On October 29, 1905, New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized under the leadership of Rev. C. L. Miller, D.D. along with twenty nine charter members. This forward thinking group envisioned the need for a new Lutheran Church in the area and, indeed, the time and place was right for a congregation to be born. As we reflect on our proud history, it reveals the character and spirit set by our forefathers. Their thoughts and efforts will forever stand as a testament to the spiritual needs of this community.
In 1917, New Jerusalem entered into the formation of the new pastorate with Zion and Bethlehem Churches, all of Catawba County. The Rev. W. D. Haltiwanger was the first pastor to serve this parish. The parsonage for the new parish was erected in 1921 at Zion Church and Pastor Haltiwanger moved into it upon its completion.
On October 1, 1931, The Rev. C. E. Lutz became pastor of this parish, serving until January 31, 1940. Under his leadership in the year 1936, the first church building was replaced by a modern brick veneer building seating three hundred and having a Sunday School department of two assembly rooms and seventeen classrooms. The building was conservatively valued at $17,000 and was dedicated on Sunday, April 30, 1936.
In 1940, Zion Church became self-supporting and another new parish, known as the Hickory Lutheran Parish, composed of Bethlehem and New Jerusalem Churches, was formed. The Rev. G. A. Phillips was called as first pastor of this newly formed parish. During his pastorate, a parsonage for the new parish was built near Bethlehem Church. Pastor Phillips served the parish from June 1, 1940 until December 31, 1943.
On January 19, 1948, New Jerusalem Church met with severe misfortune. The entire church plant was destroyed by fire. Nothing of value from the building or furnishings could be salvaged. However, the records of the congregation were kept in Pastor Wessinger’s home and were not destroyed. The congregation began making plans for immediate reconstruction of its church building. During the period of time in which the congregation was without a church home, Bethlehem Church generously gave the use of its church for worship in the afternoons. New Jerusalem Congregation voted to build the new church on the site of the old.
On June 17, 1958, Pastor Wessinger died unexpectedly. Following his death, a seminarian, Wayne Leazer, served as summer supply pastor. In the fall of 1958, a call was extended to the Rev. L. E. Cumbee, Jr. He accepted the call and began work on October 8, 1958
Continued improvement and development of the church buildings continued in 1969. The parking area around the church was paved; outdoor basketball goals were built for use of the community and church; the old nursery was converted into a ladies’ lounge; and the parsonage bathroom was renovated.
In 1980, the congregation approved the purchase of a pipe organ made by the M.P. Moeller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland. The organ would be installed by Easter of 1981.
In 1991, council recommended to the congregation that we extend a call to Pastor Randall Cauble. This year we also established an active Senior and Junior Youth Group, approved purchase of additional choir robes, piano and padded chairs for the adult assembly room, approved the purchase of a Video Camera to aid the ministry to shut-ins, and approved the survey of land belonging to New Jerusalem Church.