Seventy-five years ago, Our Savior Lutheran Church found its way home to Marion.
The building, formerly a Methodist Church in Canada, was hauled by a caterpillar into its current spot on Cedar St.
The cornerstone of the building was laid Sept. 15, 1940. The building still stands, 75 years later, and the congregation will hold a community potluck to honor this passage of time Sunday in the early afternoon.
“We’re a faithful bunch of members, and we’d like to keep it that way,” church treasurer Ruth Lange said. “We’ll try to get former members to come back, and get new members to come as well. We love our God. That’s the best thing.”
Throughout its 75 years in Marion, Our Savior Lutheran has not been without changes. Most notably, in 1959, Immanuel Lutheran Church at Elmdale disbanded its services. The Immanuel building, purchased for $650, was moved and physically attached to the existing building. A portion of the congregation came as well.
The churches literally combined resources: A bell tower that had stood empty in Marion for 19 years was equipped with Elmdale’s old bell.
Many ministers have served Our Savior Lutheran over the decades, and vicar John Werner took a position in June, ending a three-year run of vacancy pastors. Lange said all the vacancy pastors who served the church in that period have been invited to Sunday’s service and potluck.
Lange said the congregation is hoping Werner will stay. After a year of service, he will be ordained and “could receive a call,” Lange said.
“This celebration comes at a really good time; the vicar came in the middle of June,” Lange said.
“Having someone young as minister again, that helps a lot, too.”
Werner is also preaching at Zion Lutheran Church in Hillsboro. After performing Sunday services in Marion, he travels to Hillsboro to conduct services there.
Consequentially, there will be a gap between services Sunday at Our Savior and the potluck. Lange said she’s been coming up with games to pass the time, and that members may also socialize until the potluck begins.
The potluck will be in the parish hall, which was added on in 1990 to coincide with the church’s 50-year anniversary. Lange said there are no major renovations planned for the 75th anniversary, but the church has been doing some work to update the facilities.
Lange said a lot of the church’s membership is “predominantly older,” but that she’s optimistic for the future.
“My kids grew up, and they moved away. Every church in the community does the same thing,” she said. “Right now we’re kind of in a lull. But we just had three baptisms this Sunday. Hopefully we’re on the grow again here.”