Committed to sharing Jesus
This publication was written by H. H. Thiele, and published in 1975 by Wilkinson Printers Albury.
Slight modifications have been made in order to present it in a digital format. If you are interested in viewing an original print, copies are available at St. John's Wodonga. An electronic copy can also be downloaded below.
H.H. THIELE, November 1975
We gratefully acknowledge the following sources from which information was obtained:
1. The Church's one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation
By Water and the Word:
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His Holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.
2. Elect from every nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she pressess
With every grace endued.
3. Though with a scornful wonder
Man see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, 'How Long?'
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song
4. Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.
5. Yet she on earth bath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee.
This Centenary Book is dedicated to encourage all members of St. John's Congregation :
Our fathers trusted in Thee, they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. They cried unto Thee, and were saved; in Thee they trusted and were not disappointed." Psalm 22: 4-5.
St. John's Lutheran Congregation is celebrating a jubilee - the centenary of the dedication of its Church in Wodonga. This is indeed an event which must fill our hearts with joy and thanksgiving. It is a common practice of congregations, and not without the blessing of God, to recall important events and beginnings in our lives and our church, to mark and emphasise them by special commemoration. The Church of God has never been without observances of this nature.
From the days of Moses and Joshua, outstanding events in the history of God's people have been commemorated by special celebrations. The Children of Israel were even commanded by God to celebrate a certain event, as the year of emancipation and restoration every fifty years, and to cause the trumpet of jubilee to sound throughout the land.
We, however, are not under the Old Testament Law, but under Grace. Nevertheless, there is Divine sanction also for us, in the exercise of our Christian privilege, to set aside certain times or seasons for devout jubilation over important events in the history of our Church. Especially such events as have been the means of preserving to us and our children, the Word of God in its truth and purity, and tended to preserve and increase our spiritual privileges and Christian way of life.
By the important historical event our congregation is commemorating, not only great spiritual blessings and possessions have come to us, but countless earthly gifts for which we may well give glory and praise to God by exultant hymns and Christian celebrations. Celebrations of such a nature are inspiring and uplifting. They are evidence that the value of the actions and deeds of our forefathers, for the establishment and preservation of our church and faith, are appreciated by the generations following. They are manifestations that we are humbly grateful for the gifts and blessings our forefathers have handed down to us, particularly the treasurer of the divine Word in its truth and purity. They are evidence that Christian gratitude is not a lost virtue among our Lutheran people, and that the memory of the fathers and founders of our congregation are still held in grateful remembrance.
Let all, in humility and thankfulness, give thanks and praise to the Lord of the Church for the gift of our Christian forefathers, who established St. John's congregation, thereby handing down to us, not only a place of public worship, but most of all the blessed Gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ in all truth and purity.
The beginning of our St. John's congregation in Wodonga, in common with most pioneering congregations of our Lutheran. Church, was of a very humble nature. The arrival of settlers from South Australia began in 1866-67, coming from the Blumberg-Mt. Torrens district, and in 1868 from the Embenezer district (near Tanunda). They were all seeking new land or perhaps new fortunes and they rallied to the cry, "Go east young man". Albury papers of 1867 reported that about 80 wagons arrived during the first half of 1867 and the end of 1866. The arrival of migrants from South Australia continued for some time, and their departure was looked upon by the South Australian Government with some concern. However, reports state that the conditions of acquiring land in the Eastern States were far more favourable than in their home State. When it became known that good land was readily available, and seasonable conditions were favourable, and finally — but not the least — that if a sufficient number clubbed together, they would be able to organise a Lutheran congregation, erect a church, build a school for their children, and call a pastor and a teacher to minister to their spiritual needs and instruct the rising generation. This statement reveals the Christian quality these people were made of; they were not merely migrating for the sake of material benefits, but would see to it that provision was made for their spiritual requirements also.
