History of the Church

1864-Present

In 1864, Massillon was a small community, concerned with its canal and the trade of wheat and coal and was suffering the agonies of the Civil War.  In 1863, 17 Lutheran Families joined to form the first Lutheran Congregation in Massillon.  The first church was directed and organized under the leadership of the Rev. P.J. Buehl, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Akron.  Formal organization of St. Paul’s took place on January 1, 1864.  At that time St. Paul’s numbered 90 Communicants, 210 Souls, with a Sunday School of 65.

In the beginning the congregation met and worshiped in Hoffman’s Church.  Located at 212 North Avenue NE.  This building was used until February 1865.

In 1864, the property bounded by Mill, Cherry, Hill and Harvard Streets was purchased from Arvine Wales for $600.

On February 1, 1865, the congregation moved into the 2nd place of worship, the Masonic Building – located on Charles Street.  Members worshiped there until the dedication of the first church.

On October 18, 1870, a new church located at Cherry Road was dedicated. old-church-web It had a single spire that extended 170 ft into the sky.  The landscaping around the building was the result of the genius of Pastor Buehl.  Carefully trimmed hedges, beautifully graveled walks and paths made the scene a delight.  The building was finished at a cost of $40,000.00.  In 1926 it was dismantled to make place for the present structure.

In 1893, the Rev. L.H. Burry of Shelbyville, Illinois became the pastor.  He remained pastor for 20 years, leaving in 1913.  In 1913 the Rev. F.B. Hax was installed as pastor.  His ministry is the longest to date, lasting 31 years.

On May 6, 1928 the present church was dedicated.

On the death on the Rev. Hax in 1944, the Rev. Paul Baumgartner of Toledo, Ohio became pastor. He was succeeded in 1951 by the Rev. James R. Long of Baltimore, Maryland.  Pastor Long remained until 1962 when he accepted a Call to Houston, Texas.

Under Pastor Long’s leadership, the Educational Building was built at a cost of $210,000.

In March of 1962, the Rev. Maurice White was installed at pastor.  During his tenure, a new Schantz Organ was installed at a cost of $159,477.00. organ-web The 43 rank, 422 pipe organ has complimented the Worship for many years.  In 1983 Pastor White resigned after an extended period of disability.

In 1984, the Rev. Robert J. Groenke was installed as pastor.  Between 1985 and 1995 three different renovation projects were completed at a cost of $1,000,000.00.

In 2002, the Rev. Mark Oster became pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.  In 2011 Pastor Oster resigned to take a position as Chaplin at the Cleveland Clinic.

In 2012, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church began its last renovation project – which is still ongoing.  The cost of the project is $400,000.00._IGP4400

In August 2014, the Rev. David R. Saylor became pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. He relocated to Massillon from the Pittsburgh area.

In 2016, Pastor Ron Jefferson became the interim pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church followed by Pastor Dan Cammarn.

We hope that you will take the time to walk through this Historic Church.  See the beautiful stained glass windows.  Listen to the wonderful Schantz Organ.  Experience the presence of God in wood and glass.  But know most of all that we are here to serve you and to be a continued witness to Massillon that God is the same – yesterday – today – and forever.

SOLA DEO GLORIA

TO GOD ALONE BE ALL THE GLORY