St. Johns Lutheran Church, Curtis, NE, is celebrating its 65th anniversary on Sunday, June 2, 2013. St. John’s has an interesting history, all to God’s blessings of change and growth.
In the early 1900s, before St. John’s was formed, there were six small Lutheran churches located in rural areas. At the time, most people did not travel far and a pastor often travelled among multiple congregations (2- and 3-point parishes).
Immanuel Wells Canyon Lutheran Church (located northwest of Curtis) moved to Curtis in 1938. Curtis offered a larger trading area at the time. The church was organized as Redeemer Lutheran Church and services were held in the 7th Day Adventist Church (604 Ord Ave.) for many years.
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Moorefield, joined Redeemer in 1948. The St. Paul building was in poor repair and they had a parsonage. St. Paul offered to donate their buildings to Redeemer. The parsonage was sold (presently a private residence) and the church was torn down with the lumber being salvaged to construct a church building of their own. In 1949, the construction of the new building (712 Howard Ave.) was complete. Shortly after the merger of Redeemer and St. Paul churches, the congregation was renamed to St. John’s Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. The church holds this name today.
Under the Lord’s blessing, the congregation outgrew the building on Howard Ave. After much prayer, it was decided to build a new brick church at the corner of 5th and Wallace Ave. and sell the building on Howard Ave. (currently a private residence). The new building construction was finished in 1968 at a total cost of $113,000. Money was borrowed from the Nebraska District Lutheran Church Extension Fund to fund the construction. It was not easy for the congregation to have such a large debt. The Lord provided and three additional congregations merged with St. John’s, Curtis.
In 1972, St. John, White, and Zion, Wellfleet, merged with St. John’s, Curtis. And then in 1978, most of Ebenezer Lutheran Church’s congregation (north of Curtis) joined in fellowship after their building was struck by lightening and destroyed by the subsequent fire.
The Wallace Ave. building debt was soon paid and a new parsonage (602 E. 6th St.) was built near the church for their pastor and his family.
The 65th anniversary celebration takes place on June 2 and will begin with Divine Service at 9:00 a.m., Rev. Derrick C. Brown is preaching. A time of fellowship will follow service and a potluck luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Rev. John W. Meyer (former pastor of St. John’s) will be the celebration speaker at the 1:00 p.m. service with a cake and punch reception following. The community is invited and welcome to celebrate with the members, both past and present, of St. John’s.