EBENEZER LUTHERAN CHURCH OF
THE UNALTERED AUGSBURG
Written and compiled by Pastor Dan Koenig and Professor William Gehrke. The early history was based on records and writings by Professor William Gehrke. Information was also received from Barbara Gehrke, Pat Huffine and members who have kept photographs and other documents. Pastor Koenig added some material to the old section and wrote the sections beyond 1950. The history includes line drawings by Pastor Koenig to illustrate the feel and the actual ministry taking place within the church.
This booklet is an on-going project. There has been a risk of listing names which means some names are unintentionally left out or put in the wrong category. Corrections and additions may be made, and will be. In order to have a historical record, it was determined that names should be included. Please make notes so the next addition can be corrected.
Ebenezer Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, was incorporated on St. Michael's Day, September 29, 1907. Professor A.C. Weiss of Concordia College at Conover, North Carolina, conducted a Lutheran service of worship at Smith Memorial Hall of the First Presbyterian Church . This building is now part of the Greensboro Historical Museum. This effort led to the formation of Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
At the time, Greensboro was a growing town of 15,000 people. Efforts to start a second Lutheran Church had failed in the past due to lack of finances and motivation. The first Lutheran Church in the area was Grace Lutheran Church of the Synodical Conference. Pastor Weiss continued to lead worship each Sunday at the Smith Memorial Chapel. He would come on Saturday to instruct the children on Saturday evenings, and to conduct Sunday School in the residence of the Henry Jacobs family.
Ebenezer was a "white" congregation, while Grace was an African American congregation. It may be noted that in the history of the Synodical Conference, the Synod looked at the South, in light of "black" missions, as part of the foreign mission field and established black congregations throughout the South. The church body was not totally part of the culture and did quite well. Segregation, of course, was more than part of the South. It was a reality throughout America in those days.
It is interesting to note that by the end of 1907, there were three different places of worship among Lutherans. Grace Lutheran was first , followed by Ebenezer, and then at the YMCA by Reverend J.L Morgan of the North Carolina Synod of the United Lutheran Church. The services at the YMCA began on November 24, 1907, soon after Ebenezer began holding divine worship. The services were consistently maintained. The time of the service for Ebenezer was 11:00AM and the United Lutheran service was at 4:00PM in the afternoon. Weiss did not miss a service in January of 1908. The United Lutheran Church missed three that month, due to changes in clergy. Weiss continued through March as the United Church faded at that time. Pastor Morgan began a five o'clock service at the Christian Church on the corner of Walker and Eugene on June 28. The two groups, excluding the established Grace Lutheran, held services on and off until August. It was then that the United Church ceased having services for the remainder of the year.
Only once did Pastor Weiss break his routine and that was for a confirmation service with the celebration of the Lord's Supper on September 13. That service was held at 2:30PM. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jacobs, Elizabeth, Clara, Minnie and Bertha, were confirmed.
While Pastor Weiss was holding onto the beachhead in Greensboro, Lutherans in Catawba County were busy gaining support for the mission in Greensboro, as well as other missions throughout the Southeastern part of the nation. Under the leadership of the Mission Board, which was composed of professors from Concordia College, and under the guidance of the mission minded pastors of the Augustana Conference of the English Synod of Missouri and Other States, lay people laboriously fixed their signatures to a "subscription list." Funds were pledged in Greensboro and Catawba County to keep the mission in Greensboro alive. The Mission Board, meanwhile, issued a call for a pastor.
Pastor George E. Mennen, who had been serving Redeemer Lutheran Church in Detroit, was the man. He was well known around the Conover area and was known as a "plugger". Cora, his wife, was born in Conover in the big white house near old Concordia Campus. Rumor had it that she was not particularly fond of the cold weather in the North.
As it happened, not many days later, Pastor Mennen received a call, not from Greensboro in particular, but as Missionary for North Carolina and Adjacent States. Not much else was heard about him until he was being installed at the altar of Concordia Lutheran Church in Conover to the difficult and exhausting work as traveling missionary in three states on February 7, 1909. He was installed by the Reverend Professor George Luecke, Sr.
A week later, Pastor George E. Mennen attended the "special Lutheran service" in Smith Memorial Chapel at Greensboro. Professor Weiss preached the sermon and introduced the Rev. George E. Mennen, "who will locate at Greensboro at once and will devote his whole time to missionary work in the interest of the Lutheran Church."
Because many churched and un-churched people alike knew nothing about the Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Confessions, Pastor Mennen asked for copies of the Augsburg Confession. The church in Greensboro received fifty copies which were printed in Asheville.
Ebenezer grew gradually in numbers and in spirit. When a church has high standards of theology and liturgical practice, it is often not what many people are used to or demand. Much of the theology of many churches has to do with salvation by works and religious experiences. The Lutheran Church was known to be very doctrinal, confessional and creedal.
Several children were confirmed on June 5, 1910. Four children were baptized on August 21, 1910. Pastor Mennen had preached a sermon on "Infant Baptism" accentuating the theology of the "grace" of God. Letters of transfer from other Lutheran churches began to come in. Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Smyre transferred their membership from Concordia Lutheran Church in Conover on October 3, 1910. Mr. Earl Smith attended a voter's meeting as a guest on January 11, 1911. Mr. and Mrs. Ed Taylor and family were received as members by letter of transfer on April 3, 1911. The congregation was convinced of the great importance of mission work and did what they could to gain more and more additions to their church.
IMMANUEL LUTHERAN COLLEGE (1905-1961)
Immanuel Lutheran College was a training college for black Lutheran Christians who wanted to be pastors or go into church work. It served the Lutheran Church well as many congregations with all black members were opened in the South. A strong faculty was formed to teach the Lutheran faith and liberal arts. Many of the faculty would eventually become members of Ebenezer, although some attended Grace Lutheran Church even though most of the country was segregated.
The faculty of Immanuel Lutheran College attended most of the initial meetings in the days of the formation of Ebenezer. They liberally supported the congregation financially. Most of their families became members. For various reasons, some of the faculty did not join Ebenezer. Files J. Bakke, President of the college, nowhere appears in the church records, and his wife made only one recorded contribution. Professor Berg wanted his family to join, but he was not sure as to his own person. On July 3, 1911, Mrs. Berg and their children were received.
Ebenezer was looking for a loan from the church extension fund for a new building. How such loans are determined is always an interesting spiritual and political question. Funding from the Mission Board of Catawba was cut off when Pastor Mennen had insisted on focusing on mission work in the Greensboro area, whereas the Mission Board wanted a greater expanse of territory extending into Virginia and South Carolina.
Contributing members at this stage of Ebenezer's history were Henry Jacobs, Johanna Jacobs, Bertha Jacobs, May Jacobs, Clara Jacobs, Martin Lochner, Earl Smith, Emma Wahlers, Elizabeth Lochner, Professor John Philip Smith, Frank Smyre, Ed Taylor, Carl Maus, Professor Frederick Berg, Miss Schwarzkopf, Walter Berg, Minnie Jacobs, Selma Schroeder, and Mattie Sigmon . Holders of Sunday school envelopes were May Jacobs, Henry Jacobs, Jr., Margaret Smyre, Ruth Smyre, Martin Berg, Fred Maus, John Smith, Carl Maus, Charles Maus, Hannah Jacobs, Earl Smith, Naomi Taylor, Eleanor Taylor, Ernest Schroeder, and Selma Schroeder.
Ebenezer was incorporated as Ebenezer Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, Incorporated, on July 12, 1911. The certificate of incorporation stated the name of Ebenezer; that it was to be located in Greensboro, North Carolina; that it was to uphold the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina; hold other real estate as necessary, like a parsonage. There should be no capitol stocks; the name and post office addresses should be Fred Wahlers, 619 5th Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina; M. Lochner, Immanuel College, Greensboro, North Carolina; and George E. Mennen, 613 5th Avenue, Greensboro, North Carolina.
To become a member of the church, one had to subscribe to the teachings of the Un-altered Augsburg Confession and to the constitution of Ebenezer Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, Incorporated. The period of this charter would be limited to 99 years. The board of directors would then have the power to alter, amend, reset, the by-laws of the corporation. Neil Ellington notarized it on July 12, 1911. J. Bryan Grimes, the Secretary of the State of North Carolina, certified the document.
THE PARISH SCHOOL
Professor Gehrke writes: "In 1909 Pastor George E. Mennen rented a small dwelling on 5th Avenue to serve as his parsonage. A vacant room in the parsonage served as a school room. The education minded pastor began to teach a few unconfirmed children. Accordingly, the pastor stated that he "would open a parochial school on Wednesday, January 5, 1910."
Around nine o'clock, "about ten children, mostly the offspring of the professors, timidly knocked on the front door of the parsonage, desiring to come in, so that their new teacher might teach them the Catechism, and readin', writin', and rithmetic on as many days in the week as he could conveniently spare them (for the teacher was also a missionary in three states, able at best to devote only four days per week to his school."
The pastor now taught lessons, and the children learned lessons. Because of the pressure of school-work, the missionary, at length, confined his preaching activities to Greensboro, Danville and Raleigh.
When the second term began in the fall of 1910, the enrollment climbed to eleven pupils, including Lee Barnard (later associated with Gate City Transport Company) and Moses Isaacson (more recently owner of a store next to Silver's). With an increase in enrollment, the demand to teach 5 days a week became greater and greater. On the whole, however, the parents were glad, very glad that they had a parish school.
Not so glad, in fact, far from glad, even "mad," were the good people of Catawba County. "We," they complained loudly, "subscribed to his salary with the understanding that he was to go around as much as possible." The longer they thought and talked about the school, the angrier they became. Finally, many snapped their pocketbooks shut so tightly, that the Mission Board had great difficulties in raising the subscription to his salary.
When the news of the Catawba County Revolt reached Pastor Mennen, he immediately issued a call for a special meeting. Pastor Mennen read all of the latest bulletins to them. Then they solemnly shook their heads. He said: "We are now standing at a crisis." (November 28, 1910).
What help, in these trying and critical days, could Ebenezer expect from the Mission Board in the Lutheran Capitol of Conover? When the revolt was at its height, the Mission Board had gone into session, discussed the problem pro and con, back and forth, up one side and down another side. After much serious study the Board had succeeded in working out, not merely one solution, but two solutions, which it offered to Ebenezer, as follows:
1). Seek an alliance with the Eastern District of the "German Synod." Then the pastor may preach in Greensboro every Sunday, hold services at Danville, and teach five days a week in Greensboro.
2). Capitulate. Close the school and meet twice a month and allow the pastor to make as many missionary journeys as possible.
Unanimously the church accepted the first proposal. Greensboro kept its school; Catawba County kept contributing to the missions. For the first time, both sides were satisfied with the peace treaty.
About a year later another huge surprise took place. Pastor Mennen moved to St. John's and Bethel churches in Catawba County, among the very people, who, during the period of the Revolt, had tried to starve him into submission. This took place on July 5, 1911.
The move was remembered with a bit of mild bitterness and disappointment since the congregation was beginning to flourish and the pastor had not been there too long. He left a congregation of 61 baptized and 28 communicant members. There were six voting members, twenty-one Sunday school pupils and eleven in the Christian day school which was started under the direction of Pastor Mennen.
Efforts to maintain the school continued. The members of Ebenezer rented a small house on Percy Street for school purposes. Professor Wahlers became the vacancy pastor. A portion of the rent was met by the fees which now flowed into the treasury of the church. They employed Walter Berg as the teacher until May 31, 1912. He received a dollar a day, including Sundays and holidays.
The members sought a permanent pastor and calls came back about as fast as they went out. Finally, the church asked Dr. Ludwig Fuerbringer of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis to select a good graduate. The call went to William D. Peters who accepted the call. He was from Fairmont, Oklahoma. The congregation was hopeful and elated. The pastor, however, said that he wanted to come, but he needed vacation time to deal with marital issues. The congregation blessed the marriage plans and asked that he be present on September 15. His books arrived "collect" and some of the more frugal members complained. A number of members gave donations for moving expenses which were from $5.00 to $10.00. Among them were Smith, Smyre, Bertha Jacobs and J.P. Smith The new couple would move into 613 Fifth avenue, next door to Rev. and Mrs. J.P. Smith. A few of the "crusty" members complained that the clergy couple had taken an inspection tour of the house.
The new pastor, William D. Peters, also became the new teacher. The members confidently advertised: Applications for admissions may be made to him." Very few applied. Pastor Peters would find himself in a brand new church and school building, honestly earning the sweat of his brow by teaching 4 R's to 4 children. On November of 1912, several members wanted to introduce German into the school. However, the majority voted to table the matter.
In July of 1913, Pastor Peters accepted a call to Asheville. The school remained closed until the Fall. Among those attending the parish school (besides those listed above) for a year or less were Selma Schroeder, Henry Jacobs Sr., Martin Berg, Elsie Smith, May Jacobs, and Concordia Smith."
It must be noted that some of the members were hard on Pastor Peters. This would turn out to be a bit of a problem in light of having a congregation with many college professors who were quite zealous for "getting things right.". A few of the professors would interrogate the pastors on Sunday afternoons after they delivered their sermons in the mornings. Sometimes it was forgotten that many pastors diligently study theology and are called to be the ordained theologian in the congregation.
