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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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To commemorate 150 years of service to youth and elderly in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, Lutheran Homes Society (LHS) held a weekend of festivities Aug. 5-7.

The observance, which attracted more than 3,000 people, culminated with a Festival Celebration on Saturday.

The anniversary festivities began with the organization’s 150th Annual Meeting of Member Congregations on Aug. 5 at the Stranahan Theater and Great Hall. The event included dinner, special recognitions and remarks by judicatory, government and social ministry representatives, a business meeting and the annual report by LHS President/CEO David Roberts.

A worship service followed, featuring the inaugural presentation of the hymn “Gratitude,” which was commissioned in honor of the 150th Anniversary by the LHS Board of Directors and sung by the Zoar Lutheran Church Choir. The evening concluded with a presentation by Rev. Gerald Labuhn, Executive Director Emeritus and Archivist, who has served the Society in various capacities for more than 50 years.

Weekend festivities also included a celebration on the Society’s Lutheran Home at Toledo campus at the corner of Wheeling and Seaman Streets. A concert on the lawn Friday evening featured The Deutschmeister German Band, The Choraliers and the Commanders of Harmony. A reunion of “orphans” of the former Lutheran Orphans’ Home was held, with some of the former residents leading guided tours of the orphanage building that still stands at 2411 Seaman St.

Saturday’s family-friendly Festival Celebration featured an entertainment tent where the Commanders of Harmony, Pride of Toledo Sweet Adelines, Cake Walkin’ Jass Band, Toledo Swiss Singers and Schuhplattlers, and Johnny Ginger took to the stage.

The day also included vintage games, food vendors, a chicken dinner, 1860s-era craft displays, tours of the former Lutheran Orphans’ Home and Museum, campus walking tours, a dunk tank, a hot air Balloon, and 19th Century activities for all ages provided by Metroparks of the Toledo Area, the Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society and the Butterfly House.

“The entire weekend was an opportunity to celebrate with the community our 150 years of compassionate care of youth and elders,” Roberts said. “We are truly grateful for the many years we have been able to faithfully serve those in need.”

Lutheran Homes Society was founded Aug. 6, 1860, in the days leading up to the Civil War. The Society’s ministry began as a home for orphans, but expanded in 1906 to include care of the elderly. Today, more than 2,300 youth and elderly located throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan benefit from the Society’s residential and community services.

Young Maliki Neilson enjoys a Sno-Kone during Lutheran Homes Society’s Festival Celebration.

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