Waymansville church celebrating 150th anniversary

St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church of Waymansville is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The church will mark the historic date with a celebration service at 2 p.m. July 11 at its sanctuary at 11750 W. County Road 930S near Columbus with a reception to follow. The Rev. Daniel Brege, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, will be the guest preacher. The public is invited.

In 1870, about 80 German immigrants decided to buy an old Methodist church building that stood in the northeast corner of the present cemetery. A year later, the congregational constitution was signed.

On April 2, 1877, a resolution was adopted that this congregation join the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States, which currently is known as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

A church building was constructed from bricks baked in the brick factory in Waymansville, and on April 18, 1880, the cornerstone was laid. Large amounts of fuel were needed to bake the bricks, so members willingly donated the wood. One-hundred-twenty-five thousand bricks were required at a cost of $4.50 per thousand. The new church was constructed at a total cost of $2,249.

In 1889, a set of bells was purchased for $265 to summon all of the community to worship. The bells were delivered by horses and wagon. It was customary for the sexton to toll the bells at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening to remind the members of the approaching Sunday morning service.

The present altar was installed in the church around 1900 and cost about $65.

Custom dictated that men sat on the right side of the church and women and children on the left. This was discontinued in the late 1940s when World War II servicemen returned to their families but was continued on communion Sundays for some time. The children were passed to the other parent and not taken to the altar during communion.

Services and meetings were conducted in German until 1904 when some services were in English. In 1918, it was resolved to have one English morning service and one English service in the evening each month to please the wishes of the state and county council of defense. In the 1930s, the services became English every week.

A Christian day school was built in 1884. The pastor and congregation insisted upon regular attendance of pupils. Classes were held in a schoolhouse built on the west side of the church. The school was discontinued in 1923. The school presently stands across the road on the Don Schafstall farm.

Although the day school was closed, each Saturday morning, the children assembled for Saturday school with instruction in Catechism, Scriptures and Christian hymns. May school was held five mornings a week for three or four weeks during the month of May. After day school was discontinued, Sunday school classes with individual teachers were organized.

During a terrible diphtheria epidemic from June 1895 to November 1896, the congregation buried 20 members. Fifteen of those were children.

The original parsonage-farm was about a quarter mile west of the church. A Sunday morning fire badly damaged the house and destroyed some old church records. In 1906, the farm was sold and money invested in a new parsonage.

In May 1917, a tornado took the roof off of the church and caused much damage in the Waymansville community.

In June 1955, a new parish hall was dedicated, and a new addition was constructed in 1981. In June 1996, a shelter house was dedicated, and additional improvements included landscaping, lighted basketball/volleyball court and new outdoor lighting.

In 2001, the church members adopted the mission statement “Plant the Word, Grow in Spirit, Bloom in Faith.”

In 2020, a new parsonage was built near the site of the old parsonage.

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