BUILDING EBENEZER (1912-1913)
The vacancy left by Pastor Mennen in July of 1911 gave the members an opportunity to review the progress of Lutheranism in North Carolina. It may first be said that Lutheranism didn't always fit the religion of the culture. Lutherans believed that God accepted people at Baptism, and that included infants. The culture often believed that Baptism was an act of accepting God. Lutherans believed that comfort comes in being accepted by God (Gospel) and the culture often believed that comfort comes in one's own proof of love for God. Lutherans believed in confession and absolution to help steer one away from sins that would ruin one's faith. Much of the culture believed "once saved always saved." Lutherans believed in a formal liturgy which included all of the ingredients of prescribed worship in the Bible. Lutherans were also connected more to the holy Catholic church, whereas many churches surrounding Ebenezer had little intentional connection with church history. Lutherans believed that Scripture was the only rule and norm of faith, while the culture often believed in special messages from God, something Lutherans would call "Gnosticism."
LUTHERAN CHURCHES IN GREENSBORO: Who was first?
In looking over the state of the Lutheran faith in Greensboro, it was important to assess the various Lutheran churches. Grace Lutheran, a black church, with some white members who were professors at Immanuel College, was the first Lutheran Church in Greensboro. It was founded in 1893 and located in a section of town called Warnersville. In 1897, Grace built a large framed church and school. It was funded by the Synodical Conference. It had a steeple bell which called hundreds of children to come to be educated. At the time of the assessment, the church had very few members and had been vacant since 1907. Warnersville was a very poor area of town and the courage of people to maintain Grace was quite amazing. When Ebenezer was founded, black people could not be members in a white church.
Some of the future members of First Lutheran attended the first service of Ebenezer in 1907. Many appealed to their own Synod for a congregation and things began to happen under the direction of a young pastor named Rev. J.E. Shenk. Services were held in the Y on 118 ½ North Elm. The Sunday School was organized on June 19, 1910.
First Lutheran chose its name on January of 1911. A cornerstone was laid on June 6 and the opening services of the new church began on October 29, 1911.
THE FIRST CHURCH BUILDING
In the Spring of 1910, under Pastor Mennon's leadership, Ebenezer met for worship in an old Sunday School room of Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church. The parish school held its sessions in the parsonage. The Sunday School met at the residence of Henry Jacobs.
Convinced that all church activities should be centralized under one roof, the members elected a building committee to secure a house or hall. This took place on April 4, 1910.
The committee later reported that St. Barnabas Episcopal Church at North Elm and Price streets could be bought for $15,000, and Saint Andrews on Arlington and East Lee streets could be purchased for $6,500. The voters decided that St. Andrews would not be a good location and the Conover Mission Board did not favor buying St. Barnabas, but recommended that Ebenezer build a church.
For six months the building committee hunted, inspected, and priced a great variety of building sites. At length they discovered a lot at the intersection of Summit Avenue and Percy Street that the members resolved to buy.
Resolutions cannot, however, buy building sites, unless they are supplemented with money. Ebenezer's motto in those days was truly "silver and gold have I none." The problem was discussed in great detail on July 3, 1911. Professor Berg, who listened with his eyes closed, suddenly opened them and said: "First send out a cry for help." And they were asking for a lot and school building which would serve as school and chapel. The board knew that a loan would be too burdensome for so few people.
The quest went on as the church continued to meet at Smith memorial. The best was none too good during the cold winter. The members froze during the services, and their feet got cold. The voters even tipped the janitor to fire up the furnace.
The day came when Ham Real Estate Company offered the committee a lot on Park Avenue between Percy and Charles Streets. It was 100x150 feet in size. The cost was $950.00. The voters thought it was an excellent offer and petitioned the Church Extension Fund for $2,500.00 on July 1, 1912.
Posthaste, the Board agreed to supply the money, provided that Ebenezer submit building plans, transfer the property to the Synod and obtain a clear title. So speedily did Ebenezer meet every requirement, that at 6:00 on Tuesday evening, September 17, 1912, Professor Lochner laid the cornerstone. A few weeks later, contractor L.B. Jeffries, an African American, had carried out the plans of architect J. Hopkins. Pastor Peters, wearing a pulpit robe for the first time in the history of Ebenezer, formally opened the doors on November 3, 1912.
After the dedication service, the members inspected their new church, as if they had not already examined every board and nail that had gone into its construction. "This fine building, with its coat of steel, or pearl grey with light trim, is our church." The building was 40x24 and cost only $984.00. The semi-annual payments were $62.50. There was a coal stove. A new organ was donated by the Ladies Aid. The pews would come from High Point. The lectern and communion table would arrive later. "K.S." would give the pulpit Bible. With enthusiasm the members looked at the room which would house the school. The flat ceiling replaced the one suggested by the architect. The building could be used as a residence if ever needed which they prayed that God would prevent. "It's 3:00PM and Professor Wahlers is going to preach a Reformation sermon!"
The building committee, by April 1913, had received $2,618.00 including $2,500.00 from the Church Extension Board. They had expended $2,284.00 and had $334.00 on hand.
The members continued to make improvements. They sowed a lawn, erected a glass sign, bought a hymn tablet, laid a sidewalk, and dedicated an altar which was nine feet high and five and a half feet wide with covers and a gold fringe, costing $69.00. This was first used on June 27, 1915.
Pastor Peters left for Asheville in August of 1919. The secretary of the congregation, F.A. Smyre, wrote to the Mission Board for a new pastor. The board replied that it had "no one in view at the present time." Ebenezer was apparently satisfied with this information. At Christmas, the congregation resolved to give Professor Wahlers, "our pastor," a present of $25.00, which he declined with thanks. When someone later raised the question of calling a regular pastor, the members resolved instead to "gladly accept Wahlers' services as heretofore." Their only regret was that he would accept no compensation. (April 6, 1914) He was satisfied with his salary at the college.
The members made improvements on their church building; they reduced the mortgage; they received new members: Mr. S.C.J Van Vulpen and family from St. John's, Beaumont, Texas, Professor J.Ph. Smith; Mr. and Mrs. Th. F. Weinhardt, and Mr. Baumgart of Indianapolis, Indiana. At the end of the year, 1919, the contributing members were K. Maus, Bertha Jacobs, Mrs. S.E. Smyre, Clara Thigpen, Henry Jacobs, Minnie Jacobs, J.P. Smith, Mrs. Mary Smith, F.A. Smyre, L. Voltz, F. Berg, Theodore Meinhardt, Mrs. Maria Meinhardt, Clara Schwieger, L. Van Vulpen, Mrs. Johanna Jacobs, Mrs. Emma Wahlers, Henry Schroeder, Henry Voltz, E.C. Schroeder, S.C. Van Vulpen.
Many of the same members contributed to the Sunday School along with family members whose church contribution was included with that of the family. Contributing members of the Sunday School were Paul Smyre, Ruth Smyre, Concordia Smith, Henry Jacobs, Margaret Smyre, Hannah Jacobs, Elsie Smith, May Jacobs, Alwin Voltz, Mart Voltz, Chr. Maus, Fred Maus, Jas. Maus, Erma Thigpen, Elsie Thigpen, Clara Thigpen, Ethel Thigpen, Fred Wahlers, David Thigpen, Estella Thigpen, Martin Berg, Clifford Schroeder, Alice Schroeder, Selma Schroeder, Walter Schroeder, and Margaret Schroeder. It is enlightening to note that Lutherans have always been an educational church with strong theological Bible studies.
The Lutheran churches throughout the country observed the 400th year of the Reformation or the nailing of the ninety-five thesis on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Wahlers and his church made a heroic effort to acquaint the people of Greensboro with the blessings of the Reformation. Confident that people would really take to this story was another reason why the congregation wanted to move from Park Avenue. The building didn't seem to fit the grand story of the Reformation which had affected all of the lives of the citizens of Greensboro. They decided to utilize by renting, not Smith Chapel, but 1st Presbyterian Church, itself, and to import a special speaker.
The festive day dawned, clear and bright. Promptly at three o'clock in the afternoon, Lydie Berg began to play the prelude on the pipe organ. The out-of-town preacher arose. He grinned broadly when he saw the congregation. He even, as they say, preached a powerful sermon on the heritage of the Reformation to the members of Ebenezer and to an array of neatly arranged empty pews.
The Lutheran church was based on a theology of the cross rather than a theology of glory. It would always struggle when it came to being faithful rather than successful. Especially in revival-oriented parts of the country where religion is deeply seeded in emotion and experiences, Apostolic faith would be questioned as being too scholarly and clergy as too educated. Solo Scriptura and Solo Fide would always be seen as not enough. The church would have to be faithful and not overly successful. This way of thinking would continue into the later part of the century until the Southeastern District of the LC-MS would go toward being successful at whatever the cost. Ebenezer, as we will see, was willing to bend a lot, but not at the sacrifice of the Gospel or respectful worship of the Holy Trinity.
A bird's-eye view of Ebenezer since its organization of over nine years was a bit toward conservation and reclamation, rather than harvesting where others have not plowed and harrowed and sown seed. Many people were fearful of sharing faith in a normal way because of the abnormal ways it was shared in the environment of revival movements. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was going to compromise, mostly for the good, with the establishment of more overt mission work. Still, many of the members did not feel comfortable until a greater theology and practice of mission was outlined.
When the building was slightly over five years old, it sprang a leak during the severe winter of 1917-1918. There was a lot of sleet and snow. It was a very small leak at first. The student janitor, Jesse A. Hunt, who later became a pastor in Greensboro at Grace-Luther-Memorial, didn't know there was a leak. It was a hidden leak for the most part and one man was assigned to investigate on April of 1918. Meanwhile services continued as usual. The Rev. Leo Gross and his family joined the church, and Mrs. Wischtakat attended a meeting of the voters' assembly. No one seemed to worry about the leak, not even when the committee had reported that it had not repaired it.
Gradually the little leak became a trickle. Secretary F.A. Smyre and his family moved to Conover. The minutes stopped abruptly in July of 1918. The building was virtually ruined. The church building was closed in 1918. Ebenezer had a deficit of $6.54. The church paid no salaries. The building fund still had a balance of $600.00. But during the first six months of 1919, the deficit in the current account grew to $47.00. The leak had turned into a stream. Only $25.00 came in during a seven-month period as the balance in the treasury shrunk from $546.00 to $433.00. Ebenezer ceased to function altogether on August 8, 1920. The building was swept away by the leak which became a flood.
Professor E.A. Kunstman reverently collected all of the personal property of Ebenezer which included a small amount of money in the Bank, a receipt book and church records. Some of the material was sent to the Mission Board in Baltimore and the rest to the Church Extension Board of the Eastern District. This included a check for $431.40.
Despite bats in the belfry, a ruined building, dust on the old Bible and spider webs, the church that seemed dead, wasn't. The soul of Ebenezer would live on.
CHURCH FOR SALE
The building of Ebenezer in a non-Lutheran area and with many building problems was a slow process. On September 29, 1923, exactly 16 years after Professor Carl A. Weiss held the first service, the city of Greensboro had grown to 43,535 people, but Ebenezer had little growth.
The roster of officers included: Reverend Berg, Reverend Smith, Reverend Roerig, Reverend Schuelke, Reverend Lankenau and Professor Rennegarbe or five pastors and a layman who was a Lutheran teacher. In all fairness, the pastors wanted to find lay people with whom to share the offices. Professor Gehrke writes: "The question as to Mr. Meyers serving as trustee is left open until we receive more definite information as to his whereabouts." Mr. Smith, the only simon-pure layman, had disappeared. Meanwhile, repairs were made to the building so it could be used. The church continued to own and insure the building, but its location had little appeal and was partly responsible for twelve years of frustration.
Once again the church went into an eclipse lasting four months. The only hope was that the Mission Board promised to supply Ebenezer with a resident pastor or a supply pastor. Only two services were held in June, July and August of 1922. In September, twice a month services were resumed. In November, the Reverend John Philip Smith began serving as a supply pastor. He received no pay although the church adopted a subsidy for the next five months. Reverend Smith introduced weekly Sunday services. During his ministry, the leak was repaired and the building restored to working order. The cost was $123.00.
The opportunity to dispose of the property came early in 1924. Mr. J.A. Amos offered $3,300.00.
Confusion reigned in the meeting that had been called to sanction the sale. The members gave Mr. Smyre and Mr. M. a vote of thanks for selling the property. Then they approved the sale. Then someone reported that the church had already been sold. Next, a motion was made to inspect other property before selling the current property. Finally the church building was sold on February 6, 1924. The buyer paid the full amount on April 23rd, and on the 26th the congregation sent $700.00 to the Church Extension Board, retiring the mortgage and leaving a balance of $2,600.00 in the treasury.
A member suggested that Ebenezer buy a lot for $3,000.00, erect a modest chapel for $1,600.00 and give a deed of trust for the balance of $2,000.00. The members resolved themselves into a committee of all the members for the purpose of inspecting suitable locations. There was a preference for the location to be between West Market and Guilford.
Ebenezer would eventually build their new church on the corner of Walker and Tremont. It seemed to be a good location on the West side of Greensboro with growth taking place in that area.
On February 6, 1924 the property on Park Avenue was sold, as indicated, because Ebenezer was not growing and the building had lost its appeal to members and had little appeal to people looking for a home church. The location also led to frustration for twelve years.
