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   Lutheran Chapel’s traditional date of organization is 1780, but this date is unsubstantiated. Pastor Carl August Gottlieb Storch’s Jan. 7, 1789 German diary entry, reproduced above, provides the first known documentation of the congregation’s existence. Organized by Germans, who, for the most part, had migrated from Pennsylvania to Rowan County, NC, Pastor Storch’s diary entry reveals the congregation first worshiped in the building of Crystal Spring Presbyterian Church in south Rowan’s early Scotch Irish settlement, approximately two miles east of present-day China Grove, NC.

   Lutheran Chapel joined with Mt. Zion German Reformed Church (now United Church of Christ) by 1799 to form the United German Congregation, which, in that year, built their own log church building 200 yards west of Lutheran Chapel’s current site. This building came to be called Savitz Church, likely because of its close proximity to George Savitz, Jr.’s dwelling house and grist mill.

   A representative of Lutheran Chapel attended the organizational meeting of the North Carolina Lutheran Synod in 1803, and the congregation remains a founding member of the synod to this day.

   Revival style worship replaced traditional Lutheran worship in the congregation by 1824, which led to a minority of Lutheran Chapel’s members withdrawing in that year, and organizing Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church. Lutheran Chapel returned to traditional Lutheran worship by the latter 19th century.

   In 1836, a frame church building was constructed by the congregation on the current nave’s site, and the church’s name was changed to Luther’s Chapel.

   Only six months after the close of the Civil War, the congregation began building a new brick church, which was completed in 1866. At this time, the church’s name was changed to Lutheran Chapel. This brick church is the congregation’s current nave, and is the oldest Lutheran church building in continuous use in Rowan County.

   A bell tower was constructed on the west end of the nave in 1891.

   Although the congregation voted to demolish the 1866 building and build a new brick church in 1927, this plan met strong resistance, and floundered for two years, until it was finally silenced by the Great Depression.

   The education building, initially erected on the east end of the nave in 1933, was remodeled and enlarged to approximately twice its original size in 1954.

   The congregation’s Amanda Kluttz Fellowship Hall was completed in 1965.

   Lutheran Chapel is the oldest Lutheran congregation in southern Rowan County, having now served that community for well over two-hundred years. As the congregation continues forward into its third century, they have adopted as their mission in ministry:

“Hear the Word,  Live the Word,  Share the Word.”

History by Kevin Sloop

Site of the original Savitz Church

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