Christ's Lutheran Church in 1976

[ Pastor Walter Kortrey ] Pastor Walter Kortrey, pictured here, conducting services. According to church historian Mark Anderson(1),

From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 135. (Close) the pastor
was very aware of the great difficulties that had ensued at Christ's Lutheran Church in Woodstock. He set about healing the congregation with great attention to the wide variety of opinions held not only within the congregation, but also among the townspeople in general. The story of his pastorate is the story of a slow but certain involvement of the congregation with the pressing social needs of the town.

The congregation celebrated the 170th anniversary of the church's founding.

The year-old Friendly Visitation Group, led by Erwin and Elsa Holumzer, continued their regular ministry of visits to two area homes for senior citizens located in Lake Hill.

Here is an excerpt from the March issue of The Scroll(2):

Unless otherwise indicated in a footnote, excerpts from church records or from The Scroll are cited in ibid., Chapter 9. (Close)
Beginning on Sunday, March 7, the Sacrament of Holy Communion will be celebrated every Sunday at the 8:15 contemporary service. On the first Sunday of every month, there will be Communion at both services as at present. "I believe that the opportunity to receive the blessings of the Lord's Supper should be offered more frequently than once a month--in many Lutheran churches, the Sacrament is celebrated at every worship service."--Walter Kortrey
According to historian Mark Anderson, the development and use of the common Lutheran service documented in the service and hymn books that had been first published nearly nine decades earlier is seen by church historians as a turning point: It was the beginning of a liturgical renewal, a return to the historic Lutheran liturgies of the Reformation. Those books and the new ones that followed them clearly intended to provide for at least the possibility of weekly communion. Few Lutheran pastors adopted the practice (even in 2006 the vast majority of Lutheran churches in America still do not have a communion service each week).

Here is more from the March Scroll:

"Dear friends: Christ's Lutheran Church has achieved more than 100% of its 1975 commitment.… I express our gratitude… James A. Graefe, President [Metropolitan New York Synod of the Lutheran Church in America]

Choir members come and choir members go, but we have in our choir four faithful people who have sung for many years… Doris Blatter, Joan Donohue, Connie McCarthy [Koehn], and Carol Talleur.… Bouquets to you four.

During this year, organist Barbara Pickhardt became the director and conductor of the regional choral group Ars Choralis.

[ Historic pipe organ ] Meanwhile, the congregation was adjusting itself to the pipe organ it had obtained 5 years before (click the picture to enlarge it), originally built in 1885 by Hook & Hastings for the Baptist Church of Hopkinton, NH. According to historian Anderson(3):

Ibid., p. 156. (Close)
The Hook and Hastings organ is almost perfectly matched to the acoustic and architectural space of the church building. It is a small, single manual (keyboard), and pedalboard instrument, with a tracker action (direct mechanical linkage), and with a limited number of stops. It was built in Boston in 1885, just ten years prior to the dedication of Christ's Church.
Our Hook and Hastings organ has been placed on the register of historic American pipe organs. Unfortunately, however, there was a problem:
Over the years and even in the beginning, we were a little disappointed in that we felt the organ was capable of producing better results than we were getting. We had great difficulty in finding competent tuners.(4) Quoted in The Scroll, November 1979. (Close)
According to Anderson:
What was not known when the organ was purchased… was that the instrument is pitched nearly a half tone higher than standard tuning. It is not possible to add lengths to pipes and so it will always remain at that high pitch. This can be a challenge for tenors trying to sing high parts! It was also quickly learned that wind instruments (clarinets, trumpet, oboes, etc.) could not tune high enough to play with the organ.(5) Quoted in Anderson, For All the Saints, op. cit., p. 156. (Close)
It would be more than 3 more years before the organ would be brought up to its full potential.

Here is an excerpt from the April issue of The Scroll:

The first worship service of Easter Day will take place at 6AM at the California Quarry on Overlook Mountain.

Church Council approved the request of Family of Woodstock for a support grant from LCA through the MNYS. This grant has been made through the last four years--$2,000 ($7,640 in 2006 dollars) last year.

[ Florence Peper ] Here is from the May/June issue:

The highlight of the [170th] anniversary dinner was the presentation of an award to [84-year-old] Florence Peper [pictured here]. Mr. Victor Lasher presented Miss Peper with a plaque, and Mr. Erwin Holumzer read this testimony:
She is the "lady who lives across the street"--she is the keeper of the Christ's Church keys--but Florence Peper is more--much more. She is a servant of the Lord Jesus in the tradition of Lydia and Priscilla and Dorcas. For 48 years, Florence Peper has faithfully prepared the Sacramental vessels for the celebration of the Holy Communion. Season in and season out, month after month, with reverence and love her hands have made ready the Holy Supper for the people of Christ's Lutheran Church.

