History of Perry Highway Lutheran Church
Welcome to the history page of Perry Highway Lutheran Church, a community of faith that has been a cornerstone of spiritual life for generations. Founded in 1951, our church has been guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ to foster a compassionate, welcoming environment for all. From our humble beginnings in a modest meeting space to our current sanctuary, our history is a rich tapestry of faith, community outreach, and inclusive love. As part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we have evolved over the years to address the needs of our diverse congregation while upholding the timeless Lutheran tenets of grace and faith. Whether you are new to our community or a lifelong member, we invite you to explore our history and join us on our ongoing journey of faith and fellowship.
On September 9, 1951 Reverend C. J. Loehr, at the request of the Pittsburgh Mission Society, began conducting worship services in the Wexford area. Perry Highway Lutheran Church began conducting worship services in a local storeroom without heat. On September 19, 1951 the place of worship changed to the American Legion Hall on Pine Creek Hill.
On September 1, 1952 Reverend J. Robson continued the work started by Reverend Loehr. A constitution was adopted with a charter membership of 35 people and the congregation was received into the American Lutheran Church. Land was purchased and plans were drawn up for a sanctuary.
First Church Building
Reverend E. Zick began his ministry with PHLC in September of 1953, while also serving the congregation of Lovi in Cranberry Township. The first sanctuary and parsonage were constructed and on September 19, 1954 the first service was held in the new structure.
Reverend L. Knauff was called to serve both congregations in 1959. The congregation was taken off Mission status and became self-supporting in 1961. At that time, the second major phase in the physical development of the church was undertaken and the construction of a new educational unit began. In 1962 Perry Highway Lutheran Church extended a full time call to Reverend Reiss. The new educational unit was declared in 1966. In May of 1973, a carillon and bell tower was constructed and dedicated to the memory of Reverend Reiss’s daughter, who lost her life in a tragic accident. The congregation continued to grow in size and spirit, including the Pre-Kindergarten program started under the direction of Reverend Reiss.
Reverend T. Andersen was called in January of 1974. The Pre-Kindergarten program continued to grow along with the congregation. Phase three of the building program, a new worship center, was begun. During Reverend Andersen’s tenure, ecumenical relationships with area churches were initiated.
Opening of our Current Church
Reverend H. Wagner began his ministry in October of 1981. Plans for Phase Three were again reviewed, and construction of a new worship center, gathering area, offices, and social halls began. The new church’s first worship service was held on Palm Sunday, April 4, 1987. As the topography and makeup of the community was rapidly changing, the congregation experienced some decline in membership in the coming years.
Reverend Dennis J. Ferguson was called and began his ministry in September 1993. Intentional long-range planning was done and the congregation once again began to see growth. For a couple of years, we became the fastest-growing Lutheran congregation in the Synod. A vibrant Worship and Music Program, a focus on Youth and Children and Outreach Ministries became the community’s priorities. During these growth years, it has been necessary to add staff; a part-time Associate Pastor, full-time Secretary, Administrative Assistant, Music Director, and full-time Youth Director have been added to the staff. The Pre-kindergarten continued to grow.
PHLC Becomes Welcoming
Perry Highway Lutheran Church RIC Certification
and today, Perry Highway Lutheran Church is a lively, welcoming, exciting place to worship and call home.