HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN CHURCH GREETS THE YEAR 1961
by W. T. Block
For the Holy Cross Lutheran Church congregation of Nederland, the year 1961 began on a cheerful note. On January 8th, there was an annual circuit meeting at St. John's in Beaumont, that all the church officers and Sunday School teachers were requested to attend. Members were asked to pick up all remaining offering envelopes and Portals of Prayer. Miriam Harrison and Harry Niles (both non-members) were wed in a private ceremony. On January 15, the "Call-A-Month-Club" and a new adult class were scheduled to meet. Because of a restricted budget with no custodial allowance except for supplies, members were scheduled to share custodial duties. On January 22, young David Ray Holmes was baptized. On January 31st, Rosemarie Bollman began helping with the church's weekly bulletin, and on February 1, the Concordia A Cappella Choir of Nebraska presented a concert of sacred music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Arthur.1
On February 5th, Mrs. Elmer Harbour and young daughter Carolyn were received into membership. On February 12, Pastor Schmid announced that Lenton services would begin on Ash Wednesday, February 15th, and would end on Good Friday, March 31st. A daughter was born to Pastor and Mrs. Schmid on February 16th. On February 19th, Mr. and Mrs. M. Henegar and family and Jerry Cowgill were received into membership. On February 26th, Holy Cross Ladies' Aid announced that they would sponsor a chili supper on March 10th, with all the proceeds to go to the church organ fund.2
On March 8, Rev. V. Buvinghausen was guest speaker at the Lenten service and on March 10, at the chili supper. On March 12th, little Rachel Elsa Schmid was baptized. Rev. E. Heckman was guest speaker at the March 15 Lenten service. On March 19, a special organ fund offering raised $445.60 for that project. The A Cappella Choir from Concordia College in Austin presented a sacred concert at St. John's Church in Beaumont on March 13. A church Easter egg hunt was scheduled for April 1st, and the combined area Lutheran choirs were scheduled to sing at the Easter Sunrise Service at Don Theatre (on Highway 69 near Port Arthur), where Pastor Schmid would deliver the Bible Reading and prayer.3
From April 3-6, 1961, Pastor John Schmid, with W. H. Fehl as lay delegate, attended the Texas District Convention in Austin. The new Schlicker organ was due to be installed during the week of April 10-12, but delivery by the factory was delayed. During the week of April 16, the Sabine Area Sunday School Teachers met at Grace Lutheran in Orange. During the week of April 23, 1961, Holy Cross Lutheran congregation began saving postage stamps for missions, and on April 29, held a bake sale.
The church organ finally arrived and was installed. It was built by Schlicker Organ Company of Buffalo, N. Y., and it had been ordered in March, 1960. The instrument was "a two-manual, full-pedal, semi-portable unit pipe organ, consisting of 271 individual pipes." The organ was dedicated at 3:30 PM on Sunday, May 7, 1961, preceded by 45 minutes of organ music from Bach, Buxtehude, Haydn, and Eric Hoff, played by church organist Charles Smith. On May 7, the G. Davis family were released by transfer to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Wichita Falls. On May 14, the Ladies' Aid donated a new vacuum cleaner to the church, and the VBS staff teachers met on May 16, 1961.4
On May 21, 1961, Mark Edward Dubois was baptized, and Ronald Gribnau and Kenneth Martin were confirmed. Pastor Schmid was on vacation from May 29 until June 13. On May 28th, the new Walther League officers were installed, namely, Lynn Hughes, president; Jackie Martin, secretary; Gwen Bollmann, treasurer; and Ronnie Ermel, Christian growth chairman. On June 4th, a church picnic was announced for June 25. Pastor L. Roehrs served as vacation pastor for two weeks. On June 18, Pastor Schmid received a call to St. Marks Church in Baton Rouge. On June 25, Mrs. R. Gunter, Jr. and her children were received into membership. On June 30, the J. Schaklee family were released by transfer to Grace Lutheran in Dallas.5
On July 2, 1961, Jeanette Morvant was wed to W. H. Thompson. Also on July 2, Pastor Schmid returned the call to St. Mark's Lutheran in Baton Rouge, and Mr. and Mrs. J. Singleton were received into membership by transfer. On July 14th, Sarah Clark was wed to Frank Kieschnick. On July 24th, Vacation Bible School began with an enrollment of 57, and Mrs. J. Turner was released by transfer to St. John's Lutheran Church of Beaumont.6
On August 5, Vacation Bible School ended, with 8 teachers and 57 children enrolled, with an average daily attendance of 46. A clock was donated to the church by the W. B. Martin family, and choir rehearsals were resumed. An ice cream social was planned for August 22nd, and on August 27, Mr. and Mrs. John Ludwig and children were received into membership. On September 3, a new confirmation class began. There was no church service on the September 10 weekend. On Saturday, Sept. 9, a 150-mile an hour hurricane came within 140 miles of Port Arthur, before it suddenly veered sharply to the west and made landfall near Freeport. Hurricane Carla of September 10, 1961, was the first occasion when the entire population of Nederland was evacuated to the north, and 99% of the population left town. They were not allowed to return until the following Wednesday, by which time many of them were out of money and food. Nederland sustained no damage from the water and winds, although neighboring Port Acres was flooded. On September 17, an evangelism workshop was conducted at Trinity in Port Arthur. September 24th was our Rally Day service, and also a new adult education class began. A parent-teacher-pupil night was held on September 26th.7
