Faith Alone Image LCMS Logo

Redeemer Lutheran Church


& Student Center

HISTORY OF
REDEEMER LUTHERAN CHURCH

On December 1, 1957, Lutheran church services began at 8am in the Methodist Student Center Chapel, at 129 E. College Street, Nacogdoches, Texas. The services were conducted by the Rev. Dewyth Beltz, pastor of the First Lutheran Church of Lufkin, Texas. The services in Nacogdoches were officially an extension of First Lutheran but named Redeemer Lutheran Church of Nacogdoches, Texas. This first congregation consisted of 10 adult members and their 12 children.
January 28, 1960 - The Nacogdoches members met in the residence of Mr. & Mrs. Charles G. Haas at 214 E. Wettermark St. in Nacogdoches, Texas to organize an official congregation separate from First Lutheran. Thus, the Redeemer Lutheran Church of Nacogdoches was founded. Officers were elected and authorized to seek affiliation with the Texas District of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Committees were formed to draw a constitution, publicize the presence of the new church in the city, and seek the Texas District's assistance. The Rev. A. D. Rast, Secretary to the District Board of Missions was invited to meet with the new congregation , Sunday February 21, 1960.

The Lutheran Women's Missionary League lends assistance ....

May 2, 1960 - Pastor Beltz received a letter from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League of The Texas District, advising that Rev. Rast had appraised them of the new developments in Nacogdoches, and that the LWML - Texas District was considering financial assistance. On June 20, 1960, the LWML approved $7,000.00 to aid the development in Nacogdoches. Thereafter, Rev. Rast sent word that an anonymous donor had given $10,000.00 “to be used for helping to start a Lutheran Church in a city where there was none”, and the District had chosen Nacogdoches as the place. Planning began for acquiring suitable property for Redeemer Lutheran Church.

On October 31, 1961, the Blount/Baker Home at 1801 North Street, Nacogdoches, Texas was purchased for occupancy by RLC January 1, 1962. Alterations done almost entirely by the congregation members were completed by the end of February. Services were held in the new church home of Redeemer Lutheran for the first time on March 1, 1962.
On March 29, 1962, dedication services were held, with The Texas District President, Alfred Jesse, officiating, Assisted by Pastor Dweyth Beltz. On June 11, 1967, The Rev. Arthur Dauer was installed as Pastor, replacing Pastor Beltz. In the years that followed, The Rev. Quentin Almstedt was installed as Pastor on August 10, 1969, after the untimely death of Pastor Dauer; and on March 15, 1970, the Rev. Richard M. Swanson replaced Pastor Almstedt.

The Church and the Community grow ...

By 1971, the college enrollment at Steven F. Austin had grown from 1,800 to 12,000 students, and it became a university. In turn, the city of Nacogdoches grew, as did Redeemer Lutheran Church. Plans were then made to obtain more suitable facilities for the church. The North Street building was sold on June 22, 1980, and land was purchased on Appleby Sand Road on August 24, 1980.

Ground-breaking for construction of the new church was held on January 11, 1981. On July 5, 1981, the first worship service was held in the new building. The dedication service was held on July 16, 1981, officiated by the Rev. Dewyth Beltz, and assisted by Pastor Neal Arnold Greatens (replacing Pastor Almstedt, after completing his Seminary requirements). The Service of Installation and Ordination of Rev. Greatens was held on July 26, 1982.

Additions, alterations, and improvements ...

As the congregation continued to grow, a Family Center and other improvements were added. The Family Center was dedicated on August 5, 1984. On June 1, 1986, the Rev. James E. Otte was installed as Pastor, replacing Pastor Greatens, and on September 13, 1998, the dedication of other major building alterations (joining the Sanctuary and Family Center buildings together, and other improvements) was held.
The Year 2001 was a year of continued change for Redeemer Lutheran. We were without a full-time pastor for the whole year, as Pastor Otte accepted a Call from Messiah Lutheran Church in Richardson, Texas, and left Redeemer at the end of December 2000. We were blessed, however, by the services of the Rev. Victor Bohlmann and the Rev. H. Melvin Symmank as interim pastors for the year. Other new blessings for the church included a new sign for the front of the church, and a new organ that was dedicated on Reformation Sunday, October 28, 2001. Tony Sartain proudly demonstrates the superior qualities of the organ.
We Welcome Pastor Bob
On June 23, 2002, The Rev. Robert A. Kobler was installed as Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church & Student Center. The Service was officiated by The Rev. Jim Linderman, President of the Texas District of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The Vice-President of the District , The Rev. Robert Preece, provided the Sermon. Also participating were Pastors of the LCMS Area Circuit, lead by the Area Counselor, The Rev. Frank Starr.
Back Row: Jon Meyer (Grace, Crockett), H. Melvin Symmank (Interim Pastor), David Bergmann (Bethlehem, Palestine), Victor Willman (Trinity, Tyler), Victor Bohlmann (Interim Pastor), Frank Starr (First Lutheran, Lufkin).
Front Row: Jim Ristvedt (Retired), Jim Linderman (Pres. Texas Dist., Austin), Robert Kobler (Redeemer, Nacogdoches), Robert Preece (Area B Vice Pres., Zion, Dallas), Russell Etzel (Our Savior, Centerville).

Many thanks to Mr. Charles G. Haas, a founding member of Redeemer Lutheran Church,
for compiling the information for this history.