50 Years of Church History
In 2016 we mark the 50th Anniversary of our building. This short historical synopsis details the highlights of a history of people of faith who go back not just fifty years, but all the way back to 1848, when a group of people, guided by the same Holy Spirit residing with us now, decided a church was needed in the community then called Mickleys.
For many years, our Lutheran congregation shared the building still in use at MacArthur and Eberhart Roads (photo at right) with a congregation of the Reformed tradition. In the late ‘50’s, the forward-thinking Lutherans decided that, if they wanted to grow, they would have to move; St. John’s was land-locked. A building fund was started in 1959, which led to the purchase of thirty acres of land from the Lehigh Portland Cement Co., at a cost of $40,000. Construction commenced in 1965 and the first service in the new church was held on Palm Sunday, April 3, 1966, which is the second important date to remember.
The building contractor for the new church was Harold Blacker, who is still actively involved in the maintenance of our facilities. Interestingly, Harold was a young man of 35 when entrusted with the responsibility of building our church. In the years since, he has been responsible for other significant additions to our facilities. We have added an elevator, The Gathering Place, the Rhoads Room, the Garden of Faith and an office suite, in addition to other improvements.
Faith Lutheran has grown for many reasons. Pastor Bodnyk has noted the importance of the stability of our pastoral leadership. While other congregations may change pastors every few years, this congregation’s pastors tend not to want to move. But none of these pastors carried out the ministry themselves. They all had people ministering with them, carrying out the work of our Lord Jesus Christ in this place.
Presently, and for the past many years, Pastor Bodnyk has been working with a very dedicated and caring staff, who all minister with others in their areas of expertise. During the past fourteen years, in partnership with our Lutheran seminaries, we have provided internship opportunities for students preparing for ordination, assisting them in their education while receiving new insights from them.
Through the years, Faith Lutheran has sought to share our blessings with others, particularly in opening our facilities to outside groups. Our Boy Scout troop has been here for years, and they are joined by other Girl Scout and Cub Scout groups. AA has had a home here for years. During tax season, many people come here to take advantage of the AARP tax prep services. A community justice panel meets here to help juveniles work through problems. We have a group of Eucharistic Ministers, who assist the pastor with visitations and home communions. Others go out from here to work in ministries such as our local food pantry, a lunch program with the Council of Churches and community meals for those in need. Several times each year, food boxes are prepared for around 35 families.
Where will we be in the coming years? What will we be doing? We don’t know anything with certainty, except that we will continue to endeavor to follow the will of God and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ as we continue to minister to those around us.