“These two congregations have a relationship which goes back to March 1959, when Martin Luther voted to give a gift of $100,000 to the former American Lutheran Church for a Poland Mission Church,” said Pastor Julianne Smith of Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Poland.
Prior to the mission church being built, Poland had no Lutheran presence. With the start-up funds in place, the church was constructed and according to parishioner Stu Smith, the church has remained close to its original shape.
“We are still in the original building,” he said. “There were some additions made in the 1970s, but it is not a lot bigger than it originally was.”
In 2009, Martin Luther Church celebrated 150 years in Youngstown while Prince of Peace had its 50th anniversary.
In January of 2010, Pastor Smith joined Prince of Peace. In her short time as pastor, she heard several members of the congregation say they would love to get together with the church that was responsible for starting the Prince of Peace. On Aug. 7 it became a reality.
“It was the result of a number of people talking and making plans,” Stu said. “Pastor Smith, of course, was somewhat a cheerleader for the event.”
The two congregations came together at Prince of Peace and held a join service. Pastor Paul Heine of Martin Luther preached and Pastor Smith presided over the Eucharist. There were 127 present for worship.
Following the service, the church members got together for a picnic. They enjoyed fun and games and just sitting and talking with friends.
“Everyone was so happy that they want to do it again,” Stu said.
Both Martin Luther and Prince of Peace are today member churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Photos special to the Town Crier
Pastor Julianne Smith of Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran, Poland, and Pastor Paul Heine of Martin Luther Lutheran Church, Youngstown, came together on Aug. 7 to celebrate and worship together.