a church building fund, and to build a new and separate church within the limits of Fleetwood proper. At the annual congregational meeting in December, the members voted to accept a plot of ground at Laurel and Arch Streets which would be donated by Mrs. Mattie Madeira and Mrs. Bessie Gruber. Another parcel of ground was purchased from the widow of Harvey Hoch by two families.

On February 3, 1948, a meeting of young women of the congregation culminated in the action to organize The Lutheran Woman’s Circle, their main objective being to promote the welfare of the congregation, especially the building fund project. Thus the campaign for a new St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was launched.

A Building Committee was appointed and in November 1954, Mr. Howard Eiler and Mr. Dana Gangewere, Architects, were engaged to execute preliminary drawings. In 1955 approval was given by a secret ballot to proceed with detailed drawings for the New Church.

At a special congregational meeting on April 10, 1956, the members were informed: ‘Plans are completed, financing is possible, co-operation is excellent—we are ready to take a gigantic step forward in the life of the congregation.” Approval was granted for the immediate start of construction and on April 22, 1956, the Ground Breaking service was held, followed by the Corner Stone Laying Service on August 12, 1956.

On June 2, 1957, following the regular Sunday School session in the Chapel, the Lutherans and friends proceeded to the site of the new church for the dedication of the building and the worship service. The Reverend Orval Hartman, grandson of Mr. Warren Hartman, the first cashier of the Fleetwood Bank, preached the sermon. A Dedication Vesper Service was also conducted. Other dedicatory services included Community Night, Synodical Night, and Music Night, which featured a recital on the Allen Electronic Organ.

In 1960 a Church-time Nursery was initiated; in 1962 action was taken to conduct two worship services each Sunday due to increased attendance, to conduct a Vacation Church School in June, and to organize a third choir. In 1963 a Pastor’s Study was added to the parsonage. Since 1964 each family receives The Lutheran. The Liquidation of the Mortgage Burning Service took place on April 5, 1964. On February 29, 1965, in a special service, the stained glass windows, planned and installed by Linauts Studios, were dedicated.

By this time thoughts were turning to additional facilities due to crowded conditions in some areas of the building; consequently, an Additional Facilities Committee was appointed to make a study for an Educational Building.

On June 19, 1967, action was taken to engage Mr. Dana Gangewere, Architect, to draw up preliminary plans for an education addition. Basically the new structure would contain classrooms for grades 1 through 6, church office space, new choir rooms, rest rooms, and needed storage space. In addition, the present narthex would be remodeled and enlarged, providing direct access to the church from the rear parking lot. Following acceptance of the plans and arranging for financing, the Ground breaking Ceremony took place on March 23, 1969, and Dedication Services on September 20, 1970.

A Weekday Nursery School for children of the community was opened on January 5,1971; the venture has been very successful.