As the congregation and Pastor David Hoehler of St. Paul Lutheran Church prepare for the second of three 150th anniversary celebrations, they are pleased to be hearing from former members and pastors who are planning to attend some of the events.
One is the Rev. Douglas Edward Meyer, who served at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Meyer will be present for the program this Sunday, which will include a meal at noon, followed by a program before a 2 p.m. church service.
Also present will be the LCMS president, Rev. Harrison, and Linda Hanabarger, local historian.
Meyer, who is now senior pastor of Salem Lutheran Church shared his feelings and thoughts about the St. Paul congregation and his time as its pastor.
A Little History
Meyer came to St. Paul Church in 1981, straight out of Concordia Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and served there until 1985.
“My dad was a pastor, and the earliest recollection I have of wanting to be a pastor was when I was in the second grade,” he said.
“I remember attending a Lutheran school and our teacher asking us to write down on a piece of paper what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said, ‘I want to be a pastor.’
“I just stayed with it all these years, I never varied at all. I never looked at anything else and I’ve been a pastor now for 33 years.”
Memories? “Oh, I have lots of memories.” he said.
“The first year sticks out in my mind as probably the hardest year in my ministry, the first year as a pastor, the main reason being is that there were a number of situations that I had to deal with that year that I don’t think they can really even prepare you sufficiently for in the seminary.
“My first funeral was for a 4- or 5-year-old girl, Valerie VonBehren, who died of leukemia. I think that was the youngest child I ever buried in all my years of ministry,
“Not too long after that, we had a fellow in the congregation named Herman Gable who was killed in a tractor accident. Than about eight months after that, Bob Schroeder’s dad, Hugo, was killed in a similar accident
“One other thing that happened that year that made it tough was a 13-year-old boy in the congregation who got his sleeve caught in the power take-off on the tractor that tore his arm off. Fortunately, they were able to reattach it in a 13-hour operation.”
“But there were a lot of really wonderful memories here, too, from our days here,” he said. “My wife and I just look back on this congregation with such fondness in our hearts. It is neat to be back in this area again so close, because I get to preach here now and then. I served the church a couple of times when they didn’t have a pastor.
“Some of the More Lighthearted Times …
…I had here would be like going frog-gigging with Leonard Rubin and a couple more guys from the church,” he said. “I had never frog-gigged before and Leonard taught me how to do it. We also seined his pond one time.”
His wife, Marilyn, would stay with Leonard’s wife, Louella, during these adventures.
Other good memories …
… of St. Paul are plentiful, so much so that Pastor and Mrs. Meyer often picture the church and congregation in their minds, even when they are far away.
The Family Meyer
Douglas and Marilyn Haerman were married on May 29, 1977, and have two daughters, Bethany Lynn and Kimberly.
The 150th celebration
The congregation of St. Paul Lutheran Church welcomes all to come join them on Sunday. Also present will be, David Knecht, native son of St. Paul and the author of the book, “The History of St. Paul and Its Earliest Settlers,” facts and stories about St, Paul, an important part of Fayette County history. There will probably be copies of the book on hand.
Also, copies of the St. Paul Ladies’ commemorative historical cookbook will be available, containing some recipes used by the earliest settlers.
Fayette County high school graduates who lived in St. Paul area are also planning to be there, providing opportunities to meet up with old classmates.