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Home North Carolina Catawba County City of Conover Historical Markers St. John's Church

St. John's Church

NC-16 at St. John's Church Road, Conover, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Lutheran. Organized prior to 1798. J. G. Arends was first pastor. Building, the fourth on site, is 1/4 mile east."
     St. John’s Church was established in Lincoln (now Catawba) County as a united congregation serving Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians. The earliest record of the church is a deed, recorded in Lincoln County, dated November 28, 1798, in which Henry Pope conveyed to the church elders six acres of property from a grant that he had received in 1765. The deed states that the “regular ministers of each of the said denominations are to have full & free liberty to exercise the duties of their office when legally called there.” Church trustees erected a “commodious log church in the bend of the river.”

     In 1883 the log church was replaced by a brick sanctuary that could seat 300 worshippers. The building was incorporated into an expanded facility in 1948, but that church was destroyed by a fire just two years later, leaving only the tower. A new church was erected, integrating the 1948 tower. It was dedicated in 1951 and was used by the St. John’s Church congregation until a fire destroyed the sanctuary in 2001. Some other portions of the church remained and a rebuilding project was instituted immediately. The new sanctuary was dedicated on November 9, 2003.

     J. G. Arends (Arndt), a native of Germany, was the church’s first pastor. By about 1812, the church was used by Lutherans three Sundays a month and the Reformed congregation on the remaining Sunday. When St. John’s Church became affiliated with the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, in 1895, the Reverend W. H. T. Dau was the first synod minister. In 1916, the Lutherans voted to pay the Reformed group one dollar per month for the use of the church building on the fourth Sunday. The Missouri Synod helped the Lutherans to purchase the Reformed congregation’s one-quarter share of the church property before the 1948 building was constructed. It has been associated with the Missouri organization since that time.

Gary R. Freeze, The Catawbans: Crafters of a North Carolina County (1995)
Hickory Daily Record, June 14, 1973
Jacob L. Morgan, and others, eds., History of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina (1953)
Lincoln County Deeds, North Carolina State Archives