A Brief History of Redeemer
Redeemer Lutheran Church was born out of the merger of two congregations: St. John Lutheran, located south of Convoy on Wolfcale Road, and St. Paul Lutheran, located in the village of Convoy.
St. John was established as a preaching station in 1847. Its first church building was dedicated in 1866. During this time the church shared a pastor with St. Thomas, Ohio City. In 1882 St. John called their first pastor.
St. Paul was established in 1914 by St. John members living in Convoy. The new congregation initially shared a pastor with Emmanuel, Van Wert until they called their own pastor in 1946.
In the 1950s, under the guidance of Pastor Francis Gerken (who was serving both St. John and St. Paul at this time), suggestions were made to consolidate the two congregations. In 1958 a joint committee was formed to discuss the feasibility of a merger. In 1959 a report favorable to the merger was made and adopted by both congregations. In 1960 an architect was hired to plan a new worship facility to be located at a proposed site south of Convoy. The new church would be called Redeemer Lutheran Church.
On April 30, 1961 a special worship service was held at Crestview High School in Convoy to celebrate the official merger of St. John and St. Paul. The congregations would go by the names “Redeemer Country” and “Redeemer Town” until the new church building was ready.
Ground-breaking for the new church was held on April 14, 1963. The cornerstone was laid on June 16 of that same year. Also during 1963 the parsonage was built next to the church. On April 12, 1964, Pastor Gerken performed the Rite of Dedication for the new church building, and from that date forth worship has been held at Redeemer Lutheran, 6727 State Route 49, just south of Convoy.
Additions to the church over the years include the bell tower (1968), a 1,500 square foot addition (1975), and an 8,230 square foot addition in 2002.
Four pastors have served Redeemer since it was established in 1961. The Rev. Francis Gerken (who had served both St. John and St. Paul in the 1950s) was pastor throughout the 1960s. The Rev. Kurt Bickel was called in 1970 and served until his retirement 1992. The Rev. Lee Genter arrived in September 1992 and served until 2002. The Rev. Michael Saylor, Redeemer’s current pastor, began service in January 2003.