HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN CHURCH IN 1965
by W. T. Block
The year 1965 dawned brightly as Holy Cross Lutheran Church closed out its prosperous old year and with an optimistic belief that the New Year beckoned equally as favorable. On Jan. 3rd, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marks and children were received into membership by transfer. The bimonthly voters meeting met on Jan. 5, prepared to receive recommendations of the building committee. On Jan. 10, the new Ladies Aid officers were seated, namely: Mrs. L. Cowgill, president; Mrs. C. Wiedenfeld, vice president; Mrs. F. Kieschnick, secretary; Mrs. L. Biar, treasurer; Mrs. E. McLaurin and Mrs. S. Marks, LWML secretary. The Living Lutheran Leadership workshop met at Trinity, Port Arthur, from 10-5 PM on Jan. 16, 1965, conducted by Rev. Guido Merkens and Mr. Art Samuel of San Antonio. The Couples Club met Jan. 17 by a pot luck supper and indoor games. On Jan. 17, Mr. and Mrs. Siegfried Stahl were received into membership. The senior confirmands, Nick Ewing, Sharon Nelson, and Linda Saylor, were given an oral examination on Jan. 18, and an adult instruction class began at that time. On Jan. 24, the Walther Leaguers attended a bowling party, and a new floral calendar was ready.1
On Feb. 6, Mr. Glen Peglar of Chicago presented a set of slides at Trinity, Port Arthur, about African mission work, entitled "A Continent On Fire." The building committee was still discussing plans to add new Sunday School rooms. A chili supper for Feb. 19 was scheduled by the Ladies Aid, who were selling tickets for the Sunday School building fund. On Feb. 17, Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Turner and children were transferred to St. Paul's, Groves. There was a general meeting of church officers, boards and committees on Feb. 17. On Feb. 21, Julie Ann Wood was received through the rite of baptism. The Couples Club met for grilled hamburgers on Feb. 21, and Feb. 27 was "work day" for Holy Cross congregation's men. On Feb. 26, the chapel choir of Concordia College, Austin, presented a sacred concert at Trinity, Port Arthur. The Ash Wednesday service was announced for March 3rd.2
The regular bi-monthly voters meeting convened on March 2 and chose to proceed with the new Sunday School room construction. The Couples Club met conjointly with the Trinity Couples Club on March 5. A ground-breaking ceremony for the new educational building was conducted on March 7. The LLL Zone Organizational Dinner occurred at St. John's in Beaumont on March 8. The March 3 Lenten Service attendance was 98 - a record for Ash Wednesday - followed by 107 at Lent on March 10. Pre-registration for the new Kindergarten was scheduled for March 20 under the new teacher, Mrs. William Schmidt. And since foundation work had already begun on the new Sunday School building, members were requested to enter and exit the church only via the front door. On March 21, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Coffman, Jr. were received by confirmation, along with their baptized children, Gregg Susan, and Scott. Also on March 21, the Couples Club met for a pot luck supper and outdoor games. On March 25, the Holy Cross Ladies gave a Layette Party for Lutheran World Relief. On March 28, Mr. and Mrs. K. Lilljedahl and children, Joy, Dale, and Lori; Mr. and Mrs. F. Kubitz and children, Michael and Rebecca; and Mr. and Mrs. D. Lowrey and Mr. R. Lowrey were all received into membership by rite of transfer. Church attendance in March averaged 145, and weekly offerings averaged $545.3
Holy Cross Lutheran Church's annual spring cleaning was scheduled for April 10. Also on that date, Sharon, Bonnie, and Roy Nelson were baptized, and the Frank McGoldrick family were transferred by letter to Massachusetts. April 11th was Palm Sunday, and the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services were scheduled for April 15-16th. No Union Easter Sunrise Service was held in 1965 as had been the earlier custom. On Easter, April 18, church attendance totaled 169. A special voters meeting was held on April 19 due to Pastor Schmid's two calls to Crowley, La., and Gulfport, Ms. The Texas District Conference of pastors and teachers met in Galveston on April 19-20. On April 25, Walther Leaguers held their zone rally in Lake Charles, and the Couples Club met on April 25 for outdoor games. And the first ever area-wide Vacation Bible School workshop was scheduled at Trinity, Port Arthur, on May 1. On April 29, the LWML zone ralley was held at Holy Cross, with Mrs. M. Ramming as guest speaker.4
On May 9th, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Hobratsck and children were received by transfer. The Walther Leaguers met to elect new officers. The Sabine Area Sunday School teachers convened in Orange on May 6, and the bi-monthly voters met on May 4. The week of May 3-9 was dedicated by Ladies Aid to a used clothing drive for needy families, and Pastor Schmid returned his calls to Louisiana and Mississippi. Satuday, May 8, was a scheduled work day on the church grounds. On May 10, Dr. Rubke of Concordia-Austin addressed the Lutheran Laymen's League at a dinner in Beaumont. The first VBS staff meeting was held on May 13, and adult choir rehearsals began on May 12. May 23rd was another historical milestone in Holy Cross Lutheran Church history with the dedication of the new education building at 3 PM, followed by the annual church picnic on the grounds. Fun and games were played by everyone. Also on May 23, the new Walther League officers were installed, namely, Linda Schaefer, president; Beth Hughes, vice president; Don Heller, secretary; Diane DeRuiter, treasurer; and Susan Richards, membership chairman.5
