Church celebrates with visit by renowned organist

Lorne Manweiler is part of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church centennial celebration

photo submitted Rev. Lorne Manweiler

photo submitted Rev. Lorne Manweiler

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has flourished for 100 years with present-day members looking to the past with pride and pleasure.

The actual founding date was Nov. 15, 1911, the date the people who had been meeting in Vernon as Lutherans joined the Missouri Synod, the first church in B.C. to do so. The congregation is celebrating the weekend of Nov. 11 to 13 with special services and an organ recital and organ workshop by former area resident and church member, Rev. Lorne Manweiler.

Manweiler, who was resident organist at St. John’s Lutheran Church from 1987 to 1996, is now pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wetaskwin, Alta., and sessional instructor at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton.

“The faithful pastors at St. John’s were used by the Lord to direct me on that path,” he said. “Of note are Pastors Mayan, Barz, Rath and Phillips, whose faithfulness to the Scriptures were pivotal in shaping not only my pastoral style, but also a firm commitment to our living Lutheran heritage of doctrine, liturgy and music.”

Manweiler will present an organ recital with special effects Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He will be accompanied by Ryan Breitkreutz on the horn for some pieces. There will be a free-will offering.

Nov. 12, Manweiler will lead a workshop for organists from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. He has performed in concerts with Canadian orchestras and choral ensembles and as a solo performer in major churches and concert halls in North America and Europe, and was a featured organist for the Royal Canadian College of Organists and leader of the Concordia University of Alberta Concert Choir.

The centennial celebrations also include two special services Nov. 13, with the 10 a.m. service led by Rev. Robert Bugbee, president of the Lutheran Church of Canada and the 2 p.m. service led by Pastor Ralph Mayan.

“We expect to see several retired pastors and church members who have moved away and are visiting over the weekend. It’s very exciting,” said Irene Hirschmiller, a member of the centennial committee.