Lutheran Church of Our Saviour
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Building Our First Church
by Gary & Verna Schroeder
By 1950, an increasing number of Lutherans lived in Dartmouth. Pastor Douglas Conrad of the Resurrection Church in Halifax conducted the first Lutheran worship service in the Dartmouth Service Center on July 9, 1950. Dartmouth became the first full time Lutheran Mission in the Province since Resurrection, some 36 years earlier. In 1951, Rev. Richard Bieber of Pennsylvania accepted the call from the Board of American Missions to work full time in Dartmouth. Regular Sunday services were held at the Service Center, choir practice and weekly meetings were held at members' homes. On November 11, 1951, sixty-eight members signed the Charter Roll and the congregation was called the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Saviour. Rev. Bieber became the church's first full-time Pastor on January 1, 1952. Not in a mocking way, but with fondness, the beginnings of this congregation were called a "motley crew".
Many struggles, self sacrifices and much seat equity went into building this church.
On July 1, 1952, land was purchased at the corner of Portland and Hawthorne Streets from the Nauss estate for $4,500.00. Over three years $70,000.00 was raised and on Sunday, April 25, 1954, Dr. C.H. Whittaker and Rev. Bieber officiated at ground breaking. Six months later the completed church was dedicated on October 24, 1954, at a solemn and moving service. The morning was cold and windy but the people who gathered outside the church did not feel the cold. Congregation and guests filed slowly into the church as the doors were opened for the first time and people entered behind the choir to view in awe the beauty of the interior of the new church. With Rev. Bieber's leadership and energy, spiritual development was brought to the Dartmouth mission. Land was purchased at 42 Summit Street for $1,000.00 and a parsonage was built.
People were seated in folding chairs until pews were donated by Mrs. Edna Egner. "Dutch" Zinck raised $1,500.00 for the purchase of an organ by soliciting downtown business.
Sunday School started in 1951, and over the years the number of pupils increased to over one hundred, with twenty teachers. Other youth activities, such as Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Guides were also held. In 1963, women of the church enrolled in the Eastern Canada Synodical Unit of the Lutheran Church Women. The women met in homes with an emphasis on Bible study, while visitation and volunteer work continued at the Nova Scotia Hospital.
In 1960, many military personnel were transferred to the area and Our Saviour's received a share of these people, who came from all over Canada and the USA. Good music and musicians were always a part of our church. Easter worship, Christmas worship, potlucks, Lutheran Church Women, Sunday School and other activities are all an important part of Our Saviour's.
Pastor Rock's ministry was over a period of twenty-five years and was a vibrant time. He could tell a good story and had a sense of humour, but in time of need he was a great source of comfort. During Pastor Rock's ministry evening services were held.
In 1964, the church became self-sustaining in all areas of operation. A new organ was purchased in 1968, as the old one was uneconomical to repair.
The Sanctuary window was designed by an artist from Dublin, Ireland and depicts the life of Christ from the Resurrection to the Ascension. The window, a gift of Reg and Rita Duncan in loving memory of their son Robert Duncan, was dedicated to the Glory of God on May 11, 1969.
The church interior was renewed in 1976 by cleaning and painting. The church was clean, bright and restful, but unpretentious, as a church should be. A new memorial window was installed in the front in 1977.
Pastor Bieber returned in 1989 and due to his spiritual leadership two services were held every Sunday morning.
During later years the Church Women formed a group called "Helping Hands" as the Eastern Canada Synodical Unit was no longer in operation. Layette bundles, quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and also gifts for patients at the Nova Scotia Hospital and the Mental Health Unit are the work of this group. The church also supports the local Food Bank.
Many special events, such as potlucks, anniversary dinners, Easter breakfasts and musical evenings were held. Noreen Young and Bonnie Moss have faithfully looked after tthe kitchen for many years. Bible studies are held regularly.
In 2002, interim Pastor Barry Boeckner began a prayer garden with two benches for people passing by to stop for quiet reflection. This garden has grown in a beautiful large garden including perrenials, annuals, bulbs, shrubs and vegetables, all planted and cared for by Karen Moore. Since Pastor Douglas Moore arrived in 2004, the congregation and the choir have increased. Our Saviour's has inspiring music every Sunday led by Karen Yuzak and the choir.
In 2005 and 2006, the furnace was replaced, a new floor installed in the basement, the roof repaired, and all new windows installed.
Our Pastors over the years:-
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