Faith Lutheran Church
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  History of Faith Lutheran Church
Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church traces its roots to the original congregation that held services at this location called the German Ev. Lutheran Christ Congregation, which built this facility 100 years ago. This original congregation disbanded in 1966 and merged with the Missouri synod church in Boyne City.

The church building was built in 1903 and dedicated in June of that year and the congregation joined the Missouri synod. In 1906 the church became a dual parish with the Missouri synod church in Petoskey. In 1941 the Boyne City church and Wilson Township church became a dual parish. In the 1960's the dual parish decided to merge into one congregation in Boyne City and the last service was held in December of 1965. The property then was returned to the August Knop family since in the original gift of land to the church, there was a provision in the deed that should the property ever cease to be used for church services that the land would revert back to the original owners.

For six months the church building was unused by any church. The new Lutheran congregation - Faith Ev. Lutheran Church (ELS)- had its beginnings in December, 1965 and was formally organized in February, 1966. The three families that were instrumental in founding the new congregation were Leo and Elsie Golke, Herman and Lydia Dittmar, and Ernie and Cora Manthei. Doctrinal concern was the reason for leaving their former church and organizing a new one. Pastor Robert Moldstad who was serving the ELS church in Sutton's Bay was contacted to help form the new church and provide pastoral leadership. The early services were held at the Manthei home on Townsend Road near Petoskey. When the group heard about the vacant church building owned by the Knop family arrangements were made to use this church for worship and on July 2, 1966 the first service in the new facility was held. Faith was received into membership of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in 1966. At that time Herman Dittmar was the chairman of the congregation and Leo Golke was the secretary.

In addition to having services at the Wilson Township location, additional services were also held in Petoskey for a number of years. The schedule given in the bulletin of the 75th anniversary service in in 1978 listed the Petoskey service as being held at the library at 8:45 am followed by Sunday School at 9:45 am. Wilson Township had its service at 10:30 am with Sunday School at 9:30 am. The Petoskey services were eventually ended. Later the Petoskey mission was re-started under the Wisconsin Synod and in 1987 Beautiful Savior Ev. Lutheran Church (WELS) was established which now has its own land and church building on Sheridan road in Petoskey. Herman and Lydia Dittmar, who had help found Faith, were instrumental in also founding this congregation in Petoskey.

The Pastors: Faith congregation was started under the Pastoral leadership of Robert Moldstad who was also serving the ELS church in Sutton's Bay. The first full-time pastor called to serve Faith was Fred Schmugge (1975-77) followed by Leo Scheelk (1978-79) and Robert Carter (1980-1984). Pastor Kris Krushel served Faith as vacancy pastor from 1988-1991. Pastor Jeff Londgren has served the congregation on a part-time basis since 1991. Other pastors who have served as vacancy/interim pastors at Faith have included David Lillegard 1972-74, Dayton Fritz, Larry Vinton, Roger Falk, Harold Vetter, Kelly Pochop, Michael Smith, Brad Homan, Robert Kujawski, and Ron Pederson.

Retired Pastor Herbert Birner was a regular substitute preacher at Faith during the 1990s.

The Lutheran Elementary School: There was a great concern for Christian education in the newly formed Faith congregation and the congregation built a classroom on the back of the church and for eleven years, from 1972-1983, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church School was in operation. Warren Krug was its first teacher from 1972-1974, he was followed by a number of teachers, emergency teachers and substitutes including Gwen Kieker Manthei, Joanie Hougan Brown, Mary Loefer, Georgia Manthei, Gail Thiesfeldt Gauger, Julie Sorenson Faugstad, and Margo Steinbach. Doris Carter was the last teacher and taught from 1980-1983.

Church funishings: The altar came from Reed City, MI. The altar chairs and flagstands are from Boyne City; the pews from the former Traverse City ELS church; the light fixtures from a former ELS church in New York.

Recent improvements: The exterior of the the church had vinyl siding installed in 2000. The front doors were replaced in 2001. A new entrance cabinet was purchased in 2000. New heating system radiators and covers were installed in the church in 2002. The front entrance deck and ramp were installed in 2003. In 2003 the side windows in the church had new panes installed with hand drawn designs of the life of Christ designed to resemble stained glass. The parking lot had a new layer of crushed rock put on it in 2003. The latest project is the replacement of the stained glass window in the front of the church. Rather than restore the old stained glass window the congregation chosen to have new windows made. The old glass was removed in 2004 and the wood frame was restored and new clear protective glass was installed. In April of 2005 the first part of the new stained glass window was installed. Two more panes of stained glass will be installed at a future date to complete the window. (Update: The stained glass window was completed about 1 year later.) A well was dug for the church in 2007 when the water line from the Knop home which had been funishing water for the church broke.

Stained Glass Window

Worship and Membership: As of August of 2003 Faith had 50 souls in the congregation (38 communicants, 12 children). Sunday Worship is at 10 am. Sunday School and Bible class are at 9 am. The Lord's Supper is on the first Sunday of each month.

(This history is taken from a historical summary compiled by Pastor Jeff Londgren for the 100th Anniversary of the building and original congregation held in August of 2003. Recent updates were added in April 2005.)

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