For over half a century, the purpose of Our Savior Lutheran Church has been to serve its members through the Word and Sacraments and to spread the Kingdom of God throughout our community, our nation and the world.
The concept of “the new Lutheran Church in East Cheyenne’ began in the 1950’s. The Board of Directors of the Southern Nebraska District of LCMS met on April 8, 1957 and approved the purchase of 6.2 acres of land east of Cheyenne as the future building site.
They also approved the construction of a 66 x 44 foot parish hall-chapel for the cost of $49,500.00. The parish hall-chapel was to have brick veneer and a full basement. A parsonage, placed to the west of the church, was to be built concurrent with the church construction.
Reverend Norman Hanneman was called as missionary to gather a congregation. On January 12, 1958, ten families met as charter members to dedicate the newly constructed building to the Glory of God.
Charter members included the Arnold Bruns family, the Ernest Casner family; the Darrel Christensen family; the Eugene Christensen family; the George Friesen famly; Minnie Gonsior; the Don Hoy family; the Karl Redlich family; the Eugene Kempert family; and the Conrad Siegfried family
Later in that year, the newly formed congregation voted to name the church Our Savior Lutheran.
Nine men have served Our Savior Lutheran Church as Pastor during its fifty-seven year history. The Reverend Norman Hanneman was the charter missionary/pastor serving the congregation for six years (9/57 to 5/63).
William Borneman was Pastor of the congregation for twenty-one years (9/63 – 5/84). He retired in May of 1984.
The Reverend Richard Boche began serving as Pastor in August of 1984 and continued his ministry until he was elected President of the Wyoming District in 2006. Three Vicars, Norman Barnett (1986), Jeffrey Schrank (1986-87), and Timothy Moffett (1987-88), fulfilled their vicarage assignments under Richard Boche. During Pastor Boche’s service, three men were also called to a shared ministry:
Reverend Joel Fritche (associate) 2000-2002;
Reverend Daniel Gadbaw (assistant) 2003-2005;
Reverend Rob Reinert III (assistant) 2006-2009.
The Reverend Rob Reinert III was called to serve as Senior Pastor when Reverend Boche was elected District President of the Wyoming District. During Pastor Reinert’s service, the Reverend Ryan Mills was called to serve as Associate Pastor in 2007.
The Reverend Ryan Mills became Senior Pastor in 2009. The Reverend John Rasmussen served as a guest Pastor, preaching once a month and visiting shut-ins, from 2009 – 2011. During Pastor Mills’ service, the Reverend Joshua Scheer was called to serve as Associate Pastor in 2011. Pastor Mills accepted a call in summer 2013 to serve as a Chaplain in the United States Army.
The Reverend Joshua Scheer was called to serve as Senior Pastor in 2013. During Pastor Scheer’s service, the Reverend Marcus Baikie was called to serve as Associate Pastor in 2014. Both of these men serve the congregation as a team today.
Following the strong Lutheran tradition of parochial education, in 1959 , Our Savior Lutheran congregation voted to have a parish school. LeRoy Horst was called to be Minister of Education and was installed as principal and teacher. The parish school opened in the fall of 1960 for grades 1-6.
In 1969, Our Savior Lutheran School joined with Trinity Lutheran School in a Lutheran School Association. The Association dissolved in 1976 and each church had its own parish school. Our Savior Lutheran School hoped to continue classes at the church facility but with the addition of a kindergarten class to the previously existing grades 1-6, there was not adequate space within the church. It was at this time that the Bornemans offered to purchase their own home which would make the parsonage available for classrooms. Renovations were made to the parsonage to accommodate kindergarten and primary classes.
Because of declining school enrollment and increasing difficulties in meeting financial obligations, the congregation elected to close the upper grades in 1986. Kindergarten, prekindergarten and preschool levels remained open. When the kindergarten teacher retired, the congregation voted to put an emphasis on early childhood programs. At the present time, our early childhood program has preschool and prekindergarten classes.
Five individuals have been called to serve as Principal, Head Teacher or Director of the Preschool: LeRoy Horst, Principal 1960 – 1985; Beth Schadel, Head Teacher 1987 – 1991; Jill Benitz, Preschool Director 1991 – 1996; Laurie Anderson, Preschool Director 1996 – 2001; Deb Chellew, Preschool Director 2002 – 2011; Laurie Anderson, Preschool Director 2011 – present.
