A Rich History
September 1964 – May 12, 1967
A Lutheran Church steeple at the intersection of two of the main thoroughfares of Vienna has long been the desire of members and friends of Christ Lutheran Church. By the grace of God, faith, dedication and service has made this a reality. The history of Christ Lutheran Church is a testimony to this grace and to the determination of the members to establish and build His church. Today’s dedication is tangible evidence of faithful response on the part of so many instances in the face of great odds.
Since Christ Lutheran Church was formally organized on March 15, 1964, under the guidance of the Board of American Missions of then the United Lutheran Church in America (now the L.C.A – Lutheran Church in America) and the mission developer, Pastor David A. Jensen, its membership has worked and prayed diligently for this Day of Dedication. After a pulpit supply of several months during which strong lay leadership was manifested, the present pastor was called and installed in September 1964.
Early in 1965 a Property Development Committee was organized with Paul Shepphard as chairman. This committee presented possible building sites to the congregation and on June 25, 1965, with massive assistance from the Board of American Missions, the site at the corner of 46th Street and Grand Central Avenue was purchased.
The Property Development Committee dissolved into the building committee with Mr. Sheppard as the its chairman. In August the Building Fund was started and in October the congregation engaged the services of Roy D. Murphy Associates, architects. The various stages of plans were developed from December 1965 to August 1966. Bids were set for the church building in September and on October 24, 1966 National MCI was accepted as the low bidder.
On November 20, 1966 the Groundbreaking ceremony was held with Mrs. Juanita Beabout, the oldest member, turning the first spadeful of earth. Construction was started in December.
During the following months the Building Committee worked diligently supervising the construction and making decisions with William Aldridge, construction superintendent of National MCI. On May 12, 1967, Eugene Pathol, project director for the architect, who had earned the congregation’s deep respect throughout the program, made final inspect with Mr. Sheppard, Mr. Aldridge and Pastor Henkle.
On this day, the congregation of Christ Lutheran Church wishes to thank Paul Sheppard, Building Committee Chairman and Robert Setterquist who served as chief lay officer since the inception of the mission in Vienna, and all others whose time, talent, and Christian concern has brought this day to pass. And thanks be to God.
Christ Lutheran Church: A Capsule View (Building and Windows)
As you enter the church from the front the acrylic art windows will capture your eye. On the street level reading from south to north the windows are: Nativity of Christ, depicting with symbols, events in the life of Christ, from whom we take the name of the church. Reading from top to bottom we see the Star of Bethlehem, Isaiah’s prophetic scroll, the manger with the Chi-Rho monogram incorporated in the “rose” of Isaiah’s prophecy. The Passion window with the three nails, the rooster of peter’s denial, the Gethsemane cup of agony, the crown of thorns, the spear, the dice, the unseamed robe and the words of fulfillment. The Resurrection window incorporates Good Friday’s placard, INRI left on the empty cross as a symbol of the Easter event. It, of course, stand for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The triumphant Agnes Dei, Lamb of God, with his banner signifying victory over death, the rising sun of the first day of the week; the pomegranate is a symbol of Easter because of it’s many seeds which give new life but are born in the blood red fruit. The Ascension window reads from the bottom and carries us through to Pentecost, ten days later in the church year. The Ascension of our Lord, forty days after Easter is symbolized by his rose now surrounded by the symbol of the Holy Trinity. The monogram of “Jesus Christ Conquers” in New Testament Greek literally: JS CHS conquers. Then we see the soaring Ascension eagle and the crossed lifted up to the Trinity triangle and finally, at top, the Pentecost’s seven flames of the Holy Spirit marking the birth of the Christian Church ten days after Ascension.
If the windows on street level give the church name of “Christ,” those in the balcony say “Lutheran.” Although they contain symbols common to all Christendom the arrangement follows that of the distinctive document Luther’s Small Catechism: reading north to south, the Ten Commandments in the two tablets with the Pauline emphasis on the spirit of the law expressed by the roots grounded in God’s love (agape in Greek); the Creed expressed with the Creator’s Star for the First Article of the Father, the Redeemer’s cleansing font of Living water for the Son and the Sanctifiers seven-tongued fire-like gift (The Holy Spirit).
The next two windows depict the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer: The symbol of the Trinitarian God with the Latin threefold “Sanctus” or “Holy”; the ship of the of the faithful kingdom coming, the cross of God’s reaching from heaven to earth, the wheat of the daily bread that stands for all of God’s good gifts, the hand seeking forgiveness, the serpent of temptation and again the ship symbol of the church escaping from the symbol of evil. The final window depicts the Means of Grace, the Word and the two Sacrament: the open Bible, the Baptismal shell with three water drops speaking of the Trinitarian formula and the chalice of wine with the unleavened host., this marked with the monogram for Jesus, JES in Greek. At the bottom of this window is Luther’s Seal with the black cross of our sin imposed on the living (red) heart of Jesus that produces the joyful gifts (white rose) and heavenly promises (blue field). The gold ring of eternity is missing.
