NEWS / ANNOUNCEMENT
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History

  • Pastor Robert H. Arnold was called to become pastor of St. John’s. Pastor Arnold is a son of the congregation who served until his retirement in 1988.
  • Pastor Arnold was followed by Pastor Midtlyng, called in 1989.
  • Pastor Ettlemeyer was call in 1992.
  • Our first female minister, Pastor Chrisine Bohr was called in 2000 until her retirement in 2006.
  • Pastor Becky Fetters was called to us in 2007. Pastor Becky served until June 2012 when she moved with her family to answer her husband's calling in Wisconsin.
  • Our current Pastor, Alexander Kennedy (and Jasper & Lilly) was called to St John's in June 2013 and Installed on Oct 27, 2013.
  • The formal name of our church is “St. John’s English Evangelical Lutheran Church”. English was intentionally added to the name at the time the congregation was formed to make a statement to the community that it was not a German speaking congregation. This was especially important to the members since there was a growing concern towards those of German ancestry as the war was starting up in Europe.
  • Pastor Walter A. G. Smihula from Rochester is called to be the 6th pastor.
  • A new parsonage was purchase for him to live at 10 Babcock Place Lynbrook.
  • During his term the last beautiful stained glass window was added to the nave in 1959. The cost of the windows at that time were $1,000 apiece.
  • Pastor Kirkagaard, who was primarily responsible for St. John’s Church as it stands today, tendered his resignation for retirement.
  • Plans for a new sanctuary to the west of the existing church were started along with a building fund drive to coincide with the 35th Anniversary of the church. The drive accumulated $90.000 which was enough to pay for the new structure outright since the forefathers did not want to be over-extended financially. A mortgage was taken out to furnish the interior.
  • The congregation decided that it was better to keep a location in the center of Lynbrook rather than build on the Scranton Ave. site.
  • Two lots to the west on Blake Ave. were purchased and the lots on Scranton Ave. were sold.
  • It was decided to add an extension on to the existing Blake Ave. Church for the desperately needed pews, kitchen and additional Sunday School rooms. St John's is growing. Enrollment in the Sunday school alone was up to 400 children, a far cry from the 32 they started with in 1912.
  • The cost of the extension, including the basement – was $5,000.
  • Pastor Christian S. Kirkegaard accepted a called St. John's.
  • Pastor Kirkegaard's legacy was that he started the St. John's Messenger, a congregational news letter that is published monthly even to this day.
  • In response to the growth of members from the south side of Lynbrook, St. John's bought three building plot on Scranton and Birch, two were empty and the third had a house on it.
  • Since the congregation was rapidly growing out of the current facility and the south-side members had grown in numbers, it was planned to build a larger church on this site.
  • The lots were purchased for $15,000
  • It took many years to pay off the debt, meanwhile the crash of 1929 occurred and the great Depression of the 1930s made it difficult to raise the funds to build.
  • Pastor E. W. Hammer was called to St. John's.
  • It was at this time the Sunday School organized a 'south-side' branch in order to accommodate the small children who lived on the south side of Lynbrook. Since the LIRR was not elevated, it was considered difficult and unsafe to cross in order to come to church.
  • St. John's became independent from the Mission Board and separated from a combined ministry with St. Paul's Valley Stream.
  • A parsonage was built on the lot next to the church. It was originally used to house the pastor, but was quickly renovated as a Parish Hall to handle the tremendous growth. A home at 11 Winter Street was then rented as a parsonage.
  • Pastor F. E. Reissig Jr. was called to St. John's.
  • Pastor W. A. Ruccius was called to St. John's who then guided the congregation through the World War.
  • Council was authorized to make a loan of $1,000 in order to purchase land, 2 lots on Blake Ave $750.
  • The Church building was purchased for $200 and was a former factory building of the Simpson Metal Works.
  • The factory was moved from Davidson & Hempstead Avenues by horses and logs down Hempstead Avenue. At the completion of the first day of moving, the building had reached Hempstead and Peninsula Ave. at which time the men left the building in the middle of the street and went home with their horses. They returned the next day to complete the move to its current location.
  • April 20th the cornerstone was laid. However the church was very crude:
    • The windows had been painted over white while being a factory and had yet to be scraped clean by the Sunday School children.
    • The altar was a dining room table donated by Mrs. H. Jannsen.
    • Mrs. Schoppe donated her parlor organ as well as a rug to be placed under the altar.
    • The walls were open and were yet to be plastered.
    • The pews were rough hewn benches.
    • The only form of light was an oil lamp which hung from a beam in the center of the sanctuary.
    • The basement had a dirt floor, soon to be cemented over in order to keep all of the moisture out.
    • As construction continued and the transformation from a factory to a church took place, the ladies of the church spent every Saturday to simply clean the church in preparation for Sunday worship.
  • In the fall of 1913:
    • St. John's called it first pastor, Pastor Arnold F. Keller. Pastor Keller served St. John's as well as Christ Lutheran in Floral Park and St. Paul's in Valley Stream.
    • It was shortly after Pastor Keller arrived that pews for the church were found in Brooklyn. They came from St. Matthew's Lutheran Church which was being torn down. They were free to St. John's, simply to be picked up. So Mr. Schoppe offered his mule and hired a wagon to pick them up. These pews still exist today, but were relocated into the balcony of the new sanctuary many years later.
    • It was at this time also that a larger organ was purchased and placed in the balcony.
  • By the end of 1913, the building started to look more and more like a church with an added pulpit, lectern, a new altar as well as matching architectural arches in the chancel.
  • Original Lutheran membership worshiped at Holy Trinity Lutheran in RVC. After time, it was difficult to travel to by horse and the Lynbrook members were anxious to start their own local church.
  • The start of St. John's is credited to a Mr. & Mrs. A. W. Shoppe who owned a feed and seed store at the corner of Denton Ave. and the RR.
  • Mrs. Shoppe went door to door and gathered 12 or so children and their families to attend the first service which was held at Lyceum Hall at Union & Atlantic Ave.
  • The Lyceum Hall was then destroyed by fire later in 1912 at which point the congregation was without a home until April 1913.

Bible Verse

“He himself is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together."

Colossians 1:17

St. John's Memorial Fund

Donations to the Memorial Fund can be sent directly to:

The St John's Memorial Fund
St John's Lutheran Church
13 Blake Avenue,
Lynbrook, NY 11563

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