St. Mark’s Graytown celebrating 100 years on Oct. 29

By: 
Staff Writer

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Graytown, will celebrate its 100th year Reformation Sunday, Oct. 29.
Services will begin at 9 a.m. Special music is being planned and, on that Sunday, the congregation will be using the ritual that Tanzania utilizes, accepting donations in any increment of 100, whether it be pennies, dollars, etc., to be given to a ministry outreach.
Robert Brandt will be the presiding minister and Jodi Martin will be the organist. Refreshments will be served following the service. Past members and members of the community are encouraged to attend.
The church began when 20 members gathered together on March 4, 1923, to hold worship services, with Pastor A.L. Burman presiding. Serving as its first called pastor was the Rev. Victor C. Ridenour, who served from 1923-1943.
The church purchased an existing church from the Toledo Presbytery of the Synod of Ohio of the Presbyterian Church on June 29, 1932. In 1935, plans were made to rebuild and move the building to the front, northeast corner of the property, where the church stands today.
While this was taking place, services were held upstairs in the building which housed the Country Keg (formerly the J.L. Yost and Company.) Pastor Ridenour, Walter Schroeder, Albert Knieriem, Orville Bartel and Henry Suhrbier dug a basement by hand, upon which the building was placed, moved with the use of horses. On Dec. 20, 1936, the cornerstone was laid.
Additions were added to both the front and back of the building, with completion in the spring of 1937. Dedication services were held on May 23, 1937, with the Rev. A. Burman of Toledo and Rev. E. Kempfer of Rocky Ridge preaching at the services. Alice Tabbert was the organist.
Ministers serving the congregation through the years included Rev. Victor C. Ridenour (1923-1943), Rev. Carroll J. Brodbeck (1944-1945), Rev. A.F. Braun (1946-1957), Rev. Herbert Meyer (1957-1961); Rev. John Morris (1961-1967), Rev. Frederick Hagen (1967-1977), Rev. Gerald Clark (1978-1986) and Rev. Kurt Meuschke (1988-2001).
Robert Brandt served as interim supply minister and on Dec. 9, 2001, was commissioned to fulltime service. On Feb. 21, 2010, the congregation voted to disaffiliate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A new constitution was passed and the congregation voted to remain independent, awaiting its investigation into which Lutheran group to affiliate, of those which had disaffiliated from the ELCA.
In February 2019, the congregation voted to affiliate with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC).

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