History


1915   Founded on January 18, 1915; an organizational meeting was held with first Pastor:   Alpo Setala and 34 attended; organized as “Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of West Barnstable”, Pastor Setala would officiate once a month. February 15th: Sunday school begins.


1916  Pastor Brunos Vuornos arrives; celebrate 1st anniversary and first confirmation class to             affirm their faith. The West Parish church was used for the combined celebration;  first devotional house fellowship group organized as “Ompeluseura”-translation: Sewing circle” a monthly devotional was organized; the meetings were held in members’ homes and no sewing was done at these meetings as all family members    attended and enjoyed devotions, hymns and fellowship


1918 Route 6A land purchased from Manual Enos (Trotta) for $170.00 (it cost $1.80 to register the deed); joined Suomi Synod; youth organization began.


1919 Held first outside worship service at 10:00 am on Route 6A church property.


1920 The Chapel on Maple Street in West Barnstable was built by non denominational  Finnish people; it was used by all faiths and was sold to Anna Syriala in 1934. The money realized from the sale was divided among the Finnish Lastadian, the Finnish Congregational and First Lutheran.


1923   Bylaws finalized; 6A land cleared, ready for construction; $1800 in bonds secured to               finance the building project. The original building was 35 x 50 feet-capacity of 150 people.


1924 June 22nd-Dedicated of first building; the celebration started at noon and went into the            evening (dinner cost .50 for adults and .20 for children) August: first time Sunday  School is held at our own church. Worship was on the first Sunday of each month. A  wood stove kept the nave warm.     

1925 Bylaws were translated from Finnish to English and were signed and recorded with the            Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


1926  First altar was built and dedicated; on March 29th: legally incorporated with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A second hand wood burning furnace was purchased for $50 and installed in the basement; a pedal organ was gifted.


1928  First time a statement of offerings was to be left at church


1929   Three strong pipe braces were installed in the nave to prevent the building from                       spreading (in 1986 the engineers said the building was sound and we did not need them!)


1930 Pastor Brunos Vuornos leaves for Maine; Pastor Viljo Heiman serves; First official youth organization formed and called “The West Barnstable Evangelical Church Christian Youth Organization”


1931 An attempt had been made, but was thwarted, to change the faith of our church; Construction of sacristy, altar (this would be our second altar) and closets; electricity installed


1932 Altar painting “Christ on the Cross” was gifted by our youth (painted by Matti Kaarnia) was dedicated; (now at the rear wall of the Sanctuary); church records were kept.


1933 Pastor Viljo Heiman accepts a call to Worcester Faith Lutheran Church; Pastor Armas             Holmio arrives from San Francisco-Quincy & West Barnstable decide to share the Pastor and his salary-he lived in Quincy and commuted by train and later by automobile; Young matrons organized: “Helping Hand Club” serves the church  (terminated 1945 to ladies auxiliary); any outside organization who wished to use the building was charged $2.00.


1935 Advertised in 3 Finnish newspapers; Suomi Synod Eastern Conference-bylaws are                approved


1940-1943 Benefits were held for the people of Finland as they were at war with Russia.


1941   Church debts paid off by youth organization and a final $50 from a church member


1943   Pastor Armas Holmio leaves to go to Michigan to teach at Suomi College; Pastor                      Martin Halinen serves as our first bilingual pastor: first English worship service began (every third Sunday of the month)


1944    Celebrate 20th anniversary; “bell ringer” for the year was appointed at annual meeting


1945   Merged with Hyannis-West Yarmouth Finnish Evangelical Lutheran congregation, an            independent church; the Maple Street chapel was sold


1946   First altar cross and candelabras gifted to the church; The Evangelical Lutheran                      Women’s Club of Cape Cod is formed, considering a full-time pastor


1947  Full time pastor is considered; lay people carry out the work of the church, the Pastors are present at monthly or bi-monthly visits and annual meetings.

