In the words of a hymn, “the church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.” The history of Peace in Christ is a good illustration of that verse. The congregation has been growing, changing and moving since its beginning in 1973.
It all started with seven families, transplants from other areas of the country, who were anxious to find a Missouri Synod church home. This small group began meeting in homes and eventually were able to rent the South End Civic Association building on Burck St. (now the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Frederick County).
Rev. J. Floyd Dreith, a retired Navy Chaplain, served as acting pastor. September 7, 1975 was designated as Charter Sunday; in the fall of 1976 a constitution was completed and a call was extended to Reverend David J. Betzner, then serving a church in Statesville, North Carolina. Pastor Betzner accepted the call and was installed on March 20, 1977.
Within 5 years, the congregation began the search for a more permanent location. With financial help from the synod, the hundred-year-old Pleasant Hill Union Chapel on Yellow Springs Road was purchased on November 15, 1982. The church building was in disrepair and required many hours of hard work to make the necessary repairs and renovations. The first regular services were held on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1983. An “exodus” service was held on January 1, 1984 and the congregation left the South End Civic Association for the last time.
Through God’s grace, Peace in Christ’s members came to recognize that the growth of their ministry would require yet another move. They hoped to build a new church on Poole Jones Road, but the land which was offered did not meet the congregation’s needs based on the expected budget for expansion.
A survey of existing church buildings presently on the market showed that the best possibility was Fredericktowne Baptist Church in Walkersville. After much prayer and debate, an offer was made and accepted at the end of 1999. The date for move-in was tentatively set to coincide with Peace in Christ’s 25th Anniversary celebration in September, 2000.
During the years since, our congregation has experienced many changes and transitions. Despite the challenges and restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to maintain a strong family feeling. We may have our differences, yet we stand united in devotion to God and service to our fellow man. This is reflected in our congregation’s mission statement, developed in 1993: “We are God’s people, gathered together, growing up and going out by God’s grace.”
Today, nearly 50 years after its founding, Peace in Christ Lutheran Church remains the only Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Frederick County.
Peace in Christ Lutheran Church is not just a building. We are a vital, committed, caring group of Christians who will continue to follow where the Lord leads.