With this issue of the Eagle’s View, we’re giving you a closer glimpse inside our new facility. Each month we’ll reveal a different part of the facility, each representing a remarkable opportunity for ministry.
This month, we look inside the new St. John’s Museum, a room that will beautifully and meaningfully tell the story of our 268-year history.
Here’s the backstory. The only reason we can envision such a place is because of Martha Agner, the congregation’s historian, who died shortly before I arrived in 2009. Her two-volume work on St. John’s provides material professional historians crave. We are certainly indebted to her good stewardship of our history and historical preservation.
We’re also blessed because of our long-standing archives room. A new archives team was formed two years ago — Barbara Rufty, Pat Epting, and Linda Safrit — and they have spent literally hundreds of hours searching through the vast amount of material saved over the years. Although not totally complete, the Archives has already been moved to a newly renovated room. The Museum will draw from its collection, including items like the congregation’s first communion set, and Bibles and worship books from nearly every generation.
I should point out that our Museum Team is phenomenal. I often brag about the remarkably talented group of volunteers we have at St. John’s. Here’s a perfect example.
Gary Freeze is professor of history at Catawba and the recognized expert in our region’s history. As a Lutheran, he has long been interested in the strong Lutheran roots within this area. Gretchen Witt is another local historian and librarian who oversees genealogical research at the Rowan County Library. Kaye Brown Hirst is the director of the Rowan County Museum. Kaye is a long-time friend of St. John’s who provides invaluable insight into museum displays and items of interest. Linda Safrit is the eyes and ears of the group. She knows the archives collection like the back of her hand and has a rich appreciation for the people and ministries that make St. John’s unique.
I love sitting with a group of folks who enjoy creating something. They’ve been willing to think outside the box, bring enormous experience to the table, and can hardly wait to “unveil” the Museum for our members and guests.
You’ll begin to see a teaser in the fall, but the official opening won’t be until, naturally, October 31, the 498th anniversary of Lutheranism. Until then we have a lot of work to do and some money to raise. Stay tuned