The Marco Lutheran Church began services in May 1974 at the Naples Federal Savings and Loan Association on the island, led by the Rev. William Volm, a Missionary at Large.
There were five families on the church roster then. After two years, they called the Rev. Ted Weurfel as a permanent pastor. In the fall of 1981, the fist church structure was dedicated at the same location it now occupies on North Collier. A great room followed in the early 1990s.
With dedicated planning and excellent pastoral leadership, the facilities have expanded over the years. The present pastor is the Rev. Kevin Koenig who says that, although they belong to the Missouri Synod, the church is open to all who accept the Lutheran way of life.
The music director is Craig Geusel and the organist Ray Jones, both of whom are well known on the island.
The accompanying photo shows a crowd waiting to enter the yearly rummage sale staged by the church. They also produce a remarkable re-enactment of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus during Holy Week, with costumed people serving foods typical of the era beforehand. This is one Marco event you should put on your calendar.
Errata: When we printed the photo for the Jewish Congregation, we failed to identify the men pictured. Holding the Torah was Martin Seltzer and the other gentleman was Herb Soloway.
Note: Some of the pictures and information for this continuing series on the local churches is based on a booklet called Religions of Marco, written by Frederic Gloeckner with photos by Arthur Leuthe.
What’s new with MIHS
The Marco Island Historical Society is one of the area’s greatest success stories. What began in 1994 with a small volunteer organization of civic-minded Islanders interested in researching and preserving the island’s fascinating and lively history has grown into a regional organization of almost 500 people.
We will see our hard work culminated in early 2010 with the opening of the $4.5 million Marco Island History Museum, which is currently under construction next to the Marco Branch Library on Heathwood Drive. The museum is expected to become a major destination for residents and tourists alike and will attract thousands of people each year to Marco Island.
An inaugural gala, set for Feb. 4, 2010, will kick off the museum’s grand opening festivities.
Marion Nicolay and Betsy Perdichizzi of the Marco Island Historical Society are compiling this report on a weekly basis for the Eagle. Shirley Beckwith oversees the archiving of photos for MIHS.