Ebenezer maintained itself from 1913 until 1924. It had a number of supply pastors who did not radically change the nature of the church. They included Professor Wahlers from 1913-1919; A.E. Kretzman from 1919-1920; Professor F. Berg from 1920-1921;
Professor Charles Frederick (1921-1922); and Professor Berg and others (1922 to 1924). It may be noted that the job of being a supply pastor was passed around among professors from Immanuel Lutheran College. Professor Wahlers was most intimately connected with the church and tried to build an emphasis on worship, Bible study and mission.
A committee became serious about finding a location. On September 14, 1924, Reverend W.D. Spencer was installed in the assembly room on the third floor of the Guilford County Courthouse on West Market Street. Services were held at 337 ½ S. Elm Street until May, 1925, at which time Ebenezer moved to 112 ½ East Sycamore Street. In May of 1926 the congregation moved to 341 ½ South Elm Street. On July 3, 1928, lots on Walker Ave. and Tremont Drive were purchased. The property on Walker was a hundred feet wide and the property on Tremont was 133 feet wide. Construction began on the last week in August, 1928, and the cornerstone was laid on October 6, 1929. At the cornerstone service, Professor C.O. Smith, delivered the address and Pastor W.D. Spencer laid the cornerstone "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost."
The church became a stable small congregation with little growth. People in the area were not prone to the depth of theology that was taught by the professors in the congregation and demanded of the pastors by them. Some people, however, did connect. The church had a viable community with a small choir and a close fellowship. People were involved in each other's lives. The relation with Grace Lutheran was very friendly, but definitely segregated as the times demanded. During Pastor Spencer's pastorate the Ebenezer Ladies Aid Society was started on January 7, 1925. The first unit of the new building was constructed in 1929. There was tremendous support from the English District of the LC-MS who believed in the potential of a solid church in Greensboro.
Pastor Spencer moved to Baltimore in 1930. He was replaced by the Reverend Roland Scaer who was there from 1930 until 1942.
The Southeastern District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was born in May of 1939 to produce greater mission growth. Forty-nine parishes and sixty pastors joined. Ebenezer was a thirty-year old mission church with 66 communicant members. It had no parsonage and the prospects for growth were "poor." Ebenezer carried with it throughout much of its history an expectation of failure. It survived well despite the lack of optimism shown by the District.
During Pastor Scaer's faithful service the congregation rented a parsonage. In order to save money, Pastor Scaer and his family moved no less than 6 times in less than twelve years. A parsonage was built next to the church in 1941. The parsonage was paid for by the mission board and the congregation rented it. The Johanna Jacobs Circle was organized on March 9, 1941 or the same year.
The Reverend Robert Landeck came in 1942 and stayed until 1950. In May of 1944, people were positive as the war was coming to a conclusion. There were 76 people were in church on May 14 and 82 on May 28. The offering was between $40.00 and $50.00. Katherine Yokes and Erich Nau agreed to teach Sunday School. Dr. Henry Nau, the president of Immanuel College in Greensboro, spoke about Lutheran Union. There were 71 communicant members.
The family of Dr. Henry Nau belonged to Ebenezer. Dr. Nau remained a member at Grace as he was president of one of the two colleges in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod which trained black workers to serve the church as pastors and teachers. Dr. Nau had been a rather famous missionary in Nigeria and in India. He had migrated to the United States as a non-Christian after fighting a duel in Germany. He was brought into the Lutheran church in New York City, became a seminarian, and then a pastor and missionary. He was the radical, ecumenical president of Immanuel College. He was not prone to segregation and at times acted as if it didn't exist.
During the War, an army base was located in Greensboro. Some of the soldiers came to worship at Ebenezer. Bernie Wilmering met Margaret Smyre. They became long-time members at Ebenezer. Bernie would be a major force in the Board of Property Maintenance and Development. Another leak was not likely under his watchful care.
By May in 1945, Ebenezer was interested in foreign missions. There was more of an attitude in those days that the United States was for the most part Christian, and the mission should go where people are starved for the Gospel. Ebenezer's Women's Missionary League joined the Society for the promotion of Mohammedan missions. The Walther League, a group for teenagers, had also been started. There was always a concern for the future of the church and that meant ministry with and by young people. The congregation received a letter from Mark Altvater, a prisoner of war in Germany.
In May of 1946, Ebenezer bought a Hammond Organ for $2,192.00. Ebenezer also had a Men's Club which met in homes, but was involved in projects around the church. The Circle was now called the Johanna Jacobs Circle and they did many little projects for the church. In 1946 they had safety lights installed as well as a flood-light which made the church building stand out at night.
By May of 1947, the Walther League was strong and took part in Circuit and District activities. The Men's Club showed a film called YOUTH FOR THE KINGDOM.
In May of 1948 the church had 93 communicant members. Pastor and Mrs. Landeck had coffee and donuts for the young people before Sunday School. That raised some eyebrows. More new members came in, but Pastor Landeck received a call to West Chicago, Illinois. The church voted to have a parish worker and a kindergarten. The basement of the building was renovated for that purpose.
Pastor Landeck left in 1950 and was replaced by the Reverend Robert C. Stade, a former missionary to Nigeria. He gave the congregation a very good feel for world mission.
The Reverend (Professor) William H. Gehrke served a brief vacancy in a very effective way until the Reverend S.D. Kostelny came to Ebenezer in 1954 and stayed until 1956.
Interesting stories appear in many forms and often with great humor. During the 1940's George Appel was the head trustee of the congregation. He was the only person with a key to the church, and even the pastors had to make an appointment or be there at a certain time to get in. Each Saturday George would clean the church while the organist practiced. After the service on Sunday, George would carefully count the hymn books to make sure that none were missing, and then would lock up the building until he opened it for the next person who needed to get in with good reason. That custom changed with the arrival of Pastor Stade. When Ed Bescherer moved to Greensboro, he told the congregation that in order to grow, a new facility had to be built. The congregation hesitated but agreed when they believed that the new members brought in by the building would generate money to pay for it.
In those days there were also strict rules within the congregation and in most churches. Sunday was a day of rest and that meant a big meal after church, followed by a nap by all of the adults, children and even teenagers. Needless to say, some rebellion ensued. For the most part, those great families stayed connected with the church because of the importance of community and the importance of right belief and doctrine. The Lutheran doctrine of justification, which is at the heart and soul of Christianity, helped people to realize that all are sinners who need the grace and mercy of God.
In the spring of 1957 a second parsonage was purchased at 2008 Wright Avenue. Even though he didn't want it to be known, Ed Bescherer bought the house. The old parsonage had to be moved. It was given to the mover who took it to Warren Street. Ed also got on an airplane to fly to St. Louis with a check of about $2,000 to pay for the parsonage owned by the board. Ed came home with the deed.
The Reverend Robert Studtman, who would later become an LCA Bishop, came from a heartland of Lutheranism, Giddings, Texas. Pastor Studtman came to get a lot done. The former parsonage at 310 South Tremont became an educational building. A second property next to the old parsonage was purchased to make way for the building of a new sanctuary. The old parsonage and the house on the newly purchased property were moved and construction began after some serious and difficult fund-raising. The new sanctuary was built and dedicated on August 9, 1959. The new building turned out to be a solid structure with additional plans to add on an educational wing. The main problems were a lack of restrooms on the sanctuary level and a fiberglass ceiling, which was constructed due to a problem of running out of money. Ebenezer expected fast growth so it purchased a parking lot across the street on Walker Avenue. The building also lacked pews which were purchased under the leadership of Ed Bescherer. To the surprise of many, but due to a lack of adequate salary, Pastor Studtman left in 1961 as Ebenezer had a huge debt.
It may be noted that there were thoughts of relocating near the Lawndale and Battleground area before the 1959 sanctuary was built, but the congregation remained in the university area. The chapel was also a factor in the decision to remain.
Pastor Studtman was replaced by the Reverend Robert Mayer in 1961. Pastor Mayer came with the courage of facing a debt, however another huge issue struck Ebenezer like a bolt of lightning in light of the fact that the pastor and the people on the council expected so much to happen soon. The mission directors from all three Lutheran church bodies started new missions in Greensboro. The three new missions were not too far apart. The Greensboro Council of Lutheran Churches was organized, with Pastor Mayer as chairperson, in order to support mission placements. A Community Concerns Committee was also organized in order to promote harmony in the Greensboro community among churches, races, and other divisive sub-groups. A pastor's study group, which consisted of pastors in the LC-MS, LCA and ALC lasted until the mid 1990's. The group brought in top-notch theologians and studied the lessons for each Sunday with high expectations of scholarship.
The Southeastern District of the LC-MS put a lot of pressure on people to leave Ebenezer and go to Cross of Christ so that the new mission would succeed in a fast growing part of Greensboro. Cross of Christ was started in 1965. Pastor Mayer of Ebenezer was in full support of the mission. Later, Pastor Koenig would be supportive of a parochial school movement with hope of utilizing the property of Cross of Christ and eventually build a larger sanctuary for the good of the mission of the church. This proposal was not accepted. Two other Lutheran missions were started at the same time in the general area. To this day people ask if Ebenezer was not ear-marked for shutting down so that the future of the Lutheran Church would lie in fast growing areas. There was even talk about selling the property of Ebenezer.
The fact that three mission churches were started at one time in near-by locations didn't seem to be good stewardship. As anticipated, there was only room for one of the three to do well. Ebenezer battled to survive and seemed to have a solid enough base for the future.
Ebenezer's debt was felt more and more until a number of individuals and families sacrificed to pay off the church debt. Some wonderful families went to Cross of Christ because they believed in the mission of the church. Pastor Ed Fritz did an outstanding job of starting a mission congregation with a bright future. Ebenezer fought a battle and there was a lot of sacrifice, but the debt was paid. Dr. Richard Bardolph, the chairperson of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, became the church janitor in order to save money. He also contributed a lot to pay the debt.
Paying the bills of the new building was a great challenge. Under any pastor there is controversy that always coincides with social issues of the times. At this time racial issues were front and center. Pastor Mayer invited people from a small African American community near the church to attend Vacation Bible School, and also laid down the welcome mat for black people to attend worship. A voter's meeting decided, that for the sake of the Gospel, there was no choice. Most people dealt with these matters quite well. As the church moved into the modern world there were many issues during Pastor Mayer's time in Greensboro. There was a war, racial issues, and changing practices within the church at large. He left in 1972 when he took a call to Michigan.
Ebenezer was continually seen as the church that had no future due to its background and especially its location. To a certain degree, Cross of Christ was started because Ebenezer had "no future". By 1985, Ebenezer was and is known as a congregation with a strong confessional Lutheran identity with a focus on Word, sacraments, and liturgy, yet open and caring of other Christian churches. Ebenezer takes worship, education, fellowship, ministry to suffering people and evangelism seriously and works diligently to create and maintain fellowship in the post-modern world of "self" and marketing churches.
When the 1959 sanctuary was built, a small organ was utilized from the chapel.
Ebenezer had a variety of small organs and one that came from Immanuel College. An organ was dedicated in 1964. In 1984 another organ was built, consisting of parts from the existing organ, and a new consul and organ pipes from an organ from an Episcopalian church in Raleigh. New wind chests were designed and built by Clarence Butenhoff and Bernie Wilmering. Ebenezer solicited an expert, Dr. Bunges, from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. It was anticipated that this organ would serve the church for many years. Jim McConnell from Farram College was the builder.
MODERN EBENEZER: Post-1972
After Pastor Mayer left, the vacancy pastor was the Reverend Professor Harry Coiner, who was at Ebenezer from 1972-1975. He remained as a member of the church through 1977. Pastor Coiner was a seminary professor for many years and he was head of the placement program at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Pastor Coiner had definite goals as a vacancy pastor. One was to question the purpose of each organization in the church as to its function in mission and ministry. He would say to various organizations: "Just what is the purpose of this group?" One of his goals was to expand the leadership of the congregation. He wanted more new people to participate. He operated with the two- board system, a Board of Property Maintenance and Development and a Board of Care and Concern.
These sizable boards would work with the corporate officers to form the church council.
Pastor Coiner thought that stereotypes had to be broken for the church to be alive. At times he would use a free-standing altar or he would use Luther's German Mass as an alternative to the existing liturgy which had rarely been changed or tampered with from the formation of the church. Pastor Coiner believed in the beauty and meaning of the liturgies, but believed there was room for creativity in worship. He tried to challenge dead tradition and initiated some spontaneous components into worship. He thought it was important to have a Bible or a copy of the lessons in the pew. He was also involved in trying to determine the future of Ebenezer. He really believed that there should be a future, but some practices had to be questioned. He had, as Pastors Studtemann and Mayer, no intention of having tightly "closed" Communion.
Pastor Coiner also had an active Bible class on Sunday, and people visualized "education" as one of the keys to the future of Ebenezer. His sermons were educational as he challenged people to be the church. He laid ground work for the future. He also sought to be involved in more Social Ministry which resulted in plans to help resettle Vietnamese refuges to America following the War in Vietnam.
