HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN CHURCH WELCOMED 1966
by W. T. Block
Once again, the new year of 1966 dawned on a joyous note. With a baptized membership of 285 and frequent church attendance exceeding 190, the old facilities were strained to the limit, despite the existence of a new Sunday School buiilding. There was a voters meeting on Jan. 4 to discuss the 1966 work program. A congregational meeting was schedule for 4 PM, July 9, during which the building committee and the church architects presened plans for a new sanctuary and received comments.
On Jan. 9, Mrs. C. Janak and Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Kasper were received by rite of transfer. The Ladies Aid installed officers, namely, Mrs. C. Cowgill president; Mrs. C. Wiedenfeld, vice president; Mrs. J. Singleton, secretary; Mrs. J. DeRuiter, treasurer; Mrs. S. Marks, LWML secretary. The Dorcas Society installed Mrs. H. M. Gribnau, president; and Mrs. W. Perryman as secretary. The Ladies Aid met on Jan. 11, followed by the Couples Club chili supper on Jan. 16. On Jan. 10, the area Lutheran Laymen's League met at Holy Cross, with Ray Kretschmar as Holy Cross membership's representative. There was a special voters' meeting on Jan. 19 to approve preliminary plans for the new sanctuary. The Dorcas Society held its first meeting of 1966 on Jan. 20, at 10 AM. On Saturday, Jan. 29, there was an oral exam for the senior confirmation class, namely, Bonnie Nelson, Michael Gillespie, Garland Holmes, Marty Lovelace, and Harry Smits. The Evangelism Festival and training workshop was underway at Trinity, Port Arthur, conducted by Rev. T. Raedeke of the Texas District. The voters authorized the building committee architects to draw up the blueprints and specifications. The 1966 floral calendar was posted. In Aug. 1965, Rev. H. Foster of Chicago completed "A Study of The Lutheran Church in Greater Port Arthur, which projected Holy Cross Lutheran Church with 750 confirmed members by 1985, provided the present annual growth rate of 25 persons continued.1
There was a Pastor-Teacher Conference scheduled in Houston on Feb. 7-8. A new adult class to present Lutheran teachings was soon to begin on Feb. 27. A total of 204 persons worshipped in church on Feb. 13, believed to be a new record for our church. The Couples Club held a pot luck supper on Feb. 13, and an installation service for Pastor R. A. Brammer of Good Shepherd, Port Arthur, was celebrated on of Feb. 20. Feb. 15 was LWML Prayer Day; also all boards and committees met on Feb. 16, followed by the Dorcas Society on Feb. 17. The Lenten season began with Ash Wednesday, Feb. 23. Mrs. Milton Kube and children; Mr. and Mrs. A. Menard, and Mr. R. Shouse requested separation since they were attending other churches.2
On March 3, Gordon Alford and LaMerle Vernon were wed, and 106 persons attended the March 2 Lenten service. "Operation Commitment" was a meeting of elected church officials on March 11, conducted by Rev. R. H. Lawrenz and Mr. Ben Jutzi at Tidelands Restaurant. On March 12, pre-registration for kindergarten and first grade began for the 1966-67 school year. On March 13, Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Wukasch, Jr. and three baptized children were received by rite of transfer. The "Mission Callers" met on March 13; the Dorcas Society met on March 17; and the Couples Club had a Hawaiian 'luau' on March 20. Also on March 20, Kevin Randolph and Kirk Ralph Stahl were received by sacrament of baptism. The building committee met with the architects on April 1, and March 26 and April 2 were designated as annual church spring cleaning days. And several men of the congregation met to organize the "Ushers Club" on March 27.3
April 3 was Palm Sunday, followed by Maundy Thursday and Good Friday on April 7-8. The Fisherman's Club met on April 3 to see a movie, "Sharing Christ." The children's Easter egg hunt was conducted on April 9. On April 10, a union Easter Sunrise Service was held at 6 AM at Don Drive-In Theater in Port Arthur. On Easter, April 10, Mrs. L. D. Birdwell and Mrs. Kathleen Foreman were received as members by profession of faith. Between April 10-15, Pastor Schmid and John Ludwig attended the Texas District Convention in Fort Worth. The Couples Club held a pot luck social on April 17, and Ladies Aid met April 12 to hear details of the impending spring LWML rally at Grace Lutheran in Orange on April 21. On that date, the Ladies Bible Study began the book of Amos, due to end July 7. On April 20-21, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Thompson and children were released to Grace Lutheran, Orange, and Milton Kube transferred to St. John's Lutheran (ELCA) in Port Arthur. On April 24, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Starr were received as members by rite of transfer. The Dorcas Society met on April 20; and the Couples Club met on April 17, and again with the Trinity Couples on April 23. The Walther League held their zone rally at Redeemer, Beaumont, on April 24, and the Ladies Aid and their husbands held a chili supper on April 29.4