  

1948 “Lutheran Brotherhood” is organized; electric motor for the organ was purchased (no  more manual pumping); Mrs. Bruno Vuornos donated the church bell (the bell bears the date of 1852) in honor of her late husband and our former pastor. Repair projects are postphoned because lumber, nails and hardware were in short supply due to World War II; Pastor Halinen departs to take another call


1949   Pastor Hugo Hillila (Quincy native) serves for a short time; Pastor Edwin Kyllonen  arrives from Michigan; Hillila suggests that we move to an all English Sunday school. Membership dues dropped -free will giving initiated (no more membership fees/dues); remodeled altar dedicated; Pastor Kyllonen offered a monthly morning English spoken worship service, free of charge, hoping that people would attend; guest book is purchased


1950   35th anniversary celebrated-guest speakers are Pastor Alpo Setala and Pastor Toivo                Harjunpaa; Temperance Hall on Plum Street sold the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran                       Congregational church-it is now a private home; First budget committee formed


1951   Pastor Edwin Kyllonen leaves and Pastor Toivo Harjunpaa serves; First Altar                            committee formed; new fees: $5.00 for church use and $5.00 for kitchen use


1952   Church renamed “First Lutheran”  (St. Paul & Trinity were considered); envelopes used for a 2 year trial period, some were refused


1953   Pastor Toivo Harjunpaa left & “others” served;


1954   Pastor’s pension plan paid by church


1955   Fortieth Anniversary observed


1956   Our first full time Pastor called: Douglas Ollila; first annual report printed; Joined Cape Cod Council of Churches; purchased from Tauno & Elsa Karniala of Parker Road, a house, garage & mortgage ($10 K) for a parsonage; baptismal font given by Sunday school and teaching staff as a memorial gift; legalization of the corporate name  changed from “The Finnish Evangelical Church of West Barnstable” to “First Lutheran Church”; first annual report generated


1957   Merger approved by Synod with United Lutheran and Augustana Synod; purchased     mimeograph machine; annual reports given to each member; Katherine Luther Guild formed (terminated in 1963); Eucharist celebrated with individual wine glasses and chalice; senior and junior Luther League formed; Parker Rd. parsonage dedicated


1958   legalization of the corporate name changed from “The Finnish Evangelical Church of            West Barnstable” to “First Lutheran Church”-process began 1956; Expanded mission  on Otis Air Force Base-250 Lutherans at the military base. Chang in governing board-Deacons and officers become the church council; rest room addition finished; new black & white Cassock and Cotta choir robes purchased by altar guild


1959   Merge into Lutheran Church of America-includes 7 bodies plus the Lutheran churches of Finland and Norway.


1960   Nursery care instituted by Luther League; used kneelers for the first time; refinanced  church parsonage to purchase Loeseur property adjacent to church for Sunday School rooms; nursery care instituted by Luther League


1961   Pastor Doug Ollila leaves; 13 pastors & 2 seminarians apply-all refused, bilingual pastor desired, but, none available


1962   Pastor Hans Dumpys (Michigan) accepts call; “Opeluseura” terminated (organized in 1916); Suomi Synod merged into Lutheran Church of America.


1963   Junior choir started; education programs for all ages; church treasury handles all monies of all organizations; unified budget is set.


1964   Hans Dumpys leaves; sold “parish house” to Herbert Dupies and parsonage on Parker Road; purchased Garret Pond property from Carl Liimatainen joining the church property to the pond.


1965  Pastor Lawrence Swanson of Brockton, serves as interim pastor and Pastor Matheas Joensuu, serves as Finnish pulpit supply pastor. Pastor Dennis Albrecht arrives in June, lives in the parsonage. 50th anniversary celebrated in September.


1966   Additional administrative help and facilities needed; new pews installed-old pews given to the Lastadian Church on Plum Street


1967   Drawings approved for education wing, fellowship hall, office and kitchen; Sunshine Fellowship formed; Garrets Pond sauna renovated


1968 Christian education, Fellowship Hall, kitchen and offices dedicated; 6 community churches participated in Vacation School-80 students enrolled       


1969  First paid part-time secretary; first children’s sermons introduced


1970  Pastor Dr. O. Karl Olander added to Pastoral staff; first paid janitor hired; growth in             membership pointed to the need for even more space, utilizing the cellar of the church was again necessary


1971  Pastor Albrecht accepts a call in Minnesota; Pastor Olander officiates until Pastor Gordon Nelson arrives from Connecticut; first time income above budget


1972   Dr. O. Karl Olander announced plans for retirement; Dr. Henry Whiting volunteers his          help in ministry; 2 bedrooms and family room added to parsonage; Lutheran Brotherhood (Finnish) terminated after 17 years.