The balcony of the church will seat our choir and overflow. Eight square feet between the windows is reserved for the organ described in the Memorial folder. The console will be to the north at right angles to the rail. The stairs are of white metal and oak. The roof of the nave is of yellow pine, four inches thick; the laminated arches of Douglas Fir. The pews are of elm, the trim of natural walnut and ebony trim forming the Tau cross, one of the cross’s earliest forms and probably the form of the actual cross. The altar is marked with five inlaid cross for the wounds of our Lord. There is a removable altar shelf fasted to the reredos screen. This screen reached to the ceiling where it forms a baldachin. The baldachin conceals a huge exhaust fan. The screen is of redwood. The font of cover is of spun aluminium, the chancel cross of brushed chrome ( a substitute was used for the Dedication). The altar rail is metal painted flat black with a removable gate. The credence basket on the wall at right will be used to hold empty offering plates as well as vessels and linens for the Sacraments. The processional candles fit into the floor of the sanctuary and are removable. They are black and chrome metal. The red altar and pulpit paraments for Dedication are of red burlap and white felt and depict Christ, the Lamb of God and the ship symbol of the Church marked as Christ’s by the monogram of the sail. The pulpit fall shows the descending dove for the Holy Spirit who calls us through the Word.
The sacristy is close to the back door and houses a closet for the pastor’s and acolyte’s robes and cupboards for Sacramental vessels and elements. The piscine sink is for unused wine and Baptismal water. It drains to the garden. The other two rooms on the street floor are the pastor’s study and a parlor-classroom. On the parking lot level as you enter from the rear on your right is the mechanical room and on your left two primary classrooms. The other room on your right with pass through windows is kitchenette-nursery. Further down the hall are the restrooms and the book-nook by the water fountain. The fellowship hall divides into two rooms by means of a large wooden folding door. It will be subdivided into four or more classes by means of portable room with dividers to be made by the men of the church. The three closets on the east wall are: choir robe storage, table storage, doubling as a tiny stage; and organ blower-mimeograph room. There is a garden tool closet under the exterior stairway.
Vienna Sanctuary House of Light at Christ Lutheran Church
Celebrating 10 years of Ministry Together in Vienna (2004-2014)
In 2002, the Branstetters (members of Christ Lutheran Church) died and left a bequeathment to Christ Lutheran Church. In the same year, the Smith’s (neighbors who lived behind the church parking lot), Mr. Smith died and the property at 416 46th Street became open. Using part of the money from the Branstetter’s, the congregation approved of buying the property at 416 46th Street (current location of Sanctuary House). In December 2003, a committee was formed to determine how the property was going to be used. After much prayer and conversations with people in the community, it was determined by the committee a Sanctuary House was needed. There were different reasons for coming to this conclusion including: one couple had a car breakdown in a strange town and felt this would be a good use of the house, one person had an experience of family members in need of a place to stay while someone was in the hospital, etc. This recommendation was taken to Church Council and to the congregation in 2004; it was voted in favor of making this the Vienna Sanctuary of Light House. Other churches were invited as noted below and people in the community responded and continue to respond. Since 2004 through 2013, we have received 244 calls with 115 families and 417 individuals served for a total of 914 days at the Vienna Sanctuary of Light House ministry. In 2013, we saw an increasing need of making the house handicap accessible.
Through the vision of the congregation and help from our ecumenical partners: a full size handicap ramp was built with the materials and manual labor hours donated by the Men’s Ministry Group at Vienna Baptist Church. In 2014 as we celebrate 10 years of ministry, we continue to look forward and seek other possibilities of expanding this ministry for the present and future years to come.; Vienna Sanctuary of Light House works through referrals made by the Red Cross (fire and floods), area hospitals (Camden Clark & St. Joseph’s Hospital(s) in Parkersburg and Marietta Memorial Hospital in Marietta, Ohio), State or City police (car accidents or breakdowns). A host couple or individual carries a cell phone that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If the individual or family meets the criteria as listed below, the host couple will check them into the house. A typical stay at the house can range from 7-10 days. If the individual or family does not meet the criteria, we make immediate referrals to other area agencies. We are intentional about being partners with other agencies and ministries in the community to reach into the community; to serve people are in need of temporary housing.; As of 2013, the Vienna Sanctuary of Light House Mission is supported through prayer, volunteers and donations (financial and other) by the following churches: Christ Lutheran Church (Vienna), Cornerstone Gospel Church (Vienna), East Vienna United Methodist Church, First Lutheran Church (Parkersburg),St. John United Methodist Church (Vienna), St. Michael Roman Catholic Church (Vienna), St. Paul Lutheran Church (Parkersburg), Summit Valley United Methodist, Vienna Baptist Church, Wayside United Methodist Church (Vienna), Wesley United Methodist Church (Vienna) and Westminster Presbyterian Church (Vienna). In 2004, when this ministry began; 10 churches responded in joining this ministry. We continue to have many individuals from the surrounding areas support us through financial donations and volunteer hours.
When there is a need, the people respond generously through donations of time, talents and resources.; At the present time, we have 13 individuals who are on call as host individuals and/or couples. We have 10-15 people who serve on the CARE team which cleans and stocks up supplies needed for the house. We have 15 people who serve on the Board of Directors for the 10 church partners who officially make up the Board of Directors for Vienna Sanctuary of Light House. As we always say, we can always use more help in all of the areas outlined above. The people who continue to serve do so with a dedication and faithfulness in their hearts; and we continue to tell the story over and over again; inviting others to participate in this ministry as well. We do not see each other as Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, etc…we see each person who volunteers, each person served by this ministry; as people created in the image of God, following our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – sharing God’s grace, mercy and compassionate love. This is an area we continue to strive and work on as we invite others to participate in this ministry; and are thankful to God for the many people who support this through prayer, time, talents and financial donations. Without God and these faithful servants; this ministry would not be made possible. (Written by Pastor Emilie Theobald-Rowlands)