History of Mt Olive Church
5201 Saratoga Road
Corpus Christi, TX
Mt Olive Lutheran church began this year with a call to Luther W. Roehrs by the Mission Board of Texas District, LCMS, in the Alameda Park area of Corpus Christi.
First service, was held at the mission, on September 23, 1951 at the “Little Theater”, 5523 S. Alameda. Pastor Roehrs preached on the theme ‘The Great Commandment.’ (Taken from the 40th Anniversary Booklet, 1992)
A meeting was held at Pastor Roehrs home o April, 29. Mission Director of the Texas District was present (Pastor A.O. Rast) along with members of the mission, Martin Birnbaum and G. Bartold. After discussion of the Biblical foundation for an organized church; a motion was made and seconded to take steps to organize from mission status to church status. Messrs. Birnbaum and Bartold volunteered to assist Pastor Roehrs in creating a constitution. (Taken form the 40th Anniversary Booklet, 1992)
June 10: A called meeting of the voting members was held at Pastor Roehrs’ home and the proposed Constitution and By-Laws were read discussed and approved. (Ibid)
June 17: The name of the church was changed from Mt Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Corpus Christi, TX to read: The Mt Olive Lutheran Church, Corpus Christi, TX. The voting members present signed the constitution and Thank You letters were sent to St John’s and Trinity. (Ibid)
September 23: 12 Baptisms and two adult confirmations were held. (Ibid)
Thanksgiving Day: Ground was broken for the new church building at 752 Everhart Road. (Ibid)
April 5: Easter Sunday the new building was dedicated to the ‘Glory of God.’ (Ibid) The building seating capacity was 117 and the dimensions were 25X33 feet. (Ibid) April 26: First wedding of Martin A. Birnbaum and Charlotte May Carlson was performed. First Baptism of Raymond George Biehl, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Biehl. Ibid)
May: First Confirmation class consisted of Mrs. Martin Birnbaum, Miss Shirley Dallas, S.L. Ebert, Mrs. W.B. Jacquet and Miss E. Ann Robertson. (Ibid)
October 19: Mt. Olive Ladies Aid was received into membership with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. Mrs. Erwin Birnbaum was President and Mrs. E. Keilberg, Treasurer. (Ibid)
October 24: First parsonage was purchased and dedicated at 906 Collingswood. (Ibid)
July 1: Mt. Olive became self-supporting. Later it received support from the Mission Board of Texas in the early 60s and 70s. (Ibid)
August: Pastor Roehrs left to become Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ede, TX. Reverend Vernon Harley of Our Savior Lutheran Church served as vacancy Pastor. (Ibid)
March 31: Pastor Robert F. Kamrath from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Crosby, ND was installed as Pastor by Pastor T.H. Graalman. Pastor Vernon Harley delivered the sermon. (Ibid) Unknown: The Men’s Club and Boy Scout Troop 212 were organized. (Ibid)
January 10: A two-room school building was erected and dedicated by the contracting firm of Evans and Taylor. The cost was $14, 516. Architect was Lloyd Winston and the Building Committee consisted of Martin Birnbaum, Chairman Levi Taylor, George Bartold, Paul Lantroop and Harry Perkins. (Ibid)
January 8: Pastor Kamrath preached his farewell sermon as he accepted a call to St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wilson, TX. Harley was the vacancy Pastor once again. (Ibid) May 8: Rev. Jack A. Schmidt was installed. He was a 1958 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He arrived from a dual parish assignment in Ruskin and Davenport, NE. Dr. Roland Wiederaenders preached and Rev. Vernon Harley installed Pastor Schmidt. (Ibid)
Sept 4: Pastor Schmidt left as accepted a call to Hastings NE. The vacancy was filled by Andrew Simak, retired Pastor William Petzke and Pastor Vernon Harley. (Ibid)
July 7: Pastor Lambert Schroeder was ordained and installed at Mt. Olive. His pastorate was a time of growth, along with many Navy personnel entering and leaving the church. (Ibid)
May 23: Pastor Schroeder left to become Professor of Religion and Dean of Students at St. John’s Lutheran College of Winfield, KS. Rev. Fred Boden, of Our Savior Lutheran, served as vacancy pastor. (Ibid)
April: The Parsonage was sold for $12,000. (Ibid)
June 22: Rev Steven C. Johnson was installed as pastor. He graduated from the University of Houston and received his theological education at Concordia Semnary, Springfield, IL. Rev. Fred Boden was the speaker and Rev. Louis Pabor performed the installation. (Ibid)
October: “The Constitution and By-Laws were amended to permit [confirmed] women 18 years and above, to become members of the Voters’ Assembly.” (Ibid)
October7: The Mt Olive Voters met to discuss the future of the church. They vetted three options; Merge with Trinity, Sell the property and build a new church and go on mission support, or Close the doors. A motion was placed on the floor to ‘sell the church and go our own way’ – it was never seconded. A land committee was appointed. The members of the committee were Jerry Wieser, Ed Stowe and Pastor Johnson. A second committee was formed to meet with Trinity; Floyd Suder, Wallace Perry and Don Nielson. (Ibid)
January 23: A decision was made to relocate.
