Douglas church celebrating 100th anniversary this weekend

The St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 1501 E. 10th St., will be having a 100th anniversary celebration this Saturday from 1-4 p.m. in the church sanctuary.

DOUGLAS — The community is being invited to attend a 100th anniversary celebration of the St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 1501 E. 10th St. this weekend.

An open house and celebration is scheduled this Saturday from 1-4 p.m. in the church sanctuary. It will include a short prayer, a few words about the church’s history and conclude with a song fest of hymns beginning 3 p.m. Beverages and cookies will be provided until gone. Those attending are asked to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and to use the entrance on Estrella Avenue.

According to Lou Gallardo, one of the organizers for Saturday’s open house and whose wife Teresa has been a member of the church since 1971, the Lutheran faith started the church in January of 1921. It is incorporated with the Arizona Corporation Commission in Phoenix.

“We generally go by the locally known name of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (SPL),” Gallardo said. “The church began small. It outgrew the small adobe church that seated probably 70 members. SPL then built a larger sanctuary in the early 1970’s that seated 150 plus.”

“The current body of believers is still worshiping in the same Lutheran faith that started the church,” he added. “Over the last 10 years or so, membership has decreased because of retirement, death, or moves out of town for work. We are an elderly congregation, with no one under the age of 60 regularly attending.”

“There are no children. We are seeing some people church shopping. And we have not seen snow birds for the last three years. Past members are being actively recruited to return. I see hope for larger congregations in the near future.”

The congregants of SPL will have a celebration for members and anyone else who may wish to attend during their normal worship service at 9 a.m. The service will be open to the public.