Grace Lutheran Church
Thursday, November 14, 2019
A congregation of the ELCA, serving Ormond Beach since 1961
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Church History

In 1960, it was determined that there was a need for a Lutheran congregation in the growing Ormond Beach community. Lutheran Church in America's Board of American Missions assigned Pastor James E. von Holten to get a church started. Soon, groups of dedicated Christians were meeting informally at the old Ormond Hotel, which was located on the corner of John Anderson Drive and Granada Boulevard.
 
Interest grew and before formal organization took place May 7, 1961. A parsonage was purchased, and the present site for a new church was negotiated.
 
Continuing to meet in the hotel, the congregation began planning for the future. A Building Committee was formed, and a fund raising program took shape. Building plans were developed, financing secured, and ground-breaking for the new church took place on July 21, 1963. It was dedicated December 21st of the same year.
 
Pastor von Holten, having completed his mission goal, resigned early in 1965. A Pulpit Committee was organized, and after a new search, the Rev. Ralph W. Birk was called on November 7, 1965 to be the new Pastor. The church continued to grow and prosper. By this time, Grace Lutheran Church had achieved its initial mission. 
 
Less than seven years later, Pastor Birk resigned July 31, 1972. Once again a Pulpit Committee was organized. Pastor Richard E. Martin of Baltimore met with the Committee, preached a sermon at the church, and was offered a call. The call was accepted and he was installed as the third Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church on January 14, 1973.
 
With continued growth, it was evident that an expanded church facility had to be built. A Building Committee was appointed. This Committee took two years to complete its work. A new concept in contemporary church building design was developed. As an integral part of the new structure, there was an area identified as the Garden of the Resurrection. This provided a place where loved ones would be interred in sealed crypts and the ashes of cremated Christians would be laid to rest.
 
Plans for the new building were approved and the architect, Joseph Blais, was asked to complete his drawings. On Sunday, December 14, 1975, ground was broken. Construction on the new building began in February 1976, and on May 30, 1976, at 10:00 AM, a Cornerstone Laying Service was held.
 
On February 20, 1977, special services were held. The 10:00 AM service, held in the old church, was a closing service for that building. At 3:00 PM that afternoon, a procession formed outside the new building and the key for the new church was presented to Pastor Martin. Each area was dedicated with a prayer.
 
Brief History since 1977
 
June 1980 - Dr. Wilbert Boerstler installed as Associate Pastor, served for two years
 
May 1981 - Twentienth Anniversary banquet and service held
 
April 1982 - Call issued to Rev. Robert C. Whittler to serve as Assistant Pastor
 
May 1983 - Rev. Robert C. Whittler installed as fifth Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church
 
May 1986 - Twenty-fifth Anniversary celebration
 
September 1986 - New cross installed on outside cross tower and new outdoor sign installed
 
May 1987 - Constitutional Convention to form ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod held in Orlando
 
January 1988 - Rev. Robert Whittler retires, Rev. Frederick Fritsch installed as interim Pastor
 
October 1988 - Rev. Dr. M. Thomas Sublett installed as seventh Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church
 
May 1990 - Congregation approves addition of 191 niches to Garden of Resurrection
 
April 1992 - Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration concludes with the burning of the mortgage at the worship service
 
September 1992 - Noah's Ark Preschool begins
 
April 1996 - Dedication of Zimmer organ
 
June 1999 - Pastor M. Thomas Sublett retires
 
June 2000 - Rev. Virginia Barnes installed as eighth Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church
 
May 2006 - Forty-fifth Anniversary Celebration
 
February 2009 - Rev. Virginia Barnes resigns, Rev. Charles Wallick becomes Interim Pastor
 
November 2010 - Congregation approves addition of 86 new niches to Garden of Resurrection
 
April 2011 - Rev. Dennis Koch installed as ninth pastor of Grace Lutheran Church
 
May 2011 - Fiftieth Anniversary year-long celebration kicks off with a celebratory banquet at Halifax Plantation
 
November 2018 - Rev. Dennis Koch resigns.
 
December 2018 - Rev. Dr. Dennis R. Meyer installed as Interim Pastor