W. H. B Fehl, Jr., son of Holy Cross members, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Fehl, Sr., was soon to leave for study at Concordia Seminary in Springfield, and an appreciation supper in his honor was held at St. John's, Beaumont, on May 1. Also on May 1, Mr. Norman Lehnhardt was received by rite of transfer. Sabine Area Sunday School teachers met at St. John's, Beaumont, on May 2. Walther Leaguers elected new officers on May 1 and planned for their banquet with confirmands at Wayside Inn, Bridge City, on May 13. Kenneth Anthony Thornton was received by rite of baptism on May 8, followed by Mrs. H. D. Thornton, Jr., received into membership by rite of transfer. Rev. C. Born of Austin spoke at the LLL banquet at Wayside Inn on May 9. On May 14, the VBS teachers held a workshop at Holy Cross. On May 15 at 12:30 PM, the annual church picnic was held, along with a variety of outdoor games. On May 15, Martha Ann Alphin and John Harry Murphy were wed. On May 17, a special voters meeting completed and approved plans and specifications for the new sanctuary. The Dorcas Society met on May 16; the Ascension Day service was on May 19, and on May 21, an oral examination was extended to the senior confirmation class, namely, Bonnie Nelson, Mike Gillespie, Garland Holmes, Marty Lovelace, and Harry Smits. On May 22, Shane Verdon Herring was received by rite of baptism, and the kindergarten graduation service occurrd on May 27. On Pentecost, May 29, the five senior confirmands were recived into membership by reaffirmation of their baptismal vows.5
Keith Dubois was liturgist at the June 5 church service, and the new Walther League officers assumed duties. Vacation Bible School began on June 6 through 17, with an enrollment of 129 and average attendance of 100. The Fisherman's Club met on June 12, followed by Ladies Aid on June 14. During May-June, seven area contractors prepared bids for the new sanctuary and on June 15, the building committee and architects met to open the bids. The VBS closing service was held on June 17, with special gratitude extended to the entire staff, namely, the Mesdames Bryant, Bonin, Gunter, Wiedenfeld, Neilssen, Biar, Gordon, Daily, E. Kieschnick, Willis, Perryman, Coffman, Williams, Cogswell, Griswald, Lilljedahl, Ludwig, Shipley, Struckmeyer, Schmid, and the Misses Hempel, Schaefer, S. Nelson and B. Nelson. On June 19, the Couples Club enjoyed a swim party and picnic at Port Neches park. On June 20, Pastor Schmid returned a call to Bethel Lutheran, Bryan, Texas. On June 27, Wm. T. "Billy" Block, Rebecca R. Block, Bobby G. Block, and Barry W. Block were received through the sacrament of baptism. On June 28, Gary and Linda Morvent were wed, and on June 30, Kim Rena and Michael David Morvent were received by rite of baptism.6
On July 1, Jackie Martin and Robert Buchanan were wed at Holy Cross Church. On July 3, a new adult instruction class began. On July 5, the new church building committee made recommendations to the bi-monthly voters assembly. By a 2/3 majority, voters approved construction of the new church by awarding a contract to T. F. Balentine. The contract for $160, 690.53 included a paved parking lot, Gothic arches, and a covered walkway. Additional items included architects' fee, $11,400; sound system, $1,500; and moving, expanding the organ, $3,000. The Ladies Aid met on July 12, and the Couples Club with their children met July 17 for sandwiches and watermelon. The Ladies Aid sponsored a congregational ice cream social on July 24, and they began their used clothing drive for Lutheran World Relief. Also on July 24, Darell Link Gross was received by sacrament of baptism, and on July 31, the ground-breaking ceremony for the new church was conducted as a part of the morning worship service. Also on July 31, Lynwood Richards, Jr. and Bobbie Harrison were wed at the church.7
