1982: 50th Anniversary Celebration!

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 NIV

Top of the church building with cross visible

Upon Pastor Waechter’s retirement in July 1981, Rev. John A. Lober served briefly as Mount Olive’s pastor for a year from January 1982-1983. It was during this time that Mount Olive celebrated its 50th anniversary on June 27, 1982, with a 4:00 p.m. Vesper Service. The congregation welcomed The Rev. Richard T. Hinz, President of the Southeastern District, as well as many of the former pastors and their wives. Pictured below: back: Pastors Hinz, Lober, Devan, Waechter, Wagner, and Voges; front: Mrs. Lober, Devan, Waechter, and Wagner.

Pastors and their Wives at 50th AnniversaryFormer Pr. Gerhardt A. Wagner’s message, “The Church Under the Cross” from Galatians 6:14 and special music highlighted the celebration. The Women of Mount Olive, led by Mrs. Yvonne Rodgers, organized the day’s festivities including a congregational dinner after the morningFounding Members 1982 50th Anniv Worship Service and an afternoon reception following the Vesper Service. There were historical displays and photographs on display throughout the church. The Columbia Newspaper ran a special article that gave a brief history of Mount Olive and quoted several members. Interestingly, when asked the biggest future challenge, long-time member Marilyn Brabham responded, “We’re trying to get away from people thinking we are just a family church.”


1985-1995: More Building: Do We Renovate or Build Anew?

“Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”
Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Pastor GoeresThe Rev. Richard Goeres, a retired U.S. Army chaplain, assisted Mount Olive during the time between Pastor Lober’s departure until April 1985, when the Rev. Clarence E. Lobb became Mount Olive’s tenth pastor. It was during his time that the parsonage was renovated by the congregation to become the church office, nursery, and Sunday School classrooms. It was named the “Wagner House” in honor of the former Pastor Gerhardt WagnerPr. Lobb's Installation who had made his home there. (Pictured at right is Pastor Lobb’s installation: Pastors Schuelte, Voges, Mueller, Hildebrandt, Runge, Lobb, Goeres, Graecdin, Waechter, and Vick.)

Pastor Lobb saw the need for the church to always be forward thinking in its planning and he encouraged the congregation to appoint a Long-Range Planning and Building Committee to consider a building program so that the church would have space for its ever-growing classes and activities. In 1991, a four-phase plan was presented; however, it was considered too expensive and put on hold. A few years later, another Building Committee was formed to come up with a less expensive plan. Plans were put on hold again when a severe rainstorm caused a leak in the sanctuary during worship.  In 1995, the education building was modified to include a pitched roof with attic storage and the back entry was changed to allow the building of a larger fellowship hall in the future. (Pictured at left is a painting of MountPr. Paul & Margaret Ludwig Olive by member, Lynne Schultz.)

Upon the sudden, unexpected death of dear Pastor Lobb, the Reverend Paul Ludwig, a retired pastor and chaplain who had recently moved to Columbia, served as Mount Olive’s interim pastor from 1996 until early 1998. His spiritual guidance and care were instrumental in carrying the congregation as they completed the call process for the next pastor. Pictured are Pastor and Margaret Ludwig.

1998: “This is the Church. This is the Steeple,” and Much More

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7

The Rev. Paul C. Sizemore accepted the call and was installed as pastor on January 18, 1998. Until this time, the church wasMount Olive gets its Steeple without a steeple. A specially designed steeple from a bequest from Jacob Lester and Essie Sons was installed later that year.

Challenge 2000 Building ProgramThe next project for Mount Olive was to revisit the fellowship hall that former Pastor Lobb had envisioned. Pastor Sizemore and the Building Committee encouraged the congregation to move forward, and on July 11, 1999, the members approved a design for the new fellowship hall with an educational wing on the lower floor. In addition, there would be new offices, additional restrooms, and the renovation of the present sanctuary to include seating for 300 worshippers. These plans included turning the existing sanctuary 180 degrees and adding the transepts and a narthex. During this Challenge 2000 campaign, Pastor Sizemore and a core group of church leaders encouraged each family to give sacrificially, above and beyond, to further God’s Kingdom by our having larger, modernized facilities. From past experience, the congregation knewBuilding the new sanctuary 2000-2002 that God was always faithful and would see them through.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new facilities was held on April 3, 2001 after the 10:30 Worship Service, and construction began in May. During construction, the youth group took a special interest in the renovation of the sanctuary. As part of their meetings, they wrote prayers and scripture verses inside the walls before the sheetrock was installed. In addition, Donald Mueller donated his time and expertise in carpentry to work with Pastor Sizemore to extend the altar table. Don also built the pulpit, plant stands, hymnal boards and another work table for the narthex.

LCMS Cross by Richard SchneiderDuring the renovations, Richard Schneider designed and crafted the large triple cross that was going to be located in the new narthex. The project was funded by memorials to Marilyn Bauer’s parents.

The congregation once again worshiped in Irmo Elementary School’s auditorium during the construction process. Newer member, Aresa Boykin, remembers three older members, Mr. and Mrs. Heber Meetze and Mrs. Gladys Meetze, sitting in chairs in the back because the folding auditorium seats were too low. Every Sunday morning, they would always want to “carry on” over Aresa’s infant grandson, Noah.

The first service in the new sanctuary was Easter, The Resurrection of Our Lord on March 31, 2002. At that service, infantsPr. Paul Sizemore & Noah Laney. First Baptism in the new sanctuary Noah Laney, pictured with Pastor Sizemore, and Derek Loy, received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

September 15, 2002 marked the official dedication of these new facilities – “that they would be used to the glory of God: to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.” Just in time for the dedication, the beautiful new stained-glass window (Jesus’s Ascension from the Mount of Olives) was installed behind New Organthe new altar and Mount Olive was presented with a new 3-manual organ, a Johannes Opus 30. The new facilities were quickly put to use as Pr. Sizemore and long-time secretary, Jane Foster, moved from the Wagner House to their new offices and workroom. Fellowship hall tables and chairs, along with conference room furniture were purchased. As always, volunteers from the congregation completed the assembly of these items. The fellowship hall, with its spacious kitchen and pantry were ready for a number of community-The Altar Windowbuilding activities: fellowship meals, Christmas programs, Vacation Bible School, and other special events. A second adult Bible class soon began on Sunday mornings.

The lower level of the fellowship hall remained unfinished in 2002, with the vision that additional classrooms and restrooms would be added at a later time. This “later time” came sooner than expected. In 2004, plans were drawn up to finish this level. Again, our members who were in the building business donated their labor to finish the lower lever to include three classrooms, an office, restrooms, storage, and a large area that could be used as one, two, or three additional classrooms because of its folding partitions. The area was completed in early May 2005, and dedicated on May 15th.

Mount Olive Lutheran Church

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