The History of the Lutheran Church of the Cross
Organizing A Congregation
In the year 1959, a young missionary minister came to Hanover, Massachusetts called Reverend William J. Jensen. His purpose was to organize a congregation of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. The church's first home was Center Elementary School in Hanover. The school's auditorium was transformed into a place of worship on Sunday mornings with a portable altar, pulpit, hymn stand, cross, and candles. The first service was on March 20, 1959. A small, active group of Lutherans lost no time in organizing confirmation classes, membership classes, an adult discussion group, and children's choir, all of which met at various members' houses. The Church Council met monthly in a room at the Magoun Funeral Home and the Youth Fellowship had their meetings at the fire station. A Vacation Bible School was held in the Center School on July 1960.
A Congregation Established
A charter membership and first anniversary service was held on March 19, 1961. In April, the Voter's Meeting unanimously approved the name for the church: "The Lutheran Church of the Cross," a translation of the German "Die Kreuzkirche", the Lutheran Church in Hannover, Germany. Die Kreuzkirche adopted the Lutheran faith on September 14, 1533, just sixteen years after Martin Luther nailed his historic 95 These to the door of the church at Wittenberg.
In May, 1961, eleven young adults were confirmed into membership, the First Confirmation Class. The installation of Reverend William Jensen took place on Sunday, July 18, 1961. In September, a church site committee was formed and the first meeting of the Women of the Cross was held.
In October, Pastor Jensen was called to military service. During his absence the congregation was served by Pastors Dean Tegeler, Charles Mueller, George Nickelsburg, and David Vigen. Pastor Jensen was welcomed back in August, 1962, after serving ten months as chaplain for the 102nd Field Artillery Group of the Massachusetts National Guard.
On October 28, 1962, the congregation decided to purchase property recommended by the site committee. The new home of the Lutheran Church of the Cross would be a high, tree-studded, fifteen acre tract of land on Route 139, costing $25,500. A dedication ceremony was held at the site of the building on December 9, 1962.
A Building for the Church
In August of 1964, plans for the new church were unanimously and enthusiastically approved by the Voter's Assembly. The church would be hexagon-shaped with a central alter and suspended cross. It would cost app. $190,000. It was designed by Joseph Schiffer of Concord, Massachusetts and built by John W. Kellar Construction Company. Many generous gifts were received for the building fund.
Ground was broken in a special ceremony on June 13, 1965 and on May 8, 1966 the cornerstone was laid. Sealed in a copper box beneath the stone are copies of the Bible, Luther's Small Catechism, and a list of all the members of the church. Later in 1966, a day Kindergarten was established at the Church serving 25 pupils.
On October 15, 1968, Pastor Jensen announced that he would be leaving to accept a position as director of the Rockywood-Deephaven Camps in New Hampshire. Over 250 people bid farewell to the Church's first pastor on November 27, 1968.
A New Pastor is Called
Pastor Paul G. Single of Lima, Ohio was installed on June 27, 1969. Pastor Single suffered from a degenerative eye ailment which forced him to be absent periodically for tests and surgery. In May of 1971, the church celebrated its tenth anniversary. The inevitable affliction of blindness became a reality for Pastor Single. An adoring congregation banded together to support him in every way they could- to be his "eyes" and to assist him in ministerial functions. his strength an faith were a constant inspiration to all.
In March of 1972, the new Rodgers Organ was installed, a culmination of four years of fund raising. Early in 1973, a statement of the Church's mission and vision, composed by members of the congregation, was adopted. The statement:
THE LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE CROSS IS A SPIRITED BODY OF GOD'S PEOPLE MINISTERING IN THE NAME OF CHRIST TO EVERY POSSIBLE PERSON WITHIN AND WITHOUT THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. OUR OVERALL PURPOSE IS TO CREATE AND NURTURE SPIRITUAL LIFE THROUGH THE WORD, SACRAMENTS AND PRAYER; SO THAT SUCH LIFE MATURES IN LOYALTY TO JESUS CHRIST AND WARM CHRISTIAN LOVE AND SERVICE TO PEOPLE. REALIZING THE STRESSES OF SUBURBIA, WE WOULD SPECIFICALLY STRIVE TO BE RELEVANT TO YOUTH AND TO STRENGTHEN CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES AND FAMILY LIVING.