Pastor Schmid and family were on vacation from August 4-24. The Sunday service times were reversed for 3 Sundays, with Paster Brammer of Good Shepherd, Port Arthur, as vacation pastor. Most church activities were curtailed during Pastor Schmid's absence, except that Ladies Aid met on Aug. 9; the Fisherman's Club on Aug. 25; and all church boards and committees met on Aug. 30. Orientation for fall kindergarten was held on Aug. 26, with the opening service for 24 enrollees on Aug. 29. On Aug. 28, Mr. and Mrs. O. D. Lott, Sr. and O. D. Lott, Jr. were received into membership by transfer. On Aug. 31, Mrs. Alma Hanson was accorded Christian burial. On Aug. 7, the Walther leaguers went to Lake Charles for a "hootenanny and bon fire." On Aug. 14, the Lutheran Laymen's League held a pot luck picnic at Tyrrell Park, and the Couples Club met Aug. 21 for supper and outdoor games. On Aug. 27, junior and senior confirmands and their parents met for fall class orientation.8
On Sept. 4, Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Richards, Sr., Susan and L. W. Richards, Jr. were received by rite of transfer. The new junior confirmand class had six enrollees, with six also in the senior class. A congregational men's retreat was held at Dam B on Sept. 10-11, and Ladies Aid met on Sept. 14, with Rev. Eddleman as "missions" speaker. The Couples Club met on Sept. 18 for indoor games, and the Dorcas Society met on Sept. 15. Lutheran Bible Class Institute began at St. John's, Beaumont, on Sept. 13, to continue through Oct. 18. On Sept. 6, Mrs. Robert Buchanan was released to Redeemer, Shreveport, La., and on Sept. 11, Barbara Ann Marks was received through the sacrament of baptism. Adult choir rehearsals began on Sept. 17. Between Sept. 18-22, Pastor Schmid conducted the "Families For Christ" series in Lake Jackson, Texas. On Sept. 25, there was a congregation picnic at 12:30 PM, with a pot luck meal, tea and coffee, and fun and games for everyone.9
On Oct. 2, Holy Cross welcomed as new members Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Hoelzer and David; Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Wagner and children, Glenn, Mark, and Roger, by rite of transfer; and Mrs. Helga Champagne and children, Michael, Sharon and Tracy by profession of faith. Also on Oct. 2, the Leaguers held their zone rally in Port Arthur. Modern Radio and TV Co. provided the TV set used in the morning service. A new record attendance was set on Sept. 18 when 200 persons worshiped during the Sunday service. Oct. 9 was our Mission Festival, with Rev. George Fehl of Corpus Christi as the guest speaker. Rhoda Dorcas Alane Schmid was received through the sacrament of baptism. On Oct. 10-11, the Holy Cross men held a retreat at Dam B. On Oct. 11, Ladies Aid members and husbands met to hear Mr. E. Balke of Houston discuss "Christian Wills." The Ladies Aid began their used clothing drive for Lutheran World Relief. On Oct. 16, Stephen Corbit Holmes and Timothy Charles Terrell were received through the sacrament of baptism. On Oct. 16, the Couples Club met for a pot luck supper, and Rev. Arbie Patschke, a missionary to Japan, discussed the Area Mission Report at Holy Cross on Oct. 19. The Dorcas Society met on Oct. 26, followed by the Fisherman's Club on Oct. 27. On Oct. 20, the LWML zone rally met at Good Shepherd, Port Arthur, and on Oct. 26, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Hobratschk transferred to Hope Lutheran, Sonora, Texas. Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 were selected for Holy Cross' fall church cleaning days. On Oct. 30, a Martin Luther film was shown at the church. Also Mr. and Mrs. G. David, Mr. George Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wiedenfeld, were received as members by rite of transfer.10
The regular bi-monthly voters met on Nov. 1 to discuss a building committee report and for election of 1967 church officers. On Nov. 7, the Sabine Area Sunday School teachers held their annual banquet at St. John's, Beaumont, with Prof. Lester Bayer of Concordia-Austin as guest speaker. On Nov. 8, Ladies Aid met to elect 1967 officers. On Nov. 13, Kyle Alton and Portia Ann Choate, and Bobbie Evelyn Richards were received through the sacrement of baptism. Also, Mrs. Bobbie Richards and Mr. and Mrs. Alton Choate were received as members by rite of confirmation. The Dorcas Society met on Nov. 17, and the Couples Club held their Thanksgiving party on Nov. 20. Can goods and other non-perishable staples were requested for Thanksgiving baskets. Members and friends were invited through the Sunday bulletin to attend the wedding of Judy Cowgill and Randall Creel on Nov. 17. Loyalty Sunday was on Nov. 20. One Thanksgiving basket was delivered to a needy family on Nov. 22, and 106 persons attended the Thanksgiving Day service. On Nov. 26 Donise Lout and Glenda Mitchell were married. On Nov. 27, Lisa Ann Shockey was received by sacrament of baptism, and Mr. and Mrs. Gene McCorkle and children were received by rite of transfer.11
