A Brief History of Christ the King Lutheran Church
Prepared 11/17/2012 for the church''s 50th Anniversary Celebration
Early in 1962 the Rev. R. P. Sieving, Executive Secretary for Missions for the Southeastern District of the LCMS, developed plans with the Board of Missions to establish a new church in Danville, VA. Christ the King Lutheran Church had its origin in the basement of the first parsonage, located in Beverly Park, Danville, Va. The dwelling had been purchased by the SED for the local mission congregation. In June of 1962, the Rev. Albert S. Kresken, Jr. accepted a call to establish the new congregation. Initially the membership was composed of about eight families who lived in the area and had been associated with the “Missouri” church elsewhere. A few early services were held in the parsonage, but in due course the membership received permission from Barker Funeral Home to conduct worship in their chapel. The first service was held in the Barker chapel on November 4th, 1962.
Membership steadily grew, leading the SED to authorize purchase of land in 1963 on Franklin Turnpike for the purpose of building a new church. This was done through by means of a loan from God’s Bank. A house stood on this site. After the elimination of some walls, sundry repairs, painting inside and out, and the building of an altar, much of which was done by members, the building was used for services prior to the church building being completed. Services continued there from 1963 to 1965. Due to continued growth the SED, through God’s Bank, loaned the church $62,000.00 for the new church building. Ground was broken for the new edifice on July 25th, 1965. The cornerstone was laid September 26th, 1965. After months of planning and hard work the new church building was dedicated on March 27th, 1966. Dr. William H. Kohn, President of the SED, led the ceremony.
Rev. Kresken served the parish well for six years. In 1968 he accepted a call from St. Andrews in Silver Springs, MD. The first vacancy was a difficult time for the young congregation. During this interval the church called several ministers to meet pastoral needs. One of them was a Norwegian Lutheran minister by the name of Dr. Payne. Somehow we muddled through. Finally, the Rev. Richard Y. Roseman, who had served a congregation in Florida, accepted the church’s call. His tenure was short in that he elected to return to Florida in May, 1970.
A vacancy existed for almost fourteen months until the Rev. Stephen Roehrs accepted the call and was installed on July 25th, 1971. He came directly from the Seminary. During his ministry the church continued to grow and he took an active role in community affairs. During this time the church added a new dimension to its ministry when The Learning Center, a day care and early childhood education center, was established. This second structure was added next to the church in 1978. It was dedicated on November 19th, 1978. Although it served as a wonderful self-supporting outreach ministry to the community, changes in demographics caused its closing in May, 2004.
In August, 1982 Pastor Roehrs accepted a call from Holy Ghost Lutheran Church in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The office of pastor remained vacant until the following June. During this time the church was well-served by our laymen and visiting clergy, especially the Rev. Howard Schoenfeldt, who served as vacancy pastor.
The Rev. Allen L. Behnke was installed as pastor on June 26th, 1983. He came from Redeemer Lutheran Church, Owatonna, MN, where he had served as associate pastor. Prior to his arrival, the church had begun to build its current parsonage on church land. The first parsonage had been sold when Pastor Roehrs purchased his own house. The new parsonage was ready for Pastor Behnke and his family in early fall of 1983. Much of the construction was performed by members of the church. Rev. Behnke was instrumental in leading many youth group activities.
In 1995, Rev. James Klinefelter accepted the call to the church. During this time new pews were added to the sanctuary (1996) through memorial funds given in the name of Mr. Richard Scott. Also, members’ musical gifts began to merge together in the manner of a church orchestra and musical programs.
Following Rev. Klinefelter’s departure in 2004, Rev. William Voelker was called from Concordia Seminary to pastor the church. He accepted a call to a sister church in Missouri in the spring of 2012. In September of that year the current pastor, Rev. Brian Martin accepted the church’s call to be their pastor.
During the course of this church’s history, two sons of the church, Paul Rauscher and Donnie Stowe, continued on to become Lutheran pastors.
The church, throughout its history, has been involved in community outreach, included hosting Cub/Boy Scout activities, youth events, Brunswick Stew fundraisers, Christian education, LWML activities, and offering a helping hand whenever possible.
Throughout the last fifty years this assembly of believers, known as Christ the King Lutheran Church, has listened intently for the Holy Spirit’s call to gather as one Body in Christ. They have faithfully responded to that call to gather for spiritual enlightenment, and have been blessed with the holy gift of sanctification. May that same Spirit continue to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify others who hear the call of Jesus to come to Him for forgiveness, life and salvation. For it can be found in no other.
As the members, both present and future, move forward to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, may they be reminded of the saints who have gone before them to bring the message of salvation through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. And, by the grace of God, may this church continue to be a blessing to others for the next fifty years! Gloria Dei!
Pastors who have served this church:
The Rev. Albert S. Kresken, Jr. (1962-1968)
The Rev. Richard Y. Roseman (1968-1970)
The Rev. Dr. C. A. Payne* (1968)
The Rev. Karl K. Schmidt*
The Rev. Stephen P. Roehrs (1971-1982)
The Rev. Howard J. Schoenfeldt* (1982-1983)
The Rev. Allen L. Behnke ( 1983-1990)
The Rev. Thomas Becker* (1990-1991)
The Rev. Mark H. Abram (1991-1993)
The Rev. Alan R. Hartfield**
The Rev. James Kleinfelter (1995-2004)
The Rev. William J. Voelker (2004-2012)
The Rev. Brian D. Martin (2012-present)
* Denotes vacancy pastors
** Denotes Interim pastors
Information compiled by Rev. Brian Martin from a previous writing of Bill and Dottie Smith, an excerpt from a bulletin dated November 14th, 1982, church records, and Mrs. Ramona Coyle, church secretary.