PASTOR DANIEL G. KOENIG
When the call process began, there was a list of names. Pastor Coiner recommended that his friend, Pastor Daniel Koenig, from Adair, Iowa, be high on the list. Even though one or two others were called, Pastor Koenig finally received and took the call to Ebenezer in July of 1975. Little did he or the congregation know that he would remain for over thirty years. Pastor Coiner and Pastor Koenig were committed to the concept of "agape" or God's love as expressed in the Gospels and were determined that in-fighting and conflict would not be a part of Ebenezer in the future. Even though some people came in and out of the church with hostile attitudes, they did not get very far in a congregation which loves peace and an authentic concept of what it means to be the body of Christ. Pastor Koenig would be, by far, the longest standing pastor in the history of Ebenezer. His schooling included a B.A., M.Div. (Concordia Seminary in St. Louis), M.A. from Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, and a Doctor of Ministry from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Most of his doctorate work was applied to the parish. He made winter trips back and forth to Richmond, Virginia, and in the summer he spent much of his vacation time studying at Anderson College in the mountains working toward his degree with Union which he received in 1987.
When Pastor Koenig arrived, the continuation of solid study of the Bible, church history, practical theology, marriage and the family, single life in America, and the confessions of the church were high on the agenda. The regular liturgy was supplemented by folk masses or liturgies, yet the church identified with the great tradition of Word and Sacrament and the historical liturgies and their structures. Folk liturgies were musically powerful and down to earth, but the music didn't have a long lasting power, even though many of the songs are now well entrenched in hymnals. New hymnals, all of which were used at Ebenezer, explored a wide and rich variety of liturgical music and hymns.
The congregation also took a low-keyed approach to giving. Giving has been seen as a matter between the member and God. Pastor Koenig took the stand that he did not want to know what people gave. Only the financial secretary would know in order to send out tax reports. This has been very effective as one can see what Ebenezer would do for the next thirty plus years.
The congregation believed that pressure to give and negative behavior were detrimental to the mission of the church and authentic Christian fellowship. Over the years every church has to deal with people who carry conflictive issues. Ebenezer has intentionally believed in reconciliation and the love of Christ in light of personal problems. Ebenezer has more and more become a church that deals with issues, but refuses to fight with people. The church consists of sinners who need the forgiveness and grace of God. There are always individuals who want the church to fail, but they have been few and far between. The members of Ebenezer dealt with such problems very well.
At times, with the rise of religious marketing and the cults, there have been attempts to bring agendas into the church that have been contrary to the purpose of the congregation and constitution. The congregation has also dealt well with these types of issues.
The wives of the pastors at Ebenezer have made many positive contributions to the church and life of God's people. They have had their own identities, but have given so much. Carolyn Koenig, the wife of Pastor Koenig, has added a kind, peaceful and loving spirit to the congregation. Her pleasant presence has been important to the positive and loving spirit of Ebenezer for over 30 years. She has not been one to give many opinions, but is often quietly there to help. It has been difficult to be conflictive around Carolyn. It is amazing how many people add to a positive and Christ-like spirit in a given church. She also set a great example of elder care as she took care of the parents of pastor and her own parents and aunt. Mary Haugen is new at Ebenezer. She has already been a delightful presence with her intelligence and natural leadership and insight. She relates very well to young adults and people of all ages.
MUSIC AND LITURGY
Ebenezer has always been a liturgical church in light of the tradition of the holy catholic Church and the Lutheran Reformation. A variety of approaches has been used, but the integrity of the liturgy has been maintained throughout. Luther warned the church about being carnal with its music and liturgy, and at the same time led the church into a rich variety of music and liturgy which expresses the feeling of the Word, the doctrine of the church and the sing-ability by the congregations. Ebenezer has used the very old pre-1941 service book, the Lutheran Hymnal, Lutheran Worship and, in 2007, the Lutheran Service Book. The organ has been the main instrument with use of piano, bells, and instrumentalists.
Our choir is and has been an integral part of worship as it has led the liturgy and embellished the church year with anthems and psalms. It has done special music for baptisms and other occasions. In the entire vision of a liturgical church, a liturgical choir is necessary for the entire span of the church year. Ebenezer has been proud of what our choir and choir directors have accomplished.
There has also been a desire to maintain and even expand the great music tradition of the church. Ebenezer would have a wonderful relationship with the UNCG music department and would utilize many outstanding musicians. Many of them were amazingly innovative and became very well-known in their fields. Musicians are listed toward the end of this document..
Ebenezer also became a church with great concerts by college choirs, graduate recitals and groups like the Market Street Brass who have continued to come once or twice a year. In the early eighties a Luther Concert, with period instruments, was done. The youth and children have done musicals. Daisy Smyre, Nanette Smyre, Suzanne Bahr, Vicar Stephen Rosebrock, Jason Gottschalk and Anne Doyle have led children's choirs.
Our music program has also been enhanced by hand bell choirs led by Suzanne Bahr, Lilli Ambro and Jason Gottschalk. Lilli Ambro, Shirley Keel, Daniel Johnson, and Jeff Perrier have all contributed to the church with their organ skills. For many years Dale Borget, with his great voice, has enhanced early service. We have had many good cantors. Some have been paid as part of their choir and organ job. Some of the volunteers have been Dale Borget, Don Johnson Jr., Jeff Perrier, Spencer Tessman, Debbie Smith, Andrew Mails and others. The first musician for early service was Carrie Koenig who played the piano. Annie Hutson added music to our weekly Matins.
People like Suzanne Bahr, Cara Medina, Mark Lapierre, Brandon Rorie, Jonathan Perrier, Bart Ortiz, Shane Ambro, Mark Baran, Kevin and Christi Lorenz, Angie Perrier, Barbara Janke, Victoria Shively, Dick Lockwood, Cara Medina, and Annie Hutson have added so much our music. Very good friends of the congregation have enriched our services. Among them have been Ben Hutchins, Rebecca Siegel, Gordon Kellog, and Ed Bach.
Our paid musicians and volunteers have led the choir in many great music pieces by the great composers. Ebenezer has developed into a church in which people know that great music can be heard throughout the year. Music lessons have also been offered at the church in voice, organ, piano, and guitar. Dr. Jason Gottschalk has been an outstanding musician as we celebrate the hundredth anniversary. He brought the beauty and sacredness of Evening Prayer into our Advent and Lenten season. The range of great church music has been rather amazing under his leadership. Musicians are listed toward the end of this document.
STRUCTURE AND CONSTITUTION
Some key things happened structurally in the first five years of Pastor Koenig's tenure. The structure of the congregation was expanded from two boards to seven. The boards would include Elders, Property Maintenance and Development, Evangelism, Social Concern, Youth, Education and Worship. The Board of Finance is a special and occasional board which consists of the corporate officers. Ebenezer has been blessed with some outstanding men and women who have kept and been overseers of our finances. This is a difficult and laborious job. We have had teams of counters who work each Sunday after the service. Pastors have little to do with finances. They do not handle the money nor do they know what members contribute. Ebenezer has not talked much about giving, but has done an outstanding job in meeting the budget and paying for significant projects like a million dollar addition, chapel restoration, new ceiling, purchase of new property, rebuilding the organ, and building new heating and air systems.
USHERS AND ALTAR GUILD
Our ushers and altar guild, under the Board of Worship, have been outstanding. Women have volunteered for a month at a time to keep and make our altar area beautiful and to prepare for Holy Communion. The ushers have operated by the week and have been helpful in making visitors feel welcomed and that things are done "decently and in good order." In modern history, for many years, Betty Hobbs and Debbie Smith have organized the altar guild. Efrid Thomas has been a captain of the ushers for many years.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
The Reformation was recorded in part by artists like Lucas Cranach the Elder and Albrecht Durer. Art would be an on-going interest at Ebenezer to express the nature of the congregation and the history of the church. Artists in the congregation were encouraged to use their skills. Eric Nau did paintings of Martin and Kate Luther, along with other historically important Lutherans. Sam Huffine did Luther's morning and evening prayers in calligraphy. He did other works such as the Christmas story from Luke 2. His sketches have led to the printing of Christmas cards. The profits from these cards have been used for many projects. Pastor sought to interest children in simple line-drawing in order to express themselves even though they may not be artistic.
Pastor Koenig's doodles also recorded our history in the vein of folk art. Artists in the church include or included Ray Tysor, Christi Koenig, Adam Moser and Wendy Synder. Mildred Chamblee did monumental works to add symbolic value to the main area of worship with needlepoint symbols. She also did a latch-hook tapestry of Luther's seal which is often hung over the altar. For many years a sizable number of women and men have made banners for the chancel and nave area. Such people include Louise Trebel, Carole Butenhoff, Lillian Ebert, Anita Prysby, Merika Melvin and Jennifer Gilbertson.
The youth group and leaders have also made banners.
In the 21st century we have had a group of women who have done flower arrangements: Pat Huffine, Shirley Keel, Lilli Ambro, Jean Tillman Edwards and Jill Matilla. This particular art-form also keeps the church well decorated to the glory of God.
Honoring and decorating the church with the installation of stained glass in the chapel was important to early Ebenezer. The stained glass represented Lutheran theology in very definite ways, but also left some things, like the pelican, to the viewer's imagination. Art would be used over the years to decorate the 1959 sanctuary, which was built with a great sense of aesthetics, but waited for talented Christians to add the finishing touches through the arts and crafts.
In the late seventies, throughout the eighties and into the nineties the enhancement of the sanctuary through art and symbols took place. Super- frontals were purchased. Chasubles and stoles were hand made. Statues and a sculpture of the Lord's Supper, donated by Dan Warnicke, were added under the altar and in the sanctuary. Crucifixes were added.
A wooden ceiling was added for sound and beauty. The organ was redesigned also for sound and beauty as the wind chests were hung over the chancel area. There was artistic woodwork done in the main sanctuary and in the chapel by the many skills of Charles "Skip" Nilson, Sam Huffine and Ryan Mails. A history of the Reformation was added in a large stairwell that displays a wide range of data and visual images of the heritage of the Lutheran Church. Eric Nau did a series of drawings and painting of Reformation and Lutheran figures. A good number of art prints were brought back from Germany.
In days far gone by, Oscar Yokes contributed to the congregation financially and artistically. He designed, constructed and painted the outdoor nativity which lasted over fifty years. Vandals finally stole most of them in 2006. The productivity of the Ladies Aid and other people surfaced with tapestries and the creation of banners. People such as: Edna Dunn, Barbara Gehrke, Leverne Lefler, Crystal Birk, Helen Hughes, Vera Urshel, Rene Petter, Annie Hutson, Kathy Brown, Phyllis Love, Vera Schrank, and others were part of the making of chrismons and crafts. A chrismon is a Christmas tree ornament utilizing a Christian or Biblical symbol. Quilts were made each year for raffle at the Oktoberfest. A new interest in chrismons surfaced in 2007 as a new class was started by Jean Tillman Edwards. Stained glass was also of interest with a marvelous collection in the chapel and over the front entrance. Thom Mock helped design and donate the stain glass version of Martin Luther's Shield. John Ruffatto designed certificates and signs on his computer. Billie Wagner designed logos and signs for various needs.
Ebenezer has also had wonderful photographers who have added much to our church directories and visual experiences. Thanks to Fran Brown, Ann Sherrill, Sandy Groover, Matthew Brown, and others who have helped out.
A lot of printing has been and is demanded of a church. Randy Barrier has done a lot for the church at no charge. Thousands of dollars have been saved by such generosity.
Ebenezer loves its historical connection to the Lutheran Church and the holy Christian/ catholic Church on earth and maintains a keen interest in the history of the church. We do studies and courses on church history and art, and we maintain a museum (art and pictures) in the stairwell between the two narthexes and elsewhere in the building. The museum includes a history of the Reformation, American Lutheranism, famous Lutherans throughout history and historical information about Ebenezer and Greensboro. Many of our members have made us more historically aware as they have studied the history of Christianity and tradition. The 100th anniversary collage, done by Billie Wagner, will be placed in this area.
Our library also maintains a sense of the history of the church. It has a large collection of theological works, reference books and popular books. There is also a collection of children's books, videos, CD's, and DVDs. The library is very popular. The library had early beginnings with Helen Puterbaugh and others. It was thoroughly solidified in the year 2000. Our main librarians have been Lynette Kindt, Carole Lichtenberg, Jane Maliar, Christine Dunn, Shirley Appenzeller and Ellen Lapierre. Many donations have come from members and through special donations. During the forth year of the library about 60 books were checked out each week.
Christian education has been upper-most in the history of Ebenezer. The pastors have been viewed by the Lutheran Church as the congregational theologians and there have been high expectations when it comes to theology and other disciplines. Pastor Coiner taught an adult class during the vacancy years. He opened some eyes to current theology in the church and world. Most of the pastors were teachers. Pastor Mayer taught the Bethel Bible series. Pastor Koenig, with a MA in education and doctorate in ministry education and phenomenology, emphasized church education and the expansion of opportunities to learn.
In a 30 year span, the congregation has maintained a Sunday School and Bible classes for adults, a weekday book club which has covered a great variety of subjects. Famous authors such as Bonhoeffer, Austin, Lewis, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Le Ingle, O'Conner, Welty, Luther, Forde, Marty, and Pelican have been read. Novels, short stories, biographies, poetry and history have been part of the agenda. Helen Puterbaugh has been our book club leader for 30 years.