On June 2, Rev. George Winkler, missionary to Hong Kong, gave an illustrated mission talk at Trinity, Port Arthur. From May 31 through June 11, the Holy Cross Vacation Bible School was in session with 129 children enrolled and average attendance of 97 children. Eighteen VBS teachers and staff participated, namely, Mesdames Bryant, Morgan, Biar, Willis, E. Kieschnick, DeRuiter, Gunter, Ludwig, Schulz, Marks, Williams, Shipley, Struckmeyer; the Misses DeRuiter, Cowgill, Schaefer; and Miss S. Nelson and Mr. N. Ewing, staff. On June 6, the senior confirmands, Nick Ewing, Sharon Nelson and Linda Saylor, were confirmed. Jerry Cowgill and W. T. Block were received into membership by confirmation, and Mrs. W. T. Block through profession of faith. Pastor and Mrs. Schmid were on vacation June 14 through 29th. The church service times were reversed on June 20, 27, with Pastors Heckmann and Meyer and guest speakers. The Leaguers met on June 27th to attend the cinerama in Houston, and the Couples Club met for sandwiches and watermelon. During June, the four Sunday offerings averaged $668 each.6
On July 4, Elissa McLaurin was baptized. On July 5, a Ladies Bible Study of the book of Colossians was begun each Monday night for the ladies of Holy Cross. On July 8, a class to instruct "Mission Callers" for visiting newcomers and membership prospects began. The men's Annual BarBQ Picnic was scheduled for July 17 at Circle G. On July 6, a new church building committee was appointed, and a new church building fund was begun. On July 18, Mr. and Mrs. E. Eppler were received into membership by confirmation and Mr. and Mrs. R. Kretschmar and children by transfer. On July 23, the Walther Leaguers had an ice cream and miniature golf social. A work day on the church grounds was scheduled for July 24. On July 25, Sunny Marie Eppler and Philip Troy Eppler were baptized. Also on July 25, home-made ice cream was served to the congregation by the Ladies Aid. The 174 persons who attended church on July 25, a time of summer vacations, spoke well for the increased Holy Cross Lutheran membership.7
The Ladies Bible Study continued well into August. Twenty children were enrolled for the new Kindergarten, with the maximum set at 25. On Aug. 8, Todd Kieschnick was baptized. The Couples Club met at Circle G on Aug. 14. On Aug. 17, Mr. and Mrs. James Saylor and family were transferred by letter to Virginia. On Aug. 22, Keith Dubois served as liturgist in the morning service, and on Aug. 29, he preached his first sermon. On Aug. 21, the Leaguers held a car wash to raise funds.On Aug. 19, new confirmation classes and parents met at the church to discuss the fall classes. On Aug. 29, Mrs. William Schmidt was installed as the new Kindergarten teacher, with the first class scheduled to begin on Aug. 31. The Texas Pastoral Conference met in Austin Aug. 24-26. On Aug. 26, the Holy Cross Ladies Aid held a "hat party" at the Cogswell home, and on Aug. 28, the Leaguers went on a beach party.8
On Sept. 5, 1965, Stacy Ann Weigmann was baptized. The Lutheran Bible Institute began at Trinity, Port Arthur, on Sept. 7. The class of "Mission Callers" continued into September. On Sept. 8, Mrs. W. G. Gregory and children, Carol, Steven and William; Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Leary and son Dennis; and Mrs. R. Simmons and son Robert were declared self-excommunicated at their own request. Also Braun and Bernhardt were chosen as the new church architects. On Sept. 13, the area Lutheran Laymen's League met at Holy Cross Church. An adult instruction class began on Sept. 19, and the Circuit Pastoral Conference met on Sept. 20. The Couples Club met for a pot luck supper and miniature golf on Sept. 19. On Sept. 26, a special offering and a used clothing drive was held at Holy Cross for Louisiana hurricane relief. On Sept. 27, the new church building committee met.9
On Oct. 3, the Walther League zone rally was held in Orange. Also on Oct. 3, there was a Holy Cross congregational picnic on the grounds, with a pot luck meal, coffee and tea, and fun and games for everyone. Pastor Ramming addressed the Ladies Aid abour "Mental Health" on Oct. 7. On Oct. 10, Mrs. R. Bonin and Rhonda; Mr. and Mrs. D. Gross and sons Mark and Bradley; and Mr. and Mrs. C. McKinley and children, Charles, Bill and Moina, were received by rite of transfer. On Oct. 14, the children's choir was reorganized, and on Oct. 21, the new Dorcas Society, a ladies' organization to meet during morning hours, was organized, with a committee beginning work on a constitution. The Couples Club held a fish fry on Oct. 17, and on Oct. 29, there was an LWML zone rally at St. John's in Beaumont. A fall church cleaning was scheduled for Oct. 30. The Missions Festival was observed on Oct. 24, with a special missions offering of $652.70. On Oct. 31, the Leaguers held their Halloween Party at Good Shepherd in Port Arthur. Oct. 31 was also Reformation Sunday, and at 2:30 PM the Reformation Circuit Leaders met at St. John's in Beaumont.10