On October 1, a hurricane relief fund for the Central Texas coast was begun, and the Walther League attended a fall rally in Pasadena. On October 15th, $206.50 was received for the organ fund. All church and Ladies' Aid officers were called to a special meeting on October 16th. The program committee met on October 23 to map plans for the coming year of 1962. The LWML Fall Rally met at Grace Lutheran in Orange on October 26th. Rev. George Aurich of Rice University spoke at the Mission Festival of October 29. And at a special Mission Festival Service at 7:30 PM, Rev. Elmo Miertschin of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Houston (brother of congregation president Harry Miertschin) spoke to an audience of 95 persons.8
There was a voters' meeting on November 7th for all elected officers. On November 12 was the last Visitors Training Session, and on November 14, the Holy Cross voters met to elect new officers for the coming year. A Loyalty Dinner was served on November 16 in preparation for Loyalty Sunday on November 19th. Also in November, a used clothing drive was conducted for Texas hurricane victims. Each home was to be visited by two members, and the Sabine Area Sunday School Teachers also met at Holy Cross on November 19th at 7:30 PM. On November 23, the Thanksgiving Day service was conducted. By November 26, ninety percent of the members' homes had been visited, with 47 pledge cards returned, the pledges totaling $232 weekly.9
On December 3rd, Mrs. Frank Kieschnick and Mr. W. Thompson were received into membership through baptism and confirmation, and Mrs. G. Morvant was received through confirmation. On December 5, the voters met to consider the 1962 budget. The Sunday School began practice for the Christmas Eve service. The Ladies Aid Christmas Party was held on December 12, followed by the Walther League Christmas Party on December 22nd. A Christmas Candlelight service was conducted on December 17th. On December 24, the 1962 offering envelopes were distributed. There were also a Christmas Eve children's program on December 24th, as well as open house at the church parsonage on December 28. The 1962 Ladies' Aid officers were installed on December 24th. A total of 110 persons attended the Christmas Eve service; 49 were at the Christmas Day service; and the year 1961 ended with New Year's Eve vespers at 7:30 PM.10
At the 1962 installation of officers, Harry Miertschin became president; J. Ludwig, vice president; L. Biar, secretary; H. Schaefer, treasurer; T. E. Smith, financial secretary; W. Fehl, B. Gillespie, B. Martin, W. Weigmann, board of elders; E. Boehm, B. Cogswell, M. Henegar, H. Smits, board of trustees; H. Kieschnick (SS Supt.), D. Bryant, R. Shouse, board of education; F. Kieschnick, B. Morgan, A. Morvant, E. Weigmann, stewardship board; and Keith Dubois, W. Gregory, C. Smith, C. Terrell, missions board.11 The Ladies Aid officers installed for 1962 included Mrs. H. Schaefer, president; Mrs. John Deruiter, vice president; Mrs. C. Terrell, secretary; and Mrs. G. Cowgill, treasurer.12
The year 1961 ended on a pleasant note. There was a communicant membership of 104; a soul membership of 161; and a voting membership of 29. Communicants added included 6 by transfer and 8 by confirmation. Four members were lost and 8 were transferred elsewhere. During the year, there had also been five baptisms, eight confirmations, and three marriages. The average Sunday morning attendance totaled 85. A total of $12,723 in offerings had been received, the weekly average being $244.66. At the end of 1961, there was a total of $15,253 income and cash on hand, and the major expenditures for the year had been $2,550 for world missions; $4,170 in payments on church property; and $4,200 for the pastor's salary. Also, the Ladies Aid, the Walther League, the Sunday School, and other church auxiliaries continued to expand, and each had engaged in many church-related activities. Indeed, Holy Cross Lutheran Church had enjoyed another banner year!
1HCLC Buls. Jan 1, 8, 15, 22, 19, 1961; 1961 Annual Report.
21961 Annual Report; "Chile Supper is Set," and "Luther Ladies Meet," Midcounty Review, March 2, p. 8; March 9, p. 4, and March 23, p. 9, 1961; HCLC Buls., Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26, 1961
3HCLC Bulletins., March 5, 12, 19, 26, 1961; also 1961 Annual Report.
4HCLC Bulletins, Apr. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14, 1961; Midcounty Review, may 4, 18, 1961, pp. 6, 9; the 1961 Annual Report.
5HCLC Bulletins, May 21, 28; June 4, 11, 18, 25, 30, 1961; the 1961 Annual Report.
6HCLC Bulletins, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 1961; 1961 Annual Report; Midcounty Review, July 20, 29, 1961, pp. 4, 14.
7HCLC Bulletins, Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27; Sept. 3, 10, 17 14; the 1961 Annual Report.
8HCLC Bulletins, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 1961; also 1961 Annual Report.
9HCLC Bulletins, Nov. 5, 12, 19, 23, 26, 1961; also the 1961 Annual Report.
10HCLC Bulletins, Dec. 3, 10, 10, 17, 24, 31, 1961; also th 1961 Annual Report: "Lutheran Ladies Hold Yule Party," Midcounty Review, Dec. 14, 1961, p. 7.
11The 1961 Annual Report.
12"Ladies Aid Elect Officers," Midcounty Review, Dec. 7, 1961, p. 18.