Their journey along unmade roads, or rather, through territory where there were no roads or tracks at all, was not only slow but also trying and irksome. There were no inns or eating houses or places of accommodation on their route, so they camped in the open at any convenient place they happened to come by, some sleeping in the wagons, others on the ground. However, accustomed as they had been to their soft feather beds, they discovered on waking in the morning that they had sore backs and stiff necks. After a few more nights they became reconciled to "mother earth" as a mattress.
With patience, hope and confidence these pioneers continued on their journey, but on a few occasions they also became concerned, because they began to realise that they were quite some distance from the River Murray, thus fearing they might not have a sufficient supply of water for their horses and cattle. The few cows they had taken along had begun to decrease in the production of the usual quantity of milk, and seemed likely to cease production completely. Where, then were they to get milk for the little children? The hens, confined in cages fixed to the rear of the wagons, were also becoming less productive day by day apparently as a protest to the continued jolting of the wagons. This, however, did not create any great alarm. It had been foreseen. The migrants had provided plenty of corned beef and good German sausage.
On other occasions they were pleasantly surprised when they reached country where rain had fallen a few weeks previously, and good pastures had sprung up. At these places they rested for a few days in order to rejuvenate their horses and cattle. It is reported, that despite many hardships on their journey, the pioneers derived a considerable amount of pleasure from their trek with its many and varied experiences. To the children and young people the experience of chasing kangaroos and emus and other varied experiences they met with on the journey took the nature of a picnic.
No records of the time taken for the journey are available, but it would seem that it took about six weeks, travelling six days a week excluding the occasional rest times.
We are told that they invariably rested on Sundays, when divine worship was held in the open air by a lay reader. Also, when each day's journey was completed, the company quietly counted their blessings as they heard the Word of God, and gave thanks for their protection and guidance during the day, and for protection and rest for the night.
However, considering the wearisomeness of the long journey, we are not surprised to hear that unbounded joy filled their hearts when eventually they sighted the town of Albury, for now they had almost reached their destination, some going to Jindera, then known as Dight's Forest, some to Wodonga, and some to Gerogery, known as Jiratzeri.
Records present to us the names of those who chose to settle at Wodonga: W. Haeusler and family of four, W. Klinge and family of five, A. Klinge and family of four, S. Quast and family of five who later transferred to Gerogery, F. Haeusler and wife, Bartel family of seven, A. Rothe and wife, and W. Paech who later transferred to another congregation. These settlers were the foundation members who even¬tually established St. John's congregation. Worship services were held in the homes as soon as they were built, some of the first being held in the Klinge home at Wodonga. West, then known as Belvoir, already as early as 1866. Already early in that year these settlers had a meeting with the Lutheran settlers of Jindera and Gerogery to request the South Australian Church Council for a pastor to attend to their spiritual needs. The request was successful, and Pastor J. F. Goessling arrived in Albury in July, 1868, and preached his first sermon in Jindera Forest on the 18th of that month.
In the years 1868-69 more settlers arrived from South Australia and other parts of Victoria. Among the names were Heckendorf, Mueller, Zeinert and Schubert.
Other members listed from the late 1890's to the early 1900's were: A. E. Muller, J. W. Lange, A. Klinge, G. Pumpa, H. Greschke, P. Lobbe, J. Posselt, H. Heckendorf, C. Zeinert, W. Schubert, A. Schubert, A. Kreuger, Mrs. Klinge, Mrs. Heckendorf, Mrs. Schuster, A. Pertzel, E. Schuster, F. Star, J. Draper, F. Zeinert, A. Z. Zeinert, F. Mueller, Semmler, Mrs. Simon, F. Klinge, F. Thiele, H. Zeinert, W. Terlich, A. Wegener, R. Schreiber, E. Draper, H. Klinge, A. Draper.
The names of the wives and families are not mentioned but it is known that they were also members.
As stated earlier, Pastor J. F. Goessling had arrived to minister to the spiritual needs of the new settlers, a parish was formed, embracing the congregations of Jindera, Gerogery, and Wodonga, known as the Albury Parish.
