In 2024 St. Thomas Lutheran Church will be celebrating its 150th anniversary!
The dates on the stone near the entrance to our church bear significance in the history of St. Thomas. On August 15,1874 a little over an acre of ground was given by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lohr at a suitable location for the church building, and Pastor Nuer laid the cornerstone. On October 11th, the church was dedicated in a ceremony read by Reverend Nuner.
In 1903,to accommodate a growing congregation, it was decided to build a larger church . A new location was selected so as to have access to more and better burial ground. This area was donated by heirs of the David Naugle Estate. On May 24, the cornerstone for the new church was laid by Rev. C.M. Wachter. On August 30, the church was dedicated by the Rev. Wachter.
In August and September of 1921, the church was moved to face the main road (east) and the basement was excavated to provide Sunday School rooms. About 2 acres of ground was donated for the church building by Mr. and Mrs. John T. Lohr and son Moses Lohr. On November 27, the cornerstone was laid by the Pastor, Rev. R.L. Lubold, assisted by the Rev. S.N. Carpenter, Trinity Lutheran Church, Johnstown. A rededication service was held on October 15. Many improvements to the church included a steam heating system, electric lights and fixtures, rest room and running water, vestibule enlarged, interior of church varnished and papered, carpet placed on pulpit platforms, classroom furniture, tables, chairs, blackboards, and a piano purchased for $360!
In 1966 our current church building was built. Ground breaking was held on November 6th with the Rev. Charles E. Staub, Dean of Somerset District, Central Pennsylvania Synod giving the address. The cornerstone was laid on April 30th of 1967 at a service with Rev. Staub and Rev. M. Dean Shaffer presiding. On June 30, the last regular worship service was held in the old church building. A dedication of the new church was held in July and the first worship service at the church took place on August 6th with Pastor Shaffer presiding over 202 present.
St. Thomas 2023
CELEBRATING 150 YEARS!
In 2024 St. Thomas Lutheran Church will celebrate 150 years of worshiping God as a faith community here on the ridge above Hooversville. Plans are being made to thank God for being with us through good times and bad times in the past with the hope that we will be faithful in serving God for many years to come.
Plans have been coming together for many years in anticipation of our anniversary. In 2018, a 150 Anniversary Fund was set up for church beautification projects. Thanks to donations from our wonderful parishioners, memorial funds, and savings we have been able to replace windows all throughout the church (excluding the sanctuary), replace our worn out drapes with beautiful blinds, and replace the flooring in the narthex (thanks to a donation from an anonymous donor), and continue replacing the flooring in the choir room, rest rooms, media room, and hallway leading to the steps.
Throughout the past year, other beautification projects were also done that were not affiliated with the 150 Fund. These included a beautiful courtyard and fountain dedicated in memory of John Vatavuk and our newly built bell tower dedicated in memory of Marian Lohr. These projects were made possible by donations to the John Vatavuk Memorial and the Marian Lohr Bell Tower Memorial.
Lastly, new doorbell/ring cams were installed and our outdated sound system was upgraded.
As part of our celebration, we will be having a 5K Race/5K Walk on Saturday, March 30th with proceeds benefiting St. Thomas Youth Ministry Initiatives: Kids Klub, Luther League, Summer Bible School, and In-Tents Church Camp. Please click below for the registration form and sponsor forms.
St. Thomas is very lucky to have new faces joining the church. In fact we have so many new faces that people don't know everyone! (What a great problem to have in the age of decreasing church attendance, huh?!) Therefore, it was decided that we would start planning a new pictorial directory. And what better time to do it than in celebration of our 150th anniversary! A committee was formed and pictures of our church family members are currently being taken for publication in our directory next year.
With so many new faces attending worship, Brenda Coughenour decided to create a map of our church interior that was placed on an easel in the narthex. She also created flyers that were put in the pews with information about St. Thomas including information about the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) that we are affiliated with, our cemetery, grove, chapel, and a small map of the interior of the church. This is greatly appreciated and will help our newcomers navigate St. Thomas better!
Place on your calendars now the dates of August 17 and 18, 2024!
August 17 will mark the return of the St. Thomas Picnic! The first St. Thomas Picnic was held in 1902. For many years the Sunday School assembled at the church and then marched to the grove led by a band, our pastor and Sunday School Superintendent. A program was held in the forenoon, afternoon, and evening. The picnic was always held on the third Saturday of August. This day was looked forward to by folks from many miles away. The picnic was held every year into the 2000's! We will again have the traditional parade from the church to the grove! Other events being talked about include burying a time capsule, tables of pictures and memorabilia, a biblical scavenger hunt, and children's activities. (More information will come as the date gets closer!) Our delicious Roast Beef Sandwich dinner will also take place! A hymn sing will follow in the evening.
On Sunday August 18th, Bishop Dan Selbo from the NALC and our pastor, Rev. Nila Cogan will be presiding over worship. Discussion is being held as to what will happen after the service with the possibilities of a covered dish dinner or reception.
Thank you to those who have volunteered to be part of the 150 Anniversary Committee: Ron & Brenda Coughenour (special thank you to Brenda for single-handedly planning the 5K Race/5K Walk), Eric & Susan Frombach, Deb Halkovich, Janet Gindlesperger, Dave Maggs, Elliott & Sally Shaffer, Kathy Shaffer, Janet Vatavuk, Stacy Pollino, Angie Cochran, and Pastor Nila.