Holy Cross Lutheran Church Greets The Year 1963
by W. T. Block
The year 1963 also dawned on an optimistic note; the economy was still booming and Holy Cross Lutheran Church was gaining ground every day.
On January 6, 1963, Gary Lyn Morvant and Kenneth Allen Williams were baptized. The Ladies Aid installed new members, namely, Mrs. John Deruiter, president; Mrs. Billy Cogswell, vice president; Mrs. E. McLaurin, secretary; Mrs. C. Wiedenfeld, treasurer. On January 13th, Mrs. T. Duplantis was received into membership through transfer, and Kyle Gene Cogswell was baptized. The 'Stamps for Missions' project continued. The Couples Club held a pot luck social on January 20, and on January 26th, Elmer Kieschnick was wed to Miss Sonja Blanchard.1
On February 3, W. Fehl, Jr. was appointed the local representative of Aid Association for Luherans. The new annual floral calendar was placed in the northex. The Walther Leaguers had a church social with refreshments. Rev. A. Henning, Lutheran missionary to India, presented an illustrated talk at Trinity Lutheran in Port Arthur on February 7. As of February 1, Holy Cross Lutheran Church was $170 short of its 1963 budget for its first month of 'self-support.' The Ladies Aid met on February 12, and the Couples Club held their monthly pot luck social on February 17th. The "Carry The Cross" jars for the Church Extension Fund were due on February 23rd, and 83 persons attended the Ash Wesnesday service on February 27th. On February 26, there was a special prayer service for the South American missions.2
There was a special voters meeting on March 3rd, and the board of elders recommended that Martha Mattson's name be dropped from membership, and that both the common cup and individual cups be offered at Communion from that date on. On March 10, Mrs. D. L. Martin was received into membership through transfer, and Ruth Marie Ellen Schmidt was baptized. The Couples Club enjoyed another pot luck social on March 17th. Jennifer Elaine Martin was baptized on March 17th, and Mark Allen Ludwig was baptized on March 24th.3
April 7th was Palm Sunday, and Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services were conducted on April 11th and 12th. A joint Easter Sunrise service was conducted at Don Theater in conjunction with St. Paul's of Groves and Good Shepherd of Port Arthur, with Pastor L. Roehrs of Good Shepherd as the speaker and Rev. Gottfried Press of St. Paul's as liturgist. The Texas District Convention in Austin was held from April 8-12th. Walther Leaguers enjoyed a pizza party on April 20, and the Couples Club had their monthly pot luck social on April 21st. Leaguers also attended a zone meeting in Texas City on April 21st. The church Council met on April 29, and the Sabine Area Sunday School teachers met at Redeemer in Beaumont on April 30. The 'Carry The Cross' offerings were due on April 28th.4
The voters assembly met on May 7, and the Couples Club enjoyed another pot luck supper and bowling party on May 12. Volunteers were requested for the Vacation Bible School, with the first VBS staff meeting held on May 15. The annual church picnic was held on the church grounds at 12:30 PM on May 19th, with volley ball, croquet, horse shoes, and other games. On May 19, the Walther Leaguers installed their new officers, namely, Don Struckmeyer, president; Judy Cowgill, vice president; Carol Gregory, secretary; and Jackie Martin, treasurer. On May 30, Ruth Ann Gribnau graduated from high school.5
On June 2nd, Robert Gillespie, Donald Gribnau, Bethany Hughes, and Linda Schaefer were confirmed. Pastor Schmid received a call to First Lutheran Church in Benton, Arkansas. The VBS staff met on June 11th, and the Couples Club went to the Circle G on June 24th for chicken barbeque and swimming. A special voters meeting was held on June 13 to consider the pastor's call to Arkansas. On June 22nd, the Leaguers conducted a car wash to raise funds.6
On July 7, Mr. and Mrs. Willis and children, Paula, Rebecca, and Gary, were received by transfer. The Holy Cross men and the Walther Leaguers enjoyed an afternoon of softball. The Vacation Bible School had 56 children enrolled, with an average attendance of 47, and 117 persons attended th VBS closing service. On July 28, the Couples Club invited Trinity couples to Holy Cross for an ice cream social and games. A special Walther League Teenage Caravan visited Holy Cross betwen August 14-17, and a caravan team service was conducted on August 16. The caravan consisted of Janet Schwartzkopf of Larned, Kansas; Eleanor Surak of Cudahy, Wisconsin; and Robert Adsit of Jackson, Mississippi.7
