A History of Living Word Lutheran Church
Living Word was born of a gift. Its humble beginnings sprang from the benevolence of a local farmer, who, by the mere act of donating a piece of property, planted the seeds of sharing that thrive in the congregation today. Otto H. Meyers started it all in February of 1972 when he donated a piece of land – bounded by Hamilton, Hamlin and Foskett Roads – to Captial University with the provison that five acres be reserved to build a Lutheran church or serve another Lutheran ministry facility at the discretion of the American Lutheran Church.
Capital sold its portion of the land and the Mission Director of the American Lutheran Church envisioned a mission church on the five-acre site. He approached Pastor Bill Lucht of St. Matthew Lutheran church in Medina about forming a new church. Pastor Lucht put out the word and subsequently, several St. Matthew parishioners and other local Lutherans formed a Mission Task Force to pursue the idea. The property was deeded to the American Lutheran Church in December of 1981 and subsequently to Living Word in May of 1984. The church was a go.
The American Lutheran Church called the Rev. H Michael Sayre in February, 1981, as the mission development pastor. The first worship service was held on Pentecost Sunday, June 7th, 1981, in the Medina Township Hall. The church eventually chose its name based on discussions that were held by the Task Force and the congregation. The discussion focused on the Word of God as the “heart and core of all we do.” The name Living Word emerged from that discussion. Living Word was officially chartered and Pastor Sayre installed on Sunday, November 29, 1981. Living Word had a total of 64 charter members.
The congregation originally met for worship at the Medina Township Hall paying $15 per Sunday to use the facility. Every Saturday, two families “set up” the hall for worship: They cleaned, set up an altar table and chairs. At one point this was quite the clean up job because the hall was undergoing renovation. Table saws needed to be removed, drywall had to be stacked and floors swept and mopped before worship could be held. Whether out of tradition or out of necessity, families still take turns cleaning up in preparation for worship each week.
Ground breaking for the new church took place on Pentecost Sunday, June 10, 1984. Ground was broken with an old plow pulled by congregation members in one direction and mission partners in a perpendicular direction to create a cross where the alter would be located. An honored guest on that occassion was Lila Meyers, widow of Otto H. Meyers who had donated the property. The youth of the church outlined the proposed building with a white cord and carried balloons.
Charter member, Dick Miller made our altar, our lectern and the large cross which hangs behind the altar. The congregation worshiped in their new building for the first time on Thanksgiving Eve, November 21, 1984. The building was officially dedicated on Sunday, April 28, 1985.
In the thirty year history of Living Word, five called pastors have served the congregation: H. Michael Sayre (February 1981-November 1989); Marshal Begley (June 1990 – December 1993); Fredrick Wiese (July 1994 – August 1996); James Lutz (June 1997 – June 2007); currently Reverend Jeff Steele-Steeber (July 2008 – Present).