The history of St Peter’s goes back to 1897 when the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Loxton was first organised by
E.J.P. Kaesler before the town of Loxton was formally planned. It originally began as a ‘House Church’ meeting for worship in the houses of John Drabsch of Loxton and A Stanitzki of Bookpurnong. Pastor L Kuss from the Mannum congregation was sent up by the Synod four to six times a year to minister to the spiritual needs of the people.
The settlers never expected to see a flourishing settlement such as we have today, but as the country proved its fertility, numerous Lutherans, many of them from Sedan, Mannum and Dutton moved into the district. In 1904, the congregation resolved to build a stone church measuring 40ft x 20ft x 14ft (12.2m x 6.1m x 4.27m) at a cost of 180 pounds ($360), having a seating capacity of 150.
As early as 1911 the St Petri Congregation had talked about the possibility of erecting a more spacious church. It was allowed to lapse until 1920, when the discussions were re-opened but without any decision being made. At the half yearly meeting, 22nd July, 1923 it was resolved to begin building a new church. The size and scale of this new Church was certainly remarkable and showed the vision of the people at that time.
On November 24th 1924 work began on the new Church at a cost of 5,705 pounds ($ 11,410.00). The Foundation Stone was laid in January 1925. On Sunday, March 7th, 1926, fifteen and a half months after the building was first started, some 2000 people came from near and far for the opening of the new church.
St Peter’s Lutheran Church became a part of the Loxton Lutheran Parish when it was formed on amalgamation (1966).
The other congregations in the Parish are Concordia, our sister congregation just down the road, and the outlying congregations of Bookpurnong, Myrla, Meribah, and Taplan. While officially part of the Loxton Parish, St Peter's functions independently as a congregation.
A NEW DIRECTION
Over the past few years, St Peter’s has been reinventing itself as a congregation as we have grappled what it means to be a Church in mission in this community and beyond. This has resulted in a huge paradigm shift for the congregation as we have moved from being a membership driven Church to being a discipleship driven Church.
What is the difference? No longer do we maintain the institution for the sake of the members, but we become organised for the sake of mission. No longer are the needs of the members the primary factor in deciding what we do as a Church, but extending the kingdom of God becomes the priority. Jesus didn’t say: ‘Go therefore and make members of all nations’….but ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19). Our goal is not to get more members on the list but to help people grow deeper into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not about filling positions on committees, but releasing people to use their gifts to serve others in areas which they are passionate about.