1974  First time lay people help with communion; Saturday contemporary worship led by Pastors Olander and Whiting.


1975   60th Anniversary celebrated; Lam Ly-Hung and wife Ngugen Thank Huong, their seven children, Vietnamese refugees arrive and occupy cottage.


1977   The “Good Shepherd” symbol outside of church office is a memorial to Dr. O. Karl Olander


1979   Lutheran Book of Worship hymnal used; our mission: St. Peter’s Lutheran is  organized-28 adults and 15 children from First Lutheran become charter members


1980   Soutchay family, refugees, occupies the cottage; break-in: communion ware and altar vases are stolen

1981  Organ purchased, we celebrate Pastor Gordon Nelson’s 30th anniversary of ordination; Tam Van Nguyen family occupies the cottage


1982  Merger of American Lutheran, American Evangelical Lutheran & Lutheran Church of America; Nelson family plans to move from parsonage to home in Marstons Mills


1983   Hunger Fund appeal initiated; St. Peter’s Lutheran, our mission church, breaks ground


1984   Pastor David Koppel arrives for a 3 year commitment as Associate Pastor; architect hired to develop plans for building expansion; parking lot expanded


1985   70th anniversary celebrated; fund raising for remodeling begins-needed: enlarged worship area, enlarged Narthex and Fellowship hall, kitchen and restroom facilities


1986   Final four worship services held in original Sanctuary on Easter Sunday; break ground in March and dedication held in December.


1987  Pastor Koppell accepts a call in Connecticut; merger: became Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


1988   Pastor Nelson retires; Pastor Ernest Bergeson serves as Vice Pastor


1989   Pastor Jonathan Ahnquist arrives as fulltime Pastor; sound system installed into the  Nave of the church.


1990   75th anniversary celebrated on January 21, 1990


1992  Church committees were reorganized


1993   Members participate in “Cape walk for the Homeless” and “youth Walks” for the homeless; represented in the Cape Cod Community College multi cultural event


1994  Children participate in Heifer project and members participate in “Dress a live doll”


1995   80th anniversary, a memorial garden is planted between the church parking lot and the parsonage


1996  Frank Maki, retires after serving as our treasurer for 40 years; a fieldstone marker was dedicated by the Finnish American Society, memorializing Finnish immigrants on Cape Cod


1997  Helped build a Habitat home in Marstons Mills


1999  10th anniversary of Pastor Ahnquist’s call to First Lutheran   

2000 Associate in Ministry, Lynn Tozier was called part time with responsibilities as Director of Christian Education. The Day of Hospitality program began in conjunction with the Salvation Army which provided lunch and social interaction in our Fellowship hall.

2001 we celebrated our first Intergenerational Valentines Luncheon; the Prevention Program which provides 5% of the face value of grocery coupons to prevent homelessness was initiated. The “Remembrance” presentation on Maundy Thursday was a joint venture with St Mary’s Episcopal and West Parish Churches. The new hymnal “With One Voice” was incorporated into our regular services.

2002 Pastor Ahnquist celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination with a ceremony attended by Bishop Margaret Payne. The first Alternative Christmas Fair which offers cards and gifts that support local agencies, Koinonia, Heifer projects and Serve was started.

2003 arrived with a short fall in our finances, the result of a slow economy and the need to tighten our belts, so the addition of a new organ by the end of the year was truly a blessing. We participated in the Calumet “In Our Lifetime” capitol campaign with $16,000 pledge for building improvements at the camp. This summer 34 of our FLC youth attended the day camp with funding help by gifts of $200 per child from the Today’s Youth Fund which had raised funds with a Craft and Bake sale, Can & Bottle drive.

