Our History

Our History

The idea of a community church was formed almost as soon as there were residents at the Lake of the Woods. Future generations will marvel that the early community was very much isolated and “out in the country.” The road to Fredericksburg was a two lane highway. There were no stores and the nearest churches were small with a limited schedule of services. The residents of the Lake wanted a church where they could be active members and not have to drive 20 miles to get there. The first efforts at forming a church began in 1971. Early formalization efforts were difficult with many stumbling blocks; however, ten Christians (the Founders) were persistent in their belief that every community should have a church. A constitution was drafted and signed by the Founders and Charter members on April 28, 1974. The Lake of the Woods Church was very unique because it was a church of many believers from varied religious backgrounds. The main focus was and continues to be Jesus Christ who unites us.

The first organized worship service at Lake of the Woods (LOW) was held in the middle of November 1971. Early formalization efforts were difficult with many stumbling blocks; however, ten Christians (called the Founders) were persistent in their belief that every community should have a church. A constitution was drafted and signed by the Founders and 29 other members; thus, they all became Charter Members on April 28, 1974. These Charter Members came from many denominational backgrounds making The Lake of the Woods Church (LOWC) unique. We are a church of believers from many backgrounds. Our focus is on Jesus Christ who unites us. Our many ministries are open and offered to the whole community. If you do not have a church home, please know you are welcome here.

The members had two goals from the beginning. The first was to have a permanent pastor. The Reverend Glen Cannon served in that capacity from May 1982 until 1994, and a year later the Reverend Thomas Schafer became Senior Pastor. In 2016 Dr. John W. Howe became our Senior Pastor, returning to Lake of the Woods following his service in Central Florida.  And in 2022 Reverend Adam Colson became Senior Pastor.

LOWC has had a wonderful succession of Associate Pastors over the years, and our current staff includes the Reverend Jordan Medas, Senior Associate, the Reverend Mike Lemay who oversees our vigorous visitation ministry and Minister Kevin Paxton oversees Worship.

The pastoral team is assisted by other staff serving in valuable full- and part-time positions in worship, youth and children’s ministries, administrative and custodial roles. In LOWC, every member ministry is a core value, and it is reflected by the very considerable number of lay men and women serving in a host of ministries every week.

The second beginning goal was to have our own building. Originally meetings were held in a number of different locations including the former Clubhouse and some members’ homes. Eventually four acres were purchased adjacent to the Lake of the Woods, and the initial church building was dedicated in September 1987. Additional construction took place in the mid-1990s and again in the early 2000s. The Expanding Our Vision Campaign, which began in the Fall of 2010 enabled us to retire our mortgage and devote all of our financial resources to ongoing ministry and outreach.

In 1996, an outdoor area behind the building was set aside to provide a quiet place for meditation. It was financed completely by gifts, and every year since its inception, the Women’s Guild makes a gift to the Garden in memory of its members or members’ husbands who have died during the past year. A group from the Men’s Tuesday Bible Study renovated the area in 2004 and added a pathway of memorial “Faith Bricks” as a fundraising project for the building expansion. In these and many other ways, many serving hands from the congregation offer their service for the grounds and building.

Music has always been an inspiration and an important part in the life of the church since the summer of 1974 when Borgny Ostby played the piano and directed the choir of three voices, until today, with Worship Minister Kevin Paxton, leading the 20+ member choir for the traditional services and overseeing a team of talented vocalists, instrumentalists and audio/visual operators for the blended and contemporary services.

Over the years, many adult Sunday School classes and groups have evolved. The first was the Women’s Guild, beginning in 1979 with a total of 13 members, now totaling over 100 women from our area. New initiatives in adult discipleship continue today, adding new classes and groups throughout the week meeting in the church building and area homes throughout the community. The church has placed a consistent emphasis on missions and benevolence, giving over 15% of total donations for these purposes. Our current membership is approximately 500, and weekly attendance averages 300-400.

The years since 1971 have brought more growth and blessings than the Founders could have ever dreamed. To God be the glory!

As we share this history with you we give God thanks for where we have been and we look forward to where we are going. We hope you will go with us.