Florence Peper, baptized at Christ's Lutheran font, confirmed before Christ's Lutheran altar in 1906 has served in many significant ways all through the passing years. She has held the office of church treasurer. She has served [as an organist and] in the choir, in the church school, in the Women's Missionary Society and with the Lutheran Church Women.

Many pastors have served Christ's Church through all the years of Florence Peper's service. She has given each the same degree of loyalty and quiet faithfulness, never holding back and never an unkind word. On the occasion of the 170th anniversary of Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, we hereby commend Florence Peper for the example of the Christian life which she has set before us.…


Florence Peper had been been born in 1892, the daughter of blacksmith Henry Peper and his wife, Jane Augusta. Pastor Martin Stover had baptised her 2 days later. That pastor had been 86 years old at the time (born in 1807), and this had been his last year at Christ's Church prior to his retirement.

The Evangelism Committee and Christ's Youth went door to door in new developments with invitations and information cards about our church and its worship and education opportunities.

The following is from the Pastor's Report for the year 1976:

170th anniversary year. Average weekly attendance has been approximately 130. Christmas 399 Easter 363.

The Lac and Lien Nguyen Vietnamese family was settled into their own home in Bearsville. [They had been living in the parsonage, which had been vacant, because Pastor Kortrey and his wife had their own home on Ohayo Mountain Road.] "The resettlement of the Nguyens was in every way a congregational effort, with the Lord's help."

The 170th Anniversary Celebration--all the parts planned and projected a year ago became a reality… in May, when we sat down together, breaking bread and sharing fellowship--over 200 of us, of all ages--with some of our former pastors. Remember our children singing, "Who's your neighbor?" Remember Victor Lasher's eloquent tribute to Florence Peper? Remember Mark Anderson leading us in singing, "Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says Sing!" It was more than a good time. It was Christ's Lutheran Church together, becoming a family of faith and love. [The congregation celebrated its 170th anniversary in 1976, rather than its 175th anniversary in 1981, to be certain that Victor Lasher, the eldest member of the congregation, would be able to enjoy the celebration.]…

When the adult choir prepared music and recorded it as part of our anniversary celebrations, they reserved space on the second side of their record for a live recording of the youth and children in a production of the musical Sam. Here is an excerpt from the November issue of The Scroll:

The recording of the church choirs is underway and they will be available for Christmas. The cost will be $4.50 for the record and $5.50 for the tape ($15.75 and $19.25, respectively, in 2006 dollars).
To continue the pastor's year-end words:
We are truly grateful for… the week by week inspiration of our Adult choir led by… Doris and Barbara, I fear sometimes… taken for granted.… Take note of what happened this year… the Anniversary Recording… do you have your copy of the record?… the delightful "Sam" production of our children and youth led by… Carol and Connie. Music is a vital part of the growing life of Christ's Church in Woodstock.…

There was a large and active children's choir and Sunday School. To continue the pastor's words:

The Sunday Church School Renewal.… The… school's Christmas Worship with its original poetry and litanies, written by our boys and girls was a clear example of the kind of teaching ministry that is beginning to happen at Christ's Church. Under the direction of… Carolyn Barrette, teachers meet regularly for training and teaching.

[ South side of Fellowship Hall ] [ Entrance to Fellowship Hall ]

The congregation painted the Fellowship Hall (click either picture to enlarge it). They also repaired the damage to the church that had been caused by the furnace: An unusual flood in the church basement caused the forced-air heating system to circulate very heavily humidified air through the chapel, which caused the old varnish coat on the original "beadboard" wooden paneling to turn white. Congregation members had to restore the finish by wiping down all the walls, ceilings, and pews with denatured alcohol--a horrendous and potentially dangerous job. They then treated the paneling with a coat of fire-retardant varnish. After that, they raised the blower unit in the basement to prevent the same kind of event from recurring.

Former Pastor Olney C. Cook, who had served Christ's Lutheran Church from 1943 to 1956, died.

The Woodstock Region in 1976

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The United States in 1976

[ Gerald Ford ]

Gerald Ford (Republican) was President. The 94th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $3.50 in 2006 for most consumable products.

The 38-year-old Philadelphia investment firm Smith Barney & Co. merged with the 81-year-old Chicago commodities trading firm Harris, Upham & Co. to form Smith Barney, Harris, Upham & Co.

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The World at Large in 1976

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