Ebenezer has also had Tuesday and Wednesday Bible classes. Pastor Jim McDaniels has led the Wednesday class for almost five years. Pastor Haugen took over the Wednesday class in the summer of 2007. Andrew Mails has led a college class, which was taken over by Pastor Haugen in 2007. The vicars led a women's bible study. There has also been a History of Art class coordinated by Pastor Koenig and expertise in art shared by Lela Peabody.
The adult class on Sunday has covered almost every book in the Bible (verse by verse) with books like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, I John, Revelation, Genesis, Psalms, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Job, Jonah and Amos, etc. several or many times over. We have also studied church history, art, practical theology, marriage and the family and other subjects with the assistance of people like Wayne Parris, Chad Newsom, the vicars, Stan Speckhard, and others.
Ebenezer and area Lutheran churches have had a Lay School of Theology for the circuit with week-day courses on many subjects. Ebenezer sponsored one of the District's Sunday School Conventions. Pastor Koenig arranged workshops and Dr. Lillie Andrews gave the keynote address. Pastor Koenig and Mark Puterbaugh wrote a booklet called HOW TO GO TO COLLEGE.
The Newsletter has also been an educational tool as many issues and questions are dealt with in the "Dear Pastor" or Question and Answer section, a feature well over 25 years old. There has been an educational emphasis in groups like the seniors, youth and circle.
Ebenezer has also offered private and group instruction for adults in beliefs and practices of the church, especially the Lutheran Church with its catholic and Apostolic history.
The offices of the pastors and vicars have been accessible so that weekly theological, practical and intellectual discussions take place. The entire approach to church life has to do with daily education and conversation.
Ebenezer has offered a thorough two-year confirmation program. The program has a strong emphasis on the foundations of the Christian faith with studies in the Small Catechism, liturgy, church history, basic vocabulary of the Christian faith, books of the Bible and Bible facts and church terminology. There has also been a strong exploratory
component to this middle-school oriented program. Each student is to have 40 or more experiences in Christian practice to help define possible roles in the present and the future. Most of the adult instruction has been private and there have been some small classes. Parents have played an important role in confirmation education and in guiding their children to be active in youth and in future and current leadership at Ebenezer. We have had many outstanding leaders among youth.
Ebenezer has offered early communion instruction for children beginning in the 5th grade. This has led to a greater understanding of the Lord's Supper and as well as a great sense of being part of the Body of Christ in its most intimate form. Some parents choose not to participate and have their children take first communion after they are confirmed.
ACOLYTE AND CRUCIFIER PROGRAM
Ebenezer has had an outstanding program involving young people (and older) in being acolytes and helping with the service in being crucifiers and book bearers. Over the years people like Betty Hobbs, Shirley Keel and Mark and Wendy Snyder have organized the program along with paid church workers. We have had many young people lead the acolytes. Beverly Wagner was the first female acolyte. She was trained by Betty Hobbs in 1971.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Ebenezer has also had a strong Vacation Bible School for all ages each summer in the evenings. Historically, some of the racial barriers in Greensboro were broken down by Ebenezer's neighborhood emphasis. For many years we have had day-time VBS, and that shifted to an evening emphasis. Wonderful structures and back-drops have been built by leaders such as Darrell Ambro, Greig Radford and Andrew Mails with assistance from many people.
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
Ebenezer has always had a strong Sunday School using the best of Lutheran curriculum. We have had an outstanding Children's Christmas Service for over 30 years which has been held on Sunday mornings, the only non-Eucharist service of the year. We cannot say enough about the heroic teachers who dedicate an important part of their lives to the Sunday school and nurturing of children. Many in the old days remember Hattie Gehrke. Kathy Kowski retired after 30 years of teaching, and Sandra Frye is also a legend in the Sunday school for well over thirty years. Many remember classes with outstanding teachers, such as Ouida Brown, Carolyn Mooney, Billie Jean Johnson, Marcille Sexton Morgan, Pat Warnicke, Sherry Koenig, Stan Speckhard, Dan Koenig, Ted Medina, Donna Causey, George Brown, Efrid Thomas, Suzanne Bahr, Gail Mock, David Mingia, Darrell Ambro, and many others. These teachers have influenced our children. Sandra Frye took a little autistic boy under her wing and helped him to be excited about coming...
...to Sunday school. Teaching is a huge commitment and of major importance in faith formation. Our Sunday school administrators have also done an outstanding job in coordinating curriculum, ordering and taking up offerings (to be utilized for educational purposes). Some of the administrators have been Creig and Cindy Radford, Dale and Eldon Gill, Heather Borget, Darrell Ambro, Ben Risso, Efrid Thomas, Becky Anderson and many others.
Ebenezer has been serious about reaching out to people in the community and the world so that they may know the richness of God's grace and the tradition of the Scriptures and the church. One of the goals of evangelism has also been to be credible in light of the Apostolic faith in the midst of a world of odd religion, anti-religion and cults. Many people have worked diligently in this area. In recent years Donna Causey, Jean Tillman Edwards, Jane Maliar, and Lilli Andrews have reached out to people with visitation and many special events. Various members have provided meals for new members. Some people have been major promoters of the tradition of Ebenezer.
Ebenezer has had strong involvement in the International Lutheran Laymen's League and the Lutheran Women's Missionary League. Over the course of our history there have been many Mite-Box projects in conjunction with the monthly meetings of the LWML. The LWML has sponsored church dinners and events like the confirmation in loving service to the church. They have been involved with Oktoberfest and other projects. Janis McDaniels has been a state and an international leader.
Ebenezer has had strong representation on boards and committees of the state and national International Lutheran Laymen's League. The ILLL has been involved in radio and television ministry. Efrid and Carrie Thomas, Mildred Chamblee, Kurt Janke and George and Ouida Brown have regularly attended International conventions. Ebenezer has helped sponsor state and international conventions.
Youth ministry has, over the years, developed into a very active enterprise led by extremely good youth leaders, vicars, pastors and an assistant to the pastor. The youth have been taught to appreciate their history and liturgical heritage. They have been involved in weekly meetings, summer and winter retreats, drama, music coffee houses, sports, operating refreshment booths at Wake football games, and even trips to national conventions. Parents have been a key to youth ministry, but so have outstanding leaders. Marcille Sexton, Suzanne Bahr, Susan Thompson, Pruette and Betty Carter, Stan and Mary Davie Speckhard, Marc and Wendy Snyder, Brenda Lawson, Greg Serpas, Paisley Jester, Bryan Gaiser, Andrew Mails, Don and Billie Johnson, Jennifer Gilbertson, Jill Matilla, Nicole Lambrecht, Jane McCann, and the vicars are examples of long term youth workers. One of the motivating factors in expanding our facility into a gym for sport activity has been youth, children, and the Christian family.
Many of our youth have been involved in the music of the church. Some have played instruments, others have played bells or sung in the adult or youth/children choirs. We have had outstanding youth soloists in the church. Our Children's Christmas service has utilized their talent. Many of our youth have been involved in the ministry of the church and social issues outside of the church. Many have done well in scouts and in athletics. Our youth have been involved in maintaining the nursery on Sunday. Some have been on boards. Of course, the youth have been the mainstay in our acolyte, crucifer, candle bearer, and Bible bearer activities on Sunday and for special services.
Inasmuch as our youth attend so many different schools, they have worked hard on building and maintaining friendships within the church. Ebenezer is appreciative of adults who have been so encouraging and supportive of youth activities, especially parents who sit with their children in worship and live out their faith in the home.
Ebenezer has offered one of the great youth programs in the city with so many opportunities to serve and gather. Pastors, vicars and lay people have been supportive at recitals, athletic events, concerts and art shows.
Years ago Carolyn Mooney helped start a Play and Discovery program for children as a year-around Vacation Bible School. This turned into the Joyful Noise Group which has been led by people like Billie Wagner and other mothers and fathers. This group has had many wonderful stories, arts, and crafts. It also will be a seed-bed for a children's choir. Many faces have been part of the Joyful Noise scene including Marcille Sexton, Mitsy King, Gail Mock, Mark and Ellen Lapierre, Toby and Ann Sherrill, Patrick and Lisa Mc Millian, Dean and Billie Wagner and many others.
LADIES AID AND JOHANNA JACOBS CIRCLE (THE LUTHERAN WOMEN'S MISSIONARY LEAGUE)
Ebenezer has had a long history of the Ladies Aid and the Circle. The Ladies Aid has been a service organization for the church and it has also supported the Lutheran Women's Missionary League. The Aid has done massive projects in sewing, quilting and making crafts for the Oktoberfest and sales. The money has gone toward church projects
and mission efforts. The women work on Wednesday each week and on other days. They also do service volunteer jobs at the church. They are a major force for the Oktoberfest and the Summer Festival. For many years people like Edna Dunn, Barbara Gehrke, Lillian Ebert, Helen Hughes, Crystal Birk, Laverne Lefler, Vera Urshel, Francis Malloy, Betty Malloy, Vera Schrank, Phyllis Love, Margaret Wilmering, Anna Yokes and Irene Smyre.
The Johanna Jacobs Circle has been a long standing organization named after its founding member. It has been a service organization for the church in sponsoring things like the Thanksgiving Dinner, Oktoberfest meal, and the Confirmation dinner. In recent years there has been an emphasis on International Lutheran Women's Missionary League. Janis McDaniels has been an international president. The use of Mite Boxes has raised a lot of money for missions.
For years the Circle had printed a cook book. At times there were gag-recipes. When the book became dated. Ann Baran took on the task of re-doing the book which led to an outstanding new edition with a wonderful new design. These books have been available through the church office.
AN UN-NAMED WOMEN'S GROUP
A new group, without a name, was formed without a formal structure in 2006. It is a group that is ready to act for funeral needs and big events like the Thanksgiving dinner and other special meals. Among these women (with a few men helping) have been Shirley Keel, Billie Jean Johnson, Meredith Tysor, Barbara Gehrke, Carolyn Koenig, Jean Tillman Edwards, Jean Myers, Joanne Bergman, Kay Guenther, and many others.
BIG EVENTS EMBELLISH THE CALENDAR AT EBENEZER
Ebenezer has had big events for the sake of the congregation, the mission of the church and the community. In the Fall Ebenezer has had Oktoberfest which has included German food, bake-goods, books, crafts, raffle, yard sale, and silent auction. The Summer Festal has had Chinese food and silent auction. Money has been raised for missions, especially in Venezuela, playground equipment, hand bells, music supplies, Lutheran World Relief, and for other projects around the church.
Other events also have been popular and have served causes: the Shrove Tuesday pancake breakfast started by Vicar Ted Krey; the Thanksgiving meal, which is very well attended featuring some Thanksgiving songs and Scripture; Easter breakfast a long standing tradition sponsored by men in the congregation and the International Lutheran Laymen's League.
Ebenezer started a covered dish dinner around the year 1976 and it has been an institution for over 30 years. Each second Sunday after the late service there is a meal. This has helped build the fellowship of the church and the closeness of members.
CLASSIC ADULTS...YOUNG ADULTS
Classic adults is a once every two months group dedicated to the building of fellowship of people who once were young adults.
Various young adult groups have been formed. The group as of 2007 meets each month at a home. There may be times in which it has met at the gym. Pastor Haugen and his wife Mary have been coordinators beginning in 2007.
Pastor Wil and Viola Koenig started the Senior Christians group in 1985. That group has met each week with leadership from pastors, vicars, and lay people like Bob and Marie Dow. Pastor Norman Temme has helped lead the group in recent years as have Pastor Haugen and Pastor Koenig. Kurt Janke has been the coffee man for the seniors and other groups. Seniors have been instrumental in two chapel projects and other efforts by the church. They have promoted a close fellowship between people of from 55-90 plus.
EBENEZER AND THE GREENSBORO/GUILFORD COUNTY COMMUNITY
Ebenezer and its members have been giants in the Greensboro Community. Irma Lyday was a major factor in the development of Centennial Gardens and the Arboretum along Wendover. Pat Huffine has also been a member of the Garden Club and has, along with Sam, been a major force in the annual Greensboro Christmas Tree Show. Dorothy Bardolph was mayor pro-tem and on the city council. She was a giant in promoting positive racial relationships and in being a voice for the poor. She had strong support from her husband Richard, who was on the faculty at UNCG. Both were members of the NAACP. We had had several members who have been in local and state government.
Laura Wiley has been a state legislature or representative from the High Point area after she had been on the High Point City Council. Carolyn McGee and Bruce Wiley have been chairpersons of the Guilford County Republican Party while Richard and Dorothy Bardolph were strong in the Democratic Party. Herb Tucker has been both a Son of the American Revolution and Son of the Confederacy. Members have made impacts in the art world, the music world and construction and business endeavors. Ebenezer members have had a huge impact on public and private education, local government, the corporate world, the legal and court system, the arts, such as visual arts, crafts and music, and other areas as seen in the sections on community involvement. We never want to forget construction people who have left their marks throughout the region in buildings, roadways and city and county parks. Laurie Thore was named Employee of the Year in Greensboro for her outstanding work in the Parks and Recreation system. Dan W. Koenig, Paul Walker, Valerie Rectin, and David Mingia have been involved in politics. Helen Puterbaugh and Skip Nilson have been workers and captains at voting precincts.