Pastor Goessling was installed at Gerogery in July, 1868, the total membership being 105 confirmed members; by 1874 the membership had increased to 145. It was on July 29, 1874, that the foundation stone of St. John's Church in Wodonga was laid by Pastor Goessling.
"Behold I am laying in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tested stone, a precious corner stone, of a sure foundation: he who believes will not be in haste." Isaiah 28:16.
With these words Pastor J. F. Goessling laid the foundation stone of St. John's Lutheran. Church on the afternoon of the 29th July, 1874. Upon this precious cornerstone has stood our dear church to withstand the buffeting elements of 100 years. After Pastor Goessling's address, the history of the congregation, resolutions of synod, church papers, and an edition of the local newspaper, were placed and sealed in a bottle, and placed in the stone. The stone was set in position and Pastor Goeessling with three hammer blows laid it.
The three trustees of the congregation W. Pfeiffer, H. Schubert and L. Heckendorf each quoted a text of scripture. A children's choir and the congregation sang several hymns The assembly knelt in prayer and received the benediction. An offering was taken for the building fund; after the conclusion of the service afternoon tea was served. The building will be 35 feet long, 20 feet wide, and the walls 14 feet high. There will be a vestry and a porch.
Report of Foundation Stone Laying as covered by the Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 4th August 1874 :
"The Rev. Goessling pastor of the German Lutheran Church, Gerogery has laid the foundation stone of the new church for the members of his denomination residing at Wodonga, in accordance with the rights of the church. The building will be 30 feet by 20 feet and 14 feet high, of brick with white facings and Gothic windows. There will be a porch and vestry one at either end, measuring 8 feet by 10 feet and the accommodation will at present amply meet the requirements of the locality, as there are but nine families and 27 members of the congregation residing in the township. The Rev. Goessling will be the officiating clergyman Though the land has not been purchased (writes the Border Post) doubtless the Government will deal liberally with the trustees, Messrs. H. Schubert, August Pfeiffer and L. Heckendorf.
There were about 100 persons present including females and children to witness the ceremony. M. Hill is the contractor, we have only that the roof will be of corrugated tiles (shingles)."
Returning to the development of the congregation and the parish, a congregation was formed at Burrumbuttock also joining with Jindera, Gerogery and Wodonga. Later upon the advice of officials a new parish was formed at Burrumbuttock. Later the parish was again divided, Wodonga, Jindera and Benalla joining one parish and Burrumbuttock and Gerogery the other.
The membership of the Wodonga congregation at that time was nine voting members, forty souls and thirty communicants. The congregation continued to grow, as also was the church building nearing completion. Arrangements, no doubt, were being prepared for the long awaited day of dedication.
No official records of the dedication of the church are available, the dedication taking place on the 22nd March, 1875, in the afternoon. Unfortunately, no records disclose the text upon which Pastor Goessling based his opening address for the occasion. No details are available as to who were the officials of the congregation, but presumably the trustees at the time of the laying of the foundation stone would have acted in their official capacities. Many reports have come to hand from time to time, but cannot be verified. One report stated that Julianna Heckendorf, later Mrs. Ritter, carried the key on a satin cushion to the door of the church for the dedication ceremony.
Report from The Ovens and Murray Advertiser, however, gives quite a complete report of the Dedication. The report reads :
"This new edifice was formally opened for public worship by Pastor Goessling on Monday last (22-3-75). The service commenced at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and was conducted in the German language, appropriate to the occasion. There was an excellent attendance, many coming from a considerable distance to witness the ceremony, and to share in the festivity of the evening, which had been provided for in a substantial manner. At the service the attendance greatly increased. Protestants of other denominations showed their appreciation of the good work achieved by our German friends in participating in the tea, which had been liberally provided by the ladies. After the good things of this life had been disposed of, the Rev. Goessling proposed that the Rev. H. Giles take the chair. The former gentleman excused himself on the grounds that he had no Australian experiences in such matters. The meeting opened with a few remarks and prayer by the chairman. In the course of his address Mr. Giles said he had been surprised at what the Lutherans had done in building such a chaste and commonious place of worship. He was told they were poor, and not numerous; whether that was the case or not, they were certainly united and liberal.
