The dedication of our new facilities marks another milestone in the life of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. In planning, supervising, and implementing the construction of this new space, the congregation has affirmed the sacred function of the space and the mission of the church. It is appropriate to tell the history of this faithful congregation, the true spiritual community that gathers here, and has been and is continually renewed by word and sacrament where grace and thanksgiving intersect in worship and in sharing the Lord’s Supper.
This brief sketch attempts to record the highlights of the life of the congregation during the period of its existence. There is much that can be added, but it is believed that all the major events have been included. It is hoped that a much expanded history with photographs will be prepared for the 150th anniversary of the congregation in the year 2009.
Parts of our history have been compiled in the past, and we acknowledge with deep gratitude those faithful members who have recorded our history and passed it down to us. The first history of the congregation was prepared in 1909 upon the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the congregation. A brief sketch was prepared in conjunction with the Centennial Anniversary of the congregation in 1959 and other material compiled upon the consecration of the new church on September 11, 1960. In 1980, a hard bound pictorial directory of the congregation was prepared with a short history edited by Judy McGee.
This short sketch draws from historical documents of the church as well as Pastor G.D. Bernheim’s History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministerium of North Carolina, 1902 and some early material from Beside the Still Waters, The Story of the German Settlements and The Lutheran Church in Wythe County, Virginia, 1998 by Roger S. Klutz. Some biographical material is included from Life Sketches of Lutheran Ministers, 1966 by the North Carolina Synod.
This sketch is part of the story, and the story continues as faithful Christians gather in this place to be fed and renewed in word and sacrament to go out and renew the world.
The invaluable assistance of the members of the Cornerstone Committee, Sarah Dagenhart, Chairperson, Margaret Chisholm, and Margaret Woods is gratefully acknowledged in the planning and editing of this brief history.
Phillip E. Gerdes Compiler and Editor September 10, 2000