EBENEZER AND SOCIAL MINISTRY
Ebenezer has been one of the most active churches in the Greensboro community in volunteerism in the community. We are amazed at the variety and degree of participation.
The following list represents the variety of activities by members of Ebenezer in the community:
Lutheran World Relief
Greensboro Urban Ministry (contributions and volunteers) (budget)
Habitat for Humanity workers
7 Homes workers
Gather food and items for Urban Ministry and 7 Homes
Items for Salvation Army
Weekly contacts with street people
Nursing home volunteers
Rescue squad volunteer (Carter Jones)
Education volunteers and tutors
Sports coaches (basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, golf, football, swimming) (i.e. swimming champs have been Gary Birk, Lauren Mock and Morgan Mock)
Scout leaders and volunteers (we have many Eagle Scouts)
AA and NA volunteers, sponsors, and participants
Christmas gift gatherings
The Smile Train
Home School workers
Visit shut-ins (members and non-members)
Legal and medical assistance
Pastor's discretion fund
Work with mentally retarded
Deaf school and community volunteers
Vets of Foreign wars volunteers (parades, monuments, etc.)
Greensboro Garden Club (develop Arboretum and various gardens)
Greensboro Opera Company and Symphony Guild
Furniture contributions for people with needs
Refugee resettlement (over 30)
Volunteers and gifts for Teen Challenge
Youth involved in social ministry projects at school (i.e. anti-drug campaign)
Youth involved in nursing home activity
C.R.O.P. WALK one of top givers in city and number of walkers
Medical equipment donations
Election officials and volunteers
Blood donation volunteers and givers
Participants in pastoral clinical education
National Guard members (i.e. Nicole Lambrecht)
Police department volunteers
Work with autistic children (i.e. Susan Pheasant, Carrie Rorie, Brandon Rorie)
Work with downs syndrome (i.e. Walt and Jennie Collins)
Deaf ministry and education (i.e. Hank and Ruth Widmer)
Pastor and a significant number of our members helped develop the Social Ministry Manual for the Southeastern District. This is a very practical "how to" book in which
people have shared their experiences of doing practical ministry all the way from home care to starting an Urban ministry or starting Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops..
Several of our members (part of Speckhard family) went to New Orleans to help with flood repair and relief.
Ebenezer has been involved with 7 Homes, an agency which houses troubled teenagers. Dan W. Koenig, Ted and Cara Medina, Andrew Mails and others have been involved.
Carolyn Stratton and Kathy Lofton, along with other enthusiastic walkers and workers, have led Ebenezer to break records each year in C.R.O.P. walk contributions and number of walkers.
Ebenezer has been involved in refugee resettlement following the Viet Nam War. The congregation has re-settled over 30 refugees including Vietnamese, Montagnards, and two Hungarians. We have been blessed with some exchange students.
Our church has also been involved in Habitat for Humanity both in building, but mainly in providing food for builders and/or volunteers.
Dr. Dorothy Bardolph, who was so active in politics and humane causes, was active in worship and Bible Class. The Dorothy Bardolph Center (for older adults) is named after her.
Hughlene Frank has been a major force in social ministry in the Greensboro and North Carolina communities. She has been on many leadership teams in city and state leadership, Red Cross, and higher education.
Pruette Carter has been a long term volunteer at Greensboro Urban Ministry.
Ebenezer has weekly offerings of food and clothing for Urban Ministry and other agencies. Bob Green has led the way for years in monthly tuna offerings and other items.
The Joyful Noise and youth groups have made baskets, cards and gifts for the elderly and those in need.
The youth have led Christmas caroling each year.
David Moore has been a major force in ministering to veterans. He is a Viet Nam vet who is continually with people who deal with need for support and healing.
Kristine Johnson and Bill Sosnowski have been trained in the Stephen's Ministry.
Fred and Beverly Brockschmidt have been leaders for the United Way.
Dr. Francis Gill has written a policy book and documents for rehabilitation in the North Carolina Prison system.
Lutheran World Relief is one of the best agencies in the world for the battle against world hunger. It has the highest percentage of the dollar actually going into the field. Ebenezer has strongly supported this effort.
Herman and Cande Zapp, a young couple from Argentina, visited Ebenezer on their ventures around the world in their 1928 Graham Paige automobile. They were on their way from Argentina to Alaska at the time and stayed in Greensboro and visited our church for several months. They stayed with Mike and Mary Ann Burkholder and were close to Bob and Jeneil Feldes. Bob and Mike helped repair and service the infamous car. Their first born, Nahueti Pampa. was born in Greensboro. They became close friends of the congregation. They returned on their way to Asia in 2007.
A HEART FOR MISSION
Ebenezer in its love for mission sees the individual as critically important. Mission is personal and important. Conversations are critical. The church has averaged over 12 adult confirmations in most years.
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CHURCHES
Ebenezer has had very good relationships with other churches, but not "forced" relationships with unnecessary activities. Ebenezer was one of the hosts for the Lutheran and Catholic dialogues in the late 1970's. Pastor Koenig and the vicars have attended the Aquinas/Luther Seminars at Lenoir Rhine College. Ebenezer has hosted conferences and study groups for pastors and seminars. Church and college choirs have sung at Ebenezer. There have been shared scouting programs and choral programs with other churches. Pastor Koenig has spoken at groups in Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptism, Catholic, Episcopal and Orthodox churches. He has spoken at Christian colleges and schools. Ebenezer believes that the Lutheran Church has a lot to offer in light of worship, doctrine, education and the arts. Dialogue is important even though we do not compromise the chief beliefs of the Christian/Lutheran faith.
COUNSELING AND EBENEZER
Ebenezer has been committed to the best of mental health care and problem solving of broken relationships and suffering people. The church has been involved in various counseling centers such as the former Lutheran Counseling center and the Presbyterian Counseling Center. We are fortunate to have a counselor in the church, John Morressette. Debbie Smith has worked for years in the Willie M program and with troubled teenagers and adults. Eddie Wiles has been an excellent school counselor. Hank Widmer has been a counselor and psychologist for the North Carolina School for the Deaf both in Greensboro and Wilson. Susan Pheasant and Shirley Keel have worked in the field of psychiatry. Dr. Don Tessman is a psychiatrist. Pat Soenksen is the CEO of Hospice. Pastor Jim McDaniels and Pastor Rudy DeRosa have had clinical training. Pastor Koenig has had courses in Systems Counseling and in the method of Karl Rogers. We have had many members who seem to have skills in counseling including Paul Walker, Christine Dunn, Jan Smith, Sue Smith, Kristine Johnson and Bill Sosnowski. Obviously there are many others who could be listed. Ebenezer keeps a list for referrals when counseling needs a process or goes beyond immediate pastoral care. Ebenezer also engages in pre-marital counseling as preparations for marriage are made.
Ebenezer has had strong connections with the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts. Some of our members have also worked with Cub Scouts. At one time we had a troop, but due to over-saturation, we merged with other troops. We have had many people active in the Boy and Girl Scout movement. Among them have been Tommy Richey, Buddy Appel, William Thompson, Suzanne Bahr, Nancy Greer, and Efrid Thomas, only to mention a few. We have had many Eagle Scouts. We continue to work with scouts on their projects. Several new members have been involved in scouts in previous churches and work with scouts on projects. Ebenezer has offered and continues to offer help with scout badges and major awards like God and Country and Eagle Scout.
Beginning in 1975 Ebenezer was involved in the re-settlement of refugees. The idea was sparked by Pastor Coiner and members who wanted to be of help after the war in Viet Nam. Pastor Koenig came to Greensboro just as the re-settlement began. The first family was that of Ho Cong Tho, Trang, Betty and Coty. Col. Ho was part of the inner-circle of General Westmoreland. This family was part of the first wave of refugees, many of whom were highly educated. The Ho family were devout Buddhists and part of the "de-Westernization" movement in Viet Nam if the South would have won the war.
Ebenezer's relationship with the family and the many individuals and families who followed was very positive. Re-settlement had to do with finding housing and furniture, securing jobs and driver's licenses, enrolling children in school and in many cases enrolling in language classes. The story of resettlement is also a human story of certain needs and problems, which were handled well by our membership.
Ebenezer sponsored over thirty refugees including a group of Montagnards (Dega people) from the jungles of Viet Nam and two Hungarian refugees. The Montagnards and the Hungarians were political refugees who had to escape for their lives. The Montagnards were Christian and soon founded their own congregation in light of the Missionary Alliance. Our resettlement efforts extended into the 1980's and some cooperation continued into the 1990's despite the anti-church attitudes in the early days of resettlement within the Lutheran Emigration Service. Efrid Thomas has kept close contact with refugees throughout the years after his many efforts in re-settlement.
EBENEZER AND PUBLIC EDUCATION
Ebenezer has made a contribution to the realm of public education because it is an education-oriented church. A variety of roles includes teachers, administrators, principals, vice-principals, administrators, athletic directors, guidance counselors, assistant teachers, teacher's helpers, and coaches. Several of our members have been named "teacher of the year" such as Ruth Wiles, Suzanne Bahr, and Shannon Vaka. Dr. Robberta Messenbrink, Tiffany Stuart, Steve and Jane Teague, and Dr. Jean Tillman Edwards have been school vice-principals or administrators. We have had committed teachers who have seen public education as their ministry: Ruth Gehrke, Donna Long, Kathy Kowski, Carrie Rorie, Marian Nichols, David Brown, Benji Brown, Roy Turner, Susan Morressette, Teri McKeen, Pat Warnicke, Tiffany Stuart, Kathy Brown and many others. People like Jennie Tucker, Mary Davie Speckhard, David Brown, Dale Borget, and Angela Newsom have taught or coached in private schools. Pastor Koenig served on the blue ribbon committee, or the Middle School Taskforce, for the implementation of Middle Schools in Guilford County. Ebenezer has been strong in the number of PTA members and leaders, as well as workers in special education for the deaf, sight impaired, autism, mentally handicapped, and confined.
Ebenezer has also contributed to other forms of education. Members have also attended private schools and been a force in those operations. We have had people who have taught in private schools. Some members have been involved in home-school efforts. They include Wayne and Patti Parris, Chad and Angela Newsom, Sonny and Patsy Newsom, and John and Mary Ann Wettach. Ebenezer has assisted people with the need of space for educational needs all the way from computer training, music lessons and recreational space. Many of our members have been involved in tutoring.
SPORTS AT EBENEZER
Ebenezer has certainly had many athletes as members. Sports serve as a source of fellowship, especially in basketball, softball, volleyball and yoga. Every week there are friendly (usually) games of half-court and full-court basketball. The gym is used on a weekly basis as people are challenged to come out and play some hoops or try a trick shot from half-court or behind the back. We have a lot of sports stories, myths, fables and legends right here at Ebenezer. Yes, Pastor Wil did dive off of river-bridges and Gil Gimble did hold the Florida state record in the mile. . We have had outstanding dancers, basketball players, softball and baseball players, soccer players, track and field stars (Fred Brockschmidt held) the national javelin , swimming champs( Gary Birk, Lauren and Morgan Mock were ranked), football players, wrestlers, tournament winners in fishing (Dale Borget), tennis players, golfers, race car drivers, horseback riding competitors, ball room dancers, whistling champion (Toby Sherrill), jump rope experts, cheerleaders, gymnasts, and others.
Ebenezer's gym has been in constant use for basketball, volleyball and children's games. Dominoes has been a regular item on Thursdays as has ‘yoga" on Tuesdays, led by Kathy Yonaitis.
Ebenezer had its first vicar in 1998 with the arrival of Ben Maton. Vicar Ben was strong with young adults and youth. Vicar Ted Krey came in 1999. He also had strength with young people and pastoral care. Vicar Stephen Rosebrock came in 2000. He had a wonderful children's choir and was strong with youth and young adults. Everette Green came in 2001. He was the first African American church worker at Ebenezer and carried a wonderful positive spirit. Vicar Luke Zimmerman came in 2002. He was known for being an encyclopedia of sports and did very well in the gym. Jon Olson came in 2003 and worked sincerely on sharing faith with young people. All of the vicars were good with visitation and preaching. All of them taught Bible classes and the church blessed. Andrew Mails came in 2004 and worked at the church for two years. He led youth and did a tremendous job reaching out to college students and talking about philosophy and religious questions.
MISSION TO VENEZUELA AND PERSONALIZED MISSIONS
One of our former vicars, Pastor Ted Krey, has been a missionary in Venezuela. Ted served at a church in Maracay, and has also been the theological educator for the entire country. Ebenezer has raised money to help purchase a building for the congregation. We also raised money for a new church structure. Mission societies are utilized since the World Mission Board has decreased in world mission output and their willingness to funnel contributions directly into desired projects. There are over 20 mission societies associated with foreign missions.
Pastor Koenig has traveled to Venezuela to experience Ted's mission endeavors. Pastor Ted Krey has visited Ebenezer on several occasions to preach and lead Bible class. The church has benefited through personal missions.
In 1976 Ebenezer talked about "models" for the church. One of those was that of a country parish in the midst of the city. A monthly covered-dish dinner was started which now is a tradition of over thirty years. The annual Thanksgiving Dinner has huge attendance of members and guests. The Oktoberfest, which raises money for congregation needs and mission projects, has been a huge success both for the fellowship of the church and these projects. The youth started a Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner.
