Originally created 10/14/00

Membership rose along with walls



The Lutheran Church by the Lake is one of the newest churches in McCormick County, S.C.

The church, on the corner of South Carolina Highway 378 and Twelve Oaks Drive in Savannah Lakes Village, will hold an open house at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Holy Communion, dedication and a reception will follow at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. Pastor Robert Dascher of Columbia will preach.

Walls of the nearly 8,000-square-foot contemporary building are constructed of split-block on the bottom and stucco on the top. The exterior is painted off-white and capped with a shingled roof.

The church has administrative/meeting space, a social hall and a sanctuary that seats about 220. A bell tower stands alongside the entrance.

The most striking feature may be the windows of faceted stain glass. The front has five panels, the sides three each. "People are in awe of the windows," said Pastor Walter Wist.

A cross in the center front panel is flanked by scrolls, a lamp, the alpha and omega and other symbols of the Word. The sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are represented in panels on the side walls.

Two McCormick-area Catholics worked alongside Lutherans to finish the church after ground was broken a year ago. The building cost about $800,000, but the total "is still going up," said Pastor Wist.

So is the congregation. Membership numbers about 140, a jump from the count a year and a half ago of about 80. Cooper Realty Investments of Bella Vista, Ark., developer of Savannah Lakes Village donated the 6.2-acre church grounds to the congregation.

Cooper has a policy of donating property to churches or nonprofit groups. After several families asked that a Lutheran church be established, Cooper chose the denomination because it was not represented among Savannah Lakes Village-area churches. "They were adding something that would not be competing with existing churches," he said.

Developers talked first of 4 acres, then moved to 5 before settling on 6.2. The land, congregation, building and cost - "Everything has gone up. It has a life of its own," Pastor Wist said.

Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or vanorton@augustachronicle.com.