Church History


History of Our Church


Galillee Lutheran Church began as a summer preaching point undertaken by First Lutheran Church, Bellefontaine, and Pastor, the Rev. Jerry Schmalenberger. The Small group met from Memorial Day to Labor Day in a theatre building on Orchard Island Road in Russells Point. Regular services were held Sunday mornings with the Pastor rushing back to Bellefontaine for services there. The arrangement continued from 1963 to 1965.


In the summer of 1966 the group began to meet for worship in the Community Building in the heart of the recreation area of Russells Point. A Hamma School of Theology student served the first summer in the new location. During that winter, the Pastor at First Lutheran, Bellefontaine, started a Bible class in addition to the regular morning services.


During the summer of 1967 another student served the group. In September of the same year the Rev. Lawrence Mech became the first ordained Pastor, and April 21, 1968, 61 adults and 23 children were orgainzed as a congregation of the Ohio Synod, Lutheran Church in America. Galilee Lutheran Church was adopted as the same name of the new congregation.


On June 21, 1970 the Rev. Gordon Scullion was installed as Pastor and served Galilee until 1979.


In 1966 the Board of American Missions of the Lutheran Church in America purchased 3 1/2 acres of land south of Rt. 33 in Russells Point. In 1970 a lot was purchased and a parsonage built, at Cherokee Heights. In June of 1974 a successful capitol campaign made it possible to proceed with the congregation's first building. Groundbreaking was held June 8, 1975, and the congregation moved into its new facitlity December 4, 1975. Membership at the time of dedication was a total of 216 baptized memebers.


Pastor James Dinkel was called as Pastor and installed July 1, 1979, serving Galilee for over 12 years until Nov. 1991. During his tenure, a narthex was added, the parking lot expanded and a storage barn built, adjoining the parking lot.


Upon Pastor Dinkel's departure, Pastor Harold Brown was appointed to serve a 2-year interim as Galilee's Pastor from January 1992-January 1994.


In July 1994, Galilee called Pastor Richard Mackey who served until June 1999.


Pastor David Buchenroth began his tenure at Galilee in Febuary of 2000 and retired in December of 2013. During his pastorate, Galilee's facitlity was expanded in 2007, enabling expansion of its outreach ministry to the Indian Lake community. A contemporary worship service was inaugurated in thr summer of 2002 and continues to this day.


In April 2013 Galilee celebrated its 45th anniversity.



History of the ELCA


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed over 20 years ago. This new church was formed from three separate and well-established North American church bodies.

  • The American Lutheran Church
  • The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and
  • The Lutheran Church in America.

Beginning Januray 1, 1988, these churches, with shared beliefs and missions, offically formed the ELCA. Two decades later, this energized church is composed of 4.8 million members and nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S. and Caribbean. Today, the ELCA reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the people it serves.


But to understand our heritage fully, one must trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.


Read about Lutheran Roots in America on the ELCA website >>


Go to our own What is the ELCA page >>

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