History

Our records show that Lutheran services were held in the Placerville area as far back as 1880. Lutheran Circuit riders would come into town periodically to do the services. We have  a letter dated December 15, 1925, to Rev. Carl Fickenscher, then pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sacramento. The letter was from the Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Church of Placerville informing us they had voted to extend an invitation to us to use their church any Sunday for a nominal fee of two dollars and fifty cents to pay for fuel and janitor expenses. It wasn’t until 1933 that services began to be provided on a some what regular basis.

On October 10, 1933, Rev. Carl Fickenscher began to make monthly trips to Placerville to conduct services. The very first of these services was held in the old Coon Hollow School house in Placerville. There were eight people in attendance~two from Placerville and six from Sacramento. After several years thee services were increased to semi~monthly and were conducted in the afternoon around 3:00 P.M. to allow time for the pastor to conduct services in his own church then travel up the hill for ours. Rev. Fickenscher continued these services until 1943.

The first Sunday school was started on August 21, 1938. The young son of one of the early church members recalls attending church services as far back as 1939 in the old Masonic Temple by the Bell Tower on Main Street. The boy later became the treasurer for First Lutheran.

Attendance began to increase and the Lutheran Mission Church moved the Sunday services to the Odd Fellows Hall (IOOF) above Arian’s department store on Main Street. In 1943 the average attendance was twenty adults and 15 children. On Easter Sunday of that year the attendance was 37 adults and 31 children!

On March 22, 1953 a building fund was started. In July 1953, Vicar Walter Warmann accepted a call to the Lutheran Mission Church in Placerville. On July 26, 1953, Rev. Carl Fickenscher, then President of the California-Nevada district, performed the Rite of Ordination and Commissioning for Pastor Warmann as Missionary~at~Large. The service was held in the Episcopal Church on Coloma Street and the Placerville Lutheran Mission Church now had its first resident Pastor.

The first News Bulletin, Vol. 1, Page 1 appeared in September and from a newspaper clipping,
on September 13, 1953 a congregation meeting was held in the IOOF Hall. The members officially adopted, by unanimous vote, the name First Lutheran Church of Placerville.

The first Sunday Service in the new schoolhouse church (pictured to the right) was held on Sunday,  March 21, 1954. Attendance that Sunday included thirty-eight members and eighteen children.

On June 22, 1954, 200 delegates met in San Francisco. Eight congregations were voted into the Missouri Synod’s California~Nevada District and First Lutheran of Placerville was one of them.  August 17, 1954, marked our Church’s official incorporation under California law  with the name  First Lutheran Church of Placerville.

Early in 1955, Pastor Warmann received and accepted a call from a church in Susanville, California.

An announcement was made by Pastor Wessling during a Sunday service that Don Herman, a student minister, had been assigned as the new pastor for Placerville. The new pastor, if he accepted the appointment, would arrive during the summer. The Rite of Ordination and Commission for Rev. Don O. Herman was held on Sunday, August 14, 1955. the Rev. Carl Fickenscher officiated. Pastor Herman gave his first sermon the following Sunday, August 21, 1955.

As the congregation grew, the members began to envision the need for a larger building. On March 31, 1962, a fund raising kick~off rally was held for the new building. The ground breaking ceremony was held on Sunday afternoon, February 11, 1963. The new church building was completed early in November of 1963. On November 3, 1963, the last service was held in the old school house and on Thanksgiving Sunday, November 10, 1963, two special dedication services were held.

The extensive population growth in the Placerville area over the years created a demand for child day care by many families in which both spouses were employed. After considerable planning, a Child Development Center was opened in the church Parish Hall on August 31, 1987.

The congregation continued to grow and the facilities expanded, on June 17, 1990, Pastor Wade Meyer was ordained and installed as associate pastor at First Lutheran. Three years later, in April 1993, Pastor Herman retired. A service of celebration and thanksgiving honoring Pastor Herman on his retirement was held on April 25th. Pastor Herman had been ordained and installed at First Lutheran church on August 14, 1955. He served this congregation for 38 years.

Vicar Richard Riggert arrived in August, 1996. In January 1997 the Church Council recommended to the congregation to call  Richard Riggert as our associated pastor. He accepted and was ordained and installed. In March Pastor Meyer received a call from good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Minnesota. He accepted the call an dhis last day at First Lutheran was June 30, 1998.

On Valentine’s Day, 1999, Pastor Rodney Hilpert joined First Lutheran as associate pastor. Pastor Rich received a call from a church in Lancaster. He accepted the call and his last day at First Lutheran was December 17, 2000.

May 16, 2004, because of health problems, Pastor Rod Hilpert stepped down from the pulpit and we entered the Interim Pastor program with Rev. Bob  Fickenscher. Pastor Bob Fickenscher is the son of  Rev. Carl Fickenscher who was one of the first Pastors to hold services in Placerville for the mission, as noted above.

In November of 2005 we called Rev. Mark Haas of Peace Lutheran in Sacramento. Pastor Mark accepted this call on December 4th and was installed at an Installation ceremony at First Lutheran Church on January 29, 2006.

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