Their church was a monument to their faith in God and the love of His cause. And he hoped they would co-operate with their Minister in Christ's work. He could not do much alone. A General of an army would be useless on the battlefield unsupported by his army. Let the people pray for, and work with, their Minister, and great success would, by God's pleasing, be the result.
The Lutherans then sang an opening anthem, which was accompanied by Mr. Alpan on the harmonium in an impressive style.
The Rev. H. Acocks then addressed the meeting and expressed the pleasure he felt in being present. He hoped that as they had now erected a neat and substantial building for God's worship, they would always attend its services. He had, he said, many Germans connected with his church in Albury, and on that account felt attached to them. He was sorry he could not remain with them through the evening, but hoped for them, much success.
The Rev. M. Goessling next addressed the audience in German in a neat and excellent speech. Several members of the Presbyterian choir enlivened the proceedings in singing some beautiful pieces from the American songster.
A collection was made on behalf of the building fund, the chairman humorously remarking that he hoped they would give all they could, otherwise they might deeply regret when the opportunity had passed away, and less anyone should go away with a broken heart because he had no "silver" in his purse, he would accept an I.O.U. from 5 pounds downwards. He never knew anybody injured by giving for the cause of Christ, but as he knew of numbers who had suffered through giving too little, they must take warning.
Mr. Stewart proposed a vote of thanks to the ladies for tea, which was responded to with the loudest demonstrations of gratitude. Mr. Alpen in a neat speech, proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, for his services, which was suitably replied to. The Lutherans then sang another hymn, and their Pastor closed a most interesting and satisfactory meeting with prayer."
This report is the only complete record of the proceedings at the dedication available; however, these pioneer Lutherans undoubtedly gave thanks and praise to God for having a house of worship, where they could meet to receive the blessed Sacraments, and to hear the message of salvation through their Saviour Jesus Christ. It is understood the church building was opened debt free.
From records we also learn that a school was established.
Thus St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wodonga, had become a reality, with its imposing Gothic structure, its pointed roof and parapets, symbolising the uplifting of souls, and directing the thoughts of those who may have looked upon it as the eternal church triumphant.
To many it has been the gateway to Heaven, a haven of joy for weary sinners, a place of comfort for weak in spirit and sad of heart, through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ the Saviour of all. Matthew 11:28.
From its pulpit was set alight the beacon of the Gospel, by the first Pastor, and which has been kept ablaze with its ray of hope through the years by faithful Pastors until today. Thus St. John's continues as the Church militant, carrying the banner of salvation ever forward, continuing in the work of the Lord as our forefathers did before us. Romans 1:16.
Numerous precious souls have been brought into the Kingdom of grace through the sacrament of Holy Baptism, thereby obeying Christ's command to bring little children to Him. Mark 10:13-16.
Many have been the confirmees who with deep sincerity and conviction have knelt before its altar, confessed their faith and promised to be faithful to Him, until life should end. Rev. 2:10.
From time to time marriage ceremonies have taken place at which couples were joined in Holy matrimony, receiving Christian advice and God's blessing upon their union. Matt. 19:6.
Among many other Christian exercises, burial services have also been conducted, where Christian comfort and consolation have been offered to bereaved relatives and friends of loved ones who have joined the Church Triumphant Rev. 14:13.
These are but a few of the functions of a Christian church, of which St. John's has been a participant over the years, through the ministrations of its Pastors called from time to time, to serve as its Ambassadors for Christ. So has continued the work of spreading the Word of salvation as commanded by the Lord of the Church, Christ Himself.
St. John's, as the Church militant, has by the grace and blessing of God continued to keep alight the beacon light of the Gospel as was set alight at the dedication one hundred years ago, and shall continue so to do until the time of grace shall end.
