WAVERLY – With 145 years of membership between the three of them, Art Althouse, Lois Erickson and Marge Rader are just the people to tell the history of Peace Lutheran Church.
The three longtime members have been working at the Waverly church, putting together a slideshow to be put on display when the church celebrates its 50-year anniversary Sept. 7.
They know the names. They remember the places. They were there. They are standing in those pictures that make up the church’s history.
The history of the church all started in 1969 with a meeting. Althouse said that there was no Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the town and that Lutherans in the area had been scattering to surrounding congregations to worship.
A survey was held with the help of some Concordia University students to gauge interest. The advice that came back was “don’t try it,” Althouse said.
The first service was held Sept. 7, 1969 in what was then a Methodist church just off Highway 6.
And 50 years later, the congregation is thriving. A lot has changed for the church. The congregation built a church of its own in 1972. Slowly, the building has grown with several additions.
With half a century of prosperity to celebrate, the congregation plans to get out into Waverly and make a difference.
“As the Lord has served us, we want to serve the community,” Pastor Neil Wheeler said.
Wheeler, pastor at Peach Lutheran Church for 14 years, said the church is planning to work with Waverly Parks and Rec to be of service to the city on Saturday, Sept. 7.
For those who can’t help with their hands, Wheeler said the church plans to offer their voices in song, anything to uplift and serve.
“We’re blessed to be a blessing,” Wheeler said, “so we want to bless the community that way.”
On Sunday, Sept. 8, the church will be holding one service in place of its usual two. The service will be held at 10:30 a.m. and Wheeler said the community is invited and welcome to share in the celebration.