With Holy Week being a time for Christians to observe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, members of Toledo's First English Lutheran Church thought it fitting to hold its final service on Palm Sunday.
"We are looking at the death and burial, and yet the resurrection," said the Rev. Daniel W. Mohr, pastor. "The members will be going on to join other congregations and will be able to do far more there than they were able to do here."
He said the building, at 1415 Broadway in the Old South End, will be leased by two relatively new churches.
First English was the first Lutheran church in Toledo to hold services in English, starting in 1879 when it met in the nearby St. John's Lutheran Church. The congregation joined the Ohio Lutheran synod in 1881 and dedicated its first sanctuary, at Oliver and Harrison streets, in 1884. The church moved into its present sanctuary on April 30, 1922.
As the membership of the church continued to decline, First English entered into a "yoked ministry" with St. John's, the two churches sharing Mr. Mohr as pastor. But attendance at First English continued to drop and lately has been averaging around 30. Mr. Mohr plans to retire but said St. John's will hire a new pastor and is in no danger of closing.
First English will hold its closing service at 3 p.m. tomorrow. Presiding will be Bishop Marcus Lohrmann of the Northwest Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.