I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. This is my command: love each other.
John 15:5, 16-17
The early history of Christ Lutheran Church goes back to approximately 1894 when Professor W. H. T. Dau of the then existing Concordia College at Conover, North Carolina, undertook to conduct preaching services in Hickory. He was assisted by the Rev. C. O. Smith, also from Conover.
For a number of years, the Hickory area remained little more than a preaching station for Missouri Synod Lutherans. However, in the spring of 1903, the Rev. Paul Bischoff, pastor of Concordia Lutheran, Conover, met with seven persons in a room above the old First National Bank for the purpose of organizing a congregation. The Rev. Biscoff served as the first pastor of Christ Lutheran, regularly conducting services in the home of Mrs. Fannie Abernathy, wife of Dr. Henry L. Abernathy. Later, a hall was secured in which the young congregation met for several years. Pastor Biscoff remained with the congregation until 1908.
In December of 1908, the Rev. G. E. Long became pastor of the Stephen’s-Christ-Augustana Parish. The Christ congregation purchased their first house of worship. An engraved stone marker in the parking lot of the old Uptown Fresh Air Supermarket shows exactly where this church was first located.
In 1922, the “little white church on the corner” was sold for $12,000, and a new building site was purchased next to the Kenworth School. In 1926, the new house of worship was ready for use. This served the congregation for about fifty years until April 1971, when the present house of worship was dedicated.
In April 1957, a groundbreaking service was held for the construction of a four-classroom school. Christ Lutheran provided a Christian education from kindergarten through the sixth grade until May 1969. Rev. Russell W. Harnack served the congregation 1961-1967; Rev. Wayne W. Koenig, 1967-1971.
In 1970, the congregation broke ground for the present building, the front of which is highlighted by an imposing frame at the top of which towers the cross of Christ encircled by the symbolic crown of thorns. The new church was dedicated on April 4, 1971.
In 1971, the old church bell was remounted on a special base near the rear entrance to the narthex. The old church was rented to Zion Baptist who eventually purchased the property. Rev. Lawrence R. Lineburger served CLC 1971-1981; Rev. Gary Rueter, 1981-1992.
Rev. Richard Schwandt accepted a call to CLC in 1993 and served the congregation until August 2020. The year 2000 witnessed the first Hmong worship on the eastern seaboard, the first Hmong baptisms and confirmations at Christ Lutheran. In 2002, the Hmong congregation, under the leadership of Deacon David Vang, moved to the former Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Newton, North Carolina after renovations were completed.
In 2009 the Family Life Center was dedicated. It has become a blessing for CLC and community activities and various sports.
Rev. Alec Fisher’s installation was held January 10, 2021 and he continues to serve Christ Lutheran to the present.
God continues to guide members in community outreach and congregational involvement to bear fruit that will last.
Updated May 3, 2021