Highlights of the quasquicentennial
A history of Peace Lutheran Church notes that Lutheran families, who also shared a German heritage, came to this area from Nebraska, Ohio and other Midwestern states in the 1800s as farmers. The Homestead Act of 1862 and the expansion of the railroad played an important part in the plans of early settlers.
They first attended St. Paul Lutheran Church, located half a mile south and a mile east of the present church. Peace Lutheran Church was founded on Nov. 17, 1889, by Pastor August F.L. Augustine, who was pastor at Milberger and supply pastor at Trinity, Otis.
Parish record for 1889 - 1923 identify 16 families, with a total of 121 names recorded on the charter.
Alvin W. Biederman was the first pastor called to serve the new congregation. During his ministry from 1890-1894, the first new church was built, as well as a parsonage, that was later used as a school.
In 1905, the church was remodeled and enlarged, a 50 foot steeple was built and a 1,000 pound bell was installed. A German Cornet Band was formed. Every Saturday at 6 p.m., the church bell rang to signal the end of the work week. Members decided in 1944 to have only one German worship service per month.
In 1945, plans were approved for a new church building. By 1946, all worship services were in English, the Klingelbeutel (collection bag) was discontinued, and the practice of men sitting on one side and women on the other ended. Sunday School was still taught in German. New church construction began in 1948 after funds were raised.
In 1951, the current church was dedicated, and in 1952, the loan was paid off and the note burned. The first Turkey Supper was held in 1953, although for a couple of years, pancakes and sausage were served.
ALBERT — Members of Peace Lutheran Church in Albert are celebrating 125 years of Christian faith ministry in rural Kansas — from 1889 to 2014.
Nearly a year ago, on Nov. 17, 2013, the church and friends held a balloon launch to kick off the celebration. The final event in the year-long observance will be a worship service with Holy Communion at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16, at the church.
Special guests will include Bishop Roger Gustafson from the Central States Synod of ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), along with previous pastors and their families. There will be special music. After the service a time capsule from the centennial will be opened and there will be a catered dinner and time of sharing.
Pastor Patricia Reep and the congregation welcome all to join them every Sunday in the country church, which is just a 15 minute drive from Great Bend. Take 10th St. (West Barton County Road) west for 12 miles from the Patton Road intersection, then turn north on NW 140 Ave. and go about 1.5 miles. Member Gwen Strayer noted that the roads are paved and usually well maintained even during inclement weather.
Regular Sunday services are held at 8:30 a.m. through December.
The year-long observance has centered around sharing food and fellowship. Last spring, Peace Lutheran Church and other members of the Seeds of Faith Parish held a traditional Lutheran potluck dinner. The parish includes Hope Lutheran in Rush Center, Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Hoisington and First Lutheran Church in La Crosse.
Peace Lutheran Church held its annual Turkey Supper on Oct. 19, welcoming all from surrounding communities to participate in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Church members cooked turkey, pies, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, beans, mashed potatoes and homemade bread. It’s a tradition that started in 1953, according to Dale Dirks, president of the Peace Lutherans Church Council. Tickets usually sell out well in advance of the dinner, and some people have attended every year. In 1978, a story in the Great Bend Tribune noted that the annual supper drew a crowd of 700, “more than twice the population of Albert itself.” By 1982 the event had a “usual crowd of more than 500.” Tribune Localife Editor Linda Dueser noted, “The message travels by word of mouth and the tickets are always sold out as soon as they become available.”
“High attendance continues, with almost 600 persons served this year,” Dirks said. “We enjoy seeing our friends from so many faith backgrounds attending our supper. It’s become a great way for folks from nearby communities to renew their ties with each other, including our members. Proceeds support the church’s maintenance, but most importantly our financial gifting to worthy causes in the area.”
For more information about services at Peace Lutheran Church, contact Gwen Strayer by calling 620-923-4571.