POCAHONTAS, MO (KFVS) - St. Johns Lutheran Church celebrated 150 years on Sunday, June 17 with a ceremonial service in Pocahontas, Missouri.
The church was packed with people in every pew commemorating a feat not many churches can say they have accomplished.
Jary Reppen is a member of the church. He said this service brought back fond memories for the last several decades for him.
"It seems unreal," Reppen exclaimed. "I've been here for 45 years. I didn't think 150 years, it's a big deal."
German and Austrian settlers first settled in the area in the mid-1800s. Shortly thereafter, a congregation was started and the church was built.
"This is our third structure. Our third church," Reppen recalled. "The first one was a wooden one across the road there. That was in 1870. This one was built in 1893 but then it burned down because lightning struck it. Then this one was built back up shortly thereafter."
Reppen said it's important to remember their heritage so they can remember how they got here.
"I think it's very important that we maintain a presence our Lutheran Heritage here in this area," Reppen said. "And all these little churches spotted around the countryside, it's important to have these churches here. And they are vibrant churches, not museum pieces. They are vibrant living churches."
Reppen stated that they are still getting new members in the church from time to time and feels it's also important that the children of the church carry on their tradition to keep the church thriving in the community.
"It's very rewarding," Reppen said. "It's very uplifting that we have young people that are able to be here and participate in the church. Also, they are very dedicated and they are very enthusiastic about being in the church."
After the service, the congregation gathered together to enjoy a meal and to look at historical photos of the church from years past.
"We are proud to be here in Pocahontas," Reppen said.