More Church History

From 1949 to the early 60s, the congregation experienced substantial growth. Total membership increased to 350. In 1963, a major remodeling project was completed. Much of this cost went into the improvement of the old building. The exterior was brickfaced, new windows were replaced in the sanctuary, the roof was reshingled, and a new hot-water heating system was installed. The building was also extended thirty-eight feet to the north and fourteen feet to the east. In the basement, a new kitchen was built, an acoustical ceiling was installed, and new tile was put on the floor. Since the church was steadily growing, this addition provided more room for Sunday School classes and a larger study for the pastor. By that time there were 435 persons on the membership role.

Twelve years later, in 1975, with the congregation continuing to grow, it was recognized that additional seating space in the sanctuary was greatly needed. To create this additional room, it was voted to reverse the sanctuary 180°, placing the altar at the south end of the building, where the main entrance had formerly been located. By using the full floor space available, the seating capacity was increased from 150 to an overflow total of more than 300. Included in the project was new paneling, lighting, fixtures, carpeting, pews and chancel furnishings.

The 1991 church remodeling had been considered for many years. It was recognized for some time that the narthex steps into the church were a real obstacle for many. Also, classroom space for the 135 Sunday School students was inadequate. There was also the need for an additional entry way and office space. Restrooms were inconveniently located. To help meet these needs, the congregation voted on June 17, 1990 to proceed with a building addition. Features of this addition included an elevator, handicapped accessible restrooms, eleven classrooms, a new office for the pastor and a much enlarged entryway.

Groundbreaking for the new addition was on July 22, 1990, with construction beginning the first part of August. The project benefited from a very large number of volunteers.  1991 will go down in our congregation's history as a noteworthy one with the completion of the addition that had been hoped for, dreamed about, and discussed for many years. The addition was dedicated on May 5.  The addition, with its ten classrooms, met the long time need for Sunday School and confirmation classes. Another positive was the  installed elevator. The new restrooms near the sanctuary, along with the elevator, meet the special needs of the handicapped. The enlarged entryway was about five times the size of the former area. One of the rooms in the new addition was set aside as a nursery  The new office space was much larger which included a fully equipped secretary's office.

American Lutheran's 50th Anniversary was celebrated on September 9 & 10 in 1995. In preparation for the celebration, shrubbery was planted and sidewalks were replaced or repaired. The big item was the installation of air-conditioning the sanctuary.

1996 saw the hiring of a part-time Youth Ministry Coordinator. A new sound system was installed in 1997 and the kitchen renovation was well underway. In 1998 the kitchen renovation was completed, and due to the generous support of many, the expense was covered. A full-time position of Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry Coordinator was added in 2000. The sanctuary was re-carpeted. 2001 saw many projects underway - the pews were re-upholstered, parking lot improvements were made, and a new rear entrance to the basement was constructed along with many other improvements. In 2002 our youth were led by two college students and community students utilized our Parish House for their gatherings. A Lenten Devotional Booklet was written by our members and used during Lent for our personal devotions in 2002. Attendance booklets were placed in our pews in 2004 as well as having weekly communion at our service. A Prayer Room was added in 2006. In 2007 ALC chose the ELW as the worship hymnal.

The traditional Sunday School program became Kids In Christ (K.I.C.) in 2010. On Wednesday evenings a meal is served and classes follow. Also the church building was reroofed and was paid in full by the membership before its completion.

The parsonage was made ready for a new pastor in 2011. A Contemporary Worship Team of instrumentalists and vocalists was organized and is used at some worship services. New computer systems for our secretary and pastor were added. Teen Serve projects were supported by the youth and pastor in both 2012 and 2013. A Council Covenant is now a part of each Council Meeting.

We thank God for the rich blessings that have come to our congregation through the years. We continue to seek God’s guidance as we carry on with ministry in His name!

1103 F Avenue Grundy Center, IA 50638

© 2020 by American Lutheran Church

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