“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27).
Jesus’ gift of spiritual peace has always been a wonderful and amazing part of God’s steadfast love and kindness to His Church. By faith God’s children are guided by the Holy Spirit to believe in the promises of the Word that assure us of the complete forgiveness of sins found in the cross of our Savior Jesus. That declaration of “not guilty” by our loving God gives our otherwise guilty consciences a peace that passes understanding. It is a genuine rest in our hearts that could come only from the One who is greater than our hearts, the Sabbath of our souls, Jesus Christ.
Your fellow saints, the members of Peace Lutheran Church of Orofino, Idaho, have been receiving Jesus’ gift of spiritual peace for the last seventy-four years. With two charter families meeting in their homes, they began in 1941 as a preaching station of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Clarkston, Washington. They were served by Pastor Edward Kirst. In 1950 a constitution was adopted and they became a separate congregation served by Pastor Leonard Bernthal.
In 1952 Peace Lutheran Church applied for and received membership in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. However, in the fall of 1957, the congregation voted to terminate fellowship because of the WELS’ false teachings regarding the doctrine of church fellowship. Three years later, on December 18, 1960, the congregation voted unanimously to apply for membership in a newly-formed synod called the Church of the Lutheran Confession.
For the first 30 years, the members of Peace Lutheran Church met weekly in several different rented facilities. In 1980 a new mobile home was purchased and converted into a suitable house of worship. In 1986 a new lot was purchased, and the church was relocated to 13946 First Avenue West in Orofino. This steadfast little group of believers has been worshiping there ever since.
Over the years, the work of God’s kingdom has been carried out by many faithful men and women of the congregation. Most importantly, the members have been blessed with the regular preaching and teaching of God’s Holy Word. The Holy Sacraments of Baptism and Communion continue their God-intended work of the giving of the forgiveness of sins and all spiritual blessings. Some highlights of God’s blessings to date at Peace Lutheran Church include 116 Baptisms, 54 Confirmations, 23 weddings, and 23 saints who have been ushered from the church on this earth to the eternal mansions above. The following pastors have been privileged to declare Jesus’ gift of peace to the blood-bought souls of this congregation: Edward Kirst (1941); Maynard Witt (1941 vacancy); George Frey (1942-48); Fred Tiefel (1948 vacancy); Leland Grams (1948 vacancy); Leonard Bernthal (1949-65); Kenneth Hallauer (1965-67); Helmuth Rutz (1967-80); Paul Schaller (1980-90); Peter Reim (1990-96); Paul Krause (1996-2008); Scott Schiermeister (2009); and David Naumann (2010-present).
Currently the congregation has thirty-three members with twenty-nine communicants. With an average attendance of eighteen, worship services are held
Sunday mornings at 8:00 A.M., and a 7:30 A.M. half-hour Bible study is offered prior to Sunday service September through May.
By Spirit-worked faith, the members of Peace are thankful to the Lord of the Church for His steadfast love and kindness in guarding our hearts and minds with the peace of His Son Jesus Christ. We look forward to our Triune God’s blessings and His gracious plans for our hope-filled future.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
David Naumann is pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Clarkston, Washington, and Peace Lutheran Church in Orofino, Idaho.