St. John will celebrate centennial on Sunday
Even though St. John Lutheran Church will celebrate 100 years Sunday, Lutherans have lived in Lawton well before the church was chartered.
Lawton was founded in 1906, and Bill Schneider, pastor, said Lutherans moved to town and started meeting in each other's homes.
"There were families that moved in, German/Russians, and they began meeting together," Schneider said, "and they had a pastor who kind of rode circuit and rode around and would come here and meet with the families."
The first church building was a white clapboard building on the corner where St. John Lutheran Church currently stands, Southwest A Avenue and Southwest 7th Street. The congregation started meeting at the church in 1916, which is the year the church was chartered in November.
"You could say we had Lutherans in Lawton more than a hundred years," Schneider said, "but a hundred official years of when the church was chartered."
From 1949-1950, St. John Lutheran Church's current building was built, and Schneider said it was considered unusual because it was the first public building in Lawton that had air conditioning. The church was constructed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1989, the church added classrooms, office space and a fellowship hall. Then in 1996 the church opened St. John Lutheran Preschool.
"It's an amazing feeling to (build upon) those people who have gone before to establish a church in pioneer days," Schneider said. "And now if only they could see what it has become. It's an amazing feeling to stand on their shoulders."