First Lutheran Church in Mansfield, Ohio—Our Visit in August, 2012
First English Lutheran Church of Mansfield was founded in 1832. Its present edifice was built in the 1890’s (for $40,000!!!). As a child I attended this church in the late 40’s and early 50’s with my parents.
My mother and I left it in the mid-50’s, joining others who thought the church too “modernist” and who went to the growing and vibrant Grace Brethren Church instead. First Lutheran disaffiliated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 2010 and is now affiliated with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), a solidly biblical, confessional denomination committed to “The Great Commission.”
On Sunday, August 26, 2012 Mary and I attended morning worship while we were in town. The ambience of the sanctuary is always compelling—the Gospel Story surrounds you before you hear it once again. The people were warm and friendly. The pipe organist was excellent and the hymns and liturgy uplifting. Pastor Paul Larson gave a fine expository message on our spiritual battle and armor (from Ephesians 6). The hymns were on this theme—I haven’t sung “Onward Christian Soldiers” for years.
A contemporary service also meets during the same hour. The pastor speaks in both services. These two worshipping bodies meet together whenever there is a 5th Sunday of the month.
The church is located in the center of Mansfield. Its attendance is a fraction of what it was sixty years ago. That part of town has “seen its day,” but the church is centrally located minutes from anywhere in the city and has plenty of parking.
We were delighted to attend. The church should have a great future. We pray God’s ongoing blessing on this church family. (see: www.felc-mansfield.org)