Grace Lutheran Church

Grace Lutheran Church is a comparative "newcomer" in the history of churches in Cooperstown. Real work for the Missouri Synod, of which Grace is a member, did not start until the fall of 1947.

Pastor Willard Laatz, a graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, was extended a call to serve Zion Lutheran Church, Binford, and to establish a mission at Cooperstown. He accepted the call, and came to Cooperstown, first conducting services in the basement of the school gymnasium.

Work at first was definitely slow; however, records reveal that the Mission was organized and incorporated as Grace Lutheran Church, Cooperstown, North Dakota on August 5, 1948. The articles of incorporation were filed by Carrol Retzlaff, Henry Winning and Glenn Johnson. During the same year, an old rural school building was purchased, moved into town, and the first services were conducted in this building on Christmas Eve of that year.

Work continued to show small, but gradual growth, and the members decided that a better and permanent house of worship would be needed. Therefore, plans were drawn up, and the work on a new house of worship was begun in the fall of 1952. By Christmas Eve, the basement of the new church was completed, and services were conducted there.

Grace Lutheran Church, in the main, has been a "do it yourself" project. Most of the work has been done by its members, and only on occasion, have professional carpenters etc. been called in.

Even the neighboring congregations have, at time, helped to complete certain parts of the work. Because the members could work only in the fall and winter, it has been a long task; but, as this is being written, the congregation is looking forward to the day of Dedication, which has been set for April 28, 1957. Pastor Laatz served as pastor to this congregation until the end of 1955, when he accepted a call to Illinois. During 1956, the Rev. George Baumgartner, of Hope, North Dakota served until the middle of September, when the present pastor, the Rev. George Schubarth was installed.

Grace Lutheran Church has shown a slow but steady growth. At present, it claims a membership of 73 communicant members, and 136 baptized members. It has various organizations which are active in its Church program, the youth belonging to the International Walther League, the Ladies Aid also having membership in the Lutheran Women€™s Missionary League. It has quite an active Sunday School, a Junior and a Senior Choir, which render special numbers at the regular services. It is the confident hope and expectation of the members of Grace Lutheran, that they have much to contribute to the future of Cooperstown and its community.

Source:  Cooperstown Diamond Jubilee 1882-1957 Page 28

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