On August 18, the Couples Club enjoyed another pot luck supper. Ronnie L. Rivers of St. Paul's in Groves was moving to New Guinea as a missionary-teacher. Clothes were collected for a needy Port Neches family, and the fall senion and junior confirmation classes began. On August 29th, the Holy Cross Kindergarten opened, with Mrs. William B. Schmidt as teacher for 24 enrollees. Also on that date, Keith Dubois of Holy Cross preached the sermon before he and his family left for the Springfield Concordia Seminary to study for the ministry.8
There was a voters meeting on September 3, and a circuit church leaders meeting at St. John's on September 8th. Also on September 8, Mrs. Elisabeth Sinclair and her son Charles were received into membership by transfer. The Lutheran Bible Institute met on September 11th with an enrollment of 113, and the Couples Club participated in a pot luck social on September 11th. On September 22nd, all members were asked to fill out an attendance survey card. The SLM Self-Study Committee met on September 26th, and a new fall adult confirmation class began.9
On October 6th, Mr. and Mrs. Saylor and children, Linda, Fred, Clif, and June of 405 11th Street, were received into membership by transfer. Both the Walther Leaguers zone rally and the fall Mission Festival occurred on October 13th, with Rev. G. Kollmeyer of Baytown, second vice president of the Texas District, as guest speaker. The LWML zone rally was at St. Paul's in Groves on October 24, and the Couples Club enjoyed a pot luck social on October 20. Shaun Michael McLaurin was baptized on October 20, and Holy Cross Ladies Aid scheduled their spaghetti supper for Noverber 2nd.10
There was a Spiritual Life Mission service on November 6, and the area SLM youth banquet was held at Trinity in Port Arthur on November 9. On November 3, Pastor Schmid received a call from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brenham. The Holy Cross voters met on November 13, and the Sabine Area fall Sunday School teachers met at St. Paul's on November 18. The Walther Leaguers went on a hay ride on November 23rd, and the Couples Club enjoyed another pot luck social on November 17. Gifts of food were brought to the church on November 24 for the Thanksgiving baskets.11
The Ladies Aid scheduled their Christmas party for December 10th, and the Couples Club for December 13th. The new 1964 church officers were installed on December 15. A Christmas candle light service was held on December 18th. Other Christmas services which followed included the children's Christmas Eve service, Christmas Day service, and open house at the parsonage. As of December 29th, the Sunday School teachers were as follows: B. Kieschnick, junior high; Mrs. Stlruckmeyer, pre-teen; Mrs. Fehl, junior; Mrs. Morgan, primary; Ruth Gribnau, kindergarten; and Mrs. J. Deruiter, Mrs. D. Bryant, nursery.12
The 1964 church officers installed included T. E. Smith, president; Wm. Martin, vice president; F. Kieschnick, secretary; D. Bryant, treasurer; H. Miertschin, financial secretary; K. Dubois, W. Fehl, H. Kieschnick, W. Weigmann, elders; E. Boehm, G. Davis, H. Schaefer, C. Terrell, trustees; L. Biar, B.Cogswell, E. McLaurin, B. Morgan, board of missions; W. Gregory, J. Singleton, L. Struckmeyer, C. Wiedenfeld, board of stewards; J. Ludwig, Sunday School superintendent; J. Deruiter, R. Shouse, H. Smits, K. Williams, board of education.
At the end of 1963, Holy Cross Lutheran Church had 216 baptized members and 133 communicant members. There were 4 junior and 3 senior confirmands, and 8 were received and 3 lost by transfers. There were also eleven children baptized, one marriage and one funeral. Average church attendance during the year was 110 on Sundays, and 744 persons communed during the year. Indeed, Holy Cross Lutheran Church had ended another very successful year.13
1HCLC Bulletins, Jan. 6, 13, 29, 27, 1963.
2HCLC Bulletins, Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24, 27, 1963.
3HCLC Bulletins, Mar. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 1963.
4HCLC Bulletins, Apr. 7, 14, 21, 28, 1963.
5HCLC Bulletins, May 5, 12, 19, 26, 1963.
6HCLC Bulletins, June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 1963.
7HCLC Bulletins, July 7, 14, 21, 28, 1963; Midcounty Review, Aug. 15, 1963, p. 17.
8HCLC Bulletins, Aug. 4, 11, 18, 25, 29, 1963.
9HCLC Bulletins, Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 1963.
10HCLC Bulletins, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, 1963.
11HCLC Bulletins, Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24, 1963.
12HCLC Bulletins, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 1963.
13The 1964 HCLC Annual Report (the 1963 Report not available).