ST. JOHN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH “HISTORY”
What I Know About St. John’s LCMS BY Barbara V.
St. John’s Lutheran Church Missouri Synod was chartered December 31, 1918 (Fallon was 10 years old and founded in 1908.) There are two LCMS churches older than St. John’s…Trinity in Gardnerville and St. Luke’s in Reno. The building we occupied at first was located on the corner of E. Park St. and E. Richards just east of Oats Park.
In 1906 a building was purchased. It had been a church located on the corner of Schurz Highway and Lone Tree Road. It took until 1918 for the founding group to purchase the property.
There had been many part-time and “working” pastors from the beginning until 1979. A full-time pastor was called; Rev. Henry “Hank” Scherer. There were about 12 families when he arrived. With efforts of our Pastor Hank and God’s blessing, our congregation grew to 125 members.
A building committee was formed and a search was started to look for a new location with a larger property. We had definitely outgrown our small building.
Bobbie Gissel, one of the longest standing members, was a realtor. She found the property and closed the deal. We had applied for a loan from the Church Extension Fund (CNH-CEF) of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District. The District approved our loan. We became deeply in debt. All congregation members were asked to pledge over and above our tithe amounts.
The new building on the corner of S. Taylor Street and Merton Drive was a Laborer's for Christ project; a group of retired workers from Missouri Synod churches in the USA. With approval and guidance from the CNH District and our building committee and of course God's blessings. We broke ground in 1986. [Certificate of Formation of Incorporation filed in the Office of the Secretary of State of Nevada on January 29, 1986.]
We began with the garage/storage building which was built by Elmer Doege and his helpers. The Laborer’s for Christ came in and those who had RVs or camp trailers camped on the property while others stayed in homes of congregation members. To my knowledge, there were only three members from our congregation that actually joined the Laborer’s group - Dan Luke, Sr., Mrs. Harriet Dick and Samuel Veach, Jr.
Many members provided help by cleaning up after the carpenters and concrete workers, providing meals for the workers, and keeping records. Mrs. Harriet Dick was treasurer and that was a big job managing the loan money and paying for supplies.
Barbara “Bobbie” V. was the volunteer secretary from 1985-1998. We had volunteers for all positions. The only paid person was the pastor.
When Pastor Hank left to pastor a church in Mt. Shasta, CA, we had many interim pastors. We formed a call committee and, on the advice of one of our interim pastors, called Rev. Robert L. Porterfield, Sr., and as a bonus, his lovely wife Marie became our organist and choir director. She had a degree in Fine Arts of organ and choir. Up until that time, we had no choir and Mrs. Larry (Peggy) Thompson was our volunteer organist. Many times in the “old days” we sang “a cappella”, which Pastor Hank in his humorous way said translated to “off key.”
(to be continued...)