Historical research has revealed that there were, in 1875, four churches in Wodonga, Church of England, Wesleyan (Methodist), Lutheran and Roman Catholic. The Lutheran church was used also by the Presbyterian community, who had not as yet built a church of their own.
Pastor Goessling served the congregation faithfully and zealously during his pastorate from 1868-1875. Before departing to New Zealand to engage in mission work, he installed his successor Pastor H. Wiese on March 19th, 1876, at Gerogery. The parish then consisted of the congregations, Jindera, Wodonga, Gerogery, Burrumbuttock and Benalla; this was known as the Albury Parish. The parish comprised of 262 confirmed members; Wodonga had a membership of 41 communicants.
Pastor Wiese served the congregations until 1900, having faithfully carried out his ministerial duties for twenty-four years.
During his pastorate the widely scattered parish was re-aligned, Pastor Wiese ministering to Jindera, Gerogery and Wodonga. Other changes in the parish took place from time to time as conditions became necessary. Finally, Wodonga became a parish. This present parish consists of Wodonga, Yackandandah and Tallangatta, with preaching places at Beechworth and Mt. Beauty.
Following Pastor Wiese's long service the following pastors to serve St. John's were :
|Pastor G. Blaess||1906-1915||Installed 18th Sunday after Trinity|
|Pastor J. Juers||1916-1921||Installed Sexagesima Sunday|
|Pastor E. O. Eckert||1922-1927||Installed January 8th, 1922|
|Pastor P. F. Rudolph||1927-1955||Installed June 26th, 1927|
|Pastor C. W. Appelt||1955-1965||Installed September 12th, 1955|
|Pastor L. P. Altus||1966-1972||Installed June 26th, 1966|
|Pastor G. N. Zweck||1973-1976||Installed February 4th, 1973|
|Pastor R. L. Schultz||1977-1988||Installed TBC|
|Pastor R. M. Hupfeld||1988-1992||Installed TBC|
|Pastor K. Kuchell||1993-2000||Installed September, 4th, 1993|
|Pastor M. Hansen||2001-2005||Installed February 3rd, 2001|
|Pastor J. Kummerow||2005-2012||Installed January 15th, 2006|
|Pastor A. Dockerill||2014-2014||Installed February 23rd, 2014|
|Pastor J. Kukatlapalli||2015-2020||Installed February 15th, 2015|
|Pastor J. Muller||2022-Current Call||Installed August 7th, 2022|
During vacancies the congregation was served by visiting pastors and seminary students, among whom were, J. Darsow of Melbourne, who travelled by train to Wodonga and thence by motor cycle (known as the egg beater) to attend to the needs of members and conduct services at Wodonga and Yackandandah, W. Noske of Henty, and Students G. Backen and S. Rudolph from Concordia Seminary.
Among the Anniversaries celebrated by the Congregation were the 50th in September, 1925, 75th in November, 1950, 80th in December, 1955, and the 90th in October, 1965.
The first available statistics for the Albury parish states Wodonga had a Christian day school with an enrolment of nine pupils. From further research it is evident that this school was established on the property of A. E. Mueller. This land has since been taken over by the Department of the Army. The duration of the school cannot be exactly established, but during its operation two different teachers had been engaged.
It was from this school that Albert Mueller received his early education, before going to Concordia College, Adelaide, to study for the ministry. He was one of twelve members of the first class to graduate from Concordia Seminary in 1912. As a student Albert Mueller preached his first sermon in St. John's in 1912. As the service was held in the evening, hurried arrangements were made to replace the old kerosene lights with electricity.
Realising the necessity to instruct children in the knowledge and love of their Saviour, the congregation with the guidance of Pastor Eckert, established a Sunday school early in 1922, and this has continued until the present day. Classes were conducted in the church vestry and porch as attendances increased. Instruction was given from Luther's Catechism and a Bible history. Conditions were not perfect, however the work continued until 1957.
Planning having been finalised, the foundation stone of a Sunday school hall was laid by Pastor C. W. Appelt on November 11th, 1956. The dedication took place on August 18th, 1957, Pastor P. F. Rudolph performing the dedication, assisted by Pastor T. Harms.
