Faith Lutheran Church
HISTORY OF FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH
As early as 1974 there was a group of Lutherans meeting in the Distelfink Bakery next door to plan a worshipping community in Blakeslee. The Pocono Area Leisure Ministry (PALM) Committee of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod was already providing Summer Workers in Arrowhead Lake and Locust Lake.
On Labor Day weekend 1975, the first Lutheran worship service of the Blakeslee Mission was held in the Blakeslee United Methodist Church.
An A-frame building was started the week of May 15-16, 1976, by volunteers from the mission and nearby congregations. The first service held there was on June 26, 1976, with 41 people in attendance. Services were conducted by a summer worker from PALM.
Worship continued in the A-frame until the new sanctuary and narthex were added in 1983. The A-frame was then converted into two classrooms and two bathrooms.
On October 27 of that year, Faith Lutheran was organized as a congregation and was received as a member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Through the 1980s the congregation continued to grow, but struggled financially. By the late 1990s growth reached a point where it was obvious additional space was needed.
A Church and Community Study Committee was formed, which met with John Reisch, an ELCA building consultant, and Peter Norgren, the ELCA church architect, to examine our building needs. The committee also did a survey of the congregation and community. We worked with Jeff Spann, an ELCA building consultant, to determine how much the congregation could borrow to build.
After much work, a recommendation was made to the Church Council that a building committee be formed. Council agreed and the committee was formed with Gary Esterly as chair. The first thing the committee did was talk to local contractors and investigate whether we could build a building with the money we had available. It appeared feasible, and so we interviewed three architects.
Around this time the Esterlys moved from the area, and Gary was replaced by Stephen Slutter Sr., as nuilding committee chair. William Haberchak was chosen to be our architect.
We met with Mr. Haverchak and worked out a plan that would also provide for some future needs. A plan was presented to the congregation and approved. We found a contractor, Oak Ridge Construction, and applied for the necessary permits. After our plans were approved, we broke ground in April 2002. Within a few weeks we had foundation walls. Then we waited for our laminated beams. And we waited. And waited.
A nice dry summer and fall passed until the beams finally arrived. They were set up in November on the last decent weather day until the end of June. The frequent snowstorms and freezing weather severely hampered our progress. Our hope to be in the sanctuary by Easter did not happen. We moved in Mother’s Day, May 11, 2003.
In November 2007 we made plans to add additional bathrooms, a nursery area and renovate the original “A” frame to be office space. The portable classrooms were moved out and demolished as well. Our builder was Martin Homes of Pocono Pines and our building chairperson was Steve Slutter Sr. We moved into our new addition and renovated offices on October 8, 2008.
Check out more on the Historical Association of Tobyhanna Township website: