60th Anniversary celebration of the church also coincides with the 20th Anniversary of Christ For Kids Childcare Center and St. Michael Lutheran School.
St. Michael was a Michigan District mission plant and some of our foundational members came from Zion. The first worship service (in which the charter was signed) was at Milham School in Portage on September 25, 1960.
The first pastor of St. Michael, who was the District’s mission planter placed right out of the St. Louis seminary, was Rev. James Poerschke. Pastor Kenneth Allan followed him in 1963, and continued at St. Michael until his retirement in 1997. After spending about 10 years in retirement in Tennessee, Pastor Allan moved back up to Portage, and serves as our Pastor Emeritus, continuing to make calls, teach, and do some preaching. Pastor Paul R. Naumann was installed as Assistant Pastor on February 2, 1997. Following the retirement of Pastor Allan, he was eventually joined by Pastor Steve Thiel as Associate Pastor from 1999-2002. Later, St. Michael has been blessed to have Rev. Jason Toman serve as Assistant Pastor. Jason continues also to work as a part-time engineer for a local company.
2020 has been a year of challenges and joys, as through the pandemic we have gone to having pastoral devotions weekly and services broadcast on Facebook LIVE, electronic newsletters and parking lot services with drive-by communion offered. We said goodbye to our Director of Child/Youth, Andrea Lynch, and we welcomed Rev. Daniel Maske and family into our midst at his installation service on September 6. He will serve as Associate Pastor and have a focus on the faith formation of our children/youth.
Saturday, September 26, we joyfully celebrated that St. Michael is “Sixty and Solid: Built On The Rock” of Jesus Christ 1960-2020! Christian recording artist, Don Wharton, provided worship music and a concert following a celebration meal and program. Pastor Emeritus, Kenneth Allan, shared the Word with guests.
In support of Lutheran World Relief we assembled about 1000 school kits to be shipped out. Recipes were collected from members and a book printed. The Quilter’s group crafted a beautiful workmanship that was given away.
The story of St. Michael is really about the people whose lives have been changed for the better by the love of God in Christ Jesus. While we look back in gratitude at all the Lord has done among us and through us, we also know He still has much more that He would like us to do for Him in our community and world. Obviously, there are many people hurting these days financially, emotionally, physically and Spiritually. Our ongoing ministry will seek to address these concerns into the future. As we celebrated God’s past faithfulness, a 60th Anniversary Thank Offering has been contributed to LCMS World Relief and Human Care. They will apply our gift wherever the opportunity for Gospel-centered mercy and human care is most pressing or urgent.
Our goal in all is to say thank you to God for all His good gifts to us over the past six decades. We are grateful to Him for this historic milestone, and look forward to the next chapter of service that by the power of the Holy Spirit He will grant us and guide us through. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good, and His love lasts forever” (Psalm 107:1).