Members of Our Savior Lutheran have always displayed a strong commitment to bringing the good news of Jesus to children. From the beginning of the congregation, a Sunday School has existed. Through the years, it has taken various forms during the summer months. The congregation has always supported a Vacation Bible School and it has been held on a yearly basis. The newly formed congregation held the first VBS in June of 1958. During the two week period, ninety-six children attended. The highest enrollment came in the summer of 1987 when our Vacation Bible School had 153 children in attendance. The dates, times, and style of programs have varied during the years but it remains one of the missions provided to the children of our congregation and our community.
In 1987, when the youth of the congregation no longer had the option to attend our parochial school, the congregation provided a Midweek class to instruct children on a variety of Christian topics, to instruct the catechumens and to provide the children with the opportunity to meet with fellow Christians.
Women were invited to become voting members of the congregation in 1980. Women were also given the option of holding an elected office with the exception of President, Vice President or elder.
Over the years, multiple renovations for both functionality and for aesthetics were made to the original church-parish hall. Several changes were made to accommodate the parochial school:
- partitioning the basement into classrooms;
- adding stairs from the basement to the outside to the west for safety codes;
- adding suitable entry from the church;
- adding stairs to the basement;
- adding areas for storage.
Aesthetic changes were made periodically:
- opening the altar area towards the sanctuary;
- replacing west windows with stained glass (now used in the new sanctuary);
- replacing tiled floor with carpet;
- installing pews to replace folding chairs;
- replacing multiple panes of glass in the back of the church with an 8’ round stained glass window. The window was purchased with memorial money given in memory of Pastor William Borneman. This window remains on the north wall of the original building.
In January of 1990, extensive fire damage was done to the sanctuary. The organ, a copier, all Chrismons, Altar Books and several miscellaneous items were destroyed. Worship services were held at LCCC while smoke and fire damage was being worked on. Group meetings and Bible studies were held in various places.
A major renovation was done in the spring of 1992. This was a 20’ wide addition on the east side of the sanctuary. It included a social area, rest-rooms and offices. At this time, the basement was also painted and redecorated.
After the turn of the century, it became apparent that the congregation was outgrowing the original sanctuary. In anticipation of this, a building fund had been started when the last loans were paid from previous renovations. The voters directed the Long Range Planning Committee to begin looking at future building plans. In 2005, architects were hired and plans accepted. The ground-breaking ceremony took place June 11, 2006.
Laborers for Christ were asked to work on the project. They arrived and were commissioned for the work they were to do. The Laborers encouraged congregational volunteers to work with them. The Laborers for Christ had finished their portion of the work and they left in November. The remaining work was done by contract workers.
A loan for the cost of the Sanctuary and Narthex was taken from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund for the amount of $1,327,087.
On January 7, 2008, Our Savior Lutheran congregation met a final time in the Sanctuary which had served as their church home for fifty years. A prayer of Thanksgiving for this place of worship was given and then the building and accoutrements were decommissioned. The congregation then went in procession to the new Sanctuary.
The new worship facility was formally dedicated to the Glory of God on January 12, 2008. The dedication ceremony took place fifty years to the day after the “New Lutheran Church in East Cheyenne” had been dedicated.
In 2008, major remodeling of the old sanctuary was made possible through an anonymous donor gift. The remodeling included five Sunday School rooms, a conference room, two offices for pastors, two offices for secretaries and a gracious entry-way. The social area of the ground floor was also remodeled. In addition, the donor gift allowed for the paving of the parking lot along with landscaping of the acreage. In 2010, the preschool also was remodeled with money from an anonymous donor.
In Fall 2015 it was clear that our organ which has served us since 1990 was beginning to fail. A new organ was purchased and installed in January 2016. It continues to aid us in our congregation’s praises of the Triune God.
As we go into the second half-century of God’s grace and blessing, we continue to thank God for the many opportunities He gives us to share His love. We are fully aware that He has placed us in this time and place to serve this generation. In response to His grace and mercy, we share our time, talent and treasure for the sake of the Gospel.