WATERVILLE — Central Maine Lutherans will be celebrating 50 years together this weekend during the Cool Street church’s 50th anniversary jubilee.

The cornerstone of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection was set Sept. 26, 1966, with the first service in the new building held on Thanksgiving Day that year. The church was dedicated in February 1967.

Church pastor the Rev. Paul Nielsen said the congregation was busy last year with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s “protest” that started the Reformation, so they didn’t mark the actual anniversary then.

They will on Saturday and Sunday with food, music, fellowship and a special service.

“Last year we were occupied with the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and so this year we want to celebrate 50 years of the congregation,” Nielsen said by phone Monday.

Luther’s “95 Theses” was a document challenging theological beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, which he nailed to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany, on Oct. 31, 1517.

This “protest” of Catholic church policy, including the role of the pope in Rome and practices regarding penance and indulgences — the ability to buy one’s way out of sin — began the Reformation, the Protestant movement in the Christian church that changed Western society forever.

On Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m., local Lutherans will celebrate their anniversary with a concert performed by Concordia College Choir from Bronxville, New York. The performance is open to the public.

A chicken dinner banquet for congregation members follows the concert. There are about 100 people in the Waterville congregation.

On Sunday a special worship service will begin at 9:45 a.m., with the Concordia College Choir participating in the service to be led by guest preacher the Rev. Dr. Herbert Mueller, the first vice president of the Lutheran Church Missouri synod.

Nielsen said that in the fall of 1962, at the request of area Lutheran families, the Rev. Richard Drews was sent from the church’s Atlantic District to “investigate the planting” of a church in Waterville.

In September 1962 the first parsonage was purchased on Martin Avenue, with services first held at Waterville Junior High School and, until 1966, at Coburn Classical Institute.

The Cool Street property, including 10 and a-half acres of land, was purchased in April 1964 and the church was incorporated and chartered the following September with the Rev. Howard C. Moeller as pastor. In December 2000 the new Christian Education Wing was dedicated and on Super Bowl Sunday Feb. 7, 2016, the sanctuary renovations were dedicated.

Nielsen said Lutherans are different from other Protestant denominations in that they follow the teachings and traditions of the Reformation as outlined in the Book of Concord, or the “confessional statements” of the Lutheran Church’s belief in what Scripture says, that “salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, for Christ’s sake, alone.”

Their faith is based on those “three banners of the Lutheran Reformation.”

The Book of Concord was published in German on June 25, 1580, in Dresden, Germany.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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