Easter Breakfast has been a long-standing tradition. Several members started a Summer Festival with a silent auction and Chinese food. Our cooks, Frank and Charles Wong, paid for the playground built from money taken in at the meal. There is a weekly luncheon at the Seniors group and several Christmas dinners sponsored by the Circle, the Choir, youth and other organizations.
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT
Some of the great heroes of the church have been people who have dedicated a lot of time to property and maintenance. Many have done great projects and many have done the general maintenance, repairs and up-keep of the building. Bernie Wilmering and Clarence Buterhoff built the structure and wind-chests for the organ. Al Sienkiewicz built a shed and did many other projects like luminary holders and bookshelves. Fred Petter rebuilt the chapel for the first project in that area. George Brown did many projects over the years including the construction of classrooms downstairs. Col. Winfred Meibohm was instrumental in maintaining our plants and srubs for years as they matured during the first ten years of the building. Skip Nilson rebuilt the chapel with able assistance from many members. Ryan Mails and Sam Huffine were chief assistants along with Clint Gunther, Jeff Allred, Stan Speckhard, and others. Skip also led the heating and air project along with necessary repair to our three buildings at a time of deterioration. Many people have done painting, repairs and have given a helping hand. Vicki Speckhard was the first female chairperson of the Board of Property Maintenance and Development. Barbara Gehrke has put in hundreds of hours working at he church and doing some difficult jobs. Many people throughout the years have contributed to this enormous effort of maintenance. People like Clint Gunther, Georgia Gimbel, Joanne Barnes, Marian Nichols, John Brown, Meredith Tysor, Shirley Keel, Bob and Marie Dow, Sam Huffine, Fred Schrank, Dennis Maliar, Pete Puterbaugh, Francis Haman, Earl Malloy, Tom Brown, Bob Bahr, Bob Hurley, Bill Oliver, Bob Baron, Barbara Gehrke, Joanne Barnes, Aaron Bopp, Jeff Perrier, Kurt Janke, Efrid Thomas, Debbie and Tommy Smith, Andrew Mails, John Nykamp, Herman Smith, and Aaron Boop have worked many hours. Aaron and Jeff Perrier installed a new basketball goal in the gym. Darrell Ambro took it upon himself to save the church thousands of dollars by doing the floors in the gym and surrounding area. The church thinks back to the sixties and seventies when Dr. Richard Bardolph the head of the history department at UNCG volunteered to be the church maintenance man, also saving the church thousands of dollars. Tom Weikel served as custodian for over 10 years and did many difficult tasks from clean-up to construction.
Our church signs have had an interesting history as we are planning a new sign in celebration of 100 years. One of the most interesting times occurred when the Rugby team at UNCG took the sign after a beer party. They had a guilty conscience, so they returned the sign in secret. They met with pastor behind the main sanctuary. They did, however, become very nervous when they found out that Dr. Pete Puterbaugh, their coach, was a member of the congregation. Ray Tysor designed the sign that lasted until 2007. A sign is being planned for 2007/2008.
RELATIONS WITH UNCG AND COLLEGES IN THE AREA
Many students visit Ebenezer each year. Both faculty and students have been members or active participants. Ebenezer has been open toward dealing with student questions and problems, as well as making friends. Conversations about issues and academic matters have taken place. Often students are invited out to lunch, but they have not been crowded because of busy academic and social schedules. Andrew Mails has started an on-campus Bible study and discussion group. He has made a personal outreach to the university community. Over the years Ebenezer has had a very good relationship with the music department as recitals have been held in our church, guests have played in the services of worship, and special concerts have delighted the membership and guests (i.e. annual Market Street Brass Christmas Concert). Students have sung in our chancel choir. Six sang in 2007. Pastor Koenig has maintained a close relationship with many of the faculty members and administrators. Jason Gottschalk has encouraged students and utilized their talents. Pastor Koenig, Pastor Haugen and members have attended many sports and music events seeking to support students in their interests. Ebenezer is on very good and friendly terms at UNCG and at the other area colleges and universities.
For many years, Pastor Koenig and some of the vicars participated in the Aquinas/Luther seminars at Lenoir Rhine College. Lutheran and Catholic scholars gather to hear papers and discuss issues in the church today.
Some of our members like Wayne Parris have given presentations at several local colleges. Of historical interest, UNCG was the "old" Women's College in the UNC system. In the post-war era, Ebenezer actually had a sorority for women from the college which met at the church on Walker and Tremont.
Ebenezer has had many people on the faculty and staff at UNCG and area colleges. Those coming to mind: Dr. Richard Bardolph, chairperson of the History Department; Dr. Pete Puterbaugh, chairperson of the Chemistry Department, Rugby Coach and NCAA Rep., Terry Ford in the school of Education, Amelia Altvater in Literature, Jean Tillman (Guilford College), Michael Dutch (Greensboro College) Doug Soltis in Biology, Bill Carroll, Arvid Knutson, Joe and Victoria Shively, Jennifer and James Barket, and many graduate assistants( School of Music). We have had great friends from the faculty like the Market Street Brass members: Dr. Edward Bach, Randy Kohlenger, Dennis AsKew, Jack Masarie, and Virginia Keast. We been blessed by our musicians from different colleges such as Dr. Jonathan Green and George Black. Ellen Lapierre was the Women's Golf Coach at UNCG and a major asset to student-athletes. Betty Carter was a top-notch administrator for many years at UNCG. Dr, Shirley Flynn was the Dean of Students at UNCG. Both Pete Puterbaugh and Jeff Perrier have taught courses at Duke. Dr. Dorothy Bardolph, who was an avid Bible class attendee, was a professor at Bennet College. Bob Kowski, a close friend of the congregation, was the art professor at Greensboro College.
Mark Puterbaugh has been an outstanding administrator at Davidson Community College. Shannon Puterbaugh has also worked there. Guess where they met?
EBENEZER AND MILITARY HISTORY
Ebenezer has had a rich military history dating back to World Wars I and II. A special booklet has been prepared on that history alone and is continually in the process of being up-dated. All branches of the service have been represented and some rather famous stories and people can be counted.
AN ASSOCIATE PASTOR IS CALLED IN 2007...PASTOR JOSHUA HAUGEN
Ebenezer has moved toward younger leadership on the council and still maintains a wonderful variety and fellowship of people of all ages. As we look to the future and experience a heavy work load and many needs, Pastor Joshua Andrew Haugen was called. Pastor Haugen graduated from Concordia Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in 2007. His calling includes preaching, leading worship, teaching, pastoral care, outreach, working with young adults and the youth board, and taking part in the total life of the church. Pastor Haugen has played woodwind and saxophone. He played basketball and football in high school. He has special interests in Biblical studies and history. His wife is Mary has a degree in biology and art, and a graduate degree in biology.
In his first months at Ebenezer, many young adults were contacted and a thorough youth schedule was planned with the youth board. Pastor Haugen has helped with adult visitation, pre-marital counseling and adult confirmation instruction and information. He has helped with a wonderful youth retreat. He engages young and elderly alike in serious questions about faith and life in the Lutheran Church and the church of the Bible and the Apostles.
Mary Haugen is a strong and talented individual who has a lot of credibility with people.
This young couple has quickly become a blessing to the church community and Greensboro.
Many members and friends of the congregation, as of 2007, drive and have driven many miles to worship at Ebenezer on Sunday. Ebenezer has active members from Raleigh, Elon, Summerfield, Julian, Trinity, Lexington, Thomasville, Winston Salem, Chapel Hill, High Point, Ashboro, Browns Summit, Gibsonville, and other surrounding communities.
STANLEY CUP COMES TO EBENEZER
The Carolina Hurricanes won the 2006 Stanley Cup. Chris Huffine, one of the coaches, brought the cup to the grave of Sam Huffine, his father, and then to the chapel for a memorial service.
EBENEZER AND THE CHURCH AT LARGE
Ebenezer has been supportive of our District and church body in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. The congregation has often taken a positive stand as to the greater role of women in the church in conjunction with the needs of people, the good of proclaiming the Gospel and practicing the way of Christ. Ebenezer has also been quietly vocal in light of issues in the district such as church polity, the importance of believing in God and the value of the holy and the liturgy, some serious concerns about church marketing and "growth" movements, concerns about conflicts in congregations, the issue as to the role of the District Presidents, the credibility of the Lutheran church in a society of cults and confused or destructive religion and the problems that closed communion presents. Ebenezer has supported the Synod and District, but has believed in the importance of the local congregation above all other institutions.
Ebenezer has had a history of scholarship funds for future church workers. The funds include THE HENRY NAU MISSIONARY SCHOLARSHIP FUND, THE RICHARD BARDOLPH SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR SEMINARIANS, THE HERMAN AND SUE SMITH SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR SEMINARIANS, AND THE TOM WEIKEL AND PHIL DUNN SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR SEMINARY STUDENTS.
The Smith fund can be built upon through gifts given directly through Ebenezer. Contributions to the other funds may be made directly through Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.
A TIME LINE AT EBENEZER SINCE 1975
1975 Pastor Dan Koenig and Carolyn Koenig arrive with Danny and Carrie in July. Temporary housing is found in an apartment complex. A friend of pastor, George Bertram, helped with the move. A house would be found later on Darden Road. Irma Lyday was the head of the Pulpit Committee. She would also become the first woman president of the congregation. The third Koenig child, Christi, would be born in 1983.
1976-1981 Officers and board seminars solidified
1978 Susan Dilday, organist
1978-1984 Couples group
1978-1985 Judy Kurth, organist, choir director
1978-1986 Singles encounter group
1978- Irma Lyday, first female president
1982 Member Mark Nevell enters seminary
April 17, 1983 Catholic Lutheran Dialogues begin at Ebenezer and followed by monthly gatherings for a year ending at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in 1984. Ebenezer has also been host for inter-Lutheran study group which has weekly textual studies and guest professors for seminars twice a year. Many well-known professors have come to lead.
1983 Carl Collins wins events in National and International Special Olympics
1983 Teens begin Drama and Mime Troupe
1984 Israel property re-vamped for education and youth (Cloister)
1986 Luther and Friends Concert with Kevin Lorenz (period instruments) in chapel
1984 Organ dedication with recital played by Mike Hill (Nov. 1984) Bernie Wilmering built cabinets and Clarence Butenhoff built structural beams
1985 Bill Carroll new choir director and organist. Smith house torn down.
1985 Refinished the Cloister for education. Cleared land. Spearheaded by Vicki Speckhard
Sponsor Dega refugees
Hired Pastor Wilbert Koenig as an assistant. Senior Christians group is founded by Pastor Wilbert and Vi Koenig
Pastor Dan Koenig received his Doctorate from Union Seminary in Richmond on May 24, 1985
Ebenezer entered the computer age
Installation of ceiling for better sound and look
1988 Renovation of the chapel (now have education space and up-stairs restrooms) spearheaded by Fred Petter and the seniors group
Eric Nau paintings of famous Lutherans completed
Barbara Gehrke started bulletin service for our shut-ins
New Hymnal LUTHERAN WORSHIP approved for use
1989 Parking lot on upper level added. New furnace in the chapel.
1990 New Bibles sent to Soviet Union
Installed new ceiling and dedicated on September 9. Major improvement of sound. Major roof repair.
1991 Timothy Piper is new organist
Site for UNCG Women's Glee Club
Host International Lutheran Laymen's League Convention
One of main sponsors of Southeastern District Sunday School Convention
Instrumental in creating a Social Ministry Manual for the District (a practical "how-to" booklet)
1992 Started softball team
New Men's Club
Bought house on Walker Avenue
Dr. Jonathan Green becomes organist, choir director
1993 Affirm strong youth ministry of Word and Sacrament
1994 Voted to build fellowship hall and secured an architect
Continued to protest the church growth movement and entertainment evangelism and loss of the sacred.
1995 Plans for addition drawn up. John Lewendowski presented first plans
1996 Incredible success in fund-raising. Ebenezer went way beyond expectations. Generosity and non-issues were of the breath of the Holy Spirit. Building plans approved on March 24, 1996. The fund raisers were Capitol Services of the LC-MS. Construction began in the fall. By September we had pledges of $720,000 for a three year period. Ground breaking was on October 13, 1996. Construction began on March 3.
1997 Pledges for the new building project reach $730,000
1998 Dedication of new building on Pentecost, May 31, 1998
Vicar Ben Maton , first vicar
George Brown takes on the project of building classrooms in the lower level or in the area of the previous fellowship hall. This met a major need. The old kitchen was torn out and made into a choir room. The previous choir room became an office for vicars, Andrew Mails and Pastor Haugen. New closets were also added that are used for supplies, Oktoberfest and choir robes.
The new fellowship hall or gymnasium was completed. This included new restrooms, two nursery rooms built according to code, a large narthex, a large new kitchen, and a large storage area. A huge celebration took place on Pentecost and a procession was led from worship into the gym by our cantor Dr. Jonathan Green. He dedicated his book on J.S. Bach to the choir and pastor. Basketball goals were added a few weeks after dedication, which lighted up the enthusiasm of youth and children, and, of course, some adults.
