Snapshots of Congregations from Around the Church of the Lutheran Confession
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
The imagery employed in this familiar psalm is the kind that is easily grasped by anyone, and it is most certainly meaningful to those who live within view of mountains. The sight of mountain peaks in the distance or the view from a mountain height is a mighty witness to the greatness of God, Who brought these massive formations into existence by the power of His Word. Mountains make us feel small and weak but remind us of the power of God, Whom we know from His Word to be gracious toward us sinners.
The city of Loveland, Colorado sits not far to the east of the Front Range of the Rockies and Rocky Mountain National Park. It was in this community that CLC members who had located here for work started a Christian congregation.
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church was incorporated in 1978. This Gospel ministry, in its beginning, was helped by Redeemer congregation in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and their pastor, Michael Sydow, who conducted the first CLC services in Loveland. At the end of 1979, the congregation consisted of ten communicants and one unconfirmed soul. The original members were Larry and Ann Dassow and their children Mary, Kay, and Paul; Lloyd and Pat Lundeen; Lowell Kolb; Susanne Kolb; and Robert and Susan Will. The congregation joined the CLC in 1980.
Prince of Peace membership began to grow, largely by relocation of CLC members to the northern Colorado area. The young congregation called Pastor Robert Reim, who at the time was serving Trinity Lutheran Church, a CLC congregation in Broomfield, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Pastor Reim became the first resident pastor of Prince of Peace in 1980.
The other pastors who have served Prince of Peace were Paul F. Nolting (1985-1988), Michael Sprengeler (1988-1995), Peter Reim (1996-2010), Scott Schiermeister (2010-2014), and John Klatt (2014-present).
In 1981, with the assistance of a loan from the Mission Extension Fund of the CLC, the congregation built a church/parsonage on a one-third-acre lot in a developing area in the northeast part of the city. This building has been the house of worship for Prince of Peace to the present day.
The congregation also planned for the future by purchasing, in 2002, a piece of land near the present church and moving an existing house onto the property to serve as a parsonage. This property is a good location for a new church building, should the Lord so increase and guide the congregation. God has also blessed the congregation through the sale of three building lots from this property. The recent sale of the third lot has provided funds for much-needed repairs on the church.
For many years, members of Prince of Peace carried on the CLC’s Ministry by Mail program of distributing printed sermons and then video recordings of our church services. Though Ministry by Mail is now produced elsewhere, the congregation still records video services on DVDs, which are made available to members who live too far away to attend regularly.
The membership currently numbers thirty-eight communicants and five pre-communicants. Sunday attendance averages in the twenties. For one week each summer there is a Vacation Bible School, which includes several children of non-members. Signs of growth in the past year included an infant Baptism, an adult confirmation, a child confirmation, and two teenage boys in regular attendance in catechism classes.
A reminder of the purpose of our ministry at Prince of Peace also occurred in the past year. A long-time member was taken to be with the Lord at the age of ninety-seven. For over thirty years, this man’s faith in his Savior had been sustained and strengthened here by the Word and Sacrament for his entrance into eternal life.
The continued existence of a congregation such as ours over the years is a testimony to the Spirit’s silent and invisible work in the hearts of the members. It is God Who moves souls to make sacrifices of money, time, and effort to maintain a Gospel ministry, to keep the light of Christ shining in a community.
Like most of the congregations in the CLC, Prince of Peace is small in numbers and material resources when evaluated by the standards of the world. But the mountains to our west stand in constant reminder that the God we serve is almighty, His resources unlimited. And the Gospel Word that sounds within the walls of our church teaches our hearts that He is our Father Who loves us, our Savior Who gave His life for us, and our Comforter Who dwells within us and gives us life.
John Klatt is pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Loveland, Colorado.