Redeemer Lutheran Church, located at 234 W. F St., at the corner of Holly Lane, Elizabethton, will celebrate its Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Sunday at 10:10 a.m.
Pastor John Schulz, the son of founding pastor Claire P. and Amelia Schulz, will be the guest speaker for the occasion, for which the community is invited to attend.
The church dates back to Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, 1937, when a small group of men and women met in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Elizabethton for the purpose of organizing their own church. Presiding at the meeting was Rev. C.P. Schulz of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Johnson City. At that meeting, the group adopted the name, Redeemer Lutheran Church, and a constitution was adopted.
From the beginning the congregation was under the auspices of the Mission Board of the Western District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and was served by Pastor Claire P. Schulz, who had previously founded Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Johnson City, in 1924. Pastor C.P. Schulz also founded and served the Lutheran Church in Erwin.
For a number of months after its organization, the congregation continued to worship in the basement of the First Baptist Church, but later moved to the Elizabethton City Hall. In the summer of 1941, arrangements were made with the American Legion to hold services in the Community Center, Watauga Avenue and G Street.
Pastor C.P. Schulz continued serving the congregation regularly until his sudden death in February 1939. For the next three months the congregation was served by visiting pastors.
The Rev. George Beiderwieden Jr. of Milwaukee, Wis., was installed May 28, 1939, as pastor of the three congregations in Johnson City, Elizabethton and Erwin. He continued to serve the local congregation until the first resident pastor, Martin J. Mueller, was called in 1944. He was ordained and installed July 20, 1944.
Land was purchased for construction of the church building at the corner of F Street and Holly Lane. The price paid for the property was $1,650. It was during Pastor Mueller’s term of office that the present church building was constructed at a cost of about $60,000. The corner-stone was laid Nov. 11, 1945, and the dedication was held Sept. 11, 1946. The building was designed by Thomas West Gardner of Nashville.
The present pastor is the Rev. Erwin Lueker. The congregation on any given Sunday averages around 40 in attendance. “We are small, but big on community service,” said the pastor, noting that several in the congregation are active in the local ARM ministry.