1999 District Reformation service (great high liturgy)
1999 Vicar Ted Krey, second vicar
2000 Vicar Steven Rosebrock, third vicar
Patryck Nuss is organist, George Black is choir director
2001 Vicar Everette Green, (an African American)
2002 Vicar Luke Zimmerman, fifth vicar
2003 Vicar Jon Olson, sixth vicar
Jason Gottschalk comes to Ebenezer in the Fall
2004-2006 Andrew Mails, lay assistant to the pastor
2002-2004 A huge undertaking of chapel reconstruction was led by Skip Nilson. This was a complete cleaning, stripping, repairing, plastering, painting, floor patching and installation, altar restoration and eventually new chairs. Skip was assisted by his nephew Ryan Mails, friend Sam Huffine and other people, including Clint Guenther, Stan Speckhard, Jeff Allred, Dennis Maliar and friends of Skip's contributed. Different members came in on occasion to clean windows and paint. It may also be noted that a very ingenious design was made for an emergency restroom immediately outside of the main sanctuary. This restroom, wheelchair friendly, is in the old small narthex closet area. Dr. Ed Fritz contracted custom made chairs to match the décor of the chapel.
2005 Heating and air installation
2006 Vote to call an associate pastor
Vote to buy house next to church on Tremont (fell through)
Concept of Team ministry for youth
2007 A wonderful year. Five college students are singing in the choir. We have had a good number of vibrant new members. There has been a supportive loving community for many people with problems. Youth ministry is very strong as is the music program and small groups.
Wednesday Bible class, confirmation, seniors, book club, Art history class, circle, Ladies Aid and Joyful Noise have strong participation.
2007 Young adults are organizing as they are looking forward to an associate pastor working specifically with them toward the future. Classic adults are strong. Our special events get a lot of support. We are strong in social ministry, evangelism, youth, music, special events and concerts, Bible study and the study of theology, practical Christianity and church history/doctrine, special worship, weddings and assisting people in need in the community.
April: Call of Pastor Joshua Haugen to be the Associate pastor of Ebenezer
Pastor Joshua and Mary Haugen arrive on June 27. He is installed on July 1 by Pastor Daniel Koenig. The participants are Pastor Jim McDaniels, Pastor William Seaman of the Southeastern District, Pastor Jim Haugen (father), and Pastor Jim Haugen (brother).
THE SPIRIT AND THE CHURCH AT EBENEZER
Ebenezer has to be thankful for the loving spirit that exists within the congregation. We are a church that is centered on Word and Sacrament, and the divine services. We do not like conflict and have remained a peaceful congregation, and by the grace of God we live out our Christian identity in the reality of life and our world. We continue to rejoice in God's love for us in Christ, and our life in worship, witnessing, service to suffering humanity, fellowship, study, and organizational and building responsibility. We are thankful for all of our members and our church campus. We give thanks for our sanctuary or God's house, and also for our facility for fellowship and service.
PEOPLE ON THE STAFF
Paid musicians over the years: Dr. Mark Swanson, Mark Altvater, Walter Beck, Mildred Chamblee, William Head, Arnold Pennekamp, Natalie Smyre, Phillip Morgan, Susan Dilday, Jane Woody, Ann Doyle, Bill Carroll, Tim Piper, Kathy Sell, Patryck Nuss, Mike Harris, Jonathan Green, George Black, and Jason Gottschalk. Lilli Ambro, Charles Murph, Shirley Keel, Jeff Perrier, Don Johnson Jr., and Dale Borget have substituted and done many special tasks..
Ebenezer has had many musicians play their instruments to embellish our worship. Among them are Dick Lockwood, Charles Murph, Mark Perrier, Brandon Rorie, Cara Medina, Annie Hutson, Dan W. Koenig, Barbara Koenig, Carrie Koenig Rorie, Jonathan Perrier, Angie Perrier, Victoria Shively, Jonathan Perrier, Jamie Perrier, Andrew Mails, Chad Newsom, Jennifer Warnicke, James Barket, Holly Butenhoff, Sean and Chris Newsom, Mark Nevell, Kevin and Christi Lorenz, Ann Puterbaugh, Lynn Buck, and, a good friend of the congregation, Rebecca Siegel (who has played many times with Lilli Ambro in embellishing our worship with Bach).
PASTORS SERVING EBENEZER
1907 Professor A.C. Weiss and others
1909-1911 Rev. G.E. Mennen
1912-1913 Rev. W.D. Peters
1913-1919 Professor Wahlers
1919-1920 A.E. Kretzman
1920-1921 Professor F. Berg
1921-1922 Professor Charles Frederick
1922-1924 Professor F. Berg and others from Conover
1924-1930 Rev. W.D. Spencer (also professors and pastors from Conover)
1930-1944 Rev. Roland Scaer (interim fill-in: professors)
1944-1950 Rev. Robert L. Landeck
1950-1954 Rev. Robert C. Stade (supply pastor: Professor William H. Gehrke)
1954-1956 Rev. S.D. Kostelny (supply pastor: Professor W.H. Gehrke)
1957-1961 Rev. Robert Studtmann (supply pastor: Professor W.H. Gehrke)
1961-1972 Rev. Robert Mayer (supply pastor: Rev. Al Saterbak)
1972-1975 Rev. Dr. Harry Coiner
1975-____ Rev. Dr. Daniel G. Koenig
1992-2000 Rev. W.H. Koenig, assistant to pastor
2007- ____ Rev. Joshua Andrew Haugen
OFFICE AND STAFF
Since 1975 Ellie Grey and Betty Hobbs have been our secretaries. Some remember Nell Williams before that. We have had many volunteers who have folded bulletins and done office work such as Barbara Gehrke, Edna Dunn, Jean Tillman, and Lillian Ebert. Betty Carter and Beverly Brockschmidt have done a tremendous amount of administrative work in the office. Betty Carter has done things that are so necessary, like coming up with an accurate, computerized mailing list.
Betty Hobbs has been the church secretary for over 20 years. She has given a tremendous amount of time at home and at church. She has also helped with altar guild and acolyte coordination and training in the past. She had been part of the genuine spirit of the congregation. Barbara Gehrke, Edna Dunn and Lillian Ebert have also been helpers and part of that spirit that makes a fascinating congregation.
Irma Lyday was the first woman president of Ebenezer, elected in 1978.
OFFICERS AND BOARD MEMBERS
Officers and board members have played a huge role at Ebenezer. We have had great treasurers like Vic Sorenson, Ted Frye, Pruette Carter, Paul Mensing, Herman Smith, Don Speckhard and others who have wisely paid our bills, and "payed-off" loans at proper times and in advance. Presidents like Efrid Thomas, Irma Lyday, Tom Brown Jr., John Bergman, Clarence Butenhoff, Stan Speckhard, Wayne Parris, Darrell Ambro, Gil Gimbel, Thom Mock, Don Speckhard and Mark Lapierre, have all led us to expand our property and make changes spiritually and in light of our facility. We have had outstanding vice-presidents also who have helped a lot with building programs and the development of a strong council.
On the 100th anniversary of Ebenezer we can remember many wonderful things. Our anniversary committee has made 2007 a wonderful and memorable year: Betty Carter (chairperson), Pat Huffine, Barbara Gehrke, Herb Tucker, Shirley Keel, Jason Gottschalk, Billie Wagner, and Billie Jean Johnson.
Irma Lyday was elected the first president of the congregation in 1978.
LITTLE EFFORT MEAN A LOT...ALMOST NOT NOTICEABLE THINGS
Many of our members, like Irma Lyday, have had a greeting card or "note" ministry.
Bill and Alene Vogelsang have always made Christmas a happy event for children and adults who love to be children. Mary Davie Speckhard has also put fine touches on holiday celebrations and gatherings of church members. Barbara Gehrke has put in many hours each week doing errands and folding. Edna Dunn and Lillian Ebert have served the church many hours each week folding and proof-reading.. Betty Hobbs has given many extra hours. Aubrey Cranford has made many pots of coffee for Sunday morning. Bob and Marie Dow have done the thankless task of straightening out the hymnbooks each week. Marcille Sexton did the little things for the youth. Kurt Janke has made many pots of coffee during the week, just as Efrid Thomas supplied doughnuts.
Ebenezer has had mid-week Matins and prayer each Wednesday. People like Pat Huffine, Gail Ashby, Helen Puterbaugh, Skip Nilson, Andrew Mails, Edna Dunn, Annie Hutson and the pastors pray for the congregation and the world during the week.
Our anniversary committee work very diligently on securing speakers for the year, have the throws and t-shirts made, and organizing the big events from covered-dish dinners to special music and planning the big week-ends in September of 2007. The committee includes Betty Carter, Billie Jean Johnson, Shirley Keel, Herb Tucker, Barbara Gehrke, Billie Wagner, Pat Huffine, Jason Gottschalk, Pastor Koenig and Pastor Haugen. This committee has helped us to see how much has been done by God through his church and what Ebenezer has accomplished and accomplishes throughout the year.
THE NEW BUILDING OF 1998
Ebenezer built a new fellowship hall or gymnasium, a kitchen and pantry, a large narthex, a storage and furnace-room, restrooms and two nursery rooms in 1998. The voter's hired Capitol Funding Services under the leadership of Col. Hal Chase. John and Anna Lewandowski were hired as the architects in 1995. Plans for the building and approval took place on March 24, 1996. Ground breaking took place on October 13, 1996. The actual construction began on March 7. In the initial fund raising drive, which ended on August 11, Ebenezer reached $650,000.00, $50,000.00 over the goal. By September over $720,000.00 was pledged and soon jumped to $730,000.00. Dedication of the new building took place on Pentecost, May 31, 1998. In 1999, George Brown would lead the construction of the classrooms on the lower level beneath the 1959 sanctuary.
There were many significant people in the entire building effort. One might say this was a congregational project with very little opposition. There was a great deal of leadership. Council leaders were: Stan Speckhard, Darrell Ambro, Thom Mock, Wayne Parris, Ted Frye, John Bredenberg, Phyllis Dudley, and Kathy Kowski.
Building Committee leaders were: Stan Speckhard, Thom Mock, Charles "Skip" Nilson, Kathy Kowski, Clint Guenther, Greg Serpas, David Moore, Pruette Carter, Ted Frye, Ray Tysor and David Mingia.
Faith in Action Committee: Walt and Jeanie Collins, Fred and Beverly Brockschmidt, Bob Green, George and Ouida Brown, Don and Billie Jean Johnson, Don and Mary Johnson, Herman and Sue Smith, Fred and Vera Schrank, Efrid and Carrie Thomas, Suzanne Bahr, Susan Thompson, Darrell and Lilli Ambro, Jean Tillman, Robberta Mesenbrink, Ted and Sandra Frye.
Designers: Dean and Billie Wagner
Printer: Randy Barrier
Photogrphers: Ann Sherrill, Kurt Janke, Fran Brown
Special Tasks: Edna Dunn, Lillian Ebert, George Brown, Al Sienkewitz, Helen Puterbaugh and the library group, Kurt Janke, Tom Weikel, Betty Hobbs (mounds of paper work and telephone calls).
Cantor and choir leader: Dr. Jonathan Green
The builders: Hodgin Construction Company: Rick Hodgin, Andy Hodgin, Greg Redding
Fund Raiser: Hal Chase
Furnishings: Betty Carter, Jeannie Collins, Kay Guenther
Architects: John and Anna Lewandowski
A special thanks to Raffie Clements, who was injured on the job.
ALL WHO WOULD VALIANT BE
Ebenezer has adopted the leadership style of implementing new activities if there is an idea in light of the purpose of the church and if there is leadership to carry out that particular idea. That is why we have had so many activities. Many people, strong in faith, see the needs of the congregation (and don't complain about them) and do something or carry out their idea. Christians are called to serve. The fellowship of the church has valiant people. This book is certainly about sinners, the forgiven people of God, who serve their Lord and look at their own faults before that of others. It is about people bold enough to love and live, to believe and serve. The church can only thank God for all of His faithful people not taken in by the culture, but open to the living Word and the sacredness of God and the mystery of His love for us in Jesus Christ.
LIFE IN FAITH
On March 11, 2007 Ed and Sue Boelte came to late service. Sue was in her last days of life.She wanted to be there to receive the Word of God and the Holy Sacrament and a last experience of love from the people at Ebenezer It was an amazing spiritual experience for the congregation so privileged to be there. If one wants to talk about the true church or true religion, it is most pronounced in moments like this, a glorious witness to the way of Christ, the faith that God gives us and the love that comes from above. This was one of those many great moments in the history of the Christian church at Ebenezer. Greatness is in the theology of the cross, in the need and humility of Colonial Meibohm or Rene Petter being in worship the Sunday after they lost their loved ones. Paul said: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation...."
Ebenezer has done a lot of spiritual growing throughout the years. Not only are doctrine, liturgy, tradition, confessions and Scripture important, but so are the issues of each era: marriage and family, child rearing, peace in a violent world, world hunger, sexual ethics, computer technology, the nature of covenant community and leadership, issues of abortion, crime and punishment, education, post-modern philosophy, economics and jobs.
Martin Luther would look at Ebenezer with interest. Ebenezer is a church of sinners who need the grace of God. Arrogance does not go too far in our theology or life as a church. Ultimately, it is the love of God that prevails. So "thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."