On Nov. 7, Mrs. Charles Messler and daughter Elizabeth were received by rite of transfer. The Ladies Aid met on Nov. 9 to elect new officers for 1966. On Nov. 8, the Sabine Area Sunday School teachers held their annual banquet at Trinity in Port Arthur, with Dean Dammann of Austin as guest speaker. Food for Thanksgiving baskets was requested by a Nov. 21 deadline. Nov. 14 was Loyalty Sunday, with Every Member Visitation callers to meet at the church at 2 PM. A Christian Growth workshop met at Redeemer, Beaumont, on Nov. 16, with Pastors Ramming and Brammer discussing "Personal Evangelism." On the 23rd, Thanksgiving baskets were delivered to two needy families, and the Couples Club met on Nov. 21. A total of 194 persons attended church on Nov. 21, and 90 more attended the Thanksgiving Day service.11
A Christmas Song Service was held on Dec. 5 at 3 PM, when the Adult Choir presented a shortened version of Handel's "Messiah." The soloists included Bill Morgan, Linda Schaefer, Mrs. L. Biar, Mrs.Twyla Nau, and Mrs. R. Kretschmar. The area Lutheran Laymen's League met at Redeemer, Beaumont, on Dec. 6, and there was a Circuit Pastoral Conference at St. John's in Beaumont on Dec. 13. The funeral of Mr. Joseph Frees was conducted on Dec. 8th. The Walther League Christmas Party was on Dec. 18, and the Ladies Aid Christmas Party was on Dec. 14. On Dec. 19, Charles Messler, Billy Block, and Mrs. Norman Lehnhardt were received through confirmation. Also, the Couples Club met on Dec. 19, bearing "white elephant" gifts. On Dec. 22, the adult choir "went Christmas caroling." On Christms Eve, Sunday School children presented the "Three Angels of Christmas." There was also a candlelight service on Dec. 25. On Dec. 26, Mr. Ronald G. Bonin was received by rite of confirmation, and the year ended with the New Year's Eve service and communion.12
The new 1966 church officers included J. Ludwig, president; W. Weigmann, vice president; C. Wiedenfeld, secretary; F. Kieschnick, treasurer; C. Terrell, financial secretary; L. Biar, L. Goodson, H. Kieschnick, R. Kretschmar, H. Miertschin, H. Schaefer, board of elders; E. Boehm, B. Cogswell, J. DeRuiter, W. Martin; H. Smits, board of trustees; D. Bryant, H. Coffman, E. Daily, P. Eppler, E. McLaurin, T. E. Smith, board of missions; T. Cole, J. Cowgill, B. Morgan, K. Williams, board of stewards; L. Struckmeyer (Sunday School superintendent0, W. Fehl, E. Kieschnick, A. Shipley, W. Thompson, board of education.13
The Ladies Aid held all its scheduled monthly meetings and engaged in numerous charitable activities, namely, mite boxes, host for spring rally, Thanksgiving baskets, Lutheran World Relief, collection of used stamps, visited rest homes, deaf education, overseas missions, student aid, layettes, and two used clothing drives. The Dorcas Society organized and prepared 125 bogs of candy and fruit for the Christmas Eve service. Mrs. H. M. Gribnau was president of that group. The Couples Club held monthly socials and participated in many indoor and outdoor activities, providing adults with needed social interaction in a religious setting. Mr. and Mrs. L. Goodson and Mr. and Mrs. E. Daily were respectively president and secretary-treasurer of that group.
All in all, the year 1965 had proved to be another outstanding success. The new Christian Kindergarten was a sorely needed addition to our church. Our baptized membership grew to 285, and our communicants numbered 172. The church had received twelve members through junior and adult confirmation; and 21 others by transfer, while losing 14 to transfer or other. There had been eight children baptized, no marriages, and one funeral. Church attendance for the year had averaged 151 each Sunday, with some services exceeding 190. Total offerings were $23,502, with a weekly average of $452. A special offering of $672 went to missions. Indeed, the New Year's Eve service on Dec. 31st witnessed God's perennial blessing on Holy Cross Lutheran Church as the year 1965 became history.
1HCLC Buls., Jan 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; The 1965 HCLC Annual Report.
2HCLC Buls., Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28, 1965.
3HCLC Buls., Mar. 7, 14, 21, 18, 1965.
4HCLC Buls., Apr. 4, 11, 18, 25, 1965.
5HCLC Buls., May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 1965.
6HCLC Buls., June 6, 13, 20, 27, 1965; The 1965 HCLC Annual Report.
7HCLC Buls., July 4, 11, 18, 25, 1965.
8HCLC Buls., Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 1965.
9HCLC Buls., Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26, 1965.
10HCLC Buls., Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 1965.
11HCLC Buls., Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28, 1965.
12HCLC Buls., Dec. 5, 12, 19, 26, 1965.
13The 1965 HCLC Annual Report.