At the beginning of the 20th century, a number of Lutheran families settled in and around Farmville. Pastor Oelschlaeger, who was the pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Richmond, held services in the home of Mr. Julius Dodl at infrequent intervals. With the arrival of more Lutheran families, it was decided to form a congregation and call a resident pastor.
The congregation was organized in May 1904 and called the First German St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession at Farmville. A call was sent to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, asking the faculty to send a graduate of theology to Farmville and in September 1904 Mr. Richard Franke arrived. The church met in temporary locations until the first building was dedicated in 1905 on South Virginia Street. This first building had no furnace or running water and was heated with a wood stove. In 1969 land was purchased so that a new building could be erected on U.S. Route 15. The new building was dedicated and the church was renamed “St. John’s Lutheran Church of Farmville” in 1974.
Land for the current facility on Milnwood Road was purchased in 1995, the groundbreaking followed on October 28, 2007 and the new building was dedicated on October 18, 2009. The present facility offers more space for education which has been an important part of the church’s history. St. John’s has been faithfully served by 21 pastors and is celebrating 112 years of sharing the Gospel in central Virginia!
The church has a long history of helping those in need both in the local community and around the world. St. John’s has played an important role in spreading the Gospel by sharing their pastor and/or helping with church starts in Meherrin, Lynchburg, Roanoke and Danville. They have a long tradition of hosting outdoor summer festivals. These festivals, which were originally held on local farms, are still celebrated today as an outdoor worship service each summer at Wilck’s Lake. Throughout the course of the church’s rich history Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, LWML, and choirs have been an important part of her growth in Christ.