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Excerpts from the History of Wollaston Lutheran Church
Quincy, Massachusetts
1931 - 2006

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1930s  |  1940s  |  1950s  |  1960s  |  1970s  |  1980s  |  1990s  |  2000s

In September, 1931 the Rev. Elmer A. Kettner was called by the regional District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod to begin mission work in greater Boston. The Rev. J. Volk proposed that Pastor Kettner begin in Quincy. Once here, Pastor Kettner canvassed from house to house inviting the unchurched to attend the Lutheran service he proposed to conduct. The first service was held on October 11th in the Little Theatre (today, The Deware Funeral Home). The service was attended by 130 people. First Lutheran Church and the Norwegian Lutheran Church, Boston, lent the collection plates and lectern for this service. Twelve children attended the first Sunday School session held just prior to the service. Within months a 14-member choir, a Young People's League, and the Ladies' Aid Society were organized.

On March 2nd the congregation was organized. George Just was elected president, Rudolph Sittinger, secretary, and Fred Stenzel, treasurer. The pastor's residence and land for a church building were purchased on the corner of Hancock Street and Ellington Road. Total purchase price was $11,500.

A granite basement was built and covered with a roof. The basement would serve as the house of worship for almost 20 years. Now the congregation had a debt of $18,000 on its total investment of $30,000. Average church attendance now numbered 70.

Subsidy from the District for the pastor's salary was ended, and the church became self-supporting. Communicant members numbered 180.

Communicant members numbered 215, of whom 15% were in the armed forces (World War II).

The house at 3 Ellington Road was purchased for the church's day nursery and kindergarten.

The present church super-structure was completed and dedicated on June 17th. The nave was built to seat 205 persons. The stained glass window above the altar depicts Jesus standing before a radio microphone, with a broadcasting tower in the distance.

Prior year's average attendance, 210. Nursery and Kindergarten were expanded to Grades 1 & 2 of the Christian Day School. Pastor Kettner resigned to accept a position as editor at the denominational headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Pastor Frank Bauer was installed as pastor. One hundred twelve persons were transferred to the new Lutheran mission in S. Weymouth.

Christian Day School classrooms were remodeled to accommodate Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6. School enrollment was 115. The teaching staff numbered 5.

The Fenno property adjacent to the church was purchased for a proposed Christian Day School building. The Wollaston Lutheran Foundation was established with a gift from R. L. Sittinger.

The congregation's appeal to the District for financial help to build the Day School building was denied.

Christian Day School classes in the church building were ordered closed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety. The congregation was unable to raise funds for a school building.

The congregation agreed to mortgage the church building for $100,000 in order to purchase the remaining Fenno property and erect a federally funded elderly housing project. Wollaston Lutheran Church Apartments, Inc. was incorporated. Twelve stained glass windows for the church nave were installed the following year.

Fenno House was dedicated. Fenno House, a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 202 project, cost $2.6 million. It continues to provide 151 apartments for the elderly, 39 of which are now affordable Assisted Living apartments.

The congregation agreed to sponsor a second housing project for the elderly on Brackett Street in Quincy Center. Pastor Bauer retired after 27 years as Chaplain in the Army National Guard. Governor Edward King promoted him to State rank of Brigadier General. Two years later Pastor Bauer retired as hospital Chaplain with the Veterans Administration - after serving 21 years.

Town Brook House was dedicated. This eight story, 151 unit apartment building for the elderly, was built under HUD's 202/8 program. Total cost of the project was in excess of $7 million.

Pastor Adolph H. Wismar, Jr. was installed as pastor. The pastor's residence, church exterior, and church interior were refurbished with a gift from the Twarok estate.

The congregation began outreach to growing Asian population in Quincy. The congregation's Asian American Committee sponsored ESL classes and a job placement center for refugees and immigrants. The Committee also sponsored the first of many Asian New Year festivals at North Quincy High School and the first of several August Moon festivals. Both celebrations are held annually to this day (2006) under different sponsorship, and both have grown into very large events. The congregation also helped establish the Quincy Interfaith Sheltering Coalition, today's Father Bill's Place. The congregation housed twenty male shelter guests in the church basement each night and provided use of the church kitchen for the whole shelter program on a daily basis during 1986 and 1987. In 1987, the congregation designated monies received in a legacy from Olga Dennen to fund initial mission efforts among Chinese-speaking residents in the area. Pastor Richard Law of Hong Kong was called to serve as pastor for Chinese Ministry.

Pastor Law arrived to begin work in Quincy in September, 1989 and was installed in December. In May, 1990 the first Chinese service was held. The congregation applied to the New England District LCMS for partial subsidy for the Chinese mission. A subsidy was granted, and declining subsidies were granted each year until they were finally phased out in 2004.

The Rev. David Mahn was installed as Associate Pastor. The Chinese worship attendance surpassed the fifty mark. The congregation submitted an application to HUD to sponsor a third elderly housing building on Water Street, Quincy.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awards capital advance funding in the amount of $5.9 million to construct 75 one-bedroom units of housing for the elderly at 314 Water Street under the Section 202 Capital Advance Program.

The 75 unit apartment building is constructed and named "Bauer House" in honor of the work that the Bauers had done in creating and operating the congregation's three low-income senior housing buildings. Dedication ceremonies held on September 22nd also honored Pastor and Mrs. Bauer.

1998- 1999
In 1998, Pastor David Mahn accepted the call to serve as pastor at Messiah Church, Lynnfield where he had previously been serving as interim pastor. Wollaston Lutheran Church applied to the Lutheran Church Extension Fund for loans which would eventually total nearly $2 million to construct and begin operation of a Child Care Center at 47 Weston Avenue. Pastor Ingo Dutzmann of First Lutheran, Boston helped the congregation through the application process with LCEF, and funding was approved.

Construction of the congregation's Child Care Center took place during the year 2000, and the Center was opened in December, 2000 under the direction of Marcia Bailey. Dedication ceremonies were held on May 20, 2001. The classrooms were opened as student enrollment grew and new staff was hired. By December, 2001 sixty-two students were enrolled.

The congregation extended a call to Jacklyn Gronbach to serve as Director of Christian Education. She arrived during the summer and was officially installed during a combined service on October 19th. Jacklyn labored with the congregation until the autumn of 2004 when she accepted a call to serve a congregation in Minnesota. Wollaston Lutheran Church Apartments, Inc applied to HUD for a $3 million grant to convert 39 units at Fenno House for use as affordable assisted living apartments. After demolition and re-construction was complete, the Assisted Living facility was licensed and opened in March, 2004. Pastor David Mahn, former associate pastor and long-time friend of the congregation, died in August, 2004. A new baby grand piano was purchased for use during the Chinese service in December, 2004.

Ida Kwong was engaged to begin work as a parish worker for the Chinese congregation in January, 2005. Mrs. Jean Bauer died in August, 2005. Enrollment at the Child Care Center reached 114 students, and plans were made for the celebration of the congregation's 75th anniversary. The committee includes Marcia Bailey, Eric Law, Ida Kwong, Terry Tse, and Tim Wismar.

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