Church History

The History of A Bridge to Faith Lutheran Church

The History of Faith Lutheran Church

On July 25, 1985, a group of LCMS Lutherans met for worship in the basement of the Optometrist’s Birkmann & Sumner building to discuss forming another LCMS congregation in the town of Washington, MO. They met every Sunday until they decided to purchase 10 acres of ground, just south of the town city limits, as the site of their future church. Faith would be their outlook and new name.

The church was first served by Dr. Quentin Wesselschmitt, a professor at Concordia Seminary, and William Zastrow, a student at the Seminary. The first pastor was Rev. David Hilgert. In 1988, the Laborers for Christ volunteers built a small church on the hill overlooking the southern part of Washington. The dedication of Faith Lutheran Church at 1008 Bieker Road was held in May of 1989.

Pastor Hilgert retired in 1993. After a vacancy of 17 months, Vicar Dennis Schmelzer, along with his wife, Trace, and son, John, served his year of vicarage at Faith. The following year, 1994, he was tendered a call which he accepted. Pastor Schmelzer was a graduate of a colloquy program at Concordia, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Pastor Jim Rhivers served as guest preacher starting in July 2014, and became the permanent vacancy Pastor in July 2015.  He created or led multiple youth programs and served as Police Chaplain in the community.

The congregation was small with 110 communicants, but was family oriented. Worship services were held every Sunday at 9:00 a.m. with Holy Communion every second and fourth Sunday of each month. Sunday School and Adult Bible Study followed at 10:30 a.m. Special services were held for Lent and Advent on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. with soup suppers preceding some of those services. Other special Church services were held throughout the year, such as Ascension Day and Reformation Day.


The History of The Bridge Lutheran Church

The Bridge Lutheran Church began as a daughter church of New Beginnings Lutheran Church in Pacific. On April 25th, 2010, Pastor Andy, his wife, Debbie and daughters, Amanda and Emily and 34 others met for their first service in Washington, Missouri.  Pastor Andy Yount was called to God’s service in 2008, attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and became an ordained LCMS church planting pastor.

The Bridge began meeting for worship in the conference room of the Super 8 motel in Washington, MO, but as more and more people joined this fledgling church, a new space was needed.  For the next 14 years, The Bridge met in a small warehouse on Hwy A, where the rent was extremely reasonable and, in fact, was never increased.  On August 14th, 2011, The Bridge Lutheran Church became an officially chartered church of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.  Contemporary style worship services were held on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and Monday evenings at 7 pm, led by Pastor Andy Yount.


The Merger of Faith and The Bridge

In 2021, due to a downturn in church attendance both nationally and locally in Washington, MO, The Bridge Lutheran Church and Faith Lutheran Church began discussing a merger of the two congregations.  On October 17th, 2022, one new congregation, A Bridge to Faith Church, was officially formed, holding services at the original Faith Lutheran Church location at 1008 Bieker Road.  Together Pastor Jim Rhivers and Pastor Andy Yount served this new congregation until Pastor Jim’s retirement June 30th,2023.

After a period of adjustments and changes merging the two congregations, one contemporary style service is now held on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, with Holy Communion the second and fourth Sunday of each month.  Additional Wednesday evening soup supper/Bible study times are held during Lent and Advent.

We believe that it is through the church that God takes people with different personalities and gifts, unifies them as a single body, and equips them to care for each other and reach the world with the Gospel.