At long last a much needed Sunday school hall had become a reality. The Sunday school provides valuable assistance to parents in training their children to remain Christ's children. Parents and the congregation owe a great debt of gratitude to all those Christian folk who through the years have served as teachers. May the Shepherd Saviour reward them for their service of love in "feeding His lambs."
The children of today are the St. John's of tomorrow.
The Sunday school hall was erected from part of the proceeds of the sale of some 41 acres of land at Wodonga West, which had been bequested to the Wodonga congregation by the late J. E. Schuster. This land was the original home site of the Schuster family on arrival from South Australia.
The balance of the proceeds of the sale were placed on deposit with the Lutheran Laymen's League. Other legacies have been received from time to time, and are herewith gratefully acknowledged.
The formation of the Women's Guild took place on the 9th August, 1944 in the home of Mrs. N. Klinge. This home was situated in Hovell Street, the site now occupied by the Civic Centre Auditorium of the Rural City of Wodonga.
Mrs. P. Rudolph, the wife of the then Pastor of the congregation, was elected as the first President, and Mrs. Gwen Wegener was elected Secretary. At this first meeting the hymn, "May we Thy precepts Lord fulfill," was chosen as the guild hymn. (Number 355 in the Lutheran Hymnal)
A motto was also chosen which reads :
To help another on life's away,
To smile and chase a frown away,
To hide a fault, reveal the good,
To love my neighbour as I should,
To bring good cheer to one who's sad,
To make some lonely person glad,
To share my joys and blessings too;
This will I try each day to do.
The exact number of original members is not known.
At each meeting, in place of a roll call, a unique text compact, supplied by Miss E. Ritter, was used by members from which to read a text of Holy Scripture.
Through the years, under God's guidance and blessing, this small band of Christian women has accomplished much in the work of love they set themselves to do. Of the many projects undertaken, the current one is the new Church furnishing fund for which a substantial sum has already been raised.
The present membership is 22 with 4 life members, and the following are the officials: President, Mrs. H. Zweck, Secretary, Mrs. E. Schubert, Treasurer, Mrs. A. Thiele.
On October 28th, 1948, a Luther Society was formed. Pastor Rudolph was elected the first chairman. For a number of years the group was carried on, but owing to the decrease in numbers a decision was made to join with the youth of the Albury congregation. This combined group continued until the amalgamation of the two Lutheran Churches in 1966.
In 1967, because of the joining of the two Church bodies, the name was changed to Lutheran Youth Fellowship, and a new branch was formed in Wodonga.
The aims of the group are Bible study, Christian fellowship, educational activities, entertainments and outings of various natures. It is actively engaged in fund raising activities for the new Church bulding fund.
The present office-bearers are :- President, Ashley Schubert, Secretary, Robyn Ellis and Treasurer, Julie Draper.
There is at present a membership of 20.
This historical review would be incomplete without mention of the Pilgrim congregation now incorporated with St. John's. The first service was conducted by Pastor C. Sheer on February 21st, 1954, when 29 were in attendance, several coming from St. Luke's congregation in Albury.
By arrangement with the members of the Church of Christ services were conducted in their Chapel in Brockley Street until the 4th August, 1957. Sunday school lessons were held in the homes of various members and later in the R.S.L. Hall.
Upon Pastor Scheer's enlistment with the Military Services, Pastors B. Bartholomaeus and N. G. Sander were the next pastors to serve the congregation.
On May 11th, 1956, a meeting was held and a congregation was formed, and the name Pilgrim Lutheran was decided upon. A block of land was obtained in. Leonard Street from two members at about half value, and on this allotment a portable Chapel was erected, largely by voluntary labour. This Chapel was donated to the N.S.W. District by Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Jacob of Burrumbuttock. It was dedicated on 29th September, 1957, the service being conducted by Pastor Meutzelfeldt. Later an army building was purchased and transferred to the Leonard Street site to be used for Sunday School, youth and social purposes.
