Our History

Peace Lutheran Church was founded in the year 1962 when a group of Missouri Synod Lutherans in the Alma-St. Louis area decided to form a congregation.  The Mission board of the Michigan District of the LC-MS called a seminary candidate, the Rev. Cecil Rhoades, in May of 1962, and under his leadership there was an area canvass from July through September.

The first organizational meeting was held on October 24, 1962 at which time the name "Peace" was chosen to be the name of the new congregation.  The name "Peace" was chosen because the first worship service of the new congregation was to be held on November 11, 1962, Armistice Day, the anniversary date of the suspension of warfare in 1918 (now called Veterans' Day).

Peace Lutheran Church received fifteen acres of land from an anonymous donor on November 28, 1962, which was gratefully accepted.  Ten acres were later sold in 1979 or 1980 (records unclear) for apartment buildings.

Other significant developments in the fledgling congregation were the organization of the Ladies' Guild on January 16, 1963; the adoption of the Church Constitution on January 17, 1963; the observance of Charter Sunday on March 17, 1963; the organization of the Walther League (young people's group) on March 24, 1963.  Pastor Rhoades was serving Peace without an official call from the congregation.  Therefore, a formal call was extended to him on March 25, 1963.  Pastor Rhoades accepted the call and was installed as Peace's first pastor on May 26, 1963.

Peace Lutheran Church was accepted as a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in August of 1963.

Peace wanted to have her own church in which to worship.  Thus, architects of the Roy D. Murphy and Associates from Urbana, Illinois were hired to draw up plans for a new church.  Ground breaking for the new church took place on September 20, 1964.  On September 30, 1964, Pastor Rhoades was given a peaceful release by the congregation in order to serve the Lord elsewhere. 

The Rev. Ocie Behringer, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Wheeler, MI became the vacancy pastor.  Under Pastor Behringer's leadership, the cornerstone of the new church was laid on January 10, 1965.  The dedication of the new church took place on March 7, 1965.  The church cost in the neighborhood of $120,000. 

The Mission Board called another candidate to become pastor at Peace in April of 1965.  This new candidate was Rev. Ronald Mueller who was installed on July 11, 1965.  During his pastorate, the parking lot was developed in the year 1967.  Also, during Rev. Mueller's pastorate, the second unit was added to the church's structure as Peace was blessed by continuous numerical growth.  Ground breaking for this unit took place on December 10, 1968, with the dedicatory service being held on June 22, 1969.  In December of 1970, Pastor Mueller left to become pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Toledo, Ohio.

Pastors Edward Krause of Zion Lutheran Church, Mt. Pleasant and Charles Smith of Saginaw served as vacancy pastors during the interim.

The Rev. Duane Florschuetz was then installed as pastor of Peace on August 29, 1971.  On her tenth anniversary in November of 1972, Peace had 234 communicant members.  The ultimate departure of three industries from the Alma-St. Louis area, namely, Total Petroleum, Mobile Home Industry, and Michigan Chemical of St. Louis, greatly decimated the membership of Peace as many of her faithful members who worked in one of these industries also had to move.  Then, Pastor Florschuetz accepted a call elsewhere in the Lord's vineyard in May of 1977.  The congregation was now fifteen years old.

Following the departure of Rev. Florschuetz, the Rev. Stephen Hower was installed as pastor of Peace on July 19, 1978.  Pastor Hower served at Peace until August of 1980 when he accepted a call elsewhere in the Lord's vineyard.

Pastor Edwin Meuckler of Zion, Mt. Pleasant served as vacancy pastor until March 22, 1981 when the Rev. Samuel Wiederhold was installed as pastor of Peace.  In June of 1981, the congregation sold the parsonage on State Street.  On September 28, 1983, Peace purchased a beautiful Allen organ for $17,000.  Pastor Wiederhold discontinued serving Peace in December, 1984.

The Rev. Mark Schoen was installed as pastor of Peace in August of 1985.  In that same year, the present parsonage at 960 Glencoe was purchased and was later fully paid for in the spring of 1991.  Pastor Schoen left to serve elsewhere in Christ's vineyard in 1986.

