July 18, 2013
St. Paul Lutheran Church Celebrates 50th Anniversary
St. Paul Lutheran Church of Memphis celebrated 50 years of service on Sunday with a special commemoration of its founding half a century ago.
In a special service of remembrance and celebration held Sunday, July 14, St. Paul Lutheran Church of Memphis, observed the 50th anniversary of its founding. Pastor Mark Appold led a Service of the Word including special music by organist Shirley McKamie and violin solo pieces by music grad student, Alex McKamie. Following the service, a picnic lunch was served.
The mission and ministry of St. Paul's goes back to the early 1960's when the Mission Board of the Western District of the Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod urged the members of Faith Lutheran Church in Kirksville to pursue the establishment of ministry outreach in the Memphis area. One year later, under the leadership of Rev. Robert Lange, pastor of Faith Lutheran in Kirksville, a meeting was held in the Memphis Ben Franklin store to discuss the organization of a mission in Memphis. Present at that meeting were Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Dienst, Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Monsees, Mr. and Mrs. Herb Moffett, Mrs. Ollie Alexander, Ollie Alexander, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. Carroll Rauch and Joseph Rauch. At that meeting it was decided to begin services at the Oak Ridge Baptist Church whose members had offered the use of their building. On July 28, 1963, the congregation was formally organized with voters approving the name of St. Paul Lutheran for the newly formed congregation. Congregational leaders selected were Ollie Alexander Jr., president; Herb Moffett, secretary; E.H. Monsees, treasurer; Dr. Donald Buenger, Sunday School Superintendent; and Karen Skinner, organist.
In February 1964 the congregation purchased the present property on N. Highway 15 and renovated the existing buildings for worship and educational purposes. On August 18, the new church was dedicated. The first full-time pastor to serve St. Paul's was retired pastor, Rev. William Weber from Schuyler, Nebraska. Following his tenure, the congregation purchased a parsonage and called Rev. Frederick Schramm, who was succeeded by Pastor Frederick Schauer. During this time a dual parish arrangement was made with Good Shepherd of Bloomfield, Iowa. St. Paul also participated in an area Lutheran Council, a consortium of Lutheran congregations in Centerville and Bloomfield, Iowa, Queen City, Milan, and Kirksville, MO. Head Start used St. Paul's educational building at this time. Lay pastor, Carl Berner, and then Pastor Richard Wilson were the next shepherds of St. Paul. During Pastor Wilson's tenure a dual parish arrangement was established with Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Keosauqua, Iowa. Then, as part of the Northeast Missouri Shared Ministries plan, Rev. Bill Schuerman served the St. Paul congregation while residing in Kirksville. Following his departure, the ministry at St. Paul was led by lay preachers from St. Paul Faith in Kirksville, as well as by Pastors Robert Bronson and Paul Meseke from St. Peter's in LaGrange and Pastor Norman Bahlow of Mt. Hope in Shelbyville.
In February 2003, Pastor Mark Appold, emeritus pastor from Kirksville, began serving the vacancy at St. Paul on a part-time basis. He had intermittently helped out with the ministry at St. Paul the previous 36 years while serving the parish and campus ministry at Kirksville. Dr. Appold also holds an academic position as professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Truman State University where he has taught for the past 35 years. He additionally also serves as a Project Directory for the Bethsaida Archaeological Excavations in Israel. Following an extensive self-study in 2004, the members of St. Paul decided to "rise up and build". A new church building was constructed and dedicated on June 11, 2006. The previous church building was demolished and in its place member congregations of the Scotland County Ministers Association supported the construction of a new building which now serves cooperatively as the Alliance's Food Pantry. The other older building, which had served as St. Paul's educational unit, was converted into the Clothes Closet which now provides used clothing resources for the community.