As a result of the amalgamation in 1966 and acting on the recommendation of the Re-alignment Committee of the two N.S.W. Districts of the Churches, the Wodonga parish was formed on the 30th March, 1966, comprising the congregations of St. John's and Pilgrim Wodonga, St. Mark's Yackandandah, with Tallangatta being added later. The parish also embraced the preaching places of Beechworth, Mt. Beauty and Corryong. Pastor L. P. Altus was called as Pastor.
The accommodation in St. John's being inadequate to house the enlarged congregation, arrangements were made to transfer the Army building from Leonard Street to Havelock Street. After repairs and alterations had been effected the building was dedicated as a house of worship on June 18, 1967.
At a meeting of the parish on 10th May, 1966, a decision was made to build a manse on the Havelock Street property as soon as possible, and that the Wodonga congregation be responsible for the building of the manse for the use of the parish. Further, that the building committee proceed with plans immediately.
The manse used by the former Pilgrim pastor was temporarily used by Pastor Altus and family. This was eventually sold after consultation with the District Church officials.
The new manse, dedicated on June 18, 1967, is indeed of great advantage to the work of St. John's, enabling close co-operation with pastor and people.
Arrival of settlers from, South Australia began 1866-67, continuing until 1880-1890.
|29/7/1874||Laying of Foundation Stone, St. John's.|
|22/3/1875||Dedication of St. John's.|
|Approx. 1887||Establishment of School.|
|1922||Establishment of Sunday School.|
|11/11/1956||Foundation Stone of Sunday School Hall laid by Pastor C. W. Appelt.|
|18/8/1957||Dedication of Hall, Pastor P. Rudolph, assisted Pastor T. Harms.|
|9/8/1944||Women's Guild formed.|
|28/10/1948||Youth Fellowship formed.|
|20/3/1966||Parish formed, St. John's and Pilgrim Wodonga, and St. Mark's, Yackandandah.|
|20/3/1966||Pastor Altus called.|
|20/5/1966||St. John's - Pilgrim amalgamated.|
|26/6/1966||Pastor Altus inducted (Service held in Bonegilla Chapel).|
|21/8/1966||First service conducted by new parish at Beechworth.|
|5/11/1967||First work at Mt. Beauty began with Confirmation class of 10.|
|18/6/1967||Chapel and Manse Dedication.|
|6/10/1968||First service at Tallangatta in home of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Kool.|
|17/11/1968||First service at Mt. Beauty, Confirmation of 10.|
|2/2/1969||First service using Methodist Church, Tallangatta.|
|Aug. 1969||Parish makes application for transfer to Victorian District.|
|1/11/1970||First service at Corryong using Anglican Church.|
|22/1/1971||Congregation formed at Tallangatta.|
|21/3/1971||Church opened at Tallangatta by District President Rev. T. M. J. Wiebusch.|
|Nov. 1972||Pastor L. Altus announced his resignation from the parish as he had accepted the position of Secretary to the Leprosy Mission in Adelaide.|
|Dec. 1972||Pastor G. Zweck was called from Epping, Sydney. This call was accepted.|
|4/2/1973||Pastor Zweck was inducted in Wodonga with Pastor T. M. J. Wiebusch conducting the installation.|
|1973||Lutheran Church book agency establishment. Church Kindergarten Project. At a meeting held a decision was made to establish a Church-Kindergarten Complex subject to certain conditions.|
Centenary Celebration Service in Civic Centre Auditorium, 10.30 a.m.
Preachers Rev. T. Wiebusch, District President, Pastor N. Sander, Gawler, S.A.
Pleasant Sunday afternoon after luncheon, display of relics, photos and items of interest. Train rides for the children. General fellowship. Wodonga Citizen's Band in attendance.
Not only among the members of the Church has the Christian influence and service of St. John's been exercised and given, but also in many various ways within the community generally. As far back as the year 1888 one of its members was a councillor on the Wodonga Shire Council, also serving as president. Throughout the years other members have given valued service to the Council. On the present Council of the Rural City of Wodonga several members are giving their services to the public; one of these has served a term as president, whilst another has served on an adjoining Shire Council.
