History of Messiah
On May 22, 1991, thirty-eight people, representing twenty-five families attended the first interest meeting; in February 1992 the mission was approved by the ELCA for entry after June 1, 1992; on February 1, 1993, the mission officially began with the arrival of the Rev. James M. Peper to become pastor/developer of the mission; On May 2, 1993, the first worship service was held; and after fulfilling all the requirements expected of a mission development for full membership, on April 2, 1995, Messiah Lutheran Church, an outreach of the ELCA, became Messiah Lutheran Church, a congregation of the ELCA.
The first service in the new church was on Easter 1999. (April 4). The interior was not competed: no pews, no carpet, etc. The building was competed during the next few months and the dedication was on October 24, 1999.
History of our Sanctuary Cross
The Messiah Chancel Cross is a unique symbol of our congregation. Using layering, it was made from many small pieces of hardwood from various species, each accepting the stain differently, causing the color variations in the finished cross. In many ways it reflects our membership; coming together from many states and nations, differing family backgrounds, a wide range of life experiences, and a variety of worship experiences.
Our cross stands 15 feet high and it was placed on its mount, May 1999.
Some years ago, Dean Jeanblanc wrote an introspective and beautiful observation of the cross:
“Is it a Parable?” by the late Dean Jeanblanc
Week after week I have sat in our sanctuary captured by the beauty and grandeur of the Chancel Cross in our new building. A closer look, however, reveals that our cross is comprised of a bunch of small pieces of wood that might have come from the discard pile of a furniture factory, or special lumberyard. Here are pieces of birch, cherry, walnut and the like, a rainbow from the forest of God’s imagination.
Separately each piece is of little worth, perhaps destined to end up in some lonely landfill or as ashes in the bottom of someone’s hearth. But in the mind and eye of the creator a transforming miracle happens. Seeing beyond the insignificance of each individual piece, the creator salvages and reclaims the pieces and puts them together to form a NEW CREATION, which has beauty and power. Is our Cross a parable of the “Good News” of God’s rescuing, reclaiming, saving work of Jesus Christ.
There I am, a worthless and discarded piece of white ash weathered with age until the Creator reclaims me and places me with others equally without merit. Together we are made into a NEW CREATION which shouts of the wonder of God’s redeeming work.
The Cross provides a new configuration in which is found beauty and power. All kinds and colors come together in this New Creation. In the Creator’s mind nothing is worthless, but can be salvaged for new and beautiful purposes. We see that in our new Cross.
Perhaps the greatest legacy we at Messiah will give to our community will not be in our beautiful place of worship, but in the Cross which is houses; for the Cross will continue to be a visual reminder, a parable, of the saving and re-creative work of God.
The Pramberger Grand Piano- the Legacy
A gift to Messiah, this beautiful work of art was from Mr. Joseph J. Pramberger, a former member.
Joseph Pramberger built a world-wide reputation for blending the art and science of piano making. In his many years of work with Steinway, his own success with Pramberger Piano Ltd., and influential relationships with other major piano manufacturers, Joe became one of the most highly respected individuals among a select cadre of world-class piano design engineers. His achievements were the culmination of the Pramberger family’s long history and tradition of fine craftsmanship.
The Pramberger family’s history of piano craftsmanship dates back to the late 1700s in the Black Forest of Germany. Johann Joseph Pramberger, born in 1779, began making pianos in Vienna, Austria, the music center of the world. It was an era in history when every aspect of creating the piano was an art of earned skill and personal craftsmanship. In today’s modern instrument, the same core values still hold true; although the design and manufacturing technology have evolved, the inherited knowledge, experience and skilled touch of a master craftsman’s hands are still paramount in the creation of a fine musical instrument.
The piano Joe donated to Messiah Lutheran is a 7’6″ grand finished in African pommeli wood. Only 20 pianos of that size were manufactured. The piano was manufactured by the Young Chang Piano Company in South Korea under license to Joseph Pramberger. It was manufactured to exact specifications designed by Joe. He and his wife, Joyce, traveled to Korea so that he could review and test all the pianos. Messiah received Joe’s “pick of the litter” and the remaining pianos were distributed to dealers throughout the world. Although seriously ill, Joe personally supervised the uncrating and set up of the grand piano we now enjoy in our Sanctuary. He signed the piano’s soundboard on June 1, 2003, dedicating the piano “To the Glory of God.” Joe died on December 13, 2003, and his funeral services were held here, at Messiah Lutheran Church.
“It needs to be played,” Joe advised upon delivery of the piano. Indeed it does! We have used this piano for many concerts and all the artists have acclaimed it as “a very fine instrument of exceptional quality.”