A new adult instruction class began on Dec. 4. The Dorcas Society prepared the advent wreath, and W. H. B. Fehl built the stand and frame for it. Pastor Schmid received calls to First Lutheran in Lufkin and to Redeemer in Nacogdoches. The adult choir presented Handel's Messiah on Dec. 11, featuring as soloists Bill Morgan, Ray Kretschmar, Linda Schaefer, Mrs. Pat Biar, and Mrs. Twyla Nau. Pastor Schmid returned his calls to Lufkin and Nacogdoches. The Ladies Aid Christmas party was held on Dec. 13, and the Dorcas Society on Dec. 15. The church kindergarten held its annual Christmas program on Dec. 16. On Dec. 18, the new 1967 church officers and board members were installed, and during the morning service, members met in front of the new sanctuary for the cornerstone-laying ceremony. The Couples Club held their Christmas party at Holiday Terrace Restaurant in Port Arthur. The children's Christmas Eve service was celebrated Dec. 24, followed by the Christms Day service on the 25th and New Year's Eve on Dec. 31st.12
The new 1967 church officers included C. Wiedenfeld, president; L. Ludwig, H. Schaefer, K. Wagner, H. Kieschnick and K. Lilljedahl as 1st through 5th vice presidents; Ludwig, L. Biar, L. Goodson, F. Kieschnick, R. Kretschmar, L. Struckmeyer, board of elders; Schaefer, E. Boehm, D. Bryant, B. Cogswell, H. Smits, board of trustees; Wagner, E. Daily, P. Eppler, B. Gillespie, J. Rienstra, K. Williams, board of missions; H. Kieschnick, J. Cowgill, H. Miertschin, B. Morgan, board of stewards; and Lilljedahl, C. Terrell (Sunday School supt.), W. Fehl, T. E. Smith, W. Wiegmann, board of education.
The Ladies Aid had enjoyed another fruitful year, having sponsored many church socials, mite boxes, aid to the K. Dubois family at the seminary, the Christmas tree, used clothing drives, Thanksgiving basket, student and deaf support, stamps for missions, and visits to Simon's Rest Home. The Dorcas Society studied the Bible and shared many church activities with the Ladies Aid, namely, communion ware, advent wreath, Christmas tree and Easter lilies, and equipment for the kitchen. Other church groups, Walther League, Couples Club, Ushers Club, and Fisherman's Club were equally active, sharing in the socials and success of Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
To label 1966 merely as being a "banner year" would be a sore understatement. After all, Holy Cross' beautiful new sanctuary was nearing completion. Baptized membership grew from 285 in 1965 to 330 in 1966, and the communicants grew from 172 in 1965 to 195 in 1966. The junior and adult confirmands totaled nine. Fifteen members were transferred out, while 29 more were received as members by transfer. During the year, 17 children and two adults had been baptized, and there had been seven marriages and one funeral. Like the membership, the church offerings had increased dramatically totalling $29,717 for the year, or a $571 weekly average. Special collections totaled $805 for missions; $1,672 for the educational building fund; $120 for the Lutheran Hour; and the most spectacular of all, $65,000 for the new church building fund, most of it the gift of one member. And the new sanctuary was almost a reality, as members watched each board and beam being nailed into place. Oh, to say that the membership of Holy Cross Lutheran Church were only moderately "jubilant" for the blessings bestowed by our God and Savior during 1966 would be both a gross understatement and an insult to reason.13
1HCLC Buls, Jan. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 1966.
2HCLC Buls., Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, 1966; the 1966 HCLC Ann. Report.
3HCLC Buls., Mar. 6, 13, 20, 27, 1966; " "
4HCLC Buls., April 3, 10, 17, 24, 1966; " "
5HCLC Buls., May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 1966; " "
6HCLC Buls., June 5, 12, 19, 26, 1966; " "
7HCLC Buls., July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 1966; " "
8HCLC Buls., Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28, 1966; " "
9HCLC Buls., Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25, 1966; " "
10HCLC Buls., Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 1966; " "
11HCLC Buls., Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27, 1966; " "
12HCLC Buls., Dec. 4, 11, 18, 25, 1966; " "
13The Holy Cross Lutheran Church 1966 Annual Report.