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A Brief History Of Faith Lutheran Church


Wilmington, OH


In the year 1947, Mrs. Edna Jones, clerk in the office of the Chief of Police in Wilmington, introduced two men who she knew to be Lutherans. From this introduction grew what today is Faith Lutheran Church. The two men were B.E. "Herm" Schalnot*, in charge of city recreation, and Harold Gehringer, who was city auditor. Later, George Fudge and Earl Serbu became involved in the move to start a Lutheran church, and soon the list had grown to 15 or 20.


On September 18, 1950, Rev. Albert Buhl, Supt. of the Mission Board, met with the group and outlined procedures to be followed. A petition containing more than 36 names was sent to the Ohio Synod on November 19, 1951. On December 2, 1951 a Hamma Divinity student, Dan Gillhouse, served as pastor for the first congregational service of the Lutheran Mission, held at Smith Place School auditorium, with 34 adults and 12 children.

From May 1952 to June 1953 Harold Figley, a Hamma Divinity senior, served as pastor. On February 25, 1954 Faith Lutheran Church(Synod of Ohio, United Lutheran Church in America) received its charter from the State of Ohio.

We met in the Seventh Day Adventist Church from 1952 to 1956. Ground breaking for a house/chapel was held in February 1956, with our first service in our own building held December 2. Rev. Willard H. Borchers, President of the Southern Conference, was the guest speaker at the dedication in January. There were 175 present.


Ground was broken on August 16, 1959 for a new church building. (The house/chapel was intended to become a parsonage, but has always been used as a supplemental education/youth center). The new church was dedicated on March 6, 1960 with Dr. Herbert Veler, President of the Ohio Synod, giving the address.


On February 26, 1984 we burned our mortgage, thanks to the help of Dr. Willard H. Borchers, who served as Vice Pastor for 2 1/2 years. Interestingly, he was the guest speaker at the dedication of our house/chapel 28 years earlier.


Ground was broken again on May 29, 1988 for an expansion of the sanctuary and addition of a fellowship hall and education wing. The new facility was dedicated on April 23, 1989 with then Bishop Kenneth Sauer of the Southern Ohio Synod, ELCA delivering the address.


February 22, 2004 was our 50th Anniversary.  Bishop Callon Holloway of the Southern Ohio Synod, ELCA was the guest preacher.


*An interesting story is told that 35 years later as Herm lingered near death, he struggled to hold onto life. His daughter asked him why he struggled so, and he said that he could not die, yet, because he had a list of people that he prayed for each day. She assured him that she would pray for them and he died soon after. Herm was a man of Faith, a disciple of Jesus.

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