On one of my site-seeing trips with Yai this summer, I took a couple wrong turns in Waverly, Iowa and ended up at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. "It looks like a pretty neat church," I told Yai. "Do you think we should see if the doors are open? Or should we continue to our next stop?" She replied, "We're here. We might as well see it."
We walked up to the front door...and it opened! The church is attached to a more modern building (right), which is a Christian school. So, I headed down to the office, and the folks there gave us the go-ahead to take a tour!
The front room was decorated for an upcoming event. We walked down a few stairs to a hall with three large windows looking out into a small garden quadrangle.
To one side of the windows is the fellowship hall. Tables and chairs fill the room, which also has a stage. Doors on the other side lead to the sanctuary.
The congregation of St. Paul's Lutheran was first organized by German immigrants in 1872. They worshiped at rented locations until 1886, when they purchased an old church near the present location. The church used today was built in 1907-1908.
Education has been a concern of the congregation from the church's inception. They organized their first school in 1872, and in 1890 they bought land near the church to build a schoolhouse. The current school building was constructed in 1964. You can read more about the history of the church and school at their website.
After walking into the sanctuary, I was very glad we had stopped! It was more beautiful than I had expected. I resisted the urge to try out the grand piano.
A window at the back of the church depicts Martin Luther. Other windows in the sanctuary feature Jesus as the Good Shepherd, Jesus with the woman at the well, knocking on a door, and saving Peter while walking on water.
The two largest windows in the sanctuary are pictured above. The inscription on the left is Herr, Bliebe Bie Uns or "Lord, Stay With Us." (thanks Google Translate!) This comes from Luke 24:29, when after Jesus had talked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, they invited Him to stay with them.
This verse inspired the 1847 hymn "Abide With Me," which was very popular during World War I.
The inscription on the second window is Gestiftet Von Dem Frauenverein, which the translator seems to indicate means "Donated by the Ladies' Club." The window shows Martha serving while Mary listens to Jesus (in the town of Bethany).
At the back of the sanctuary, there's a beautiful pipe organ.
"Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying." --Martin Luther
"Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man
If every wrong turn I took brought me to a church like this one, I might consider making a point of getting momentarily confused more often!
I hope it's a good place for lost souls to end up. It wasn't bad for a lost blogger.