Committed to sharing Jesus
St Mark's Lutheran Church is an old stone building, located in Wellsford Street, in the picturesque rural and former gold-mining town of Yackandandah. The closing service for St Mark's was held on Sunday 14 March 2021.
The following history is an excerpt from the order of service for the "70th Anniversary of The Formation of St. Mark's Yackandandah", 9th October 2005. An electronic version of this document is available here.
The Lutheran cause in the Yackandandah area was commenced by Pastors J. Simpfendorfer and H.W.E. Bemman, who conducted worship services in the Back Creek School in the 1890's. After a number of members left the district worship services were discontinued and the remaining members joined the Baranduda Lutheran Church.
The first Lutheran worship service at Yackandandah was conducted in the former Methodist Church on 8th October 1935 with Pastor J.T.P. Stolz from Walla Walla leading the service and Miss J. Simpfendorfer the organist. Eighteen people attended the service which was conducted in German with the men sitting on one side of the church and the women the other. The first four services (with Holy Communion) were conducted at approximately three monthly intervals.
This preaching place was organised into a congregation in March 1936 with the following foundation members: Mr Paul Simpfendorfer, Miss Johanna Simpfendorfer, Mr & Mrs Heinrich - Eric & Elva, Mr Robert Schmidt and members of his family, Mr Ernest and Mrs Paula Simpfendorfer and Mr Albert Boehringer.
In the early stages preaching services were conducted at three monthly intervals each with Holy Communion. On 21st June 1936 the Yackandandah Congregation was joined to the Albury Parish when Pastor J.H. Linke was installed. Monthly worship services were then conducted with occasional lay reading services taken by Mr E Simpfendorfer.
In July 1939 Pastor Linke was succeeded by Pastor B.E. Muetzelfeldt in the Albury Parish. When Pastor C.E. Scheer succeeded Pastor Muetzelfeldt in April 1944, Yackandandah became a part of the newly established Corowa Home Mission field. On 27-29th January 1945, the first Leadership Youth Camp of the N.S.W. district (and possibly Australia) was held on the farm of Albert and Marie Boehringer. Pastor Muetzelfeldt was a pioneer of this kind of work amongst the youth. In May, Yackandandah also played host to the N.S.W. District Lutheran Brotherhood.
In 1949 Pastor H. Struass, a teacher at St Paul's College Walla Walla, was in charge of the Corowa Home Mission field as a part-time pastor. In November 1949 Pastor M.E. Winkle was installed as the part-time pastor and in late 1950 he transferred to the newly formed parish of Wangaratta and Yackandandah became part of this parish.
Since then the other pastors of this parish have been: W.E. Wandel 1952-1960; J.E. Materne 1960-1964 and L. Musinskis 1964-1966.
Due to the union of the two Lutheran Churches in 1966, a re-organization of the parishes took place and Yackandandah joined the Wodonga Parish. At the annual meeting on 28th February 1965 the congregation decided to adopt the name St Mark's.
On 23rd April 1976 St Mark's decided to purchase the current building from the Methodist Trust for $4000. The building was in need of repair being about 140 years old. Renovations began in 1978 to replace the roof shingle with iron, putting in a new concrete floor, replastering and fitting new ceiling and windows. On the 8th October 1978 Pastor Ross Schultz dedicated the renovated building.
Since joining the Wodonga Parish the following pastors have served St Mark's: L.P. Altus 1966-1972; G.N. Zweck 1973-1976; R.L. Schultz 1977-1988; R.M. Hupfeld 1988-1992; K.D. Kuchel 1993-2000; M.C. Hansen 2001-2005; J. Kummerow 2005-2012; T.Jarick 2012-2014; A. Dockerill 2014-2014 and J. Kukatlapalli 2015-2020.