On Sunday, March 22, 2015 current and former members of Faith Lutheran Church in Plano, Texas will gather to celebrate the church's 50th anniversary.
The anniversary celebration, themed "Christ is our Cornerstone,” will include a 3:30 p.m. worship service with special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. A dinner reception will follow. Faith Lutheran Church is located at 1701 E. Park Blvd. in Plano.
"Faith Lutheran Church has had the opportunity to serve our community in many and various ways in the church's 50 year history," said Faith Lutheran Church senior pastor Rev. James Woelmer of Lucas. "We thank God for His good gifts to Faith Lutheran Church, and for the opportunity to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in Plano and beyond."
Woelmer said that several things stand out when looking at the 50 year history of the church.
"God has blessed us with the Gospel and sacraments, and He has kept us faithful to the scriptures and to our Lutheran confessions. We can look back at the people, the places and the times, but the most important thing is the Gospel and the sacraments," he said.
Woelmer also pointed out the fact that Rev. Robert W. Hill faithfully served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church for 34 years. Such tenure is somewhat unusual in ministry.
"We thank God for all of the blessings which He bestowed on Faith Lutheran Church through the ministry of Pastor Hill," said Woelmer.
Woelmer also noted the impact Faith Lutheran School has had on the church and the community. The school's preschool program was started in
Woelmer also remarked that Faith Lutheran Church has always been very mission minded.
"Faith Lutheran Church transferred numerous members to Our Savior in McKinney and to St. Paul in Plano over the years in order to help their congregations become established," he said. "Faith also started Immanuel Lutheran Church in Allen in 1994, Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Flower Mound in 1999 (which later closed in 2004), Faith Lutheran Church in Wylie in 2002, and Peace Lutheran Church in Texarkana in 2005."
Faith Lutheran Church also has 12 “sons” of the congregation who are now pastors, said Woelmer. John Hill (son of Rev. Robert W. Hill) was the first “son” of the congregation to enter the ministry in 1990.
"We are thankful that God has influenced these 12 men to enter the ministry, and we are thankful that Faith supported them during their seminary education," said Woelmer.
"We thank God for the many blessings which He has bestowed on Faith Lutheran Church these past 50 years by means of the Gospel," added Woelmer. "We are thankful to be a part of God's kingdom through faith in Christ. May our Heavenly Father keep us faithful to His Word and the proper confession of the faith."
(Editor's note: summary history of Faith Lutheran Church included below)
About Faith Lutheran Church:
Faith Lutheran Church is a Christ-centered congregation of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ that confesses the teachings of the historic Christian church as they are taught in the Bible. Faith Lutheran Church is a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and has locations in both Plano and Wylie, Texas. For more information, please visit www.faithplano.org and www.faithwylie.org or call 972.423.7447
A brief history of Faith Lutheran Church - Plano, Texas
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Texas District called William A. Stark from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri to organize and establish a Lutheran Church in Plano. Stark accepted the call and moved to Plano in July 1964.
"Several meetings were held at Pastor Stark’s home with families who were interested in being a part of a Lutheran church. The first official meeting took place on August 27 at a Methodist Church in Plano. 41 people were present," said Woelmer. "At their next meeting, two weeks later, they chose the name “Faith Lutheran Church.”
Faith Lutheran Church's first service was held Sunday, September 20, 1964 at the Lone Star Boat Company at 1001 Industrial Boulevard in Plano with 78 people in attendance. Faith Lutheran Church was recognized by the Texas District as a formal organization on March 21, 1965. Rev. Alfred O. Rast, Executive Director of the Texas District Board of Missions, was the guest preacher.
Worship services were moved to Plano's Mendenhall Elementary School in July 1965, but were moved one month later to the Plano Community Center in order to have better facilities.
In February of 1965, the Texas District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod purchased ten acres of land on the corner of Park Boulevard and Avenue P. A year later construction began. The church sanctuary, eight classrooms, a kitchen and a pastor's study were completed and a special dedication service was held in August 1966.
Pastor Stark accepted a call in February of 1968 to Christ Lutheran Church in Juniata, Nebraska, so Faith Lutheran Church issued a call to Rev. Herbert A. Sims of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Bethesda, Maryland. He accepted and was installed in September 8, 1968.
Faith Lutheran Church began a preschool for four year olds in September 1971.The preschool expanded over the years to a 3, 4 and 5 year old program.