Urban and Rural Fire Brigade organisations have received valued services from time to time as members and officers of the various brigades have given voluntary assistance, many serving long periods. Once members, who served as president of Region 24 Fire Brigades Association for a number of years, was awarded the Queen's Medal for long service to the Country Fire Authority.
Welfare and Red Cross are other spheres wherein concentrated services have been given, as well as delivering Meals on Wheels to the aged.
Religious Instruction is continuing to be given as in the past in the schools of the City.
The Bible Society is another organisation to receive support and assistance, Pastor Zweck being president of the Society's Wodonga branch.
These are but a few of the services rendered to the community in general. Suffice it to be said, that St. John's has in the past utilised its Christian and sympathetic influence to serve not only within the circle of the church, but also in the community. Thus it is its hope and desire to retain a Christian influence in the future development within the development of the Rural City of Wodonga.
In all humility, and thanks to the Lord of the Church, tribute is paid to our forefathers and mothers who established our beloved St. John's Church;
To all Pastors, elders, layreaders, officials and members of the past many having given long and faithful service, some forty years, some thirty and, yet others, shorter terms;
To the Sunday School teachers who have been entrusted with the feeding of the lambs of the congregation, for their time and service of love;
To the organists who over the years have had the important task of providing the worship of melody for services.
Grateful acknowledgement and recognition is recorded to each and everyone who in the past century have given their services, be they long or short, large or small, for the continued working and advancement of St. John's. Humble thanks and praise to our Gracious God in Heaven for the countless blessings received through their services!
A survey of the past has been collated and recorded - what of the future? In the past St. John's Lutheran Church has acknowledged no other authority in matters of religion but the Bible, which has proved itself as the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes and abides by its teachings.
It accepts and believes the teachings of Jesus Christ with regard to the Holy Sacraments, and to celebrate and administer them in accordance with the words of institution. (Baptism Mark 28:18-20, Holy Communion Matt. 26:26-28).
Whilst admitting that not all who are looked upon as our Church members are imbued fully with the spirit of Christ, and are not earnestly upholding the principal doctrines of our Church, and whilst admitting that all of us are very imperfect in living up to the ideals of our Church, yet we trust that all those who by sorrow and repentance seek refuge in the wounds of our crucified and risen Saviour, will — not withstanding their sins and frailties - find mercy and peace with God (Matt. 7:21 John 1:8-9).
Our purpose for the future is to continue in the pure Gospel of Christ, to lead sinners from the way of darkness to the path of trust and light; to live peaceably with all men; to testify in word and deed against error and falsehood; to be progressive in the living knowledge of Christ; to be progressive in Christian virtue and charity to all, and progressive in everything that rebounds to the true benefit, welfare and enjoyment of all mankind for this life and life to come; to assist in gathering around the Banner of the Cross all who stand for Christ and His cause.
The beacon of the Gospel set alight at the dedication of St. John's one hundred years ago, still bears to us that the message of hope is not in a future eternity here on earth but a glorious life yet to come, when we together with all true believers hope to enter from the Church militant here on earth to the Church triumphant in heaven. Let us all young and old, examine ourselves, as St. John's is entering upon the second century of its existence in Wodonga, whether we are good and faithful stewards of the glorious things or unprofitable servants, and let us all dedicate ourselves anew unto the Lord our God for the development and extension of our Church in the Rural City of Wodonga. With the vision of hope let us all preserve to our children and children's children the glorious inheritance bequeathed to us through the love of our sainted fathers and mothers by the grace and merciful goodness of God.
"Now unto Him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to Him be glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. Ephes. 3:21-22
1. Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
2. 0 may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.
3. All praise and thanks to God
The father now be given,
The Son, and Him who reigns
With them in highest heaven;
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore,
For thus it was, is now, And shall be evermore.