May: Ten acres of farm land was purchased on Saratoga Road and Long Meadow by the Texas District. Approximately 5 acres were later deeded to Mt Olive at $75,000. William Nix of Houston, TX was selected as the architect. In addition, Charles Bellah of Corpus Christi as supervision architect. (Ibid)
March 31: Reverend William K. Schuster of St. Paul Lutheran Church Plainview Texas accepted the call to Mt Olive and was installed. He was installed by Rev Fred Bodon with Rev. Edwin Brown serving as preacher. (Ibid)
March 30: A contract was awarded to Henry Brooks Construction for $146,341.00
November 9: Dedication of the new facility took place with Rev Glenn O’Shoney serving as the preacher, Mrs. Paul M. Schmidt, organist and Larry Lee, Choir Director. Local speakers included Lay Minister B.R. Mireles, and Rev. Fred Boden. (Ibid)
August 29: Mt Olive Pre-School began with 10 students and Mrs. Charles (Dottie) Nay teaching. (Ibid)
October: The congregation sent Pastor and Vera Schuster to the Kennedy Evangelism Clinic in Ft Lauderdale, FL. Their return enabled others to be trained to be visitors in the Evangelism Explosion strategy, which continued for several years.
December 3: The first Country Fair was held and sponsored by the Lutheran Women’s Mission League (LWML) and raised funds for scholarships, missions and benevolence each year through 1991. (Ibid)
October: The Olive Branch monthly newsletter began. (Ibid)
July 9: The Everhart property was sold and the proceeds were used to defray the expense of the building debt, a donation to the Texas Mission Board and an emergency fund. (Ibid)
February 1: The Women’s Weekday Bible Study began and continued each Wednesday. (Ibid)
August 16: Due to overcrowding and with a look to the future a Planning/Building Committee was appointed and began work. Members of the committee included Richard Bremer, Chairman Charles Eaton, Evert Deater, Arnold Reiners, Dolores Bolt, Carolyn Elspeth, and Dean Moon. The architectural firm of Cotton and Landreth were contracted to do a land study use and up-date the Master Plan. (Ibid)
February: The Happy Quilters began. (Ibid)
April 21: A Kick-Off banquet was held for funding of the future plans.
June 6: A Victory Celebration reported nearly receiving $250,000 in cash and pledges. ‘Growing, Expanding and Building in Christ’ was deemed a success.
July 15: A ‘Mortgage Burning’ was celebrated and the Master Plan was received. (Ibid)
April 6: With a hand plow loaned by J.B. Hansen and pulled by the children and youth, ground was broken for the new expansion. Toland Construction Co. of Taft was the contractor. Cotton and Landreth were the architects once again for the building expansion. Total cost was $351,722 financed with a loan of $259, 765 from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund.
November 9: The dedication of the new addition was held with Rev. John E. Meyer of St Louis, Executive Director of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund as the guest speaker. (Ibid)
Summer: Increase of staff was sought for the next few years with mixed results. However, Miss Kay Meyer, a graduate of Concordia College of Seward NE served as Director of Christian Education. (Ibid)
Summer: Miss Mary Pflanz from Seward served as Director as her predecessor had done. (Ibid)
June: A DCE intern was requested and Jimmy Riley was assigned. His wife, Barbara and his daughter, Jamie accompanied as well. The church was blessed with his efforts until he left in June 1991. (Ibid)
It is noteworthy that two members of the congregation have entered the Lutheran ministry to this point. Randy G Bolt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Travis Bolt and was ordained at Mt Olive June 26, 1983 and was called to Emmanuel Lutheran Church; Millbank, SD. A Service of Blessing for Ministry was held on June 5, 1988 for Rev Dwayne Johnson who was called to Our Savior Lutheran Church in Weatherford, OK. He was then called to Bethlehem Lutheran Church of North Zulch, TX. (Ibid)
Mt Olive’s (40) forty year capsule of religious activities is as follows:
Special Notation: All data compiled for the first forty years were from minutes, Bulletins, Scrapbooks, and personal recollections by Wm. K. Schuster June 10, 1992
October: The installation of Rev. Wade E. Butler took place. The sermon was delivered by Rev. William K. Schuster. An hour long reception followed the Divine Liturgy and Installation service.
September: A $250,000 loan was taken from the Texas District Board to repair the air conditioning and the roof of the church
May 19: The installation of Rev. Ronald A. Bogs. Participants included the Revs. John Elser, Kelly Crabbe, William Schuster, Rick Nuffer, Clifford Larson, Allen Sielk, John Sproul, Bill Brummett and Michael Moreno. Pastor Bogs served Mt. Olive for approximately four years.
2000 – 2002
Pastorate remained vacant
Pastor Kevin Jennings was installed and remains to the present.
July: The $250,000 loan from circa 1993 was paid in full earlier than the due date.