Scott City church celebrates 160th anniversary, plans outreach

Sunday, February 5, 2012
Marty Hasz is the vicar at Eisleben Lutheran Church in Scott City. (Kristin Eberts)

Southeast Missouri is rich with church heritage. One of the churches with a good deal of history is Eisleben Lutheran Church of Scott City.

The church recently celebrated its 160th anniversary and is looking to reach future generations. According to Vicar Marty Hasz, pastor of Eisleben, the church is "rooted in Christ and branching out in love."

"We desire to reach people who don't know Jesus and don't have a church home," Hasz said.

Eisleben has held outreach events like hayrides and bonfires. The church prepared dinner for the Scott City High School football team, and more than 100 children attended the church's vacation Bible school.

According to Hasz, Eisleben will begin an evangelical program to teach the congregation to reach the community. They are also meeting with city leaders to identify the needs of the community and how the church can help meet those needs.

"The congregation has lots of history and influence in the community," Hasz said. "We've enjoyed lots of relationships with folks in the city."

This past fall, as part of the milestone anniversary, the church brought in speakers and did special baptism and prayer services.

Parts of the celebration services were done in German. The church has a strong German heritage with many long-standing names that go back to Germany. The church itself was named after Martin Luther's birthplace.

Over the past 160 years, Eisleben has experienced ups and downs as the community has changed.

This period has been a time of transition for both Eisleben and Hasz. Hasz said St. Andrew Lutheran of Cape Girardeau has helped provide leadership, with the Rev. Paul Short acting as supervising pastor. The economy has also been a factor, but Hasz described the transition period as a time of "renewing and rebuilding."

Hasz began at Eisleben in July. He graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in May and came to Eisleben on a pastoral internship. The church extended an invitation for him to officially become the full-time pastor in August.

Hasz said he was lead into seminary because he wanted to "develop a more outreach-focused ministry."

He said he is "excited about helping the congregation reach the new generation of the community."

Hasz has been married for 11 years and has three boys. Before serving in Eisleben, he was the director of Christian education at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Indianapolis, Ind. He said making the transition from education to outreach has been exciting.

"It has been a lifelong dream of mine to focus on outreach ministries," Hasz said. "It is a delight to work with God's people and encourage them to share about the Gospel and Jesus."

His background in education plays a large role in the church's outreach efforts.

"The congregation's outreach comes from an education perspective, so we do a lot of teaching. Basically people grow in faith by doing outreach and ministry. As you do it you are growing in faith and are challenged to live on faith," Hasz said.

Eisleben's services are done in the traditional style. Hasz said anyone who comes on Sunday mornings can expect "to hear about the love of Jesus."

"There's a sense of divine purpose in a historical setting. There is a warm, welcoming atmosphere from a loving and joyful congregation."

Eisleben's current sermon series on missions, evangelism and outreach will conclude on Feb. 12. Lenten services and evangelism projects are being planned to follow. One planned outreach is a chili and chicken noodle dinner Feb. 20.

"This is an exciting time for our congregation," Hasz said. "We are ministry focused. We have a long-standing tradition and we are looking forward [to] how we can serve the community."

Sunday morning services begin at 10 a.m. with adult Bible studies and Sunday school at 8:30 a.m.

Eisleben is located at 432 Lutheran Lane in Scott City, Mo. For more information, contact Hasz at 979-2791 or by email at vicarmarty@gmail.com.

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