Pastor Sims left Faith Lutheran Church in July of 1972 and moved to Austin in order to assist seminarians in Hispanic ministry. A call was extended to Rev. Robert W. Hill of Grace Lutheran Church in Paris and St. John Lutheran Church in Clarksville. He accepted and was installed October 1, 1972. Since the church doubled in size, Faith expanded to two services on Sunday morning. A Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Study was held in the homes of church members.
The 10th Anniversary of Faith Lutheran Church was held on September 22, 1974. Rev. William Stark was the guest preacher at the two morning services. Rev. Hill preached at the special anniversary service at 2:30 p.m.
Construction of the fellowship hall on the north side of the church began in fall of 1975. It was dedicated on February 29, 1976 and was called “Stratman Hall.” At that time, this facility was used as classroom space and as a church fellowship hall. The space was named after Rev. William A. Stratman who was a retired pastor and member of Faith Lutheran Church.
Faith Lutheran School began offering Kindergarten class September of 1978.
After going through a Lutheran elementary school feasibility study and after much discussion, the church voted in January of 1981 to start a parochial school - now known at Faith Lutheran School - beginning with grade 1 and expanding to grade 8. The first day of classes in 1981 was on August 24. Jan Kueck of Plano was the first grade teacher and had a class of 10 students. She still teaches first grade at Faith Lutheran School today.
David Cox was installed as Faith Lutheran School principal and teacher in June of 1983.
In August 1983, ground was broken for a new education building and gymnasium facility that would be used by both Faith Lutheran Church and Faith Lutheran School. The church sanctuary was also remodeled during this time, and the new sanctuary was dedicated in December of 1985.
Construction of a new, two-story educational building began on the north side of the church in the fall of 1984.
In July 1985, the church installed Rev. Roderick A. Hathaway as Associate Pastor and eighth grade was added to Faith Lutheran School.
In March 1991, Faith Lutheran School received its accreditation from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Rev. Douglas Handrick was installed as associate pastor in 1991 and served at Faith Lutheran Church until 1993. Rev. Michael A. Frick was installed as associate pastor and mission developer in July 1994.
The second floor of the Faith Lutheran School education building was completed in October of 1994, and was primarily used by Faith Lutheran School students.
In 1995, Faith Lutheran Church helped start Immanuel Lutheran Church in Allen. In June 1996, the church hosted its first Hispanic Vacation Bible School program, and that fall also offered English as a Second Language classes.
In August of 1998, Stephen W. Kieser was installed as principal of Faith Lutheran School.
Faith Lutheran Church called Rev. James Woelmer to serve as associate pastor, and he was installed in September 2002. His father-in-law, Rev. Robert W. Hill, was senior pastor of Faith Lutheran Church at that time.
In June 2003, Faith Lutheran Church bought 6.5 acres of land in Wylie to start a mission congregation there. Since that time, that church - now known as Faith Lutheran Church - Wylie - has expanded and flourished. It still operates as a daughter congregation of Faith Lutheran Church - Plano.
In 2003, Faith Lutheran School Principal Steve Kieser left Faith Lutheran School to pursue the pastoral ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Timothy Merritt of Plano became interim principal and eventually served as principal and headmaster of the school for a time.
After serving Faith Lutheran Church for 34 years, Rev. Robert W. Hill stepped down as senior pastor in 2006. He is still involved in ministry at Peace Lutheran Church in Texarkana, Texas.
In January 2007, Faith Lutheran Church designated Rev. Woelmer as senior pastor. Rev. Jacob Sutton was installed as associate pastor in June 2007.
In August 2008, Faith Lutheran School added Faith Lutheran High School with seven students.
Rev. Frick announced his retirement as associate pastor in 2008.
Faith Lutheran School called Christian Boehlke to serve as principal of Faith Lutheran School in 2009.
Faith Lutheran Church installed Rev. Mark Preus as associate pastor serving Faith Lutheran Church - Wylie in 2010.
Faith Lutheran Church called Rev. Mark Taylor to serve as associate pastor in 2012, after Rev. Sutton accepted a call to a church in Indiana in 2011.
Faith Lutheran High School celebrated its first graduating class in May 2012 with three graduates.
Faith Lutheran School called Rev. Stephen W. Kieser to serve as headmaster of Faith Lutheran School and associate pastor of Faith Lutheran Church after Boehlke accepted a call to serve in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Office of International Mission in 2013.
Faith Lutheran Church called Rev. Kurt Ulmer to serve as associate pastor of Faith Lutheran Church's Wylie location, after Rev. Preus accepted a call to a church in Wyoming in 2014.
Faith Lutheran Church will celebrate the church's 50th anniversary in March 22, 2015.