St. John's - Orange, California
In a world that now measures time in nanoseconds, St. John's has been a cornerstone of Christian life in Orange County for more than 125 years.
In 1881, a small group of Lutherans who had settled around the area that would later become Orange agreed to organize themselves into a congregation and search for a pastor. That search ended when the group issued a call to Reverend Jacob Kogler to serve as their first Pastor.
On February 19, 1882, the St. John's Lutheran Church Constitution was signed by 13 charter members. During the first year, services were held in the homes of church members. Under Pastor Kogler's direction, a Lutheran school also opened its doors to nine pupils.
In 1883, the fledgling congregation bought an old school house and remodeled it for use as both a church and school. Two years later, St. John's officially joined The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
A new sanctuary was erected on the corner of Olive and Almond Streets in 1893. The white Gothic structure cost $4,500. By 1913, the need for a larger house of worship was obvious and six lots were acquired on Almond Avenue between Center and Shaffer Streets. The landmark brick sanctuary now used by St. John's Lutheran Church was originally dedicated on July 19, 1914 and seated 1,100 worshippers. Today, the sanctuary is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
In 1927, Walker Hall was built, thanks to a bequest from the family of Charles K. Walker. The kitchen (as well as dining room service for 600) was donated by Mrs. Carl Schumacher, Mrs. Walker's sister. In 1929, the corner of Almond and Shaffer was acquired for a new, larger school (now called Building A). The following year, St. John's established its first Sunday School classes.
As post-war Orange County blossomed, so did St. John's Lutheran Church and School. In 1953, the school erected Building B and expanded it in 1955. Building C was added in 1957. Today, the congregation of St. John's Lutheran Church is blessed with more than 4,000 members. Our Lutheran School's enrollment tops 800 students. And hundreds more benefit from St. John's Sunday School, Pre-School and Youth Ministry programs. Clearly, St. John's owes much to the exemplary faith, dedication and vision of its 13 founding members. Their legacy and inspiration are reflected in all of the works of this Great Commission congregation.