Pastor Jay Brigham of our student Chapel in Mt. Pleasant served as vacancy pastor unitl the Rev. Jeffrey Baxter was installed in June, 1986.  Pastor Baxter served at Peace until December, 1989 when he accepted a call to Illinois.

Pastor Jay Brigham again became the vacancy pastor at Peace in January, 1990.  In September, 1990 he contacted Pastor Paul Richert of Ann Arbor to inquire if he would be interested in serving Peace, to which Pastor Richert answered affirmatively.  Pastor Richert had retired from the ministry in June of 1990 at the age of 64. 

Thereupon, followed a number of meetings between Pastor Richert, Jon Greening, who was president of the congregation, and the church council.  The decision was made to have Pastor Richert serve Peace, beginning in October of 1990.

Pastor Richert faithfully served Peace on a part-time basis for seven years, until he re-entered retirement in 1997.  Under his leadership, Peace enjoyed many wonderful accomplishments, including:  paying in full for the parsonage in 1991 and turning that property into income for the congregation by renting it out, which it has been doing ever since; receiving a new microphonic system which was given to the church by Marion Greening in memory of her husband, Robert Greening, a charter member of Peace; reinstituting the Altar Guild to care for the Communion ware and the elements; reinvigorating the Ladies' Guild into a strong organization; instituting Greeters to serve on Sunday mornings; instituting the wearing of a black robe and a cross by the Elder when assisting the pastor during the Lord's Supper to present a greater dignity to their office and service; purchasing a new piano for the sanctuary which is used in various ways; being presented with new oil-burning candles and lighters as memorials and/or honored acknowledgments by congregational members, along with a new Advent wreath, which was built and donated by John Miller; accomplishing church building improvements, including a new church roof, new carpeting and tile on the floor, and a remodeled and greatly improved church kitchen. 

Upon Pastor Richert's departure, the Rev. Larry Warsinski, pastor of Immaunuel Lutheran Church in Wheeler, graciously served Peace during the short vacancy which occurred before the Rev. Terry Kenitz began to serve Peace on a part-time basis in 1997.  Pastor Kenitz remained at Peace until October, 2002 when he took a call to serve elswhere in the Lord's vineyard.

Pastor Warsinski again served Peace during another short vacancy, along with other pastors in the area who helped out from time to time. 

The decision was then made by Peace to enter into the Intentional Interim Ministry program supported by the Michigan District.  Pastor Robert Koeppen, who had retired from the ministry, agreed to serve Peace as Interim Pastor in the early spring of 2003.  Pastor Koeppen's main focus during his ministry at Peace was to prepare the congregation to be able to call a full-time pastor, which the congregation had been without since 1990.  Under Pastor Koeppen's leadership, the members of Peace became re-focused on their mission and worked hard to make the necessary preparations that would enable them to call a full-time pastor.  The church records were updated, the files reorganized, the membership role was updated, and a new commitment of Peace's  members to the congregation was fostered.  With Pastor Koeppen's guidance, and by the grace of God, Peace was prepared and ready to call a full-time pastor in the spring of 2005.  The congregation submitted the call documents to the Synod's Mission Board and prayed that the Lord would answer their call. 

In April, 2005, their prayer was answered.  A call was extended to Seminary Candidate Thomas C. Messer, who graciously accepted the call and was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry and installed as Peace's first full-time pastor in about fifteen years on July 24, 2005.  Pastor Koeppen led worship at Peace for the last time on July 10, 2005.  The members of Peace are eternally grateful for his leadership and guidance, which enabled them to begin a new chapter in the life of the beloved congregation under the leadership of a new full-time pastor (meet our new pastor).

Pastor Messer led service at Peace for the first time on July 31, 2005.  The members of Peace pray that the Lord would richly bless his service among us for many years to come.

The history of Peace Lutheran Church is filled with many ups and downs, twists and turns, but the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ, has been with this congregation through it all.  By His grace and mercy, Peace has remained His sacred house of prayer for nearly forty-three years, where He has come, and continues to come, to us weekly to bestow His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation through His Holy Word and Sacraments.  We pray His continual blessing upon this congregation until He returns again in glory on the Last Day.