On July 14, 2012, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania dedicated the completed church in Palanga, Lithuania. Nearly fifteen years ago, on July 30, 2005, the corner stone for the Palanga Lutheran church was laid after the Iowa East District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod formed a partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania. The Lutheran Church in Palanga burned down in 1938, and during Soviet times the congregation disbanded with her members relocating to other cities. The Lutheran church returned to Palanga just 23 years ago, after the Lutheran church had been persecuted, deported, and exterminated in Lithuania. During the time of communism, only six Lutheran pastors remained in Lithuania.
Much work and many trips were to put in to bring this project to completion. Read a news bulletin here from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania to learn and view photos on how one of these typical St. John's trips to Lithuania would go!
In 2014, 20 members of St. John's returned to Lithuania, this time to focus on rebuilding a church located in Kintai (about an hour south of Palanga). This particular building survived the demolition of the Soviet regime, but still suffered damage. Several church relics (including the church crucifix) were riddled with bullet holes and other acts of Soviet vandalism.
With the help of the church priest, Mindaugas Žilinskis, his congregants, and several locals, members of St. Johns spent time repainting walls, reconstructing the church altar area, replacing windows, landscaping, and other tasks to help bring the church back to its former glory. Pictured below are images of the church before construction and after its completion.