ST. JOHN'S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH (18781986), at 5830 Cable Ave., at one time was one of the largest congregations in the Missouri Synod. It was organized on 1 Sept. 1878 as St. John's German Evangelical Church, a daughter parish of ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH. Approximately 15 families, many from the Zion church, formed the congregation. Rev. August Dankworth, the first pastor, was installed 20 Oct. 1878 and conducted services temporarily at Engel's Hall, at E. 49th St. and Broadway Ave. Henry Hoppensack, one of the founders, donated land on Bessemer St. near Tod (E. 65th) St. for a new building, dedicated on 24 Nov. 1878. Later that year, the church joined the Evangelical Church Lutheran Synod of Missouri. Many GERMANS who had come to NEWBURGH to work in the steel mills joined the growing congregation.
During the pastorate of Rev. Karl Kretzman (1887-97), the neighborhood became increasingly industrialized, and the 1,0001,500-member congregation moved to a new church at 5830 Cable Ave. near Broadway and E. 55th St., dedicated on 9 Mar. 1902. Membership increased until St. John's became one of the largest churches in the Missouri Synod; St. John's Day School, the synod's largest, had over 500 pupils. In 1939 the word German was dropped from the church's name. In the 1950s membership declined as members moved to the SUBURBS. The school closed on 9 June 1958, and by 1964 the church had become St. John's Inner City Church, with 350 members. On 30 June 1985, Pastor Richard Gahl, executive director of the Ohio District's Missouri Synod, conducted the final worship service for the 60-member congregation. In 1986 the building was demolished; the site became a parking lot.
See also RELIGION, LUTHERANS.