2004 saw the completion of the Strategic Planning Survey which was taken by a large group of members visiting the whole congregation with the survey- a good opportunity for all to meet new people or to renew acquaintances. The Survey identified areas of strength and weaknesses that we need to work on. We established a scholarship fund for seminary students from 2 generous donations and have 3 people from our congregation attending Lutheran seminaries. A memorial garden to be established on the church property was approved by Council.

2005 Our website is up and running! The nursery is now staffed with a paid attendant. We participated in “The Von Trapp Fundraiser Concert” sponsored by Lutheran Social Services to support local homeless teens. Our congregation adopted a challenge to work on behalf of the World Hunger Problem. The Quilting group under the guidance of Martha Van Iderstine & Maddie Borglund provided 68 quilts to Independence House, Noah Shelter, Champ House, Safe Harbor, Emerson House, Chips House, DSS Foster Care and Crisis Center, LSS and the Baby Center. Vacation Bible school was joined by West Parish and provided worship celebration, games and fun for 59 youth.

2006 brought a mortgage refinance using Anna Holl funds to pay down the $77,452. Traditional monthly payments would go back into the fund including interest with the intent to increase the Anna Holl fund over time. The Adult Forum offers informative classes and seems to be growing in attendance. A full service bulletin was voted in by written ballot with only one extra vote in favor.

2007 saw the beginning of the Natural Church Development Program with a “health team of 5 people”. Fred Drifmeyer organist of 20 years has left and Erin Eno was hired. Craig Tamash, long time treasurer retired, was replaced by Dave Reid. The Women of ELCA is growing and sharing many fun events. The roof of the church office blew off during a storm causing a makeover in that space. The new Evangelical Lutheran Book of Worship was introduced into our services.

2008 Work on Phase One of the $200,000 renovation/restoration of the property is completed including drainage, waterproofing of the foundation of Fellowship Hall, kitchen, office and education area. In response to a desire for their music at both Sunday services, the choir embarked on an alternating schedule providing offerings at the 8:15 service one week and the 11:00 the next. The vibrant Sunday school enrolment is 105 students 2008/2009. Evangelism program offers an “in-reach” program including Toddler /Mom group weekly meetings, Men’s prayer breakfast, Care Team with 15 visitors calling on 30 shut ins are a few, hearing devices purchased for use during Worship Services.

2009 saw the completion of the renovation/restoration project-a two part two year project. The Fellowship Hall was transformed with sweat equity from many and with Janet Mohre’s vision for an amazing update which is enjoyed by all. First Lutheran Youth (FLY) continues with strong leadership from Lynne Tozier and Al and Kris Lind and this year encouraged 13 to attend the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans. They did fundraising throughout the year by baking and selling Nissu and Swedish breads. When they returned it was clear that the work they did inspired and uplifted them.

2010 In a special congregational meeting in May we voted to add the Associate in Ministry as a voting officer of the council. Motion passed. A motion was made to amend the By Laws governing the Audit committee to correct the differences between the By Law and Constitution. Motion passed. Motion to change the name of the Evangelism committee to the GROW TEAM was denied. This year brought the painting of all of the Sunday School Room classes and the first Lutheran Lights program in conjunction with the Gifts of Hope & St Lucia Festival including a Swedish smorgasbord. It was very well received by the community and involved coordinating over 100 members from all committees of the church.

2011 Annual meeting the May congregational meeting motion to add the Associate in Ministry as a voting member of council was passed, now before Synod for their approval. New windows will be installed in the Fellowship Hall and the education wing commencing approval and $10,000 expenditure for installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to bring our building up to new Barnstable codes allows us to continue to offer our space to the Overnights of Hospitality program. Updated audit procedures installed in Feb. FLC knitters and crocheters provided 225 garments for warmth and comfort which were shipped to Afghanistan families and children. Our “own” Chris deforest was installed as Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran, Mahoning, PA.

2012 Congregation pledges $5000 support to Calumet to be gifted within 3 Years. All classroom, kitchen & Fellowship Hall windows are replaced. 4G Network created, (Girls, Gather, Gab & Give)-a girls night out, guests donate what they would pay for a meal out and the proceeds are donated to a local agency serving women and children. A AED (automatic External Defibrillator) purchased by the Men’s breakfast fund. Kathy Read is ordained on August 11.

 

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