The completed sanctuary of the Palanga Lutheran Church in Lithuania.
In 1938, the building of the Palanga Lutheran Church, in Palanga, Lithuania, burned down. Unable to rebuild due to the government regime of the time, the congregation made due. Today, it worships in a house where it is impossible for all members to be in the same room during the services.
Since 2003, a partnership between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania (ELCL), Iowa District East and LCMS World Relief and Human Care has allowed for the plans and building of a new church home. Since 2011, a grant from the Office of International Mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and gifts from Iowa District East will enable completion of the project. A sanctuary, a diaconal and conference center and living quarters for the pastor’s family have been under construction since 2005 and are nearing completion.
The Rev. Dr. Darius Petkunas, pastor of the church and two other parishes, expressed relief that the construction continues ahead of schedule. Recently, all interior plastering and much of the electrical work has been finished. The space for the church’s organ has been tiled and readied for an organ builder to come in. The organ, along with a pulpit, pews and bells, were purchased from a church in Germany.
Iowa District East has provided funding and people to help this project progress. Church members have traveled to Lithuania on several occasions to see the progress, help put up walls and even landscaped around the church.
A group of Lutherans from Hubbard, Iowa, visited the Palanga Lutheran Church and helped with construction.
Dr. Timothy Quill, Director of Theological Education, Rev. Daniel Johnson, and Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church relations from the LCMS recently traveled to Lithuania and shared photos from Palanga.
Pastor Petkunas is optimistic that all project work will be completed by the end of May 2012 and dedication of the church and deaconal center can happen in July, with special guests from the LCMS and especially, Iowa District East.
- Pray for the ELCL and the completion of the Palanga Project.
- Support the Witness, Mercy, Life Together work of the LCMS in Lithuania.